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Type: Journal article
Title: High-temperature granulites and supercontinents
Author: Touret, J.
Santosh, M.
Huizenga, J.
Citation: Geoscience Frontiers, 2016; 7(1):101-113
Publisher: Elsevier
Issue Date: 2016
ISSN: 1674-9871
Statement of
J.L.R. Touret, M. Santosh, J.M. Huizenga
Abstract: The formation of continents involves a combination of magmatic and metamorphic processes. These processes become indistinguishable at the crust-mantle interface, where the pressure-temperature (P-T) conditions of (ultra) high-temperature granulites and magmatic rocks are similar. Continents grow laterally, bymagmatic activity above oceanic subduction zones (high-pressure metamorphic setting), and vertically by accumulation of mantle-derived magmas at the base of the crust (high-temperature metamorphic setting). Both events are separated from each other in time; the vertical accretion postdating lateral growth by several tens of millions of years. Fluid inclusion data indicate that during the high-temperature metamorphic episode the granulite lower crust is invaded by large amounts of low H2O-activity fluids including high-density CO₂ and concentrated saline solutions (brines). These fluids are expelled from the lower crust to higher crustal levels at the end of the high-grade metamorphic event. The final amalgamation of supercontinents corresponds to episodes of ultra-high temperature metamorphism involving large-scale accumulation of these low-water activity fluids in the lower crust. This accumulation causes tectonic instability, which together with the heat input from the subcontinental lithospheric mantle, leads to the disruption of supercontinents. Thus, the fragmentation of a supercontinent is already programmed at the time of its amalgamation.
Keywords: Continents; supercontinents; magmatism and metamorphism; fluids; tectonics
Rights: © 2015, China University of Geosciences (Beijing) and Peking University. Production and hosting by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NCND license (
DOI: 10.1016/j.gsf.2015.09.001
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