Quickening the pulse: Fractal tempos in continental arc magmatism

Shanaka L. De Silva, Nancy R. Riggs, Andrew P. Barth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

110 Scopus citations


The magmatic history of a continental arc can be characterized as punctuated equilibrium, whereby long periods of low-level activity are interrupted periodically by short bursts of high-volume magmatism ("flare-ups"). Geochronological records, most notably from zircon, reveal episodicity in volcanism, pluton formation, and detrital sedimentation in, and associated with, arc segments and volcano-plutonic suites. Distinct tempos can be recognized at all resolvable spatial and temporal scales and are broadly fractal, with each scale reflecting the timescale of p rocesses occurring at different levels in the arc crust. The tempos of continental arc magmatism thus reflect modulation of the mantle-power input as it is progressively filtered through the continental crust.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-118
Number of pages6
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015


  • Continental arc flare-ups
  • Episodes
  • Magmatic history
  • Tempos
  • U-Pb in zircon geochronology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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