WorldWideScience

Sample records for plate tectonic boundaries

  1. Extending Alaska's plate boundary: tectonic tremor generated by Yakutat subduction

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wech, Aaron G.

    2016-01-01

    The tectonics of the eastern end of the Alaska-Aleutian subduction zone are complicated by the inclusion of the Yakutat microplate, which is colliding into and subducting beneath continental North America at near-Pacific-plate rates. The interaction among these plates at depth is not well understood, and further east, even less is known about the plate boundary or the source of Wrangell volcanism. The drop-off in Wadati-Benioff zone (WBZ) seismicity could signal the end of the plate boundary, the start of aseismic subduction, or a tear in the downgoing plate. Further compounding the issue is the possible presence of the Wrangell slab, which is faintly outlined by an anemic, eastward-dipping WBZ beneath the Wrangell volcanoes. In this study, I performed a search for tectonic tremor to map slow, plate-boundary slip in south-central Alaska. I identified ∼11,000 tremor epicenters, which continue 85 km east of the inferred Pacific plate edge marked by WBZ seismicity. The tremor zone coincides with the edges of the downgoing Yakutat terrane, and tremors transition from periodic to continuous behavior as they near the aseismic Wrangell slab. I interpret tremor to mark slow, semicontinuous slip occurring at the interface between the Yakutat and North America plates. The slow slip region lengthens the megathrust interface beyond the WBZ and may provide evidence for a connection between the Yakutat slab and the aseismic Wrangell slab.

  2. A diffuse plate boundary model for Indian Ocean tectonics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wiens, D. A.; Demets, C.; Gordon, R. G.; Stein, S.; Argus, D.

    1985-01-01

    It is suggested that motion along the virtually aseismic Owen fracture zone is negligible, so that Arabia and India are contained within a single Indo-Arabian plate divided from the Australian plate by a diffuse boundary. The boundary is a zone of concentrated seismicity and deformation commonly characterized as 'intraplate'. The rotation vector of Australia relative to Indo-Arabia is consistent with the seismologically observed 2 cm/yr of left-lateral strike-slip along the Ninetyeast Ridge, north-south compression in the Central Indian Ocean, and the north-south extension near Chagos.

  3. Tectonics of the Nazca-Antarctic plate boundary

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anderson-Fontana, Sandra; Larson, Roger L.; Engeln, Joseph F.; Lundgren, Paul; Stein, Seth

    1987-01-01

    A new bathymetric chart of part of the Chile transform system is constructed, based mainly on an R/V Endeavor survey from 100 deg W to its intersection with the East Ridge of the Juan Fernandez microplate. A generally continuous lineated trend can be followed through the entire region, with the transform valley being relatively narrow and well-defined from 109 deg W to approximately 104 deg 30 min W. The fracture zone then widens to the east, with at least two probable en echelon offsets to the south at 104 deg and 102 deg W. Six new strike-slip mechanisms along the Chile Transform and one normal fault mechanism near the northern end of the Chile Rise, inverted together with other plate-motion data from the eastern portion of the boundary, produce a new best-fit Euler pole for the Nazca-Antarctic plate pair, providing tighter constraints on the relative plate motions.

  4. Tectonics of the Nazca-Antarctic plate boundary

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anderson-Fontana, Sandra; Larson, Roger L.; Engeln, Joseph F.; Lundgren, Paul; Stein, Seth

    1987-01-01

    A new bathymetric chart of part of the Chile transform system is constructed, based mainly on an R/V Endeavor survey from 100 deg W to its intersection with the East Ridge of the Juan Fernandez microplate. A generally continuous lineated trend can be followed through the entire region, with the transform valley being relatively narrow and well-defined from 109 deg W to approximately 104 deg 30 min W. The fracture zone then widens to the east, with at least two probable en echelon offsets to the south at 104 deg and 102 deg W. Six new strike-slip mechanisms along the Chile Transform and one normal fault mechanism near the northern end of the Chile Rise, inverted together with other plate-motion data from the eastern portion of the boundary, produce a new best-fit Euler pole for the Nazca-Antarctic plate pair, providing tighter constraints on the relative plate motions.

  5. Active faulting and transpression tectonics along the plate boundary in North Africa

    OpenAIRE

    Mustapha Meghraoui; Silvia Pondrelli

    2012-01-01

    International audience; We present a synthesis of the active tectonics of the northern Atlas Mountains , and suggest a kinematic model of transpression and block rotation that illustrates the mechanics of this section of the Africa–Eurasia plate boundary. Neotectonic structures and significant shallow seismicity (with Mw >5.0) indicate that coeval E-W-trending, right-lateral faulting and NE-SW, thrust-related folding result from oblique convergence at the plate boundary, which forms a transpr...

  6. Linking mantle dynamics, plate tectonics and surface processes in the active plate boundary zones of eastern New Guinea (Invited)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baldwin, S.; Moucha, R.; Fitzgerald, P. G.; Hoke, G. D.; Bermudez, M. A.; Webb, L. E.; Braun, J.; Rowley, D. B.; Insel, N.; Abers, G. A.; Wallace, L. M.; Vervoort, J. D.

    2013-12-01

    Eastern New Guinea lies within the rapidly obliquely converging Australian (AUS)- Pacific (PAC) plate boundary zone and is characterized by transient plate boundaries, rapidly rotating microplates and a globally significant geoid high. As the AUS plate moved northward in the Cenozoic, its leading edge has been a zone of subduction and arc accretion. The variety of tectonic settings in this region permits assessment of the complex interplay among mantle dynamics, plate tectonics, and surface processes. Importantly, the timescale of tectonic events (e.g., subduction, (U)HP exhumation, seafloor spreading) are within the valid bounds of mantle convection models. A record of changes in bathymetry and topography are preserved in high standing mountain belts, exhumed extensional gneiss domes and core complexes, uplifted coral terraces, and marine sedimentary basins. Global seismic tomography models indicate accumulation of subducted slabs beneath eastern New Guinea at the bottom of the upper mantle (i.e., 250-300 km). Preliminary global-scale backward advected mantle convection models, driven by density inferred from joint seismic-geodynamic tomography models, exhibit large-scale flow associated with these subducted slab remnants and predict the timing and magnitude (up to 1500 m) of dynamic topography change (both subsidence and uplift) since the Oligocene. In this talk we will explore the effects of large-scale background mantle flow and plate tectonics on the evolution of topography and bathymetry in eastern New Guinea, and discuss possible mechanisms to explain basin subsidence and surface uplift in the region.

  7. Tectonic plate under a localized boundary stress: fitting of a zero-range solvable model

    CERN Document Server

    Petrova, L

    2008-01-01

    We suggest a method of fitting of a zero-range model of a tectonic plate under a boundary stress on the basis of comparison of the theoretical formulae for the corresponding eigenfunctions/eigenvalues with the results extraction under monitoring, in the remote zone, of non-random (regular) oscillations of the Earth with periods 0.2-6 hours, on the background seismic process, in case of low seismic activity. Observations of changes of the characteristics of the oscillations (frequency, amplitude and polarization) in course of time, together with the theoretical analysis of the fitted model, would enable us to localize the stressed zone on the boundary of the plate and estimate the risk of a powerful earthquake at the zone.

  8. Tectonics of the Easter plate

    Science.gov (United States)

    Engeln, J. F.; Stein, S.

    1984-01-01

    A new model for the Easter plate is presented in which rift propagation has resulted in the formation of a rigid plate between the propagating and dying ridges. The distribution of earthquakes, eleven new focal mechanisms, and existing bathymetric and magnetic data are used to describe the tectonics of this area. Both the Easter-Nazca and Easter-Pacific Euler poles are sufficiently close to the Easter plate to cause rapid changes in rates and directions of motion along the boundaries. The east and west boundaries are propagating and dying ridges; the southwest boundary is a slow-spreading ridge and the northern boundary is a complex zone of convergent and transform motion. The Easter plate may reflect the tectonics of rift propagation on a large scale, where rigid plate tectonics requires boundary reorientation. Simple schematic models to illustrate the general features and processes which occur at plates resulting from large-scale rift propagation are used.

