The continental crust is critical to our understanding of the Earth system on long geologic timescales. Yet even though a subaerially-exposed continental crust is often considered a prerequisite for maintaining equable climate on Earth through the silicate weathering feedback, there is presently little established consensus on the formation and evolution of the continental crust. Moreover, while basalt is the fundamental product of mantle melting in both continental and oceanic settings, only in the continental crust does this basalt differentiate to form low-density felsic crust. The primary mechanism of this crustal differentiation (partial melting vs fractional crystallization), the initiation of the current plate tectonic system through which felsic magmas are produced today, and rate of volumetric growth of the continental all remain open questions. I attempt to address these questions at the long (~Gyr) timescales of secular crustal evolution by applying new computational approaches to large open datasets.