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Early Earth plume-lid tectonics: A high-resolution 3D numerical modelling approach

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Fischer R., Gerya T.,
Project SWISS-AlpArray - Assessing Alpine Orogeny in 4D-space-time Frame
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Journal of Geodynamics
Volume (Issue) 100
Page(s) 198 - 214
Title of proceedings Journal of Geodynamics
DOI 10.1016/j.jog.2016.03.004


tGeological–geochemical evidence point towards higher mantle potential temperature and a differenttype of tectonics (global plume-lid tectonics) in the early Earth (>3.2 Ga) compared to the present day(global plate tectonics). In order to investigate tectono-magmatic processes associated with plume-lidtectonics and crustal growth under hotter mantle temperature conditions, we conduct a series of 3Dhigh-resolution magmatic-thermomechanical models with the finite-difference code I3ELVIS. No exter-nal plate tectonic forces are applied to isolate 3D effects of various plume–lithosphere and crust–mantleinteractions. Results of the numerical experiments show two distinct phases in coupled crust–mantleevolution: (1) a longer (80–100 Myr) and relatively quiet ‘growth phase’ which is marked by growth ofcrust and lithosphere, followed by (2) a short (∼20 Myr) and catastrophic ‘removal phase’, where unstableparts of the crust and mantle lithosphere are removed by eclogitic dripping and later delamination. Thismodelling suggests that the early Earth plume-lid tectonic regime followed a pattern of episodic growthand removal also called episodic overturn with a periodicity of ∼100 Myr.