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The Northern Marginal Zone (NMZ) of the Limpopo Belt, southern Africa, is a high-grade gneiss belt dominated by magmatic granulites of the charnoenderbite suite, which intruded minor mafic-ultramafic and metasedimentary rocks between 2.74 and 2.57 Ga. The intrusive rocks have crustal and mantle components, and occur as elliptical bodies interpreted as diapirs. Peak metamorphism (P ≤800 MPa, T = 800–850 °C) occurred at ca. 2.59 Ga. The highly radiogenic nature of the rocks in the NMZ, supplemented by heat from mantle melts, led to heating and diapirism, culminating in the intrusion of distinctive porphyritic charnockites and granites. Horizontal shortening and steep extrusion of the NMZ, during which crustal thickening was limited by high geothermal gradients, contrast with overthickening and gravitational collapse observed particularly in more recent orogens. The granulites were exhumed by the end of the Archean. The pervasive late Archean shortening over the whole of the NMZ contrasts with limited deformation on the Zimbabwe Craton, possibly owing to the strengthening effect of early crust in the craton. In the southeast of the NMZ, strike-slip kinematic indicators occur within the Transition Zone and the Triangle Shear Zone, where dextral shearing reworked the Archean crust at ca. 1.97 Ga.

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