Opendata, web and dolomites


The Making of the Earth – Reading the Geochemical Code from Meteorites and the Earth’s Oldest Rocks

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






Project "INFANT EARTH" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
city: KOELN
postcode: 50931

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country Germany [DE]
 Project website
 Total cost 2˙499˙735 €
 EC max contribution 2˙499˙735 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2014-ADG
 Funding Scheme ERC-ADG
 Starting year 2015
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2015-09-01   to  2021-08-31


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    UNIVERSITAET ZU KOELN DE (KOELN) coordinator 2˙499˙735.00


 Project objective

It is still an open question how Earth became the rocky habitable planet as we know it today. This is because there is a significant time gap of several 100 million years between Earth’s oldest rock archives (ca. 4 billion years old) and most extraterrestrial samples like meteorites that archive the birth of our solar system ca. 4.5 billion years ago. Within this time gap, three key processes that shaped our planet took place, i.e., Earth’s growth via asteroidal collisions, formation of the metal core and a first solid crust, and the delivery of volatiles such as water. Because rock samples are lacking, these fundamental processes have to be traced indirectly, by using highly sophisticated geochemical tools like isotope or trace element compositions of younger rocks or meteorites.

With this proposal, I plan to better unravel Earth’s earliest history and better identify its building blocks, by combining the geochemical record locked in Earth`s oldest rocks and extraterrestrial samples. The ground breaking nature of this work is the development of new geochemical techniques that are way beyond the current state of art, and many of them will be applied at an unprecedented level of sensitivity and precision. I will cover three linked approaches, namely high precision analyses of (i) nucleosynthetic isotope anomalies, (ii) radiogenic isotopes and (iii) trace elements. To better constrain the history of volatile delivery to the nascent Earth, a focus will be on comparing the geochemical record provided by refractory and volatile elements. In their synergy, the results will provide a major advance in unravelling Earth’s earliest history.

INFANTEARTH builds on high profile research strengths of our group, where a unique pool of collaborating scientists and analytical equipment are available. We have also acquired a nearly unique collection of Earth’s oldest rock samples and of extraterrestrial samples supplied from institutions such as NASA or collaborating museums.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2019 Florian Kurzweil, Carsten Münker, Michaela Grupp, Ninja Braukmüller, Lena Fechtner, Mike Christian, Simon V. Hohl, Ronny Schoenberg
The stable tungsten isotope composition of modern igneous reservoirs
published pages: 176-191, ISSN: 0016-7037, DOI: 10.1016/j.gca.2019.02.025
Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 251 2020-04-24
2019 Maxwell M. Thiemens, Peter Sprung, Raúl O. C. Fonseca, Felipe P. Leitzke, Carsten Münker
Early Moon formation inferred from hafnium–tungsten systematics
published pages: 696-700, ISSN: 1752-0894, DOI: 10.1038/s41561-019-0398-3
Nature Geoscience 12/9 2020-04-24
2020 Mario Fischer-Gödde, Bo-Magnus Elfers, Carsten Münker, Kristoffer Szilas, Wolfgang D. Maier, Nils Messling, Tomoaki Morishita, Martin Van Kranendonk, Hugh Smithies
Ruthenium isotope vestige of Earth’s pre-late-veneer mantle preserved in Archaean rocks
published pages: 240-244, ISSN: 0028-0836, DOI: 10.1038/s41586-020-2069-3
Nature 579/7798 2020-04-24
2019 Ninja Braukmüller, Frank Wombacher, Claudia Funk, Carsten Münker
Earth’s volatile element depletion pattern inherited from a carbonaceous chondrite-like source
published pages: 564-568, ISSN: 1752-0894, DOI: 10.1038/s41561-019-0375-x
Nature Geoscience 12/7 2020-04-24
2018 Florian Kurzweil, Carsten Münker, Jonas Tusch, Ronny Schoenberg
Accurate stable tungsten isotope measurements of natural samples using a 180 W- 183 W double-spike
published pages: 407-417, ISSN: 0009-2541, DOI: 10.1016/j.chemgeo.2017.11.037
Chemical Geology 476 2019-07-25
2017 Carsten Münker, Raúl O. C. Fonseca, Toni Schulz
Silicate Earth’s missing niobium may have been sequestered into asteroidal cores
published pages: 822-826, ISSN: 1752-0894, DOI: 10.1038/ngeo3048
Nature Geoscience 10/11 2019-07-25
2017 Christiane Schnabel, Carsten Münker, Erik Strub
La–Ce isotope measurements by multicollector-ICPMS
published pages: 2360-2370, ISSN: 0267-9477, DOI: 10.1039/c7ja00256d
Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry 32/12 2019-07-25
2018 Ninja Braukmüller, Frank Wombacher, Dominik C. Hezel, Raphaelle Escoube, Carsten Münker
The chemical composition of carbonaceous chondrites: Implications for volatile element depletion, complementarity and alteration
published pages: 17-48, ISSN: 0016-7037, DOI: 10.1016/j.gca.2018.07.023
Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 239 2019-07-25

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