Hydrated komatiites as a source of water for TTG formation in the Archean

Tamblyn, R.; Hermann, J.; Hasterok, Derrick; Sossi, Paolo; Pettke, T.; Chatterjee, S. (2023). Hydrated komatiites as a source of water for TTG formation in the Archean. Earth and planetary science letters, 603, p. 117982. Elsevier 10.1016/j.epsl.2022.117982

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The preserved Archean continental crust is dominantly comprised of tonalite-trondhjemite-granodiorite (TTG) suites associated with less abundant low-grade greenstone belts. The exact processes that form TTGs, as well as the source rock they are derived from, are difficult to constrain from the sparse Archean geological record. However, studies show that the water-present partial melting of metamorphosed basalt at temperatures of 750–950 °C is required to produce large volumes of partial melt with TTG compositions. In this contribution, we investigate if hydrated komatiites — a constituent of greenstone belts — played a vital role in TTG genesis. Using petrology, mineral chemistry and phase equilibria modelling of representative komatiite samples, combined with analysis of a global geochemical dataset of komatiites and basaltic komatiites, we show that during metamorphism hydrated komatiites can release at least 6 weight % mineral-bound water. Up to 5 weight % of this water is released by breakdown of chlorite and tremolite at temperatures between 680 and 800 °C, regardless of the P–T path (i.e., tectonic scenario) experienced by the komatiitic rocks. As the temperatures of komatiite dehydration are above the water-saturated basalt solidus, the released water can trigger voluminous partial melting of basalt to ultimately create TTG batholiths. This considerable hydration potential of komatiites is due to their high XMg (XMg = molar Mg/[Mg+Fe]), which stabilises water-rich minerals during oceanic alteration on the seafloor, but also extends the stability of Mg-rich chlorite to high temperatures. During prograde metamorphism, the XMg, CaO and Al2O3 content of the reactive rock composition determines the proportion of chlorite vs amphibole, and therefore the volume of water which can be transported to temperatures of > 750 °C. Despite the low abundance of komatiites in greenstone belts, they potentially played a vital role in crustal formation and the Earth’s early water cycle.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geological Sciences > Petrology
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geological Sciences

UniBE Contributor:

Tamblyn, Renée, Hermann, Jörg, Pettke, Thomas, Chatterjee, Sukalpa


500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology








Renee Jade Tamblyn

Date Deposited:

13 Mar 2023 10:33

Last Modified:

19 Mar 2023 02:15

Publisher DOI:






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