How Does the Continental Crust Get Really Hot?

Chris Clark, Ian Fitzsimons, David Healy, Simon Harley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

279 Citations (Scopus)


There is widespread evidence that ultrahigh temperatures of 900-1000 degrees C have been generated in the Earth's crust repeatedly in time and space. These temperatures were associated with thickened crust in collisional mountain belts and the production of large volumes of magma. Numerical modelling indicates that a long-lived mountain plateau with high internal concentrations of heat-producing elements and low erosion rates is the most likely setting for such extreme conditions. Preferential thickening of already-hot back-arc basins and mechanical heating by deformation in ductile shear zones might also contribute to elevated temperatures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-240
Number of pages6
Issue number4
Early online date26 Jul 2011
Publication statusPublished - 26 Aug 2011


  • metamorphism
  • ultrahigh temperature
  • heat production
  • mountain belt
  • thermal modelling
  • heat-producing elements
  • regional metamorphism
  • thermal-diffusivity
  • phase-equilibria
  • orogenic belts
  • rocks
  • flow
  • lithosphere
  • constraints
  • evolution


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