Construction & stabilization of the Archean lithosphere

How Archean lithosphere formed and why it was preserved is important because the rest of the continents are built around them. This relationship begs the question of whether or not Archean lithosphere formed by a unique set of processes that allowed for the subsequent construction of continents, or whether the present character of the continents was an inevitable result of uniformitarian processes over long periods of time. Central to answering these questions is to construct robust tectonic models for the formation, stabilization and modification of Archean rocks that are based on real data. These data come in the form of structural observations, geochemistry, petrology, isotopes and geochronology. One of my interests in Archean geology is in using high-precision geochronology to place time constraints on processes at the relevant time scales. This has traditionally been difficult hindered because of the inherent difficulties in dating old rocks - open system behavior and related large uncertainties run rampant. New developments in ID-TIMS geochronology has allowed for precision to sub-million years on rocks >3 billion years old, which is greatly enhancing our ability to calibrate the rates of processes in the Archean and test a number of old assumptions.

Areas of research (see also research section on magmatism and tectonics):

  1. thermal and structural development of granite-greenstone terranes.
  2. the origins and tectonic setting of magmatism in and around greenstone terranes
  3. the age and distribution of crustal to lithospheric scale blocks