Understanding of the evolution of continental crust has been dominated by work in tectonics, experimental petrology and geochemistry, and geochronology and isotope geochemistry. In part 1, these approaches are discussed in the light of keynote articles, most published by the Geological Society of America, in an attempt to show how new data and new thinking have influenced understanding of the formation and modification of continental crust. In part 2, the evolution of continental crust in southern North America from 1.8 Ga until 1.3 Ga is discussed as an application of ideas generated during the past 30 years.

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