Trond Helge Torsvik (10-05-2016)

A modern day Jules Verne, Norwegian geophysicist Trond Helge Torsvik wants to reconstruct the evolution of the earth and to answer the question why the earth is the only planet with plate tectonics. What makes the earth so special?

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Why should anyone become interested in paleogeology? (00:00:00)
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How did you get interested in this type of science? (00:01:17)
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Any specific thing you wanted to know? (00:02:26)
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Could you sketch the geological history of the earth? (00:03:55)
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What is the biggest geological difference between earth and other planets in our solar system? (00:05:31)
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How and where on Iceland can you experience plate tectonics? (00:06:53)
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Why is plate tectonics important? (00:07:57)
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Our planet is continuously changing? (00:08:50)
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What do we not know about plate tectonics? (00:10:17)
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How thick are the continents? (00:12:01)
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In Iceland it is clear that heat is coming from the ground? (00:14:00)
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Is it called a supervolcano? (00:15:28)
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How are diamonds linked to tectonics? (00:18:02)
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What are the revolutions in paleogeography? (00:20:46)
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If you succeed in establishing a unified theory about earth dynamics, what will it mean for us? (00:26:17)
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What do you mean by: we are in an Ice Age? (00:29:28)
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The CO2 fluctuation over time, is that something you would like to grasp on? (00:31:41)
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Are you surprised by the strength of the earth? (00:33:37)
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Can you elaborate on your role as a tutor? (00:35:12)
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Is there a relation between whisky and geology? (00:37:12)
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Describe your discovery of a lost continent?  (00:39:01)
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Is the earth crust a cracked piece of stones and other stuff? (00:42:50)
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Could you give us an idea of the recycling and changes in the earth's crust?  (00:47:34)
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What about Iceland? (00:50:32)
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00:00:00 Why should anyone become interested in audio jolly. Well you know what I didn't and.
00:00:09 In general also plate tectonics kind of US important for every single on this planet.
00:00:14 So we would receive mineral resources where there was drinking water whether it's wine or. Rocks for the road.
00:00:25 It's all about geology even diamonds and so forth so.
00:00:29 It's one of the most important ingredients we have in his plan is to get all of you for tourists and the mountains
00:00:37 and so forth.
00:00:38 So I can hardly think about a missing which is not real time to get all the down across study all that he was formed in
00:00:46 the past where we are looking. When you look at mountains in Norway for instance the cell.
00:00:51 Mountain sexily form some four hundred million years ago.
00:00:54 So we're looking at the past every day when you look out your window. It is de caressed her stick of the earth.
00:01:03 It's the curse drakes I think of it. This is why look all planets you know it's to get all of the on the landscape.
00:01:13 Which is to cut tourist takes also for.
00:01:17 What made you become so interested in this type of science while it's probably coincidence what you do in life.
00:01:24 I know when I started studying I I used to prefer mathematics and physics but.
00:01:32 When I started studying I want to do something outside looked in a catalogue one that had big stick.
00:01:38 Catalog which subject you want to study and so forth and I saw what I didn't understand.
00:01:43 It said geophysics it was to A G U K physics understood.
00:01:49 Sawtelle I'll do Dot so but first geophysics very brode I could be better all of your snog of him but also.
00:01:57 Just minute he feels actually started first. Taking courses in oceanography but I got a little bored with that.
00:02:04 So then I switched to what we call geo magnetism and particularly how.
00:02:10 Not so much about the first one of the field today is that how it's been in the past
00:02:15 and how it's perceived up in rocks rocks because it's rocks. They preserve how damning that I feel was in the past.
00:02:23 So that's caught my interest originally. Is there anything specific that you really want to know. Well as a lot.
00:02:31 I want to know. And of course to change through time when you start off when you know very little you know.
00:02:38 It's some sort of incremental but the more you.
00:02:41 That's how I started working maybe just would want a continent and then you want to do more of them
00:02:46 and then you want to do all of them and then you also want to look beneath them.
00:02:50 So what you want to know kind of change with time is as small as you learn there are barriers all the time like ten
00:02:58 years ago many barriers which I know gone and and you're looking for folks for new barriers to solve.
00:03:06 But anything specific at this moment. At this moment.
00:03:13 Well what I mean where we were last decade Israeli too to see how do the mantle below the crust interact with the
00:03:21 plates and so forth. The Dr now. Trying to do something new.
00:03:27 Again you know climate and pallor climate is very popular and
00:03:33 but I really want to try to understand how the climate on planet has changed over a let's say the last billion yes that
00:03:40 the long term variation and not just a short term variation. You know in the last few hundred.
00:03:47 Yeah so a few million Yes I really want to understand what controls to big packed on and. And that's a big challenge.
00:03:55 If you go back in history. Could you give a sort of brief history of. In geological terms direct.
00:04:02 Why does it tend so far you go back to maybe the easiest is to go back to that say Tree hundred million.
00:04:08 Yes that's very short remember the Earth has four point six billion but if you go back to Tree hundred million.
00:04:15 Yes we had what many a familiar we had a super continent.
00:04:20 At that time were most of the continents with just one mass which we called the Pangea.
00:04:26 And we know very well still things we don't know how that's involved true time so it was one continent
00:04:37 and then that say about two hundred million. Yes you go to central Atlantic.
00:04:40 Started starting breaking to supercontinent apart.
