Orogenic climax of Earth: The 1.2-1.1 Ga Grenvillian superevent

Martin J. Van Kranendonk, Christopher L. Kirkland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

33 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The rate of growth of the continental crust is controversial. We present an evaluation of time-constrained analyses of oxygen isotopes in zircon grains and incompatible element (Zr, Th) concentrations in magmatic rocks to test for variations in the degree of crustal recycling through geological time. The data indicate a rise in these geochemical proxies from ca. 3.0 Ga to a statistically significant peak at 1.2-1.1 Ga during the amalgamation of supercontinent Rodinia, and a decrease thereafter. When combined with other geological and geophysical observations, the data are interpreted as a consequence of an unprecedented level of crustal recycling and sediment subduction during Rodinia assembly, arising from a "Goldilocks" (i.e., just right) combination of larger, thicker plates on a warmer Earth with more rapid continental drift relative to modern Earth. The subsequent decrease in 18O, Zr, and Th measurements is interpreted to refl ect decreasing drift rates on a cooling Earth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)735-738
Number of pages4
JournalGeology
Volume41
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology

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