Seismic reflections from a lithospheric suture zone below the Archaean Yilgarn Craton

Andrew J. Calvert, Michael P. Doublier, Samantha E. Sellars

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4 Citations (Scopus)


Seismic reflectors in the uppermost mantle, which can indicate past plate tectonic subduction, are exceedingly rare below Archaean cratons, and restricted to the Neoarchaean. Here we present reprocessed seismic reflection profiles from the northwest Archaean Yilgarn Craton and the Palaeoproterozoic Capricorn Orogen of western Australia that reveal the existence of a ~4 km thick south-dipping band of seismic reflectors that extends from the base of the Archaean crust to at least 60 km depth. We interpret these reflectors, which lie south of a ~50 km deep crustal root, as a relict suture zone within the lithosphere. We suggest that the mantle reflectors were created either by subduction of an oceanic plate along the northern edge of the Yilgarn Craton, which started in the Mesoarchaean and produced the rocks in northern Yilgarn greenstone belts that formed in a supra-subduction zone setting, or, alternatively, by underthrusting of continental crust deep into the lithosphere during the Palaeoproterozoic.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7245
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


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