The oldest Archaean rocks in most shield regions are largely granulites and gneisses, and in west Greenland there is evidence of 1000 Ma of crustal history before the final high-grade metamorphism. Archaean greenstone belts are mostly younger than the high-grade terrains although in some areas, such as southern Africa, this has not yet been proved reliably. The greenstone belts may have developed as oceanic crust in connexion with plate movements, the earlier continents being represented by the more deeply eroded high-grade regions. Stabilization of the Archaean cratons is signalled by continental-scale intrusion of dolerite dyke swarms. Proterozoic mobile belts are exposed at two structural levels. Some early linear basins have mio- and eu-geosynclinal parts and may have been located along Proterozoic suture lines. More deeply eroded mobile belts are often floored by extensive, partly reworked, crystalline basement and probably developed along linear rifted zones which acted as loci for high heat flow and igneous activity; they lack ophiolites and are difficult to interpret as collision-type mountain belts. Most probably there were intra-continental plate movements in the Proterozoic.