Unpeeling Granite's History

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Science  16 Feb 2007:
Vol. 315, Issue 5814, pp. 909
DOI: 10.1126/science.315.5814.909f

Large granite bodies may have formed within Earth's crust by intrusion of new magma or by remelting of igneous varieties of crustal rocks. The evolutionary history of granites can be revealed by examining the chemistry of successive layers of its large constituent crystals, notably zircon. Kemp et al. (p. 980}; see the Perspective by Eiler) have measured hafnium and oxygen isotopes in zoned zircon crystals from the classic granites of eastern Australia. They found that these granites formed by the recycling of deep crustal rocks as mantle magma rose through them, rather than by remelting ancient, shallower crust, as was widely believed.

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