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Hadean protocrust reworking at the origin of the Archean Napier Complex (Antarctica)

Abstract : The origin of the first continents is still poorly constrained due to the great scarcity of >3.7 Ga rocks. The Napier Complex (East Antarctica) hosts such rocks but the extreme metamorphic conditions it experienced have compromised most isotopic systematics. Here we have studied Mount Sones and Gage Ridge orthogneisses from the Napier complex using microbeam (LA-MC-ICP-MS) U-Pb and Lu-Hf isotope measurements in zircon, together with 146,147Sm-143,142Nd isotope systematics in the corresponding whole rocks to uncover primary information about their origin. Our U-Pb results reveal that these orthogneisses formed at 3794 ± 40 and 3857 ± 39 Ma, respectively, by reworking of 4456-4356 Ma mafic protocrust, as testified to by 176Lu-176Hf and 147,146Sm-143,142Nd systematics. Other Eoarchean terranes in Greenland, Canada, and China also show involvement of Hadean crust(s) in their formation which suggests that protocrusts were massively reworked to form new continents around the Hadean-Eoarchean boundary. Such a mechanism would account for the absence of early-formed protocrust from the geological record despite recent models proposing rapid crustal growth in the Hadean (~25 % of present day volume or surface).
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Martin Guitreau, M. Boyet, Jean-Louis Paquette, Abdelmouhcine Gannoun, Z. Konc, et al.. Hadean protocrust reworking at the origin of the Archean Napier Complex (Antarctica). Geochemical Perspectives Letters, European Assoication of Geochemistry, 2019, 12, pp.7-11. ⟨10.7185/geochemlet.1927⟩. ⟨hal-02399658⟩



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