Paving It Won’t Save It (The Planet, That is)


The oceans are the energy bank for the planet. They receive energy to great depth from the sun. Continents cool the planet.

Daedalus suggested in jest that if we increased the area of the continents 5%, we could reverse the supposed effect of doubling atmospheric CO2.

Quite a construction project, but one that has been ongoing since the first continents were distilled four billion years ago. My suspicion is that the first continents were “large mud provinces” from mud volcanoes.

Photo Credit Ted Cross

Photo Credit Ted Cross

This is a lovely one spewing serpentinized mud. More serious continents began to form when there was enough water to hydrate granite. Granite and serpentine are too light to sink back to the mantle. Continents have been steadily growing at the rate of a bit less than a square kilometer a year since the Proterozoic.

Paving indeed. Yet temperature has not decreased steadily over the last 2.5 billion years. It has been a roller coaster ride between glacial periods and thermal maxima with no clear trend.

I sound like a Carbon wag when I say that two of the hottest periods in earth history have been in the last 250 million years. (Triassic and Eocene)

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This entry was posted in Climate, Geography, Geology, Global Warming, Plate Tectonics, Serpentine and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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