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Modeling of in situ rock properties based on a Gibbs free energy minimization approach shows that regional metamorphism of granulite facies may critically enhance the decrease of crustal density with depth. This leads to a gravitational instability of hot continental crust, resulting in regional doming and diapirism. Two types of crustal models have been studied: (1) lithologically homogeneous crust and (2) heterogeneous, multilayered crust. Gravitational instability of relatively homogeneous continental crust sections is related to a vertical density contrast developed during prograde changes in mineral assemblages and the thermal expansion of minerals with increasing temperature. Gravitational instability of lithologically...

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