00:04:44 So it was North America
00:04:45 and Africa departing from it later on in the South Atlantic open a little younger one hundred
00:04:53 and twenty million yes that's in my part of the world with Norway and.
00:04:58 In the Northeast Atlanta only started some fifty five million Yes ago so.
00:05:03 So we do a lot of research to see how did this supercontinent break apart into why did it break apart just even why did
00:05:12 all the continents assemble into one supercontinent they do that occasionally maybe every half a billion year
00:05:20 or something to come together and they go apart so that's part of some sort of a long term cyclists on our planet.
00:05:32 But let's just get back to the history of Earth and what's so important about Earth
00:05:40 or difference that in terms of our solar system and the other planets.
00:05:45 Well as medicine but again geology Plate Tectonics is unique.
00:05:48 It's the only planet we know in the solar system at least the kind of earth like stony like to what we call the to rest
00:05:56 O. Planets who has plate tectonics. So that makes us different. From from all of them.
00:06:01 What is Plate Tectonics got to simply got to play that we are Plate Tectonics is kind of simple in some way.
00:06:08 If it means we have about a dozen big plates many small plates and they move in relation to each other.
00:06:17 And also where Plate Tectonics all the action should it's on played boundaries where teams goes apart
00:06:22 and we have magma coming up or when things collide one played Go.
00:06:27 You need to not only call it's abduction and you can a big county chain earthquakes alone a modern
00:06:32 but the main thing is all the action you know in terms of seismicity vulcanism
00:06:37 and so forth is happening on the plate boundaries and. No other planets.
00:06:45 That I'm aware of into solar system could be on other planets exoplanets but we don't know.
00:06:50 So we're unique in that way.
00:06:54 And we're here on Iceland and here especially in Iceland you can really sort of almost experience that
00:07:01 when it's kind of double interesting because it's sitting on wanted to play boundaries where all the action is sort of
00:07:08 should be a lot of volcanism but normally. Just to spreading into ocean is beneath sea level but here we are above.
00:07:17 Dust because.
00:07:19 It's not just on a plate boundary wetting spread apart
00:07:22 but we actually have a deep plume coming from very deep in the mountain.
00:07:27 Which is coming almost vertically up
00:07:30 and it's interfering with disparate would it would have played boundary have that's got that's why we get is buoyancy
00:07:37 from beneath and we have this elevation so.
00:07:40 So I swam and one out of place on the planet are unique in the way dot you see this you see sea floor spreading.
00:07:49 It's like dry on land you actually see it instead of being in the ocean so Iceland this is very very special.
00:07:57 And why is plate tectonics so important. Well you know. Well first of all it's visually it's.
00:08:07 Our landscape it's a rock the result of it but also our natural resources.
00:08:13 Basically all of what we consume of of minerals oil and gas and so forth.
00:08:19 Are the product of plate tectonics so without it. There wouldn't be any cars.
00:08:26 We need something to build these tanks and we need something to fuel it maybe in the future we can have autumn means
00:08:31 but still you need you need minerals even if you want to turn it to batteries and so forth.
00:08:37 Yet that's extracted from rocks again and. It's get all a G.
00:08:40 and Plate tectonics to actually in some way you can you can say.
00:08:47 Gives us all the resources to do what we want to understand it.
00:08:51 The strange thing about it is that sort of we are living on a recycling planet in terms of it's continuously changing
00:08:58 continuously changing and that's why when I said Would you mind yachting with that. Yeah.
00:09:04 Yeah so it's that the surface in the landscape because of Plate Tectonics is continuously changing of course it's slow
00:09:13 but let's say over a few hundred million. Yes you have a totally different surface again and.
00:09:19 When you look at the other planets. Do you see you really do old history in the beginning you know you can see.
00:09:26 More than four billions years of history because in the early.
00:09:32 In the early beginning in the solar system plan to reform measure
00:09:36 and you had heavy bombardment impact you have craters I we were and you see them on other planets
00:09:43 but on Earth they all gone because everything has been recycled
00:09:47 and would play to tonic it's being kind of pushed into the mantle when one plate is. Pushed beneath and out of one.
00:09:54 So you know resurfacing the landscape is changing all the time. Like.
00:10:01 In one parrot let's say Greenland was totally underwater now it's above water and all this is changing.
00:10:07 It's a dynamic system all the time. Because of plate tectonics.
00:10:11 What do I say be just be a static system where everything was stuck where they are.
00:10:17 You have been studying plates it's honestly a lot of almost. What do we not know about plate tectonics.
00:10:24 While it's a lot we don't know and. For instance when before.
00:10:30 Plate Tectonics when it was called continental drift which they're going to propose more than one hundred years ago.
00:10:37 Various reasons why people didn't like it
00:10:40 but let's say physicists said for instance all we have no drop what is to drive a mechanism how it is played moving
00:10:46 around. And it's interesting. Even when Plate Tectonics and late sixty's.
00:10:51 It's like people stop asking that question why are what are the driving forces.
00:10:57 And so Plate Tectonics is really just we just look at is a little lead on the planet with just plates
00:11:04 and we can map them out.
00:11:05 We can see how fast they're moving and how to collide we can reconstruct them back in time
00:11:10 but we don't really have a full understanding how this is interacting with the mantle so that's how is to convection in
00:11:20 the mantle Benita place being important in driving duce things but also
00:11:26 when slaps are going in there is also a driving force of from Plate Tectonics itself from a slab going in
00:11:32 and pushing the continents went it so it's this interaction between what is driven from below
00:11:38 and what is driven from the plate itself which would which we don't really know in detail. We don't know why.
