Generation of Earth's early continents from a relatively cool Archean mantle
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Several lines of evidence suggest that the Archean (4.0 2.5 Ga) mantle was hotter than today's potential temperature (TP) of 1350 ° C. However, the magnitude of such difference is poorly constrained, with TP estimation spanning from 1500 ° C to 1600 ° C during the Meso‐Archean (3.2‐2.8 Ga). Such differences have major implications for the interpreted mechanisms of continental crust generation on the early Earth, as their efficacy is highly sensitive to the TP. Here, we integrate petrological modeling with thermomechanical simulations to understand the dynamics of crust formation during Archean. Our results predict that partial melting of primitive oceanic crust produces felsic melts with geochemical signatures matching those observed in Archean cratons from a mantle TP as low as 1450 ° C thanks to lithospheric‐scale Rayleigh‐Taylor‐type instabilities. These simulations also infer the occurrence of intraplate deformation events that allow an efficient transport of crustal material into the mantle, hydrating it.
Piccolo , A , Palin , R M , Kaus , B J P & White , R W 2019 , ' Generation of Earth's early continents from a relatively cool Archean mantle ' , Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems , vol. 20 , no. 4 , pp. 1679-1697 . https://doi.org/10.1029/2018GC008079
Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
Copyright © 2019 American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved. This work is made available online in accordance with the publisher’s policies. This is the final published version of the work, which was originally published at: https://doi.org/10.1029/2018GC008079
DescriptionThis research has been supported by DFG grant, SPP 1833 Building a Habitable Earth and MAGMA Consolidator Grant (ERC project #71143).
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