Abstract

The paper discusses a possible model of the ancient (Hadean–Archean) Earth’s geodynamic evolution. We believe that the early Earth was characterized by a stagnant lid regime and whole-mantle convection suggesting cells that convect through the whole mantle (from the core–mantle boundary to the lithosphere base). The lid tectonics was perturbed by asteroid–meteorite bombardments that destroyed the primary terrestrial partly granitoid crust. The destroyed crust together with the residual enriched mantle reservoirs sank into the lower mantle. In addition to the crust destruction, the bombardments led to emplacement of a huge proportion of basalt-komatiitic melts, which can be interpreted as mantle overturn events. In the Hadean, the Earth survived frequent large-scale asteroid–meteorite bombardments, which resulted in almost a complete destruction of the primary terrestrial crust. In the Early Archean, the Earth still experienced the same tectonic processes, as in the Hadean; however, meteorite impact was small-scale and the bombardments influenced only a limited area of a common, as it seems to us, subequatorial supercontinent. Those bombardments led to the sagduction of the Archean basalt–komatiiic terrestrial crust, which sank into the mantle, transforming into amphibolite–eclogite rocks giving rise to a tonalite–troondhjemite–granodiorite suite. As preserved in the zircon record, the formation of the Archean mantle-derived magmas occurred as pulses at 4.5, 4.2–4.3, 3.8–3.9, and 3.3–3.4 Ga. These peaks, most likely, correspond to the Hadean–Archean meteorite bombardments. There is evidence of formation of the subcontinental lithospheric mantle (SCLM) beneath the cratons between 3.3 and 3.5 Ga. This SCLM was markedly different from peridotites of modern ophiolites. However, the existence of ophiolitic peridotites indicates that modern style plate tectonic processes were in operation at that time, as we will discuss below. The transition from the early Earth (Hadean–Archean) tectonic style to the recent tectonics occurred between 3.4 (2.7?) and 2.0 Ga.

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