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Archean eclogite-facies oceanic crust indicates modern-style plate tectonics.

Authors
  • Ning, Wenbin1
  • Kusky, Timothy1, 2
  • Wang, Lu1
  • Huang, Bo1, 2
  • 1 State Key Laboratory of Geological Processes and Mineral Resources, Center for Global Tectonics, School of Earth Sciences, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan 430074, China. , (China)
  • 2 Badong National Observation and Research Station of Geohazards, Three Gorges Research Center for Geo-Hazards, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan 430074, China. , (China)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Publisher
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Publication Date
Apr 12, 2022
Volume
119
Issue
15
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2117529119
PMID: 35377787
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

SignificanceThe onset time of plate tectonics is highly debated in the Earth sciences. A key indicator of modern-style plate tectonics, with deep subduction of oceanic plates, is the presence of eclogite (oceanic crust metamorphosed at high-pressure and low-temperature) in orogenic belts. Since no orogenic eclogites older than 2.1 billion y are currently documented, many scientists argue that modern plate tectonics started only 2.1 billion y ago (Ga). We document an Archean orogenic eclogite, providing robust evidence that subduction of oceanic crust reached to at least 65 to 70 km in depth at circa 2.5 Ga. This extends the known age of subduction-related eclogite-facies metamorphism back 400 My, showing that modern-style plate tectonics operated by the close of the Archean.

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