  9. Tectonics of the Easter plate

    Science.gov (United States)

    Engeln, J. F.; Stein, S.

    1984-01-01

    A new model for the Easter plate is presented in which rift propagation has resulted in the formation of a rigid plate between the propagating and dying ridges. The distribution of earthquakes, eleven new focal mechanisms, and existing bathymetric and magnetic data are used to describe the tectonics of this area. Both the Easter-Nazca and Easter-Pacific Euler poles are sufficiently close to the Easter plate to cause rapid changes in rates and directions of motion along the boundaries. The east and west boundaries are propagating and dying ridges; the southwest boundary is a slow-spreading ridge and the northern boundary is a complex zone of convergent and transform motion. The Easter plate may reflect the tectonics of rift propagation on a large scale, where rigid plate tectonics requires boundary reorientation. Simple schematic models to illustrate the general features and processes which occur at plates resulting from large-scale rift propagation are used.

  10. The ultra low frequency electromagnetic radiation observed in the topside ionosphere above boundaries of tectonic plates

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Michael A. Athanasiou

    2015-01-01

    Full Text Available In this paper we present results of a comparison between ultra low frequency (ULF electromagnetic (EM radiation, recorded by an electric field instrument onboard the satellite detection of electromagnetic emissions transmitted from earthquake regions in the topside ionosphere, and the seismicity of regions with high and low seismic activity. In particular, we evaluated the energy variations of the ULF Ezelectric field component during a period of four years (2006-2009, in order to examine the possible relation of ULF EM radiation with seismogenic regions located in Central America, Indonesia, the Eastern Mediterranean Basin and Greece. As a tool for evaluating the ULF Ez energy variations we used singular spectrum analysis techniques. The results of our analysis clearly show a significant increase of the ULF EM energy emitted from regions of highest seismic activity at the boundaries tectonic plates. Furthermore, we found that higher electromagnetic radiation was detected in a region above the northern- western Greek Arc (R1 than above the adjacent region including Athens and its urban area. We interpret these results of the present study as suggesting that: i the seismogenic regions at the boundary of tectonic plates radiate ULF EM emissions observed by satellites in the topside ionosphere; and ii that this EM radiation is not only related with the occurrence time of great (M≥5 earthquakes, but it is often present in intermediate times and it appears as a quasi-permanent phenomenon.

  11. Active faulting and transpression tectonics along the plate boundary in North Africa

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mustapha Meghraoui

    2013-01-01

    Full Text Available We present a synthesis of the active tectonics of the northern Atlas Mountains, and suggest a kinematic model of transpression and block rotation that illustrates the mechanics of this section of the Africa–Eurasia plate boundary. Neotectonic structures and significant shallow seismicity (with Mw >5.0 indicate that coeval E-W-trending, right-lateral faulting and NE-SW, thrust-related folding result from oblique convergence at the plate boundary, which forms a transpressional system. The strain distribution obtained from fault–fold structures and P axes of focal mechanism solutions, and the geodetic (NUVEL-1 and GPS convergence show that the shortening and convergence directions are not coaxial. The transpressional strain is partitioned along the strike and the quantitative description of the displacement field yields a compression-to-transcurrence ratio varying from 33% near Gibraltar, to 50% along the Tunisian Atlas. Shortening directions oriented NNE and NNW for the Pliocene and Quaternary, respectively, and the S shape of the Quaternary anticline axes, are in agreement with the 2.24˚/Myr to 3.9˚/Myr modeled clockwise rotation of the small tectonic blocks and with the paleomagnetic data. The convergence between Africa and Eurasia is absorbed along the Atlas Mountains at the upper crustal level, by means of thrusting above decollement systems, which are controlled by subdued transcurrent faults. The Tell Atlas of northwest Algeria, which has experienced numerous large earthquakes with respect to the other regions, is interpreted as a restraining bend that localizes the strain distribution along the plate boundary.

  12. Modeling the Philippine Mobile Belt: Tectonic blocks in a deforming plate boundary zone

    Science.gov (United States)

    Galgana, G. A.; Hamburger, M. W.; McCaffrey, R.; Bacolcol, T. C.; Aurelio, M. A.

    2007-12-01

    The Philippine Mobile Belt, a seismically active, rapidly deforming plate boundary zone situated along the convergent Philippine Sea/Eurasian plate boundary, is examined using geodetic and seismological data. Oblique convergence between the Philippine Sea Plate and the Eurasian plate is accommodated by nearly orthogonal subduction along the Philippine Trench and the Manila Trench, as well as by strike-slip faulting along the Philippine Fault system. We develop a model of active plate boundary deformation in this region, using elastic block models constrained by known fault geometries, published GPS observations and focal mechanism solutions. We then present an estimate of block rotations, fault coupling, and intra-block deformation, based on the best-fit model that minimizes the misfit between observed and predicted geodetic vectors and earthquake slip vectors. Slip rates along the Philippine fault vary from ~22 - 36 mm/yr in the Central Visayas and about 10 to 40 mm/yr in Luzon, trending almost parallel to the fault trace. In northern Luzon, Philippine Fault splays accommodate transpressional strain. The Central Visayas block experiences convergence with the Sundaland block along the Negros Trench and the Mindoro-Palawan collision zone. On the eastern side of Central Visayas, sinistral strike-slip faulting occurs along the NNW-SSE-trending Philippine Fault. Mindanao Island in southern Philippines is dominated by east-verging subduction along the Cotabato Trench, and strain partitioning (strike- slip faulting with west-verging subduction) in eastern Mindanao along the southern Philippine Fault and Philippine Trench, respectively. Oblique active sinistral strike slip faults in Central and Eastern Mindanao that were hypothesized to be responsible for basin formation are obvious boundaries for tectonic blocks. Located south of Mindanao Island we define an adjoining oceanic block defined by the N-S trending complex dual subduction zone of Sangihe and Halmahera

  13. The boundary between the Indian and Asian tectonic plates below Tibet.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhao, Junmeng; Yuan, Xiaohui; Liu, Hongbing; Kumar, Prakash; Pei, Shunping; Kind, Rainer; Zhang, Zhongjie; Teng, Jiwen; Ding, Lin; Gao, Xing; Xu, Qiang; Wang, Wei

    2010-06-22

    The fate of the colliding Indian and Asian tectonic plates below the Tibetan high plateau may be visualized by, in addition to seismic tomography, mapping the deep seismic discontinuities, like the crust-mantle boundary (Moho), the lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary (LAB), or the discontinuities at 410 and 660 km depth. We herein present observations of seismic discontinuities with the P and S receiver function techniques beneath central and western Tibet along two new profiles and discuss the results in connection with results from earlier profiles, which did observe the LAB. The LAB of the Indian and Asian plates is well-imaged by several profiles and suggests a changing mode of India-Asia collision in the east-west direction. From eastern Himalayan syntaxis to the western edge of the Tarim Basin, the Indian lithosphere is underthrusting Tibet at an increasingly shallower angle and reaching progressively further to the north. A particular lithospheric region was formed in northern and eastern Tibet as a crush zone between the two colliding plates, the existence of which is marked by high temperature, low mantle seismic wavespeed (correlating with late arriving signals from the 410 discontinuity), poor Sn propagation, east and southeast oriented global positioning system displacements, and strikingly larger seismic (SKS) anisotropy.

