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Crustal thickness controlled by plate tectonics: a review of crust-mantle interaction processes illustrated by European examples

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Dokumenter

  • Irina M. Artemieva
  • Rolf Meissner
The continental crust on Earth cannot be extracted directly from the mantle, and the primary crust extracted directly from an early magma ocean is not preserved on Earth. We review geophysical and geochemical aspects of global crust–mantle material exchange processes and examine the processes which, on one side, form and transform the continental crust and, on the other side, chemically modify the mantle residue from which the continental crust has been extracted. Major mechanisms that provide crust–mantle material exchange are oceanic and continental subduction, lithosphere delamination, and mafic magmatism. While both subduction and delamination recycle crustal material into the mantle, mafic magmatism transports mantle material upward and participates in growth of new oceanic and continental crusts and significant structural and chemical modification of the latter. We discuss the role of basalt/gabbro–eclogite phase transition in crustal evolution and the links between lithosphere recycling, mafic magmatism, and crustal underplating. We advocate that plate tectonics processes, together with basalt/gabbro–eclogite transition, limit crustal thickness worldwide by providing effective mechanisms of crustal (lithosphere) recycling.
The processes of crust–mantle interaction have created very dissimilar crustal styles in Europe, as seen by its seismic structure, crustal thickness, and average seismic velocities in the basement. Our special focus is on processes responsible for the formation of the thin crust of central and western Europe, which was largely formed during the Variscan (430–280 Ma) orogeny but has the present structure of an “extended” crust, similar to that of the Basin and Range province in western USA. Major geophysical characteristics of the Variscan lithosphere are discussed within the frame of possible sequences of crust–mantle material exchange mechanisms during and after main orogenic events in the European Variscides.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftTectonophysics
Vol/bind530-531
Sider (fra-til)18-49
Antal sider32
ISSN0040-1951
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 2012

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