00:11:45 No we don't know why.
00:11:47 So that's that's keeps us scientists Bisi you know it's a cool set SEC Korea hostage ribbon you know why.
00:11:56 It's like it's to life on other planets we want to know why it's just. Happening.
00:12:01 Is its sound system and if you can read you have to look at the earth.
00:12:05 I mean you have to corn you know it as if the continents are floating on a sort of heat mass.
00:12:12 Thank you describe a little bit how thick. Should I imagine.
00:12:16 Yes consonant Well normally when we talk about crust it differs. And if you are beneath a continent.
00:12:23 The crust is about thirty five forty kilometer but if you're in the ocean.
00:12:28 It's only May be well under spreading what you'd Serah the whole mountain is coming up
00:12:32 but it's much send about five kilometer or so
00:12:35 but that's not a moving play it's also the upper part of the mantle we call the standards for.
00:12:41 Makes what we call tectonic plates. So you can say to tectonic plates the continental continent.
00:12:50 To twenty plates are about that's a tree hundred kilometer or something.
00:12:54 So that's about to plates and then moving over a part of the mantle because of. The temperature pressure you.
00:13:02 It's more viscous staff so do use more rigid stiff plates can can move on this amount of material.
00:13:11 So you can you can think about a mountain it's slowly convecting system over the last time
00:13:19 but this convection could maybe be in the order of a tree for five centimeter per year.
00:13:25 So it's a slow grinding process. Now we're here in Iceland and here you see that this is you know.
00:13:32 And then given how to drink you know. Well you know if you have a little I don't know. If you want some more. It.
00:13:55 Very good. Is really a long. So we are here in Iceland here it's quite apparent that you know this.
00:14:05 He just didn't ask coming out there actually. Yeah and when I asked when we.
00:14:14 Because of this it's unique because it is what we call the Iceland plume. And also how they are linked.
00:14:22 What to feed back with plate tectonics. What's just been proven so well there is some.
00:14:28 Like I I slam
00:14:30 and how why it's another example maybe I was about some might say it was about fifty of these I don't say maybe about
00:14:36 twenty five of you have these what we call deep plumes who actually come all the way from.
00:14:43 The very deepest mountable two thousand one hundred kilometer down
00:14:47 and we can actually followed we can see them we called seismic tomography
00:14:52 or in that you don't do it using seismology and.
00:14:57 Iceland is one of these who comes all the way and one of the same kind of outstanding problem.
00:15:04 How does dece maybe twenty five or Turkey the plumes how. How do they.
00:15:11 How do they start their journey from the deeper it and how can it influence plate tectonics.
00:15:17 For instance is also one of the outstanding issues that we're working on but we think we are we.
00:15:25 We get so little handle on this is that what you call super Filipinos that originally at the moment is not a super
00:15:34 volcano it's even though it's big and there's a lot of flux in volume but when it started when
00:15:39 when these what we call hot spots my column.
00:15:44 Normally in the literature when they start the first time
00:15:47 when they're wrapped day Devery often linked to us really massive. Popularist you can call them super.
00:15:56 Will Cain zero but in the end. Signs language we. Call them Large Igneous Provinces or lips that's kind of that and.
00:16:05 So when when they first started. It's.
00:16:09 You get a catastrophic now thing of up a mountain and you've got a really big Super Bowl candle
00:16:15 and I still in the hot spot started like that but that's about sixty million years ago. That went down.
00:16:22 He didn't wasn't just confined to it to a little island like Iceland actually covered vast areas of Greenland Scottland
00:16:31 island a little entered in the we didn't show up so it may be had a radius of something like fifteen hundred kilometer
00:16:37 maybe two thousand kilometer So that that's what we call a super volcano and you do not want to be around.
00:16:44 When one of these erupts are still of importance for us about it. Some of or it might happen again.
00:16:53 But let's say in the last five hundred million S.
00:16:55 and There's only Turkey known episodes and the youngest one you find and in North America.
00:17:02 It's called the Columbia River basalts about fifty million years old
00:17:06 but the hot spot it's linked to like Iceland is what we call Yellowstone.
00:17:12 And often they make some sort of dishonest a scenario if you have another yell of sed that Yellowstone is a rap thing
00:17:21 again. But Yellowstone is tiny in terms of aerial distribution which produced as Columbia or super volcano.
00:17:30 Maybe about two hundred thousand square meter.
00:17:33 For comparison one inside very trying to fifty million years ago was five million square meter and that's
00:17:41 when actually affected live.
00:17:43 On only on Earth and maybe ninety percent of all life died because of the super Will Cain so.
00:17:52 If it happens again it's definitely something to worry about the quiet filings probably have some very violent and.
00:18:00 Luckily very aware. It's an interesting specific area is diamonds or a science. Yes that.
00:18:12 And this is kind of linked to the same story we have this. Up I've been working man e S.
00:18:19 Which is hotspots and super volcano us and try to kind of reconstruct them back in time.
00:18:26 And when we did that we noticed they came from certain area us. Deep down.
00:18:31 Maybe started with the dinosaur because I mean yes he's using it now. Yeah yeah so. So Dr Diamond they are so.
