Barberton Drilling Project

Peering into the Cradle of Life

The Barberton Greenstone Belt in South Africa is one of the best-preserved successions of mid-Archean (3.5-3.2 Ga) supracrustal rocks in the world, and, as such, it is a remarkable natural laboratory where conditions and processes at the surface of the Archean Earth can be studied in detail. Despite generally good outcrop, nowhere in the Barberton belt are complete field sections preserved, and crucial features such as the contacts of lava flows and continuous successions of critical sedimentary rock sequences are not exposed. Only through diamond drilling will it be possible to obtain the continuous sections and relatively unaltered samples through the volcano-sedimentary successions.

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