The evolution of Hadean-Eoarchaean geodynamics

C. O'Neill*, V. Debaille

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

113 Citations (Scopus)


Geodynamic modelling of Hadean/Eoarchaean tectonics typically requires higher rates of internal heat production, and higher mantle temperatures, in models that possess temperature-dependent viscosity and a yield criterion. In such models under Hadean conditions, for a wide range of geodynamic configurations and modelling approaches, subduction has a propensity to fail. This has led to the suggestion that the predominant tectonic regime in the Hadean was stagnant-lid convection, with intermittent recycling events. Various lines of evidence support this suggestion, from i) the long mixing time of mantle isotopic anomalies or compositional heterogeneities, such as 142Nd, 182W, and platinum group elements, to ii) the long residence time of the Hadean protolith to the Jack Hills zircons, and iii) thermal evolution models, which typically require lower heat flux in the past to avoid the "Archaean thermal catastrophe". The framework provided by stagnant lid, or episodic overturn, convection, iv) provides an explanation for the formation of early Archaean TTGs and greenstones, and v) explains the interleaving arc-plume sequence observed in many Archaean terranes, suggesting subduction initiation events may have been common, increasing their preservation potential. Implications include a low magnetic field strength in the Hadean, which is consistent with emerging paleointensity data from these times.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-58
Number of pages10
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2014


  • Hadean geodynamics
  • Isotopic evolution
  • Mantle convection


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