00:18:41 You're going to find I'm in sync continental crust
00:18:43 and you're sitting at great depths of course it's you need the right pressure
00:18:49 and temperature to actually get to form a diamond.
00:18:52 So they are sitting at one hundred eighty two hundred kilometer adapt
00:18:58 but they are brought up to the surface by something called Kimball lights which which is also.
00:19:04 It's a flow war material coming from deep it's probably also very deep and then you pick up the diamonds
00:19:12 and bring them to the surface so on the surface you can if you find it will be called Kimball lights.
00:19:18 It's a big circle looks like a crater.
00:19:21 And that's just where all or most of the diamond exploration is because they bring so.
00:19:26 Kimball I select the elevators of diamonds and they come very fast. Because if you bring a diamond up very slowly.
00:19:35 It turned into graphite which we use for a pencil and then it has no value and no real value so direct.
00:19:42 From about one hundred eighty kilometers depth you bring a diamond to the surface. Maybe in three hours.
00:19:49 So you don't want to be it suggests will come very fast it will be a big splash of water and C O two when when
00:19:56 when it's brought to the surface but it's a long time. That. Luckily doesn't happen everyday items.
00:20:03 But in fact you say this filled with diamonds. So my desk and we.
00:20:11 We know where we should find them and
00:20:14 and we have an idea where they should be in relation to the mountain for these these hot hot fluxes to bring them up so
00:20:22 we have a reasonably good idea about where they are and your things you can mind them. Well you know not down there.
00:20:31 How far do you have to go down. Well you have to go two hundred eighty kilometer if you want to mind.
00:20:36 I'm in C two but so we say again nature you know is is doing us a favor. It's bringing peace to things to the surface.
00:20:46 And you also are very deep into a pond you know magnetism. Trying to.
00:20:56 Establish a new revolution in that you know what body oh you know does your body. Plan to go give what is free.
00:21:05 Do you explain what these reflections are and what the next was British and should be. Well.
00:21:13 I always say there are three revolutions and geoscience so far
00:21:16 and it started in one thousand nine hundred nineteen fifteen with very going to and.
00:21:21 But he died very unhappy in the twenty's nobody believed them and. You had to wait to one thousand nine hundred sixty S.
00:21:28 Before. For people to come up this issue again.
00:21:33 When they had a second revolution off a service oriented internet tell shortly what what his wrist producing was empty.
00:21:44 If you. Joy of thought about it when nobody of course knows. That OK. Nobody knows.
00:21:52 Of course what a revolution is are so good to know you just sort of briefly describe it or so. Let me ask this again.
00:22:00 You're a specialized in pounding mechanism and I want to sort of well bring forth a fortune for Lucian in Johnny.
00:22:09 What are those revolutions.
00:22:12 Sort of fresh revolution more than one hundred yes ago about nineteen twelve nineteen fifteen with Vaga and.
00:22:19 What he suggested if you look at our Today the continents are spread around.
00:22:24 So what he said once upon a time but he didn't really say in million yes.
00:22:28 You have to start guessing here he said once upon a time all the continents were together in one super continent
00:22:36 and he could he actually didn't call it Pangea what you know nest was called all
00:22:41 but he called it who continent he was German C.
00:22:45 Said once upon a time to write together and in quite recent time actually.
00:22:49 And what we called tertiary de de de broken parts but he called it continental drift and they just stopped moving.
00:22:59 But you know he didn't know about oceans they were never mapped out what would they look like they were just plowing
00:23:05 through the ocean and driving forces was unknown and so forth that that and that's a real important revolution.
00:23:14 But to understand the oceans too was not just continents that's why this was called continental drift it was messing
00:23:20 about oceans.
00:23:22 But in the early sixty's
00:23:23 when they had mapped out the ocean they saw from the two miter days Saudi's what we now know it's spreading axis
00:23:28 between plates and mapped is out.
00:23:30 So So Def somebody down figured that the might have been magma coming up from the mountain
00:23:36 and pushing plates aside so done you also had this aspect of ocean they wasn't just continent.
00:23:41 It was a mechanism and they've been pushing plates apart and you're pushing the oceans making new. Oceanic crust.
00:23:50 That was in the early sixty's. But it told Revolution.
00:23:54 What we call plate tectonics was actually in the middle eight sixty S and.
00:24:00 And that's what play take to instead of continental drift just comes in is moving around.
00:24:05 It's called plates because it's a mixture of continents and Osi on a crust and they have played boundaries
00:24:12 and they put the mathematics on to describe that you have a rotation pole somewhere
00:24:18 and it's rotating would have been you know.
00:24:21 The last two and so forth and when you got that mathematics on it and you could then you can run it forward.
00:24:27 I could look at Earth today we know how it's moving I can predict what it would look like and fifty million S.
00:24:33 or I can predict go back in time what it did look hundred million years ago and so far so that's was the fourth one
00:24:40 but again. Plate Tectonics is what I will call a second emetics here is just describing what these plates.
00:24:49 Are doing on top but what what I'm interested in what are the driving forces
00:24:55 and how how just they fit in with nice hot spots and plumes you know is to relationship between them
00:25:03 and it's more of making a grand Terry maybe in physics.
00:25:07 You can you know a physicist been dreaming about unifying quantum mechanics with with general relativity.
00:25:14 You know making it into one grand. You know.
