Lithospheric Evolution through Time
Short Course organized by
The International Precambrian Research Center of China
SINOPROBE, Deep Exploration in China
8‐12 April 2011
Prof. Alfred Kröner (University of Mainz, Germany, and Beijing SHRIMP Center),
Dr. Walter Mooney (United States Geological Survey, Menlo Park, California, USA)
Prof. Ron Clowes (University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada)
Day 1, Kröner & Mooney): Introduction: What is the lithosphere? Definitions of the lithosphere and methods used in understanding lithospheric evolution. Geophysical versus geological definitions of lithosphere; composition and layers within the lithosphere; new insights from seismic tomography, magnetic properties, heat flow, paleomagnetism, isotope geochemistry, geochronology and petrology.
Early Earth formation (Hadean and Archean): Hot or cold beginning? The first crust, the oldest rocks, formation of continental crust; the first continents. Thermal history of the Earth: mantle convection, early Earth plumes? Archean terranes; subduction and accretion, stabilization of Archean cratons.
Day 2, Kröner & Mooney): Geological and geophysical models of the evolution of cratonic lithosphere. The Paleoproterozoic Era and the formation of supercontinents. The Mesoproterozoic Era and evidence for the supercontinent Rodinia. Geology of Africa and other ancient continents.
General discussion of first two day’s topics. What are the major disagreements and the best approaches for future research?
Day 3, Kröner & Mooney): Orogenic belts ‐ old and young. Phanerozoic accretionary belts: structure, tectonic erosion, evolution. Introduction to a modern orogen: The South American Andes and their deep structure.
Outstanding questions and debates in Earth evolution: When did plate tectonics begin? Rates of crustal growth through time; comparison of modern ancient orogens; additional topics.
Day 4, Clowes): Brief Seismic Tutorial including 4 short videos (seismic reflection acquisition, RefTek deployment, explosion shot, and offshore‐onshore refraction). Lessons from the Canadian LITHOPROBE project: Development and benefits of a multidisciplinary Earth science megaproject. Geology, geophysics and tectonic evolution of the Archean Slave craton and Paleoproterozoic Wopmay Orogen, northwest Canada. Geology, geophysics and tectonic evolution of the Archean Superior craton, central Canada. Paleoproterozoic crustal evolution and tectonic processes: Insights from the Trans‐Hudson orogen, central Canada. An attempt to split North America – The Mesoproterozoic Mid‐continent Rift.
Questions and discussion.
Day 5, Clowes): The Mesoproterozoic Grenville orogen ‐‐ Accretion and continental collision on SE Laurentia. Lithospheric architecture and tectonic evolution of the Paleozoic Canadian Appalachians. Structure and tectonic evolution of the Mesozoic‐Recent Canadian Cordillera. Mantle heterogeneities and their significance ‐‐ Results from Lithoprobe seismic reflection and refraction/wide‐angle reflection studies.
The big picture: A lithospheric cross‐section of the North American continent.
Questions and discussion. End of course.