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Weaker lithospheric dripduction into Archean TTG crust formation
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  • Prasanna M. Gunawardana,
  • Gabriele Morra,
  • Priyadarshi Chowdhury,
  • Peter A. Cawood
Prasanna M. Gunawardana
School of Earth

Corresponding Author:prasanna.gunawardana@monash.edu

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Gabriele Morra
Department of Physics and School of GeoSciences, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, USA
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Priyadarshi Chowdhury
School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment, Monash University, Australia
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Peter A. Cawood
School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment, Monash University, Australia
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Lithospheric yield stress is a key parameter in controlling tectonic processes. We calculate yield stress for a range of conditions appropriate to the Archean Earth, including hotter mantle potential temperatures and a range of Moho temperatures using 2D high resolution numerical geodynamic modelling techniques. This range of conditions are evaluated for generating felsic, tonalite-trondhjemite-granodiorite (TTG), crust with the results bench marked against the preserved rock record. The model results indicate that lithospheric yield stress slightly lower than the present-day Earth values (i.e. < 100 MPa) generates TTG melt volumes similar to those preserved in the rock record. In particular, large volumes of TTG melts form in the tails of lithospheric drips. Melting occurs profusely within the thinner portions of the drips as these regions are more ef�ciently heated by the enclosing hotter mantle. In contrast, only limited melting occurs in regions of thickened crust, in part because the weaker lithosphere cannot sustain crustal thickening for long time periods, resulting in its removal through drips. Our models highlight the dominance of non-plate tectonic mechanisms in producing TTGs under the conditions that operated on the hotter Archean Earth.