00:25:19 Terry you know in some way that's what we want to do with it we want to we want to link to full understanding what's
00:25:26 happening on the surface. What's happening beneath us all these heat and the pollutants and so forth into one unifying.
00:25:34 Terry. So that's where we end. And counted a name.
00:25:39 We're put on this program what we call the ninth of dynamics of we get enough into this as well.
00:25:46 So that's kind of the grand vision. So the sort revolution waltz plate tectonics or.
00:25:55 What that was the third eye was the third one. And therefore it's gone. To be.
00:26:00 That's what we used in a month of dynamics. And that's will be when we fully understand this planet.
00:26:07 Hopefully in my lifetime. Because that's what you want. Yes I want but it's. We still have some way to go.
00:26:17 Suppose you succeed in doing that. What would that mean in terms of humanity in terms of knowing about the earth.
00:26:24 What would mean for us. Well out of what I mean so much for. The normal person in the street. I don't know.
00:26:34 I'm driven by Korea also T. To understand and. Also been interesting in history. I want to see how things change.
00:26:41 And how it will be in the future. But what has you know enormous practical value for for.
00:26:51 The ordinary human being that's a different story but we did learn something about.
00:26:57 Well the future of Europe what way can we learn. It it will.
00:27:08 It everything tells us about the future of the earth and we could have predicted a problem. Do you suffer so.
00:27:17 One from these model we can protect saying that we talk about towns and maybe fifty
00:27:22 and one hundred million US prediction you know so.
00:27:26 So that's why it doesn't have that in the media you know it doesn't have an effect for what's going to happen next.
00:27:32 Jaron accent or if for what we have doing way we're talking about when a time scale which for most humans is you.
00:27:40 You can't count so much so. But a generous thing is you want to relate it to for example climate.
00:27:47 OK I'm saying yes the long term climate is why we've got some reasonably good control and that's where we'll.
00:27:55 We will see how we can understand long term climate because that. Another thing we do not fully understand.
00:28:04 But we want we have well we live in an ice age and in a now do we have. Basically what we are and in a cold or ice.
00:28:15 House conditions. But that's only happened three times in the last six hundred million S.
00:28:21 It's very unusual the way we're talking about global warming and we're afraid of the greenhouse gas
00:28:27 and too much C O two in atmosphere
00:28:30 but that is actually the normal statements for our planet for the last six hundred million.
00:28:36 Yes that has been to normal condition much higher C O two from sea levels but a time much higher warmer.
00:28:46 So we actually live in an judicial time.
00:28:49 Actually to all region wide the planet goes into an ice age it's still heavily debated. Also among.
00:28:58 Climate experts so that's something I would kind of try to get a handle on.
00:29:04 Let's let's recall this you say we are living here.
00:29:08 That's at what you want to act as I feel like to sort of make that into its story you just say we're in an ice age
00:29:19 but it might be interesting can indeed tell because we're in an ice age and in fact it has already happened.
00:29:27 Let me because you say we are in an ice age what do you mean. Well it's generally it's a cold climate.
00:29:36 And also generally know C O two in atmosphere because to to to go into a cold climate or an ice age you.
00:29:45 You need to have low C O two atmospheric C O two.
00:29:52 And that's house and we can see of course
00:29:55 when you are an ice as you find you find in the Glasgow record you you find evidence.
00:30:00 But as you're finding glacial deposits alter and if you look back in time when.
00:30:06 We have to go back to about three hundred million.
00:30:09 Yes when we had the previous one
00:30:10 and before that it's about forty fifty million years so we know from the Gloucester record when you had these things
00:30:17 and climate scientists would without really knowing the reason would simply say oh we have done because we had low C O
00:30:27 two that I'd like to know why did we. Why why do we have just fluctuation in C O two and you know it.
00:30:35 I find as unsatisfactorily just and said oh we've got an ice age because to C O two level was was low.
00:30:41 You know so you had the conditions to to to get glaciers and so forth and so.
00:30:50 That's something I would like to push you because in fact you're saying we're living in an extra ordinary ordinary time
00:30:57 we are really living in extraordinary time. And that's something.
00:31:01 You know in on this debate about manmade climate change should assign a when I try to teach students.
00:31:10 Whether that is correct on authors problems but I also wanted to leave my lecture room with a full understanding.
00:31:17 We live in a very unique time.
00:31:21 And this is not how our planet normally was it was much what we lived in greenhouse condition with much higher C O two
00:31:29 levels could have been ten fifteen times higher than what we have now
00:31:35 and we don't really we don't really understand if C O two fluctuation true time is that something you would like to
00:31:44 serve Christ or that's something and I have a. It's very complicated to do it but again.
00:31:52 Plate Tectonics become important we have to know exactly. Because the distribution of continents.
00:32:00 And oceans through time distribution of where you have subduction sounds and and you. You have volcano us.
00:32:08 As social web because magnetism is an important thing and we have to map it out in detail
00:32:13 and then I have to know I have to know the Paoli Godfrey in super detail have to know where all the played boundaries
00:32:20 Whoa.
00:32:20 How much potential vulcanism can you have
00:32:23 and can we calculate that into two to use it to give an idea about how much C O two is released from this.
00:32:30 So again that needs stream really precise knowledge of how to hug the plates and under distribution of continents
00:32:39 and oceans through time. So that's my big gold and I want to do that for a last belly and yes. Because also.