  14. Thermochronology and tectonics of the Leeward Antilles: Evolution of the southern Caribbean Plate boundary zone

    Science.gov (United States)

    van der Lelij, Roelant; Spikings, Richard A.; Kerr, Andrew C.; Kounov, Alexandre; Cosca, Michael; Chew, David; Villagomez, Diego

    2010-01-01

    Tectonic reconstructions of the Caribbean Plate are severely hampered by a paucity of geochronologic and exhumation constraints from anastomosed basement blocks along its southern margin. New U/Pb, 40Ar/39Ar, apatite fission track, and apatite (U-Th)/He data constrain quantitative thermal and exhumation histories, which have been used to propose a model for the tectonic evolution of the emergent parts of the Bonaire Block and the southern Caribbean Plate boundary zone. An east facing arc system intruded through an oceanic plateau during ~90 to ~87 Ma and crops out on Aruba. Subsequent structural displacements resulted in >80°C of cooling on Aruba during 70–60 Ma. In contrast, exhumation of the island arc sequence exposed on Bonaire occurred at 85–80 Ma and 55–45 Ma. Santonian exhumation on Bonaire occurred immediately subsequent to burial metamorphism and may have been driven by the collision of a west facing island arc with the Caribbean Plate. Island arc rocks intruded oceanic plateau rocks on Gran Roque at ~65 Ma and exhumed rapidly at 55–45 Ma. We attribute Maastrichtian-Danian exhumation on Aruba and early Eocene exhumation on Bonaire and Gran Roque to sequential diachronous accretion of their basement units to the South American Plate. Widespread unconformities indicate late Eocene subaerial exposure. Late Oligocene–early Miocene dextral transtension within the Bonaire Block drove subsidence and burial of crystalline basement rocks of the Leeward Antilles to ≤1 km. Late Miocene–recent transpression caused inversion and ≤1 km of exhumation, possibly as a result of the northward escape of the Maracaibo Block.

  15. Plate tectonics and offshore boundary delimitation: Tunisia-Libya case at the International Court of Justice

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stanley, Daniel Jean

    1982-03-01

    The first major offshore boundary dispute where plate tectonics constituted a significant argument was recently brought before the International Court of Justice by Libya and Tunisia concerning the delimitation of their continental shelves. Libya placed emphasis on this concept to determine natural prolongation of its land territory under the sea. Tunisia contested use of the entire African continental landmass as a reference unit and views geography, geomorphology and bathymetry as relevant as geology. The Court pronounced that “It is the outcome, not the evolution in the long-distant past, which is of importance.” Moreover, it is the present-day configuration of coasts and seabed that are the main factors, not geology.

  16. Inherited segmentation of the Iberian-African margins and tectonic reconstruction of a diffuse plate boundary.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fernàndez, Manel; Torne, Montserrat; Vergés, Jaume; Casciello, Emilio

    2016-04-01

    Diffuse plate-boundary regions are characterized by non-well defined contacts between tectonic plates thus making difficult their reconstruction through time. The Western Mediterranean is one of these regions, where the convergence between the African and Iberian plates since Late Cretaceous resulted in the Betic-Rif arcuate orogen, the Gulf of Cadiz imbricate wedge, and the Alboran back-arc basin. Whereas the Iberia-Africa plate boundary is well defined west to the Gorringe Bank and along the Gloria Fault, it becomes much more diffuse eastwards with seismicity spreading over both the south-Iberian and north-African margins. Gravity data, when filtered for short wavelengths, show conspicuous positive Bouguer anomalies associated with the Gorringe Bank, the Gulf of Cadiz High and the Ronda/Beni-Bousera peridotitic massifs reflecting an inherited Jurassic margin segmentation. The subsequent Alpine convergence between Africa and Iberia reactivated these domains, producing crustal-scale thrusting in the Atlantic segments and eventually subduction in the proto-Mediterranean segments. The Jurassic segmentation of the Iberia-Africa margins substantiates the double-polarity subduction model proposed for the region characterized by a change from SE-dipping polarity in the Gorringe, Gulf of Cadiz and Betic-Rif domains, to NW-dipping polarity in the proto-Algerian domain. Therefore, the Algerian and Tyrrhenian basins in the east and the Alboran basin in the west are the result of SSE-E and NW-W retreating slabs of oceanic and/or hyper-extended Tethyan domains, respectively.

  17. Geodetic and tectonic analyses along an active plate boundary: The central Gulf of California

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ortlieb, L.; Ruegg, J. C.; Angelier, J.; Colletta, B.; Kasser, M.; Lesage, P.

    1989-06-01

    The Gulf of California is traversed by the shear plate boundary between Pacific and North American plates and, because of several islands in its central part, offers the possibility of direct geodetic measurements of plate motion. A geodetic network of 150 km aperture, and comprising 11 stations, was measured in 1982 and 1986 by laser trilateration methods. The deformations deduced from the comparison of the two epochs indicate right-lateral shear strain covering the entire gulf rather than localized movements. In the eastern part of the network, between the axial islands and the Sonoran coast, significant right-lateral shear deformation occurs with a relative displacement of about 23 ± 12 cm over 4 years. In the northwestern region (Canal de Ballenas) a right-lateral displacement of about 17 ± 4 cm is observed, whereas in the southwestern part of the network (Canal Sal-si-Puedes), the deformation remains very weak. This suggests that south of the Canal de Ballenas the plate boundary is locked. A tectonic analysis of Neogene and Quaternary faults in Baja California, Sonora, and the central islands of the gulf, permitted the reconstruction of the stress pattern evolution of this area. These data also indicate the predominance of right-lateral motion on a NW-SE trending zone within a regional framework characterized by an approximately N-S compression and an E-W extension. The geodetic results are discussed in comparison with the neotectonic analysis and the seismic data available in the area. The data suggest a broad strain accumulation zone covering the totality of the central Gulf of California. A NW-SE relative velocity of about 8 ± 3 cm/yr is found between the two sides of the gulf during the 1982-1986 interval.

  18. Tectonic lineaments in the cenozoic volcanics of southern Guatemala: Evidence for a broad continental plate boundary zone

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baltuck, M.; Dixon, T. H.

    1984-01-01

    The northern Caribbean plate boundary has been undergoing left lateral strike slip motion since middle Tertiary time. The western part of the boundary occurs in a complex tectonic zone in the continental crust of Guatemala and southernmost Mexico, along the Chixoy-Polochic, Motogua and possibly Jocotan-Chamelecon faults. Prominent lineaments visible in radar imagery in the Neogene volcanic belt of southern Guatemala and western El Salvador were mapped and interpreted to suggest southwest extensions of this already broad plate boundary zone. Because these extensions can be traced beneath Quaternary volcanic cover, it is thought that this newly mapped fault zone is active and is accommodating some of the strain related to motion between the North American and Caribbean plates. Onshore exposures of the Motoqua-Polochic fault systems are characterized by abundant, tectonically emplaced ultramafic rocks. A similar mode of emplacement for these off shore ultramafics, is suggested.

  19. Plate tectonics, damage and inheritance.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bercovici, David; Ricard, Yanick

    2014-04-24

    The initiation of plate tectonics on Earth is a critical event in our planet's history. The time lag between the first proto-subduction (about 4 billion years ago) and global tectonics (approximately 3 billion years ago) suggests that plates and plate boundaries became widespread over a period of 1 billion years. The reason for this time lag is unknown but fundamental to understanding the origin of plate tectonics. Here we suggest that when sufficient lithospheric damage (which promotes shear localization and long-lived weak zones) combines with transient mantle flow and migrating proto-subduction, it leads to the accumulation of weak plate boundaries and eventually to fully formed tectonic plates driven by subduction alone. We simulate this process using a grain evolution and damage mechanism with a composite rheology (which is compatible with field and laboratory observations of polycrystalline rocks), coupled to an idealized model of pressure-driven lithospheric flow in which a low-pressure zone is equivalent to the suction of convective downwellings. In the simplest case, for Earth-like conditions, a few successive rotations of the driving pressure field yield relic damaged weak zones that are inherited by the lithospheric flow to form a nearly perfect plate, with passive spreading and strike-slip margins that persist and localize further, even though flow is driven only by subduction. But for hotter surface conditions, such as those on Venus, accumulation and inheritance of damage is negligible; hence only subduction zones survive and plate tectonics does not spread, which corresponds to observations. After plates have developed, continued changes in driving forces, combined with inherited damage and weak zones, promote increased tectonic complexity, such as oblique subduction, strike-slip boundaries that are subparallel to plate motion, and spalling of minor plates.

