A time-series analysis of thermobaric ratios (temperature/pressure [T/P]) for Paleoarchean to Cenozoic metamorphic rocks identified significant shifts in mean T/P that may be related to secular change in the geodynamics on Earth. Thermobaric ratios showed significant (>95% confidence) change points at 1910, 902, 540, and 515 Ma, recording drops in mean T/P, and at 1830, 604, and 525 Ma, recording rises in mean T/P. Highest mean T/P occurred during the Mesoproterozoic, and lowest mean T/P occurred from the Cambrian to the Oligocene. Correlated changes were seen between T/P and global data sets of time-constrained hafnium (Hf) and oxygen (O) isotope compositions in zircon. The range of correlated variation in T/P, Hf, and O was larger during the formation of Rodinia than Columbia. Large changes and a wide range for these variables continued through the Phanerozoic, during which a statistically significant 83 m.y. frequency of T/P excursions recorded the high tempo of orogenic activity associated with the separation, migration, and accretion of continental terranes during the formation of Pangea. Since the early Tonian, the decreasing mean T/P of metamorphism, widespread appearance of blueschist and ultrahigh-pressure metamorphism, and wide fluctuations in Hf and O isotope compositions document a change to the modern plate-tectonic regime, characterized by widespread continental subduction and deeper slab breakoff than in the Proterozoic.

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