00:32:48 What we call Precambrian at about seven hundred million.
00:32:52 Yes you go down there are some postulates that actually made the whole earth froze to call it a snowball or it.
00:33:00 Actually dent Tarata even that quatre had to play shows. So that's definitely a very spectacular planet at that time.
00:33:08 It's controversial to toss some evidence just can happened
00:33:12 but it again is typical just to say who we had low C O two level to permit just to do this. So. That's my kind of.
00:33:23 Next goal of say for five five ten years something that I don't need a lot of young. Post-doc Ph D.
00:33:33 Students have to plan his out so
00:33:37 when you surprised by let's say just drank just the earth somehow did that you know you can have all those fluctuations
00:33:44 and it's earth survive something. The dust we know die but the problem. That's so interesting about global warming.
00:33:54 Is that it is going quite fast. You know you every ten Yeah you can follow a curve in. And though the variation.
00:34:01 That sense eleven is quite small compared to you know it on the one hundred million.
00:34:07 Yes you had a sea level was more than two hundred mi to hire that it's called quite fast bits
00:34:14 but if we can get law school time we don't know where we can measure at that position we can to do one hundred year we
00:34:21 could be my date rocks maybe just a million Yes or something.
00:34:24 So it's very hard for us to see how fast actually natural processes are compared to what we can match show right now
00:34:32 since the Industrial Revolution so that I have a feeling the planet is pretty good.
00:34:41 You know how thing itself saving at that dar feedback mechanism if you do something you.
00:34:46 There's a feedback in some system so. So maybe if we are positive it will. Take care of itself unless it goes too fast.
00:34:57 It actually run out of control. It's something you worry or.
00:35:01 I'm not worried about I'm not sleepless about but that's also because many other things on this planet.
00:35:09 You should worry about. I'm not going to ask or. What what.
00:35:17 No but I think that can be overpopulation of running out of resource us and. Sometimes I say you know it. Humans.
00:35:26 Animals normally kill because they have to eat and.
00:35:30 I say humans are probably wanted a fruitless animal you know we sometimes some kill just to kill you know
00:35:37 and I'm more worried about that global warming to be honest. And.
00:35:44 Let's talk a little bit about your institute in the way you say and have your students around
00:35:53 and you have a sort of reputation taking students on a nice trip and make signs nice for.
00:36:00 Yeah but maybe one of the most important for me for me is to.
00:36:05 For educating young and stimulating young post oxen for them to get a grant to me to become a professor themselves so.
00:36:15 So for me it was to social aspect it's not you know you talk to your professor and you close the door
00:36:23 and you don't always been very. To social interaction would students and postdocs so.
00:36:29 So I take them on both Crucis and. Actually we do it at least once a year. And since I'm in Austin.
00:36:39 I would do from Austria to keel in Germany also Copenhagen so but we have conferences
00:36:45 and many times we like to young percent so it's not the old professors there's concerts and a back
00:36:51 and we let a young people run the show and. Feel they're important and we were we always so very social.
00:37:00 And celebrate science also and celebrate science and discuss science
00:37:04 and so forth because the brain never stops working. So. It doesn't switch off at five o'clock.
00:37:12 What about the relation between whiskey and Yalit your tunes you know that's really important minutes.
00:37:21 And says I would train by Scotties get all of this and feel gone it is a very slow.
00:37:27 It is very so social compared to many other sciences. And after a good twelve fourteen hours a day.
00:37:34 So it's good to have a nice single malt whiskey to know.
00:37:46 It's somehow you could say we should know to Earth's history by now.
00:37:51 I mean even studying it for years and years and somehow we do not even seem to be close.
00:38:00 Oh I see I think we get closer. Lisa and what our group are working on I think we met a lot of progress.
00:38:10 A lot of saying.
00:38:12 Only ten years ago I wrote a proposal to solve something and I actually didn't have a clue how to do it
00:38:18 and suddenly out of the blue we. We saw the answers and we moved on and saw.
00:38:25 That's there is a lot of say We don't know a lot of phenomena a lot of studies.
00:38:31 You will never know ever saying and that's done you don't need us any longer.
00:38:37 If we if we know I actually had a professor once who. Very often. Claim to me.
00:38:43 Now I know I was saying and I looked at him and said And if you're retired
00:38:48 and if you know ever say you know what's the point is it's all all this issue.
00:38:55 You don't know who drives us forward and. Careers to drive and science.
00:39:03 You know even seem to have discovered a new continent. That's what I read. Oh did I lost confidence yeah.
00:39:12 Yeah that's kind of. It's a start of a little hobby a really end of the week. We started wondering.
00:39:21 And the Indian Ocean isn't all that. There's a lot of vulcanism and hosp walked and.
00:39:28 Plumes and so forth but we started wondering if they could actually be some continental fragments.
00:39:34 Actually which was buried by these large busts.
00:39:37 So so we discovered the first one and need to Marie to us which is several Cannick island very young.
00:39:46 Only nine million years of love us but we sink now Doris it's partly covering an old continent.
00:39:54 Of continental crust Benita it. And. That can aerated a lot.
00:40:00 For me it was like a hobby project that's all we got
00:40:05 and never got so much media attention because to Sis you know lost continents.
00:40:11 That has some sort of feeling for for people and. Actually got so bad.
