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At several non-volcanic margins serpentinized peridotites occur within a wide continent–ocean transition (COT) and beneath the edge of the thinned continental crust. However, other margins such as the Woodlark Basin appear to have a sharp COT and no reported serpentinites. We investigate the thermal, magmatic and rheological evolution of margins during extension as a function of initial lithospheric structure, rift duration and stretching factor. For cratonic and old orogen models, the entire crust should become brittle at stretching factors c. 3–4. The resultant crust-cutting faults allow water to reach and serpentinize the mantle, leading to the development of serpentinite...

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