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Detrital zircon evidence for change in geodynamic regime of continental crust formation 3.7-3.6 billion years ago

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doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2020.116206
Authors:Ranjan, Sameer; Upadhyay, Dewashish; Pruseth, Kamal Lochan; Nanda, Jayanta K.
Author Affiliations:Primary:
Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Department of Geology and Geophysics, Kharagpur, India
Consultant, Bhubaneshwar, India
Volume Title:Earth and Planetary Science Letters
Source:Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Vol.538. Publisher: Elsevier, Amsterdam, Netherlands. ISSN: 0012-821X
Publication Date:2020
Note:In English. 89 refs.; illus., incl. sects., geol. sketch map
Summary:The nature of the early terrestrial crust and how it evolved through time remains highly controversial. Whether conventional plate tectonics operated in the Hadean and early Archean and when it came into existence remains unclear. Here, we describe U-Pb ages, Hf isotope composition and trace element chemistry of 3.95-3.10 Ga old detrital zircons from the Singhbhum Craton in eastern India. The >3.7 Ga old zircons of this suite have crust-like Hf isotope compositions with strongly negative εHfi and their granitoid sources formed by intra-crustal reworking of a Hadean protolith that was extracted from primitive mantle at 4.4-4.5 Ga. The trace element and Hf isotope compositions of the zircons record a transition from higher Nb/Th (0.070 ± 0.010), Nb/U (0.045 ± 0.005), crust-like Hf isotope compositions, and longer crustal residence times of the protoliths prior to 3.7-3.6 Ga, to lower Nb/Th (0.032 ± 0.012), Nb/U (0.024 ± 0.009; 1σ), mantle-like Hf isotope compositions, and shorter protolith residence times post 3.7-3.6 Ga. The Nb/Th and Nb/U fractionation at 3.7 Ga seen in the detrital zircon record can be explained by transition to granitoid production at greater depths in an oceanic plateau-like regime. However, had that been the case, the crustal residence times of the protoliths of the granitoids from which the detrital zircons were sourced should have progressively increased with time, given the >1.1 billion years protracted history of granitoid magmatism in the craton, which is contrary to what is observed. We suggest that the changes in the granitoid chemistry recorded by the detrital zircons document a significant change in the depth of melting of the protoliths as well as in the tectonic setting of continental crust formation, and argue that it marks the transition to granitoid production from oceanic plateaus to arc-like tectonic environments. Broadly similar transitions at ca. 3.6 Ga have been documented in gneisses from the Acasta Gneiss Complex, the Jack Hills zircons and in detrital zircons from the Wyoming Province, which suggest that the end of the Eoarchean may have been marked by widespread transition in planetary tectonic regime.
Subjects:Archean; Composition; Continental crust; Crust; Detrital zircon; Eoarchean; Geodynamics; Hadean; Hafnium; Isotopes; Melting; Metals; Nesosilicates; Orthosilicates; Plate tectonics; Precambrian; Protoliths; Silicates; Tectonics; Trace elements; Zircon; Zircon group; Asia; India; Indian Peninsula; Singhbhum Craton
Coordinates:N210000 N221500 E0860000 W0843000
Record ID:876553-13
Copyright Information:GeoRef, Copyright 2020 American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from CAPCAS, Elsevier Scientific Publishers, Amsterdam, Netherlands
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