Abstract

This is a critical comment on the model of basin formation by eclogitization of mafic crust suggested by E. Artyushkov. The eclogitization model bears uncertainties in average parameters (thickness, density, pressure) of lithospheric mantle, crust, and sediments, which may bias the estimates of subsidence magnitude. Main pitfalls, however, lie in high-pressure petrology: The lithostatic pressure is insufficient for eclogite to form in the lower crust beneath deep basins. It is shown that linear extrapolation of laboratory data on the gabbro-to-eclogite transition onto the field of relatively low pressures and temperatures in the lithosphere is incorrect. The hypothesized role of hot mantle fluids in the gabbro-eclogite transformation appears doubtful in terms of both petrology and kinetics of metamorphic reactions. Eclogite volumes in none of well known eclogitic sites agree with those required for eclogitization-driven subsidence. Artyushkov’s criticism of the extension basin formation model is not quite just. There are recent models of a two-layer lithosphere that imply a possibility of brittle and ductile deformation at different crust rheologies. The models we refer to predict most of extension to occur in mantle lithosphere rather than in the crust, this extension being able to produce deep continental basins.

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