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An oceanic subduction origin for Archaean granitoids revealed by silicon isotopes

Abstract : Modern oceanic crust is constantly produced at oceanic ridges and recycled back into the mantle at subduction zones via plate tectonics. An outstanding question in geology is whether the Earth started in a non-plate tectonic regime, and if it did, when the transition to the modern regime occurred. This is a complicated question to address because Archaean rocks lack mod-ern equivalents to anchor interpretations. Here, we present a silicon isotopic study of 4.0–2.8-Gyr-old tonalite–trondhjemite–granodiorites, as well as Palaeozoic granites and modern adakites. We show that Archaean granitoids have heavier silicon isotopic compositions than granites and adakites, regardless of melting pressure. This is best explained if Archaean granitoids were formed by melting of subducted basaltic crust enriched in sedimentary silica through interaction with seawater. Before the appearance of silica-forming organisms 0.5–0.6 billion years ago, the oceans were close to silicon saturation, which led to extensive precipitation of cherts on the seafloor. This is in contrast to modern oceans, where silica biomineralization maintains dissolved silicon at low concentration. The unique heavy silicon isotope signature of cherts has been transferred to Archaean granitoids during an oceanic subduction process, which was probably responsible for the formation of felsic rocks on Archaean emerged lands.
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Submitted on : Friday, September 3, 2021 - 3:25:29 PM
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Zhengbin Deng, Marc Chaussidon, Martin Guitreau, Igor Puchtel, Nicolas Dauphas, et al.. An oceanic subduction origin for Archaean granitoids revealed by silicon isotopes. Nature Geoscience, Nature Publishing Group, 2019, 12 (9), pp.774-778. ⟨10.1038/s41561-019-0407-6⟩. ⟨hal-02278676⟩



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