Continental growth is not a continuous process

At top: Changes over time in the average silica (SiO2) content of the continents. The orange star represents the current value for continental crust, namely 67% of its mass, while the green star indicates the current value for oceanic crust, 50% of its mass. Continental crust has always been rich in silica compared to the more silica-poor oceanic crust. At bottom: Periods of major crustal growth (grey vertical bars) as recorded in sedimentary rocks over the past 3.7 billion years. Credit: © Marion Garçon

The continents, a specific feature of our planet, still hold many secrets. Using chemical data on sedimentary rocks compiled from the scientific literature from the 1980s to the present…

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