Abstract

The experimentally determined extrusion temperature (1650° ± 20°C) for Archean peridotitic komatiite magma implies diapirism of upper mantle peridotite from a depth of at least 200 km. Models of magma genesis are developed in which selective removal of garnet during ascent produces CaO/Al2O3 > 1 and heavy rare-earth element depletion in the resultant peridotitic or mafic extrusions. Magma genesis can be interpreted with a model of the Archean geotherm, lithosphere, and plate tectonics processes resembling the modern Earth, but this does not account for the distinctive preservation and character of Archean greenstone belts. A preferred model of a steeper Archean geotherm, thin lithosphere (≃50 km), and asthenosphere with approximately 5 percent melting does not allow eclogitization and subduction of basaltic oceanic crust, but it postulates scraping off of such crust against and between primitive sialic nucleii. This model may account for the distinctive characteristics of the Archean greenstone and “granite” terranes.

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