Advertisement

Geothermal Gradients Through Time

  • A. B. Thompson
Part of the Dahlem Workshop Reports Physical, Chemical, and Earth Sciences Research Reports book series (DAHLEM, volume 5)

Abstract

Temperature-depth curves (geotherms) on a global scale are controlled by the overall cooling of the Earth as limited by its thermal boundary layers. On global length scales and 109a. time scales, the geothermal gradient in the continental lithosphere is likely to have decreased substantially, reflecting the progressive decrease in heat production from the radiogenic decay of K, Th, and U. The suboceanic lithospheric dT/dP may not have changed much since the Archean. On regional length scales, a thickening or thinning of the continental crust will cause perturbations of the steady state geotherms which, if exhumed after 107a., will be reflected in the grade of metamorphic rocks and the types of magmatic rocks at the surface. If these rocks are not transposed upwards to the surface within 108a., the thermal perturbations will have relaxed completely.

Keywords

Continental Crust Magmatic Rock Geothermal Gradient Mantle Convection Thermal Perturbation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. (1).
    Bickle, M.J. 1978. Heat loss from the Earth: A constraint on Archaean tectonics from the relation between geothermal gradients and the rate of plate production. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 40: 301–315.Google Scholar
  2. (2).
    Burke, K.C.A.; Dewey, J.F.; and Kidd, W.S.F. 1976. Dominance of horizontal movements, arc and microcontinental collision during the later permobile regime. InThe Early History of the Earth, ed. B.F. Windley, pp. 113–129. New York: Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
  3. (3).
    Clark, S.P., and Ringwood, A.E. 1964. Density distribution and constitution of the mantle. Rev. Geophys. 2: 35–88.Google Scholar
  4. (4).
    Davies, G.F. 1979. Thickness and thermal history of continental crust and root zones. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 44: 231–238.Google Scholar
  5. (5).
    Davies, G.F. 1980. Thermal histories of convective Earth models and constraints on radiogenic heat production in the Earth. J. Geophs. Res. 85: 2517–2530.Google Scholar
  6. (6).
    Elder, J. 1976. The Bowels of the Earth. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  7. (7).
    England, P.C., and Bickle, M. 1982. Constraints on Archaean geothermal regimes and their implication for Earth thermal history models. Proceedings of Planetary Volatiles Conference, October 1982, Colorado, Lunar Planetary Institute.Google Scholar
  8. (8).
    England, P.C., and McKenzie, D.M. 1982. A thin viscous shell model for continental deformation. Geophys. J. Roy. Astro. Soc. 70:295–321.Google Scholar
  9. (9).
    Green, D.H. 1981. Petrogenesis of Archaean ultramafic magmas and implications for Archaean tectonics. InPrecambrian Plate Tectonics, ed. A. Kroener, pp. 469–489. Amsterdam: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  10. (10).
    Jaeger, J.C. 1965. Application of the theory of heat conduction to geothermal measurements. InTerrestrial Heat Flow, ed. W.H.K. Lee, pp. 7–23. Am. Geophys. U. Geophys. Monog. 8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. (11).
    Lambert, R.St.J. 1976. Archean thermal regimes, crustal and upper mantle temperatures, and a progressive evolutionary model for the Earth. In The Early History of the Earth, ed. B.F. Windley, pp. 363– 373. New York: Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
  12. (12).
    McKenzie, D.P., and Weiss, N.O. 1975. Speculations on the thermal and tectonic history of the Earth. Geophys. J. Roy. Astro. Soc. 42: 131–174.Google Scholar
  13. (13).
    McLennan, S.M., and Taylor, S.R. 1982. Geochemical constraints on the growth of the continental crust. J. Geol. 90: 347–362.Google Scholar
  14. (14).
    Miyashiro, A. 1980. Metamorphism and plate convergence. InThe Continental Crust and Its Mineral deposits, ed. D.W. Strangway, pp. 591–605. Geol. Asso. Can. Spec. Paper 20.Google Scholar
  15. (15).
    Moorbath, S. 1978. Age and isotope evidence for the evolution of continental crust. Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. Lond. A. 288: 401– 413.Google Scholar
  16. (16).
    Oxburgh, E.R., and England, P.C. 1980. Heat flow and the metamorphic evolution of the Eastern Alps. Eclogae geol. Helv. 73: 379–398.Google Scholar
  17. (17).
    Ringwood, A.E. 1975. Composition and Petrology of the Earth’s Mantle. New York: McGraw–Hill.Google Scholar
  18. (18).
    Ringwood, A.E. 1982. Phase transformations and differentiation in subducted lithosphere: Implications for mantle dynamics, basalt petrogenesis and crustal evolution. J. Geol. 90: 611–643.Google Scholar
  19. (19).
    Sclater, J.G.; Jaupart, C.; and Galson, D. 1980. The heat flow through oceanic and continental crust and the heat loss of the earth. Rev. Geophys. Space Phys. 18: 269–311.Google Scholar
  20. (20).
    Sleep, N.H., and Windley, B.F. 1982. Archean plate tectonics: Constraints and inferences. J. Geol. 90: 363–379.Google Scholar
  21. (21).
    Tarling, D.H. 1978. Plate tectonics: Present and past. In Evolution of the Earth’s Crust, ed. D.H. Tarling, pp. 361–408. London: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  22. (22).
    Thompson, A.B. 1981. The pressure-temperature (P,T) plane viewed by geophysicists and petrologists. Terra Cognita. Spec. Issue: 11–20.Google Scholar
  23. (23).
    Thompson, A.B., and England, P.C. 1984. Pressure-temperature- time paths of regional metamorphism of the continental crust: II. Some petrological constraints from mineral assemblages in metamorphic rocks. J. Petrol., in press.Google Scholar
  24. (24).
    Tozer, D.C. 1973. The concept of a lithosphere. Geofisica Internac. 13: 363–388.Google Scholar
  25. (25).
    Watson, J.V. 1978. Precambrian thermal regimes. Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. Lond. A. 288: 431–440.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. (26).
    Windley, B.F. 1976. New tectonic models for the evolution of Archaean continents and oceans. InThe Early History of the Earth, ed. B.F. Windley, pp. 105–111. New York: Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Dr. S. Bernhard, Dahlem Konferenzen 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. B. Thompson
    • 1
  1. 1.E.T.H. ZurichZurichSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations