Earth’s Carefully Crafted Crust

Earth’s Carefully Crafted Crust

Researchers have discovered still more indicators of divine design in Earth’s fine-tuned geophysical processes. These indicators belong to an intricate, life-essential cycle (called the carbonate-silicate cycle). This cycle compensates for the ongoing gradual increase in the sun’s brightness.

As more and more of the sun’s fuel (hydrogen) ignites, the sun glows brighter and brighter. At the same time, heat-trapping gases in Earth’s atmosphere (carbon dioxide and water vapor) get transferred, by organisms, from the atmosphere to the crust. In this amazing “double coincidence,” Earth’s decreased heat trapping efficiency exactly compensates for the increased solar brightness so that Earth’s surface temperature remains ideal for life.

For some time scientists have been aware that this cycle demands fine-tuned balancing of erosion rates, plate tectonic activity, volcanic activity, and, of course, the quantity and kinds of life on the planet through time. The most recent research reveals, in addition, the delicacy of the rate at which Earth’s crust plates, particularly the ocean-floor crust plates, move beneath, or “subduct,” below the plates they collide with.

This “subduction” rate, in turn, is governed by the rate at which minerals in the subduction zone (the place where two underwater plates crash together) remove water from the ocean via the hydration process. Both the chemistry of ocean floor rocks and the volume of ocean water must be fine-tuned.

Again, research produced a bonus. It just so happens that a dehydration process at work in the downward-moving slabs leads to production of a talc layer that both lowers and stabilizes the sliding friction of adjoining tectonic plates. This friction reduction and stabilization lowers the earthquake risk to advanced life.

The more we learn about what is required to keep life going for the past 3.86 billion years, the more evidence we see that a Supernature shaped nature.

  1. Stephen H. Kirby, “Taking the Temperature of Slabs,” Nature, 403 (2000), pp. 31-34.