00:40:16 Would I was found by journalists
00:40:18 and people wanted to film that I actually had to take three days off I just went home and shocked a phone off. And..
00:40:26 But it was from some. MEMBER I was interviewed by B.B.C. And they wrote a little story and the next day.
00:40:34 I got an e-mail from B.B.C. and They said wow you got one point six million who clicked on this interview with you.
00:40:43 But then it was the bad news. She said but it was only the second highest you will beaten by the Oscars.
00:40:49 Unfortunately it was to Oscar winners that day that she said we. And also in nature.
00:40:58 That they wrote a little review about our paper
00:41:01 and it was to ten most read paper in Nature that year so I remember we were competing with all other sciences medicine
00:41:09 and whatever you know. Sue we were quite proud of that thing. And the explanation.
00:41:17 Well the explanation is send a little complicated but it's not very complicated. Mary chose today it is simple.
00:41:27 Counting Island sitting out in Indian Ocean but.
00:41:30 If we go back in time this little fragments section apart Madagascar which is.
00:41:36 Towards Africa was a little fragments of the mother Gus covered it.
00:41:41 It was one of these plumes we come in and broke his little piece away and then he was later or covered with lava
00:41:49 and it was just parked in the middle of nowhere
00:41:52 but you know there was one island even even even even Darwin had seen that you know say shout.
00:42:00 You know that's that's an island in the middle of the ocean and that's. That's a continental crust piece of fragments.
00:42:06 But it's not fully it's only partly covered by younger a lot of us so that they were actually walking on real ground I
00:42:13 saw.
00:42:14 So in some way that's kind of sport our interest you know we have this say Shell is a little micro continent in the
00:42:23 middle of nowhere. Could it be more do stuff.
00:42:25 And then we also did a similar story for Iceland where so we introduce another complication twice
00:42:35 and not only it's sitting on a on a plate boundaries breading we have a plume coming all the way from the home of the
00:42:42 boundary. But it's also a piece of continent and fragments beneath Iceland as well just to make it very complicated.
00:42:51 It sounds as if the Earth's crust is just sort of cracked piece of you know all kind of other stuff
00:42:59 but it's the sort of percolate I call it a possible you know you have to get all these pieces together
00:43:08 and I mean morally complicated and I mean but interesting.
00:43:17 Yeah OK I'm going to have some I want to assure you
00:43:19 when you say they did it well there's one thing I think I would like to do one not one that's more an explanation I
00:43:26 think and could you maybe sort of disc. Try to describe how this is working.
00:43:31 I mean in terms of OK you have this first consonants and then you have you know it breaks up and things come up
00:43:38 and they go down just in a sort of brief story
00:43:41 and I do that so could you could you try to describe how actually sort of interest of almost a filmmaker a pose how
00:43:51 this is working. Actually from break up. Oh yeah yeah yeah. So you have Yeah we start with the first continent Yeah.
00:44:01 So you know and so well that the way I look at it is when we had this one supercontinents Tunji.
00:44:11 And they question how do you break it. OK so you have these plates together and the way we look upon it.
00:44:20 This is where this heat from plumes coming from from deep. So that.
00:44:26 So the air coming under neat parts of this super continent.
00:44:31 And actually weak and the crust in the next he breaks things apart
00:44:36 and yeah you might have interrupted maybe it's good to start with the core. OK I'm at the end of it.
00:44:42 Let's take go from the inside out. Yeah OK just as a sort of you have an idea. OK so on.
00:44:51 In a very deep mantle on the core on top of the core they're actually there are.
00:44:57 But what we have found are the two areas of of Hotta material that don't like rocks so why are probably very primordial
00:45:06 Nemi from the origin of the planet and. From these from them. Audience of these piles of material.
00:45:15 This is where he's proves develop like to I simply. So and they get triggered by some mechanism. So they start slowly.
00:45:27 Ascending and that's a very slow process that could be twenty to thirty million years.
00:45:32 When when they reach the surface. And they're hotter than normal now. It leads to a catastrophic nothing.
00:45:41 And they find themselves into cracks and so forth and actually breaks plate apart is how we look upon.
00:45:48 How do these plumes are coming slowly are up and they break plates apart.
00:45:55 So that's how we would and that's probably how you broke this. Supercontinent the path because it.
00:46:02 It wasn't didn't break all at once it was in different areas and you can also why did it start there
00:46:09 and not there in the before before it breaks like five million years before that they were always hit by one of these.
00:46:17 These troops which came from there.
00:46:19 So this is where does he see it weakens the litter sphere and breaks to surface plates.
00:46:25 So there you see the interaction of how process in the mantle heat coming and plumes
00:46:31 and how they actually they modified a played boundary to make new played boundaries and break them apart
00:46:37 and start driving it but we don't know all the details but a kind of. And then the feedback back again.
00:46:46 So these things are going on
00:46:47 and then you have material which is which is subducting into the mantle which is slowly sinking.
00:46:55 What we call slabs that's very slow might take hundred fifty million years before it's reached lower
00:47:02 and that could actually be the triggering to disapproves because it's colder material coming down
00:47:08 and it triggers along these margin of these old Ressa was it triggers makes some turmoil instabilities and.
00:47:17 And makes this thing rise but of course all this is modeling is Terry nobody has been. So different opinion on this.
00:47:28 I have my opinion so. That's why I move on and go to climate gate.
