Abstract

A tectonic model that attempts to explain common features of Archean geology is investigated. The model supposes the accumulation, by volcanic eruptions, of a thick basaltic pile on a granitoid crust. The thermal blanketing effect of this lava raises the temperature of the granitic crust and eventually softens it enough that gravitational slumping and downfolding of the lava follows.Numerical models of the thermal and mechanical evolution of a granitoid crust covered with a thick lava sequence indicate that such an evolution is possible when reasonable assumptions are made about the temperature dependence of the viscosity in crustal rocks. These models show the lava sinking in relatively narrow regions while wider granite diapirs appear in between. The convection produces strong horizontal temperature gradients that may cause lateral changes in metamoprhic facies. A one order of magnitude drop in accumulated strain occurs between the granite–basalt interface and the center of the granite diaper at a depth of 10–15 km.

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