  20. Plate tectonics and offshore boundary delimitation: Tunisia-Libya case at the International Court of Justice

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Stanley, D.J.

    1983-03-01

    Advances in the technology for exploiting resources of the oceans, particularly recovery of hydrocarbons and minerals in deep water, is benefiting a growing number of nations. At the same time, however, economic and political pressures have induced concern and there is now a much increased emphasis on jurisdiction to divide the offshore areas between the 132 coastal nations. Negotiations affect research operations at sea and, in consequence, marine scientists have been made aware of offshore problems as highlighted by the Law of the Sea Treaty (UNCLOS III) and complications arising from the legal versus scientific definitions of continental shelves and margins. The first major offshore boundary case of international scope where plate tectonics has constituted a significant argument is the one recently brought before the International Court of Justice by Libya and Tunisia concerning the delimitation of their continental shelves. Of the two parties, Libya placed the greatest emphasis on this concept as a means to determine natural prolongation of its land territory into and under the sea. Tunisia contested Libya's use of the whole of the African continental landmass as a reference unit; in Tunisia's view, considerations of geography, geomorphology, and bathymetry are at least as relevant as are those of geology. In its landmark judgment (February 1982) - which almost certainly will have far-reaching consequences in future such boundary delimitation cases - the court pronounced that It is the outcome, not the evolution in the long-distant past, which is of importance, and that it is the present-day configuration of the coasts and sea bed which are the main factors to be considered, not geology.

  1. Tectonic Plate Movement.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Landalf, Helen

    1998-01-01

    Presents an activity that employs movement to enable students to understand concepts related to plate tectonics. Argues that movement brings topics to life in a concrete way and helps children retain knowledge. (DDR)

  2. Tectonic Plate Movement.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Landalf, Helen

    1998-01-01

    Presents an activity that employs movement to enable students to understand concepts related to plate tectonics. Argues that movement brings topics to life in a concrete way and helps children retain knowledge. (DDR)

  3. Obliquity along plate boundaries

    Science.gov (United States)

    Philippon, Mélody; Corti, Giacomo

    2016-12-01

    Most of the plate boundaries are activated obliquely with respect to the direction of far field stresses, as roughly only 8% of the plate boundaries total length shows a very low obliquity (ranging from 0 to 10°, sub-orthogonal to the plate displacement). The obliquity along plate boundaries is controlled by (i) lateral rheological variations within the lithosphere and (ii) consistency with the global plate circuit. Indeed, plate tectonics and magmatism drive rheological changes within the lithosphere and consequently influence strain localization. Geodynamical evolution controls large-scale mantle convection and plate formation, consumption, and re-organization, thus triggering plate kinematics variations, and the adjustment and re-orientation of far field stresses. These geological processes may thus result in plate boundaries that are not perpendicular but oblique to the direction of far field stresses. This paper reviews the global patterns of obliquity along plate boundaries. Using GPlate, we provide a statistical analysis of present-day obliquity along plate boundaries. Within this framework, by comparing natural examples and geological models, we discuss deformation patterns and kinematics recorded along oblique plate boundaries.

  4. Punctuated Neogene tectonics and stratigraphy of the African-Iberian plate-boundary zone: concurrent development of Betic-Rif basins (southern Spain, northern Morocco)

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Sissingh, W.

    2008-01-01

    This paper integrates the sequence stratigraphic and tectonic data related to the Neogene geodynamic and palaeogeographic development of the African-Iberian plate boundary zone between Spain and Morocco. Though the dating of individual tectonostratigraphic sequences and their delimiting sequence

  5. Plate tectonics of the Mediterranean region.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McKenzie, D P

    1970-04-18

    The seismicity and fault plane solutions in the Mediterranean area show that two small rapidly moving plates exist in the Eastern Mediterranean, and such plates may be a common feature of contracting ocean basins. The results show that the concepts of plate tectonics apply to instantaneous motions across continental plate boundaries.

  6. Accelerated plate tectonics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anderson, D L

    1975-03-21

    The concept of a stressed elastic lithospheric plate riding on a viscous asthenosphere is used to calculate the recurrence interval of great earthquakes at convergent plate boundaries, the separation of decoupling and lithospheric earthquakes, and the migration pattern of large earthquakes along an arc. It is proposed that plate motions accelerate after great decoupling earthquakes and that most of the observed plate motions occur during short periods of time, separated by periods of relative quiescence.

  7. The Plate Tectonics Project

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hein, Annamae J.

    2011-01-01

    The Plate Tectonics Project is a multiday, inquiry-based unit that facilitates students as self-motivated learners. Reliable Web sites are offered to assist with lessons, and a summative rubric is used to facilitate the holistic nature of the project. After each topic (parts of the Earth, continental drift, etc.) is covered, the students will…

  8. The Plate Tectonics Project

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hein, Annamae J.

    2011-01-01

    The Plate Tectonics Project is a multiday, inquiry-based unit that facilitates students as self-motivated learners. Reliable Web sites are offered to assist with lessons, and a summative rubric is used to facilitate the holistic nature of the project. After each topic (parts of the Earth, continental drift, etc.) is covered, the students will…

  9. The Northern Caribbean Plate Boundary Offshore Hispaniola: Strike-slip and Compressive Tectonic Processes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Corbeau, J.; Rolandone, F.; Leroy, S. D.; Mercier De Lepinay, B. F.; Meyer, B.; Ellouz, N.

    2014-12-01

    The boundary between the Caribbean plate and the North American plate is transpressive due to the oblique collision between these two plates. The transpressive movement is partitioned and accommodated in the Hispaniola region along two left-lateral strike-slip structures surrounding a fold-and-thrust belt. New multibeam bathymetry data and multichannel seismic reflection profiles have been recently collected during the Haiti-SIS and Haiti-SIS 2 cruises, along part of the northern Caribbean plate boundary between Cuba, Jamaica and Hispaniola. From the north to the south, three types of deformations are observed. In the Windward Passage, the analysis of the data set reveals that the movement on the Oriente fault between Cuba and Hispaniola is purely left-lateral strike-slip according to the GPS measurements. In the Gonave basin, west of Hispaniola, the deformation is compressive. A series of folds is identified and moves toward the southwest. The Enriquillo-Plantain-Garden Fault (EPGF) is localized in the Jamaica Passage, between Jamaica and Hispaniola. The analysis of the data set reveals that the left-lateral EPGF recently intersects inherited basins from the eastern Cayman Trough margin. The study of the actual EPGF active trace shows that this fault moves with a pure strike-slip component, at least in its western part: the presence of a little push-up structure and a set of three en echelon folds is highlighting in the western part of the Jamaica Passage. The shortening rate in the inherited basins crossed by the EPGF increases from west to east (5.8% to 8.5%), indicating that a thrusting component is also accommodated around the EPGF.

