Abstract

This is a synopsis of available data the on crustal structure and properties of thirteen Archean cratons of Gondwanaland (the cratons of Africa, Australia, Antarctica, South America, and the Indian subcontinent). The data include estimates of surface area, rock age and lithology, Moho depth, thickness of lithosphere and sediments, as well as elevations, all summarized in a table. The cratons differ in size from 0.05 × 106 km2 (Napier craton) to 4 × 106 km2 (Congo craton) and span almost the entire Archean period from 3.8 to 2.5 Ga. Sediments are mostly thin, though reach 7 km in the Congo and West African cratons. Elevations above sea level are from 0 to 2 km; some relatively highland cratons (Kaapvaal, Zimbabwe, and Tanzanian) rise to more than 1 km. On the basis of regional seismic data, the Moho map for cratons has been improved. The Moho diagrams for each craton are constructed. The analysis of the available new data shows that the average Moho depth varies from 33 to 44 km: Pilbara (33 km), Grunehogna (35 km), São Francisco (36 km), Yilgarn (37 km), Dharwar (38 km), Tanzanian (39 km), Zimbabwe (39 km), Kaapvaal (40 km), Gawler (40 km), Napier (40 km), West Africa (40 km), Congo (42 km), and Amazon (44 km) cratons. The Moho depth within the cratons is less uniform than it was assumed before: from 28 to 52 km. The new results differ significantly from the earlier inference of a relatively flat Moho geometry beneath Archean cratons. According to the new data, early and middle Archean undeformed crust is characterized by a shallow Moho depth (28–38 km), while late Archean or deformed crust may be as thick as 52 km.

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