A Hf-isotope perspective on continent formation in the south Peruvian Andes
Flora Boekhout, Nick M. W. Roberts, Axel Gerdes, Urs Schaltegger, 2015. "A Hf-isotope perspective on continent formation in the south Peruvian Andes", Continent Formation Through Time, N. M. W. Roberts, M. Van Kranendonk, S. Parman, S. Shirey, P. D. Clift
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Convergent continental margins are the primary host of both growth and loss of continental crust. Continental growth largely occurs via subduction-driven magmatism, whereas continental loss largely occurs via subduction erosion and sediment subduction. Because the latter typically involves partial recycling into magmas, both growth and loss of continental crust can be represented in the magmatic record. The degree of crustal recycling can be estimated from the initial Hf isotope signatures in both magmatic and detrital zircon grains. Recent insights into the geodynamic evolution of the Peruvian margin, in combination with a new dataset of Hf isotopic data on zircon from the Carboniferous to Early Cretaceous, enable us to (1) compare the geodynamic history of the southern Peruvian margin with its Hf isotopic evolution, and (2) quantify the crustal growth between 500 and 135 Ma. The data exhibit a correlation with trends in isotope composition v. time and reflect the dominantly extensional regime that prevailed from the onset of subduction from 530 Ma to c. 135 Ma. This study demonstrates that the Peruvian margin experienced continental growth with juvenile input to arc magmatism of 30–45% on average, and illustrates the use of U–Pb and Hf isotopes in zircon as a tool to trace episodes of crustal growth through time.
Hf istopic analyses on zircon (A1 and A2) and new U–Pb zircon ages (A3) are available at http://www.geolsoc.org.uk/SUP18661.
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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.