  10. Indonesian Landforms and Plate Tectonics

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Herman Th. Verstappen

    2014-06-01

    Full Text Available DOI: 10.17014/ijog.v5i3.103The horizontal configuration and vertical dimension of the landforms occurring in the tectonically unstable parts of Indonesia were resulted in the first place from plate tectonics. Most of them date from the Quaternary and endogenous forces are ongoing. Three major plates – the northward moving Indo-Australian Plate, the south-eastward moving SE-Asian Plate and the westward moving Pacific Plate - meet at a plate triple-junction situated in the south of New Guinea’s Bird’s Head. The narrow North-Moluccan plate is interposed between the Asia and Pacific. It tapers out northward in the Philippine Mobile Belt and is gradually disappearing. The greatest relief amplitudes occur near the plate boundaries: deep ocean trenches are associated with subduction zones and mountain ranges with collision belts. The landforms of the more stable areas of the plates date back to a more remote past and, where emerged, have a more subdued relief that is in the first place related to the resistance of the rocks to humid tropical weathering Rising mountain ranges and emerging island arcs are subjected to rapid humid-tropical river erosions and mass movements. The erosion products accumulate in adjacent sedimentary basins where their increasing weight causes subsidence by gravity and isostatic compensations. Living and raised coral reefs, volcanoes, and fault scarps are important geomorphic indicators of active plate tectonics. Compartmental faults may strongly affect island arcs stretching perpendicular to the plate movement. This is the case on Java. Transcurrent faults and related pull-apart basins are a leading factor where plates meet at an angle, such as on Sumatra. The most complicated situation exists near the triple-junction and in the Moluccas. Modern research methods, such as GPS measurements of plate movements and absolute dating of volcanic outbursts and raised coral reefs are important tools. The mega-landforms resulting

  11. Indonesian Landforms and Plate Tectonics

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Herman Th. Verstappen

    2014-06-01

    Full Text Available DOI: 10.17014/ijog.v5i3.103The horizontal configuration and vertical dimension of the landforms occurring in the tectonically unstable parts of Indonesia were resulted in the first place from plate tectonics. Most of them date from the Quaternary and endogenous forces are ongoing. Three major plates – the northward moving Indo-Australian Plate, the south-eastward moving SE-Asian Plate and the westward moving Pacific Plate - meet at a plate triple-junction situated in the south of New Guinea’s Bird’s Head. The narrow North-Moluccan plate is interposed between the Asia and Pacific. It tapers out northward in the Philippine Mobile Belt and is gradually disappearing. The greatest relief amplitudes occur near the plate boundaries: deep ocean trenches are associated with subduction zones and mountain ranges with collision belts. The landforms of the more stable areas of the plates date back to a more remote past and, where emerged, have a more subdued relief that is in the first place related to the resistance of the rocks to humid tropical weathering Rising mountain ranges and emerging island arcs are subjected to rapid humid-tropical river erosions and mass movements. The erosion products accumulate in adjacent sedimentary basins where their increasing weight causes subsidence by gravity and isostatic compensations. Living and raised coral reefs, volcanoes, and fault scarps are important geomorphic indicators of active plate tectonics. Compartmental faults may strongly affect island arcs stretching perpendicular to the plate movement. This is the case on Java. Transcurrent faults and related pull-apart basins are a leading factor where plates meet at an angle, such as on Sumatra. The most complicated situation exists near the triple-junction and in the Moluccas. Modern research methods, such as GPS measurements of plate movements and absolute dating of volcanic outbursts and raised coral reefs are important tools. The mega-landforms resulting

  12. Lasting mantle scars lead to perennial plate tectonics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Heron, Philip J; Pysklywec, Russell N; Stephenson, Randell

    2016-06-10

    Mid-ocean ridges, transform faults, subduction and continental collisions form the conventional theory of plate tectonics to explain non-rigid behaviour at plate boundaries. However, the theory does not explain directly the processes involved in intraplate deformation and seismicity. Recently, damage structures in the lithosphere have been linked to the origin of plate tectonics. Despite seismological imaging suggesting that inherited mantle lithosphere heterogeneities are ubiquitous, their plate tectonic role is rarely considered. Here we show that deep lithospheric anomalies can dominate shallow geological features in activating tectonics in plate interiors. In numerical experiments, we found that structures frozen into the mantle lithosphere through plate tectonic processes can behave as quasi-plate boundaries reactivated under far-field compressional forcing. Intraplate locations where proto-lithospheric plates have been scarred by earlier suturing could be regions where latent plate boundaries remain, and where plate tectonics processes are expressed as a 'perennial' phenomenon.

  13. Lasting mantle scars lead to perennial plate tectonics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Heron, Philip J.; Pysklywec, Russell N.; Stephenson, Randell

    2016-06-01

    Mid-ocean ridges, transform faults, subduction and continental collisions form the conventional theory of plate tectonics to explain non-rigid behaviour at plate boundaries. However, the theory does not explain directly the processes involved in intraplate deformation and seismicity. Recently, damage structures in the lithosphere have been linked to the origin of plate tectonics. Despite seismological imaging suggesting that inherited mantle lithosphere heterogeneities are ubiquitous, their plate tectonic role is rarely considered. Here we show that deep lithospheric anomalies can dominate shallow geological features in activating tectonics in plate interiors. In numerical experiments, we found that structures frozen into the mantle lithosphere through plate tectonic processes can behave as quasi-plate boundaries reactivated under far-field compressional forcing. Intraplate locations where proto-lithospheric plates have been scarred by earlier suturing could be regions where latent plate boundaries remain, and where plate tectonics processes are expressed as a `perennial' phenomenon.

  14. Global crustal movement and tectonic plate boundary deformation constrained by the ITRF2008

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Zhu Ze

    2012-08-01

    Full Text Available On the basis of the newly released International Terrestrial Reference Frame(ITRF2008 by the International Earth Rotation Service (IERS, a new global plate model ITRF2008 plate for the major plates is established. This ITRF2008-derived model is analyzed in comparison with NNR-NUVEL1A model, which is mainly based on geological and geophysical data. The Eurasia and Pacific plates display obvious differences in terms of the velocity fields derived from the two plate motion models. Plate acceleration is also introduced to characterize the differences of the two velocity fields which obtained from ITRF2008 -plate and NNR-NUVEL1A models for major individual plates. The results show that the Africa, South America and Eurasia plates are undergoing acceleration, while the North America and Australia plates are in the state of deceleration motion.

  15. Dynamics of Tectonic Plates

    CERN Document Server

    Pechersky, E; Sadowski, G; Yambartsev, A

    2014-01-01

    We suggest a model that describes a mutual dynamic of tectonic plates. The dynamic is a sort of stick-slip one which is modeled by a Markov random process. The process defines a microlevel of the dynamic. A macrolevel is obtained by a scaling limit which leads to a system of integro-differential equations which determines a kind of mean field systems. Conditions when Gutenberg-Richter empirical law are presented on the mean field level. These conditions are rather universal and do not depend on features of resistant forces.

  16. Dynamics of Tectonic Plates

    OpenAIRE

    2014-01-01

    We suggest a model that describes a mutual dynamic of tectonic plates. The dynamic is a sort of stick-slip one which is modeled by a Markov random process. The process defines a microlevel of the dynamic. A macrolevel is obtained by a scaling limit which leads to a system of integro-differential equations which determines a kind of mean field systems. Conditions when Gutenberg-Richter empirical law are presented on the mean field level. These conditions are rather universal and do not depend ...

  17. Punctuated Neogene tectonics and stratigraphy of the African-Iberian plate-boundary zone: concurrent development of Betic-Rif basins (southern Spain, northern Morocco)

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Sissingh, W.

    2008-01-01

    This paper integrates the sequence stratigraphic and tectonic data related to the Neogene geodynamic and palaeogeographic development of the African-Iberian plate boundary zone between Spain and Morocco. Though the dating of individual tectonostratigraphic sequences and their delimiting sequence bou

  18. Punctuated Neogene tectonics and stratigraphy of the African-Iberian plate-boundary zone: concurrent development of Betic-Rif basins (southern Spain, northern Morocco)

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Sissingh, W.

