Generation of Earth’s Early Continents From a Relatively Cool Archean Mantle

This is a Preprint and has not been peer reviewed. The published version of this Preprint is available: This is version 2 of this Preprint.


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Andrea Piccolo, Boris J.P. Kaus , Richard W. White, Richard M. Palin 


Several lines of evidence suggest that the Archean (4.0–2.5 Ga) mantle was hotter than today’s potential temperature
(TP ) of 1350 ýC. However, the magnitude of such dierence is poorly constrained, with TP estimation spanning
from 1500 ýC to 1600 ýC during the Meso-Archean (3.2-2.8 Ga). Such dierences have major implications for the
interpreted mechanisms of continental crust generation on the early Earth, as their ecacy is highly sensitive to the
TP . Here, we integrate petrological modeling with thermo-mechanical 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
ýC thanks to lithospheric-scale Rayleigh–Taylor-type instabilities. These simulations also infer the occurrence of
intraplate deformation events that allow an ecient transport of crustal material into the mantle, hydrating it.



Physical Sciences and Mathematics


numerical modelling, Archean, PerpleX, Thermocalc


Published: 2021-06-17 10:52

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CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

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