Convergent tectonics between continental crustal blocks result in deep burial and anatexis of supracrustal rocks. Anatectic and/or mantle-derived melts combine to form a melt-weakened zone in the thickened lower crust. The accumulation of melt eventually leads to crustal failure along melt-lubricated shear zones. Rapid (>1 mm/yr vertical component) movements of large crustal blocks result. We refer to these crustal displacements as tectonic surges. The melt-lubricated shears are characterized by the close association of sheared country rocks with foliated or massive igneous sills and plutons. Rocks that formed at different crustal levels are juxtaposed across these shear zones. One result of surges with large lateral component of movement is metamorphic inversion with high-pressure and high-temperature metamorphic rocks structurally over lower pressure and temperature assemblages. Large and rapid vertical surges may displace crust containing abundant melt and may result in high T/P (including granulite facies) metamorphism and preservation of metamorphic textures caused by rapid decompression.

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