    2008-01-01

    This paper integrates the sequence stratigraphic and tectonic data related to the Neogene geodynamic and palaeogeographic development of the African-Iberian plate boundary zone between Spain and Morocco. Though the dating of individual tectonostratigraphic sequences and their delimiting sequence bou

  19. Intermittent plate tectonics?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Silver, Paul G; Behn, Mark D

    2008-01-04

    Although it is commonly assumed that subduction has operated continuously on Earth without interruption, subduction zones are routinely terminated by ocean closure and supercontinent assembly. Under certain circumstances, this could lead to a dramatic loss of subduction, globally. Closure of a Pacific-type basin, for example, would eliminate most subduction, unless this loss were compensated for by comparable subduction initiation elsewhere. Given the evidence for Pacific-type closure in Earth's past, the absence of a direct mechanism for termination/initiation compensation, and recent data supporting a minimum in subduction flux in the Mesoproterozoic, we hypothesize that dramatic reductions or temporary cessations of subduction have occurred in Earth's history. Such deviations in the continuity of plate tectonics have important consequences for Earth's thermal and continental evolution.

  20. Plate tectonics conserves angular momentum

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    C. Bowin

    2009-03-01

    Full Text Available A new combined understanding of plate tectonics, Earth internal structure, and the role of impulse in deformation of the Earth's crust is presented. Plate accelerations and decelerations have been revealed by iterative filtering of the quaternion history for the Euler poles that define absolute plate motion history for the past 68 million years, and provide an unprecedented precision for plate angular rotation variations with time at 2-million year intervals. Stage poles represent the angular rotation of a plate's motion between adjacent Euler poles, and from which the maximum velocity vector for a plate can be determined. The consistent maximum velocity variations, in turn, yield consistent estimates of plate accelerations and decelerations. The fact that the Pacific plate was shown to accelerate and decelerate, implied that conservation of plate tectonic angular momentum must be globally conserved, and that is confirmed by the results shown here (total angular momentum ~1.4 E+27 kgm2s−1. Accordingly, if a plate decelerates, other plates must increase their angular momentums to compensate. In addition, the azimuth of the maximum velocity vectors yields clues as to why the "bend" in the Emperor-Hawaiian seamount trend occurred near 46 Myr. This report summarizes processing results for 12 of the 14 major tectonic plates of the Earth (except for the Juan de Fuca and Philippine plates. Plate accelerations support the contention that plate tectonics is a product of torques that most likely are sustained by the sinking of positive density anomalies due to phase changes in subducted gabbroic lithosphere at depth in the upper lower mantle (above 1200 km depth. The tectonic plates are pulled along by the sinking of these positive mass anomalies, rather than moving at near constant velocity on the crests of convection cells driven by rising heat. These results imply that spreading centers are primarily passive reactive

  1. Tectonics: Changing of the plates

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brandon, Alan

    2016-10-01

    The composition of Earth's crust depends on the style of plate tectonics and of the melting regimes in the mantle. Analyses of the oldest identified rocks suggest that these styles and the resulting crust have changed over Earth's history.

  2. Plate tectonics on Venus

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anderson, D. L.

    1981-01-01

    The high surface temperature of Venus implies a permanently buoyant lithosphere and a thick basaltic crust. Terrestrial-style tectonics with deep subduction and crustal recycling is not possible. Overthickened basaltic crust partially melts instead of converting to eclogite. Because mantle magmas do not have convenient access to the surface the Ar-40 abundance in the atmosphere should be low. Venus may provide an analog to Archean tectonics on the earth.

  3. Plate tectonics on Venus

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anderson, D. L.

    1981-01-01

    The high surface temperature of Venus implies a permanently buoyant lithosphere and a thick basaltic crust. Terrestrial-style tectonics with deep subduction and crustal recycling is not possible. Overthickened basaltic crust partially melts instead of converting to eclogite. Because mantle magmas do not have convenient access to the surface the Ar-40 abundance in the atmosphere should be low. Venus may provide an analog to Archean tectonics on the earth.

  4. Tectonic Evolution of the Jurassic Pacific Plate

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nakanishi, M.; Ishihara, T.

    2015-12-01

    We present the tectonic evolution of the Jurassic Pacific plate based on magnetic anomly lineations and abyssal hills. The Pacific plate is the largest oceanic plate on Earth. It was born as a microplate aroud the Izanagi-Farallon-Phoenix triple junction about 192 Ma, Early Jurassic [Nakanishi et al., 1992]. The size of the Pacific plate at 190 Ma was nearly half that of the present Easter or Juan Fernandez microplates in the East Pacific Rise [Martinez et at, 1991; Larson et al., 1992]. The plate boundary surrounding the Pacific plate from Early Jurassic to Early Cretaceous involved the four triple junctions among Pacific, Izanagi, Farallon, and Phoenix plates. The major tectonic events as the formation of oceanic plateaus and microplates during the period occurred in the vicinity of the triple junctions [e.g., Nakanishi and Winterer, 1998; Nakanishi et al., 1999], implying that the study of the triple junctions is indispensable for understanding the tectonic evolution of the Pacific plate. Previous studies indicate instability of the configuration of the triple junctions from Late Jurassic to Early Cretaceous (155-125 Ma). On the other hand, the age of the birth of the Pacific plate was determined assuming that all triple junctions had kept their configurations for about 30 m.y. [Nakanishi et al., 1992] because of insufficient information of the tectonic history of the Pacific plate before Late Jurassic.Increase in the bathymetric and geomagnetic data over the past two decades enables us to reveal the tectonic evolution of the Pacific-Izanagi-Farallon triple junction before Late Jurassic. Our detailed identication of magnetic anomaly lineations exposes magnetic bights before anomaly M25. We found the curved abyssal hills originated near the triple junction, which trend is parallel to magnetic anomaly lineations. These results imply that the configuration of the Pacific-Izanagi-Farallon triple junction had been RRR before Late Jurassic.

  5. Petrologic implications of plate tectonics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yoder, H S

    1971-07-30

    Petrologists can make significant contributions to the plate tectonic concept. Fixing the stability fields of the principal rock types involved will provide the limits of pressure and temperature of the various environments. Experimental determination of the partition coefficients of the trace elements will be helpful. Studies of the partial melting behavior of possible parental materials in the absence and presence of water, especially the undersaturated region, will contribute to the understanding of magma production. Experimental observations on the rheological properties of the peridotites below and just above the solidus will lead to a better evaluation of the convective mechanism. Measurement of the fundamental properties of rocks, such as the density of solids and liquids at high pressures and temperatures, would contribute to understanding the concepts of diapiric rise, magma segregation, and the low-velocity zone. Broader rock sampling of the oceanic areas of all environments will do much to define the petrologic provinces. The field petrologist specializing in the Paleozoic regions and Precambrian shields can contribute by examining those regions for old plate boundaries and devising new criteria for their recognition.

