Evidence for Hadean continental crust takes a knock

The pre-4 Ga ages recorded by some of the detrital zircons from the 3 Ga Jack Hills sandstones have been used to suggest that continental crust formed from about 4.4 Ga onwards, which implies some kind of recycling process in the tectonics of the early earth to generate and fractionate the necessary silicic magmas. That assumes zircons only form in silicic magmas produced by fractionation in volcanic arcs. The plagiogranites found in small amounts in ophiolites also contain zircons, thereby countering the claim for Hadean continents. More revealing are zircons found in granite magmas that represent the last dregs of melts formed by giant impact (Darling, J. et al. 2009. Impact melt sheet zircons and their implications for the Hadean. Geology, v. 37, p. 927-930). The huge impact-induced mafic to ultramafic melt sheet at Sudbury, Ontario, formed around 1.85 Ga. Zircons extracted from late-stage granites in the body are similar to those with Hadean ages.

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