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Title: Hafnium isotope evidence from Archean granitic rocks for deep‐mantle origin of continental crust
Authors: M. Guitreau, J. Blichert‐Toft, H. Martin, S. J. Mojzsis, and F. Albarede
Publication: Earth Planet. Sci Lett., v. 337–338, p. 211‐223.
Publish Date: 2012
PDF: pdf
BibTEX Citation: Guitreau:2012.bib


Combined whole‐rock and zircon MC‐ICP‐MS Lu‐Hf isotope data are reported for a large collection of Archean granitoids belonging to typical tonalite‐trondhjemite‐granodiorite (TTG) suites. Our data demonstrate that the time‐integrated Lu/Hf of the mantle source of TTGs has not significantly changed over the last 4 Gy. Continents therefore most likely grew from nearly primordial unfractionated material extracted from the deep mantle via rising plumes that left a depleted melt residue in the upper mantle. The deep mantle could retain its primitive relative element abundances over time because sinking plates are largely stripped barren of their oceanic and continental crust components at subduction zones; this process results in only small proportions (<15‐25%) of present‐day continental mass getting recycled to great depths. Zircon populations extracted from the analyzed TTGs have Hf isotopic compositions broadly consistent with those of their host whole‐rocks, whereas the U‐Pb system in the same grains is often disturbed, causing a discrepancy that creates spurious initial EHf values. This problem is endemic to the Archean detrital zircon record and consistent with experimental results bearing on the relative retentivity of Hf vs. U and Pb in zircon. We argue that this behavior biases the Archean zircon record toward negative EHf values, which are at odds with the present TTG data set. If Hadean Jack Hills zircons are considered in light of these results, the mantle source of continents has remained unchanged for the last 4.3 Gy.