  6. Plate Tectonics: A Paradigm under Threat.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pratt, David

    2000-01-01

    Discusses the challenges confronting plate tectonics. Presents evidence that contradicts continental drift, seafloor spreading, and subduction. Reviews problems posed by vertical tectonic movements. (Contains 242 references.) (DDR)

  7. Plate Tectonics: A Paradigm under Threat.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pratt, David

    2000-01-01

    Discusses the challenges confronting plate tectonics. Presents evidence that contradicts continental drift, seafloor spreading, and subduction. Reviews problems posed by vertical tectonic movements. (Contains 242 references.) (DDR)

  8. Far-Field Deformation Resulting from Rheologic Differences Interacting with Tectonic Stresses: An Example from the Pacific/Australian Plate Boundary in Southern New Zealand

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Phaedra Upton

    2014-07-01

    Full Text Available The Miocene in Southern New Zealand was dominated by strike-slip tectonics. Stratigraphic evidence from this time attests to two zones of subsidence in the south: (a a middle Cenozoic pull-apart basin and (b a regionally extensive subsiding lake complex, which developed east and distal to the developing plate boundary structure. The lake overlay a block of crust with a significantly weak mid-crustal section and we pose the question: can rheological transitions at an angle to a plate boundary produce distal subsidence and/or uplift? We use stratigraphic, structural and geophysical observations from Southern New Zealand to constrain three-dimensional numerical models for a variety of boundary conditions and rheological scenarios. We show that coincident subsidence and uplift can result from purely strike-slip boundary conditions interacting with a transition from strong to weak to strong mid-crustal rheology. The resulting pattern of vertical displacement is a function of the symmetry or asymmetry of the boundary conditions and the extent and orientation of the rheological transitions. For the Southern New Zealand case study, subsidence rates of ~0.1 mm/yr are predicted for a relative plate motion of 25 mm/yr, leading to ~500 m of subsidence over a 5 Ma time period, comparable to the thickness of preserved lacustrine sediments.

  9. Comment on "Intermittent plate tectonics?".

    Science.gov (United States)

    Korenaga, Jun

    2008-06-06

    Silver and Behn (Reports, 4 January 2008, p. 85) proposed that intermittent plate tectonics may resolve a long-standing paradox in Earth's thermal evolution. However, their analysis misses one important term, which subsequently brings their main conclusion into question. In addition, the Phanerozoic eustasy record indicates that the claimed effect of intermittency is probably weak.

  10. Seismology: tectonic strain in plate interiors?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Calais, E; Mattioli, G; DeMets, C; Nocquet, J-M; Stein, S; Newman, A; Rydelek, P

    2005-12-15

    It is not fully understood how or why the inner areas of tectonic plates deform, leading to large, although infrequent, earthquakes. Smalley et al. offer a potential breakthrough by suggesting that surface deformation in the central United States accumulates at rates comparable to those across plate boundaries. However, we find no statistically significant deformation in three independent analyses of the data set used by Smalley et al., and conclude therefore that only the upper bounds of magnitude and repeat time for large earthquakes can be inferred at present.

  11. Kinematic evidence for the effect of changing plate boundary conditions on the tectonics of the northern U.S. Rockies

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schmeelk, Dylan; Bendick, Rebecca; Stickney, Michael; Bomberger, Cody

    2017-06-01

    We derive surface velocities from GPS sites in the interior Northwest U.S. relative to a fixed North American reference frame to investigate surface tectonic kinematics from the Snake River Plain (SRP) to the Canadian border. The Centennial Tectonic Belt (CTB) on the northern margin of the SRP exhibits west directed extensional velocity gradients and strain distributions similar to the main Basin and Range Province (BRP) suggesting that the CTB is part of the BRP. North of the CTB, however, the vergence of velocities relative to North America switches from westward to eastward along with a concomitant rotation of the principal stress axes based on available seismic focal mechanisms, revealing paired extension in the northern Rockies and shortening across the Rocky Mountain Front. This change in orientation of surface velocities suggests that the change in the boundary conditions on the western margin of North America influences the direction of gravitational collapse of Laramide thickened crust. Throughout the study region, fault slip rate estimates calculated from the new geodetic velocity field are consistently larger than previously reported fault slip rates determined from limited geomorphic and paleoseismic studies.

  12. Lasting mantle scars lead to perennial plate tectonics

    OpenAIRE

    Heron, Philip J.; Pysklywec, Russell N.; Stephenson, Randell

    2016-01-01

    Mid-ocean ridges, transform faults, subduction and continental collisions form the conventional theory of plate tectonics to explain non-rigid behaviour at plate boundaries. However, the theory does not explain directly the processes involved in intraplate deformation and seismicity. Recently, damage structures in the lithosphere have been linked to the origin of plate tectonics. Despite seismological imaging suggesting that inherited mantle lithosphere heterogeneities are ubiquitous, their p...

  13. LOWLID FORMATION AND PLATE TECTONICS ON EXOPLANETS

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stamenkovic, V.; Noack, L.; Breuer, D.

    2009-12-01

    The last years of astronomical observation have opened the doors to a universe filled with extrasolar planets. Detection techniques still only offer the possibility to detect mainly Super-Earths above five Earth masses. But detection techniques do steadily improve and are offering the possibility to detect even smaller planets. The observations show that planets seem to exist in many possible sizes just as the planets and moons of our own solar system do. It is only a natural question to ask if planetary mass has an influence on some key habitability factors such as on plate tectonics, allowing us to test which exoplanets might be more likely habitable than others, and allowing us to understand if plate tectonics on Earth is a stable or a critical, instable process that could easily be perturbed. Here we present results derived from 1D parameterized thermal evolution and 2D/3D computer models, showing how planetary mass influences the propensity of plate tectonics for planets with masses ranging from 0.1 to 10 Earth masses. Lately [2, 3] studied the effect of planetary mass on the ability to break plates and hence initiate plate tectonics - but both derived results contradictory to the other. We think that one of the reasons why both studies [2, 3] are not acceptable in their current form is partly due to an oversimplification. Both treated viscosity only temperature-dependent but neglected the effect pressure has on enlarging the viscosity in the deep mantle. More massive planets have therefore a stronger pressure-viscosity-coupling making convection at high pressures sluggish or even impossible. For planets larger than two Earth masses we observe that a conductive lid (termed low-lid) forms above the core-mantle boundary and thus reduces the effective convective part of the mantle when including a pressure-dependent term into the viscosity laws as shown in [1]. Moreover [2, 3] use time independent steady state models neglecting the fact that plate tectonics is a

  14. Episodic plate tectonics on Venus

    Science.gov (United States)

    Turcotte, Donald

    1992-01-01

    Studies of impact craters on Venus from the Magellan images have placed important constraints on surface volcanism. Some 840 impact craters have been identified with diameters ranging from 2 to 280 km. Correlations of this impact flux with craters on the Moon, Earth, and Mars indicate a mean surface age of 0.5 +/- 0.3 Ga. Another important observation is that 52 percent of the craters are slightly fractured and only 4.5 percent are embayed by lava flows. These observations led researchers to hypothesize that a pervasive resurfacing event occurred about 500 m.y. ago and that relatively little surface volcanism has occurred since. Other researchers have pointed out that a global resurfacing event that ceased about 500 MYBP is consistent with the results given by a recent study. These authors carried out a series of numerical calculations of mantle convection in Venus yielding thermal evolution results. Their model considered crustal recycling and gave rapid planetary cooling. They, in fact, suggested that prior to 500 MYBP plate tectonics was active in Venus and since 500 MYBP the lithosphere has stabilized and only hot-spot volcanism has reached the surface. We propose an alternative hypothesis for the inferred cessation of surface volcanism on Venus. We hypothesize that plate tectonics on Venus is episodic. Periods of rapid plate tectonics result in high rates of subduction that cool the interior resulting in more sluggish mantle convection.

