1. Settings of magmatic rocks and the process of continental assemblage and breakup

The tectonic discrimination for magmatic rocks has been a major issue in petrological and tectonic studies, and an important research direction since the birth of plate tectonics. Many tectonic discrimination diagrams for magmatic rocks have been proposed, but they need to be re-examined with big data. For instance, (1) how to summarize evolution regularity of magma and thus reveal the tectonic environments in various geologic periods from regional- to global-scale? (2) How does magmatic evolution correspond to and impact the continental assemblage and breakup and plate-paleogeographic reconstructions?


2. Deep-time evolution of deep Earth materials: Form 3D architecture and 4D evolution

How do the materials of the deep earth evolve? What is the thermal-chemical composition of the lithosphere and its evolution processes? What is the mechanism of material exchange, recycling and interaction between different lithospheric domains? In particular, how does the earth's deep engine work? And how does the engine influence shallow processes?

The main questions concerning these issues focus on: (1) What are mechanisms of the formation and growth of the continental crust? (2) How did the oceanic crust evolve?  (3) How to summarizes regularities of three-dimensional architecture (3D) and evolution (4D) of the materials in the deep Earth from regional- to orogenic- and to the global-scales? (4) What are deep dynamics for supercontinent cycles?


3. Recycling of crustal-mantle material and development of metallogenic systems

How do the deep geological processes on a lithospheric scale (especially the crust-mantle interaction) control the formation and spatial distribution of large metallogenic systems on a lithospheric scale (especially the crust-mantle interaction)? How do the lithosphere architectures constrain the giant metallogenic belts on the global scale? How do the metallogenic background and conditions in different regions relate to the degree of control over these deposits? Does big data analysis of the magmatic rocks and ore deposits have the capability to reveal the multiple-scale (global, orogenic belt, region, ore deposit) regularities of development and distribution of metallogenic systems?


4. Developing an integrated model of Earth’s environmental history

Earth has had a remarkable and varied history of extreme global and regional climatic change recorded in the sedimentary record: including times of dramatic warming, cooling ‘Snowball Earths’, anoxia, acidification, Hg poisoning, step-wise oxygenation of the atmosphere; resulting in biotic crises including mass extinction events. Can environmental /climatic history as recorded in the sedimentary record be integrated with key climatic drivers: including Earth’s magmatic history, erosion, and bolide impact? This bold task would require integrating sedimentary, magmatic, paleogeographic and erosion histories to characterize Earth’s climatic history with potential lessons for modern climate change, a task that would absolutely require a Big Data approach. The databases networked through this project should also help provide geochemical/environmental baselines for elements of the periodic table and identify deleterious concentrations of harmful elements.