The reigning paradigm for the formation and exhumation of continental ultrahigh-pressure (UHP) terranes is the subduction of crust to mantle depths and the return of crustal slices within the subduction channel—all at plate tectonic rates. Additional processes beyond the paradigm are needed to explain the diversity of geological observations gathered from the growing study of UHP terranes—for example, variations in the size, degree of deformation, petrologic evolution, timing of UHP metamorphism, and exhumation rates. Numerical models that evaluate physical parameters in time and space have produced new insights into the formation and exhumation of UHP terranes.

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