Abstract

Geodynamic modeling demonstrates various modes of behaviour of the tectonically active continental mantle lithosphere. At continental collision, mantle lithosphere below thickening crust can be accommodated by mixed subduction-like consumption and viscous drip-like instability, depending on the material rheology, temperature, and convergence velocity. Late-stage slab steepening, dual-sided and ablative consumption, and breakoff can occur as the buoyant crust resists subduction. Removal of accreted crust by erosion can modify how even the deepest portions of the mantle lithosphere evolves during contraction. When gravitational forcing rather than plate shortening dominates, mantle lithosphere may be removed through viscous dripping-like instability or delamination. The removal induces crustal heating, modified topography, and deformation, but distinctive styles of these develop depending on whether mantle lithosphere delaminates or drips. With a modified density stratification postulated for the Archean, relatively buoyant mantle lithosphere may undergo an in-situ overturn when triggered by unstable dense eclogite and basal traction. This causes a pulse of rapid crustal heating as hot lowermost lithosphere is brought into contact with the base of the crust. As an interpretive tool, the geodynamic experiments illustrate some of the dynamically feasible modes of behaviour and controlling parameters for the continental mantle lithosphere in ancient to modern tectonic environments.

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