00:47:34 And the other thing is could you sort of give the idea of this recycling
00:47:39 and changing continuously changing of the earth's crust and just let's say just service of the earth. Yes so what.
00:47:49 First of all all the sea floor is recycle all the time.
00:47:52 Remember And if you look at planet Earth to try out a planet is water just centrally where you have sea floor all.
00:48:00 Of that get subducted into the mountain.
00:48:02 So the old it's given an example the old A sea floor when you look at a planet today.
00:48:07 It's about one hundred eighty million asses and everything older than that has been recycled
00:48:13 and pushed into the mountain
00:48:15 when it comes to the continents to do as they damn well buoyant they don't really want to be pushed down into the
00:48:22 mountains so the day you see that fact that.
00:48:26 You feel you find mountain buildings like him say India collided with a sea and you.
00:48:32 You see the mountain building to death to deformed rocks. And the structure so.
00:48:39 But the most dramatic it's actually since the plan is to try to use oceans to that.
00:48:46 Get recycled all the time so the oldest one we can look at in the oceans today It's hundred eighteen of a hundred
00:48:54 and ninety min and yet that's tiny and.
00:48:57 It's like I said some less than ten percent of Earth's history so and that makes it trouble for us because
00:49:04 when I make Plate Tectonic model which old
00:49:07 and to in a minute if I have to make up the ocean because I need plates I have to make artificial spreading in some
00:49:14 sort of which makes sense to me so and that will cause us a strong component of Phillip's of him.
00:49:21 We just have to obey certain physical laws and Yamato and so forth
00:49:26 but you are basically a little down beyond the ice when it's older than twenty minutes. If it you're studying.
00:49:33 Recyclability of stone. Yeah yeah. So I said it's a big problem.
00:49:39 So Plate Tectonics is troublesome for a loop Koester is it is recycling all the time. And it's very very hard.
00:49:46 That's why I'm my dream is maybe to understand in some detail that for a billion yes
00:49:52 but of course a lot of that have to make up because all the oceans. Recycle all the time. So I only I left with a.
00:50:00 This one target of planets the continental crust which is deformed in various processes
00:50:06 and that's because that's where I have to see to sink in those two. To reconstruct a planet.
00:50:12 So your plan had a billion years.
00:50:14 Your plan adds I plan a billion yes at least and I think that's about twenty five percent about history
00:50:21 and I think that sets. There are people who try to go further but it becomes very fragmented and. Very little day.
00:50:31 So what about Iceland. Should you imagine this column called Iceland.
00:50:37 Yeah but again it's a little special because normally if if we were on the sea floor now and on them.
00:50:45 It's spreading boundary you would only make crust maybe five ten kilometer SEC And of course.
00:50:53 Iceland is actually much ticket because it has just extra plumes so to sickness here can be extreme up to it's not just
00:51:00 tell it's a sensing it is bubbling beneath you actually mean extreme sick pile of lava which could be maybe up to
00:51:08 twenty five forty kilometers some plans of it's actually almost like continental crust because you got so much input a
00:51:15 lot of it has been piling on top in the top so so say hey you have a very very very sick pile of lava. But of course.
00:51:24 In areas where you have to rifting today.
00:51:28 Not fall down day you're do have bubbling lava you know just waiting to explode
00:51:37 and decompression come up so you sometimes call it the pumping station you sometimes call it the plumbing. Yeah.
00:51:45 Because well it's it's a very complicated system of the way you have much rest of our own chamber and.
00:51:53 You don't always know how it's going to find its way to the surface but here in Iceland where.
00:52:00 We do a pretty good where the dome and central Canucks are
00:52:04 and you know that's where you can see that on a good Trammel fields
00:52:09 and they can use that to turn it into electricity so. That's what I do with them but look.
00:52:16 Most people wouldn't build a power station on top of all kind of but you know they do it. Used to. Well it's.
00:52:26 Iceland is it. It's their life.
00:52:30 You never know what's going to happen some but they have experienced it from towers and you know it is island
00:52:38 and used to it and it's still prospecting but again you see they take advantage so Plate Tectonics.
00:52:47 Because you have his height. Tell me a gradient would profit and.
00:52:50 You know groundwater reaching very fast two hundred degrees. So it's interesting about normal. If you were.
00:52:59 And Norway
00:53:00 or in a normal place you would have to drill one kilometer to get to target a degree you know it's got talk to
00:53:05 when you drill down.
00:53:06 It's kind of normal gradient it's total degrees per kilometer but in places said I drilled two hundred metres
00:53:16 and it was two hundred fifty degrees so. You get an idea.
00:53:20 There are some heat sources down there which is that's how we benefit. Yes so we benefit. OK All right.
00:53:32 That's all there. My my imagination Yeah. So it's where the crest fell five kilometers.
00:53:38 Yeah down to a value so you know yes it's already rest.
00:53:41 Yeah yeah because you're very close on plenty of the other way you're to know your story
00:53:48 and you know it's you know it's sad will be more around and this is just it's more into surface
00:53:56 when it's it's going through decompression and.
00:54:00 And a very deep for it's just some slowish more it's for probably a few hundred degrees hotter.
00:54:07 So it's just can't be too hot to see if you if you're a diamond to bring them up.
00:54:14 You cannot come with it if you put a diamond in to use. You know in a live Will Cain or you will ruin it.
00:54:22 Your dad will research it has to be.
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