Continent formation through time
Nick M. W. Roberts, Martin J. Van Kranendonk, Stephen Parman, Peter D. Clift, 2015. "Continent formation through time", Continent Formation Through Time, N. M. W. Roberts, M. Van Kranendonk, S. Parman, S. Shirey, P. D. Clift
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The continental crust is the primary archive of geological history, and is host to most of our natural resources. Thus, the following remain critical questions in Earth Science, and provide an underlying theme to all of the contributions within this volume: when, how and where did the continental crust form? How did it differentiate and evolve through time? How has it has been preserved in the geological record? This introductory review provides a background to these themes, and provides an outline of the contributions contained within this volume.
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Continent Formation Through Time
The continental crust is our archive of Earth history, and the store of many natural resources; however, many key questions about its formation and evolution remain debated and unresolved:
What processes are involved in the formation, differentiation and evolution of continental crust, and how have these changed throughout Earth history?
How are plate tectonics, the supercontinent cycle and mantle cooling linked with crustal evolution?
What are the rates of generation and destruction of the continental crust through time?
How representative is the preserved geological record?
A range of approaches are used to address these questions, including field-based studies, petrology and geochemistry, geophysical methods, palaeomagnetism, whole-rock and accessory-phase isotope chemistry and geochronology. Case studies range from the Eoarchaean to Phanerozoic, and cover many different cratons and orogenic belts from across the continents.