Intermediate P/T-type regional metamorphism of the Isua Supracrustal Belt, southern west Greenland: The oldest Pacific-type orogenic belt?

Tatsuyuki Arai, Soichi Omori, Tsuyoshi Komiya, Shigenori Maruyama

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


The 3.7-3.8 Ga Isua Supracrustal Belt (ISB), southwest Greenland, might be the oldest accretionary complex on Earth. Regional metamorphism of the ISB has a potential to constrain the tectonothermal history of the Earth during the Eoarchean. Chemical and modal analyses of metabasite in the study area (i.e., the northeast part of the ISB) show that the metamorphic grade increases from greenschist facies in the northern part of the study area to amphibolite facies in the southern part. To determine the precise metamorphic P-T ranges, isochemical phase diagrams of minerals of metabasite were made using Perple_X. A synthesis of the estimated metamorphic P-T ranges of the ISB indicates that both the metamorphic pressure and temperature increase systematically to the south in the study area from 3 kbar and 380 °C to 6 kbar and 560 °C. The monotonous metamorphic P-T change suggests that the northeast part of the ISB preserves regional metamorphism resulting from the subduction of an accretionary complex although the ISB experienced metamorphic overprints during the Neoarchean. Both the presence of the regional metamorphism and an accretionary complex having originating at subduction zone suggest that the ISB may be the oldest Pacific-type orogenic belt. The progressive metamorphism can be considered as a record of intermediate-P/T type geothermal gradient at the subduction zone in the Eoarchean. Intermediate-P/T type geothermal gradient is typical at the current zones of subducting young oceanic crust, such as in the case of the Philippine Sea Plate in the southwest part of Japan. Considering the fact that almost all metamorphisms in the Archean are greenschist-amphibolite facies, the intermediate-P/T type geothermal gradient at the ISB might have been worldwide in the Archean. This would indicate that the subduction of young micro-plates was common because of the vigorous convection of hot mantle in the Archean.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-39
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - Dec 19 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Archean
  • Isua Supracrustal Belt
  • Pacific-type orogeny
  • Regional metamorphism
  • Subduction zone geothermal gradient

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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