Abbott, D. and Mooney, W., 1995. The structural and geochemical evolution of the continental crust: support for the oceanic plateau model of continental growth. Reviews of Geophysics, 33(S1), pp.231-242.


The problem of the origin of the continental crust can be resolved into two fundamental questions: (1) the location and mechanisms of initial mantle extraction of the primitive crust and (2) the processes by which this primitive crust is converted into the continental crust that presently exists. We know that Archean continental crust is compositionally distinct from younger continental crust. Archean magmatism was dominantly bimodal, mafic thoeleiitic plus dacitic, heavy rare earth element depleted, in contrast to the dominantly unimodal, roughly andesitic calc-alkaline magmatism on younger crust [Taylor and McLennan, 1985; Condie, 1989]. The problem is whether these compositional differences are primarily due to different mechanisms of crustal extraction from the mantle or to different mechanisms of differentiation and alteration of newly formed continental crust.