In many cases, low-pressure, high-temperature metamorphism must be the consequence of advective heat transfer, e.g., the ascent of granitic magma. Whereas such heating mechanisms are necessarily short-lived, the lifetime of the underlying orogenic processes is likely to be much longer, and it is conceivable that, during the evolution of an orogen, repeated transient heating at shallow crustal levels is caused by episodes of segregation and upward passage of melts generated at deep crustal levels. The number and timing of these events would depend on such factors as critical melt segregation volume, Moho temperature, and strain-rate evolution. We investigate some of the controls on this multiple-event superposition using a simple thermomechanical model designed to predict, simultaneously, the strain-rate and the isostatic and thermal evolution of convergent orogenesis, subject to a constant driving force. An appealing aspect of this formulation is that, in contrast to models that have attempted to explain event cyclicity through episodic processes acting on the orogenic boundaries, it accounts for the repeated occurrence of events through processes inherent to the orogenic system itself.
- Geological Society of America