Diversity of burial rates in convergent settings decreased as Earth aged
CITATION: Nicoli, G., Moyen, J. F. & Stevens, G. 2016. Diversity of burial rates in convergent settings decreased as Earth aged. Scientific Reports, 6:26359, doi:10.1038/srep26359.
The original publication is available at http://www.nature.com/srep
The evolution and the growth of the continental crust is inextricably linked to the evolution of Earth’s geodynamic processes. The detrital zircon record within the continental crust, as well as the isotopic composition of this crust, indicates that the amount of juvenile felsic material decreased with time and that in geologically recent times, the generation of new crust is balanced by recycling of the crust back into the mantle within subduction zones. However it cannot always have been so; yet the nature of the crust and the processes of crustal reworking in the Precambrian Earth are not well constrained. Here we use both detrital zircon ages and metamorphic pressure-temperature-time (P-T-t) information from metasedimentary units deposited in proposed convergent settings from Archaean, Proterozoic and Phanerozoic terrains to characterize the evolution of minimum estimates of burial rate (km.Ma−1) as a function of the age of the rocks. The demonstrated decrease in burial rate correlates positively with a progressive decrease in the production of juvenile felsic crust in the Archaean and Proterozoic. Burial rates are also more diverse in the Archaean than in modern times. We interpret these features to reflect a progressive decrease in the diversity of tectonic processes from Archaean to present, coupled with the emergence of the uniquely Phanerozoic modern-style collision.