Exhumation rates in the Archean from pressure-time paths: Example from the Skjoldungen Orogen (SE Greenland)

Alfons Berger, Thomas Find Kokfelt, Jochen Kolb

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12 Citations (Scopus)


The discussions on the orogenic evolution during Earth's history converge to the question of a different thermal structure in the Archean compared to the Phanerozoic and the applicability of the plate tectonic paradigm. However, geothermal structures are transient in orogens and are difficult to translate into large-scale tectonics and exhumation rates. Therefore, we propose depth-time data in the Archean Skjoldungen Orogen (SE Greenland, North Atlantic Craton) that allow for reconstruction of an exhumation rate independent of geothermal gradients. The resulting exhumation rate of ca. 0.4. km/Ma is similar to exhumation rates during erosion-controlled processes in modern orogens. These exhumation rates can only be established by erosion time constants similar to modern orogens. The occurrence of erosion-controlled exhumation is best explained by a stiff foreland promoting localized deformation in the orogen. Therefore, a switch from magmatic-dominated processes to localized deformation is proposed in the Skjoldungen Orogen area. This is supported by a change in magma composition and volume, from widespread granodiorite to localized alkaline intrusions. In addition, the involved metasedimentary rocks include detrital zircons of the only 50. Ma older foreland, which also correspond to erosion and tectonics as in modern orogens, i.e. flysh-type sediments. Relatively fast exhumation rates and the structural-magmatic evolution of the Neoarchean Skjoldungen Orogen thus indicate modern-style tectonic processes where stiff Mesoarchean continental crust forms a foreland to a collisional orogen instead of typical accretionary tectonics of weak island arc-like terranes in granite-greenstone terranes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)774-790
Number of pages17
JournalPrecambrian Research
Issue numberPart 3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2014


  • Archean
  • Cratonisation
  • Exhumation
  • Greenland
  • Skjoldungen orogeny

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 4: Mineral Resources


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