  15. Active tectonic deformation of the western Indian plate boundary: A case study from the Chaman Fault System

    Science.gov (United States)

    Crupa, Wanda E.; Khan, Shuhab D.; Huang, Jingqiu; Khan, Abdul S.; Kasi, Aimal

    2017-10-01

    Collision of the Eurasian and Indian plates has resulted in two spatially offset subduction zones, the Makran subduction zone to the south and the Himalayan convergent margin to the north. These zones are linked by a system of left-lateral strike-slip faults known as the Chaman Fault System, ∼1200 km, which spans along western Pakistan. Although this is one of the greatest strike-slip faults, yet temporal and spatial variation in displacement has not been adequately defined along this fault system. This study conducted geomorphic and geodetic investigations along the Chaman Fault in a search for evidence of spatial variations in motion. Four study areas were selected over the span of the Chaman Fault: (1) Tarnak-Rud area over the Tarnak-Rud valley, (2) Spinatizha area over the Spinatizha Mountain Range, (3) Nushki area over the Nushki basin, and (4) Kharan area over the northern tip of the Central Makran Mountains. Remote sensing data allowed for in depth mapping of different components and faults within the Kohjak group. Wind and water gap pairs along with offset rivers were identified using high-resolution imagery and digital-elevation models to show displacement for the four study areas. The mountain-front-sinuosity ratio, valley height-to-width-ratio, and the stream-length-gradient index were calculated and used to determine the relative tectonic activity of each area. These geomorphic indices suggest that the Kharan area is the most active and the Tarnak-Rud area is the least active. GPS data were processed into a stable Indian plate reference frame and analyzed. Fault parallel velocity versus fault normal distance yielded a ∼8-10 mm/yr displacement rate along the Chaman Fault just north of the Spinatizha area. InSAR data were also integrated to assess displacement rates along the fault system. Geodetic data support that ultra-slow earthquakes similar to those that strike along other major strike-slip faults, such as the San Andreas Fault System, are

  16. Plate tectonics, habitability and life

    Science.gov (United States)

    Spohn, Tilman; Breuer, Doris

    2016-04-01

    The role of plate tectonics in defining habitability of terrestrial planets is being increasingly discussed (e.g., Elkins-Tanton, 2015). Plate tectonics is a significantly evolved concept with a large variety of aspects. In the present context, cycling of material between near surface and mantle reservoirs is most important. But increased heat transport through mixing of cold lithosphere with the deep interior and formation of continental crust may also matter. An alternative mechanism of material cycling between these reservoirs is hot-spot volcanism combined with crust delamination. Hot-spot volcanism will transport volatiles to the atmosphere while delamination will mix crust, possibly altered by sedimentation and chemical reactions, with the mantle. The mechanism works as long as the stagnant lithosphere plate has not grown thicker than the crust and as long as volcanic material is added onto the crust. Thermal evolution studies suggest that the mechanism could work for the first 1-2 Ga of planetary evolution. The efficiency of the mechanism is limited by the ratio of extrusive to intrusive volcanism, which is thought to be less than 0.25. Plate tectonics would certainly have an advantage by working even for more evolved planets. A simple, most-used concept of habitability requires the thermodynamic stability of liquid water on the surface of a planet. Cycling of CO2between the atmosphere, oceans and interior through subduction and surface volcanism is an important element of the carbonate-silicate cycle, a thermostat feedback cycle that will keep the atmosphere from entering into a runaway greenhouse. Calculations for a model Earth lacking plate tectonics but degassing CO2, N, and H2O to form a surface ocean and a secondary atmosphere (Tosi et al, 2016) suggest that liquid water can be maintained on the surface for 4.5Ga. The model planet would then qualify as habitable. It is conceivable that the CO2 buffering capability of its ocean together with silicate

  17. History and Evolution of Precambrian plate tectonics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fischer, Ria; Gerya, Taras

    2014-05-01

    Plate tectonics is a global self-organising process driven by negative buoyancy at thermal boundary layers. Phanerozoic plate tectonics with its typical subduction and orogeny is relatively well understood and can be traced back in the geological records of the continents. Interpretations of geological, petrological and geochemical observations from Proterozoic and Archean orogenic belts however (e.g., Brown, 2006), suggest a different tectonic regime in the Precambrian. Due to higher radioactive heat production the Precambrian lithosphere shows lower internal strength and is strongly weakened by percolating melts. The fundamental difference between Precambrian and Phanerozoic tectonics is therefore the upper-mantle temperature, which determines the strength of the upper mantle (Brun, 2002) and the further tectonic history. 3D petrological-thermomechanical numerical modelling experiments of oceanic subduction at an active plate at different upper-mantle temperatures show these different subduction regimes. For upper-mantle temperatures buckling and also lithospheric delamination and drip-offs. For upper-mantle temperatures > 250 K above the present day value no subduction occurs any more. The whole lithosphere is delaminating and due to strong volcanism and formation of a thicker crust subduction is inhibited. This stage of 200-250 K higher upper mantle temperature which corresponds roughly to the early Archean (Abbott, 1994) is marked by strong volcanism due to sublithospheric decompression melting which leads to an equal thickness for both oceanic and continental plates. As a consequence subduction is inhibited, but a compressional setup instead will lead to orogeny between a continental or felsic terrain and an oceanic or mafic terrain as well as internal crustal convection. Small-scale convection with plume shaped cold downwellings also in the upper mantle is of increased importance compared to the large-scale subduction cycle observed for present temperature

  18. Kinematic History and Tectonic Evolution of the Amerasian Basin: Investigating Palaeo-Plate Boundaries around the Chukchi Borderlands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brumley, K.; Coakley, B.; Stone, D.; Wallace, W.

    2007-12-01

    The multi-stage opening of the Arctic Ocean's Amerasian Basin is only partially understood due to the difficulty of utilizing traditional marine geologic and geophysical techniques in ice-covered waters. While the kinematic development of the Eurasian Basin is well-understood to be the northernmost extension of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, the history of the morphologically complex Amerasian Basin may be due to multiple events, significantly complicating interpretation of its history. Any detailed model for the opening of the Amerasian Basin must both incorporate structures that accommodate spreading as well as explain the tectonic mechanisms that drove basin development. Cretaceous-age tholeiitic flood basalts and associated radiating dike swarms of the High Arctic Large Igneous Province (HALIP), found along the basin margin, provide a tectonic mechanism and geometry to substantiate sound reconstruction. Detailed models need also consider pre-existing zones of weakness such as the deformation front of the Devonian Caledonides, which may underlie Barents Shelf sediments (Gee and Bogolepova, 2003). Reactivation of these ancient structural trends along this suture zone may explain the motion of Mendeleev Ridge as it rifted from Lomonosov Ridge and created the rectangular pull-apart basin between them. We propose a revised plate model for the development of the Amerasian Basin. A Cretaceous magmatic source localized under the Alpha Ridge accompanied the onset of rifting. This generated the HALIP radiating dike swarms and tholeiitic flood basalts found on the DeLong Islands, Svalbard, Franz Joseph Land, Greenland, Sverdrup Basin and, possibly, the Alpha and Mendeleev Ridges. New bathymetric and sub-bottom profiling data also suggests the existence of igneous dikes on Chukchi Cap. The subsequent development of a triple junction resulted in dilational opening of the Canada Basin. Spreading was accommodated by the migration of the southern edges of the northeastern Siberian

  19. When Did Plate Tectonics Begin

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brown, M.

    2015-12-01

    Present-day plate tectonics on Earth is characterized by asymmetric (one-sided) subduction, but how do we recognize the imprint of subduction in the geologic record? How do we weigh global (commonly younger) vs local (commonly older) datasets or distinguish initiation from episodic from continuous subduction? How reliable are data gaps? Characteristics of the Paleozoic record of subduction include calc-alkaline magmatism, blueschist/UHP metamorphism and collisional orogenesis, and ophiolites as representatives of former ocean lithosphere. Are these characteristic rocks preserved in Proterozoic, Archean and Hadean crust? Does a hotter mantle, higher heat production and weaker lithosphere modify or eliminate these features? What preceded subduction and how do we recognize that regime? Are rock associations or geochemical fingerprints reliable? Does reworking and overprinting modify geochemical fingerprints? Proposals for the start of plate tectonics have been based on: persistence of isotope anomalies/fractionated chemical domains in the mantle; changes in chemistry of magmatic rocks, rates of crustal growth vs reworking, and sites of growth; the metamorphic record, particularly the first appearance of contrasting thermal gradients or eclogite (including evidence from mineral inclusions in diamonds) or UHP metamorphic rocks; stabilization of cratonic lithosphere and formation of supercratons, and the beginning of the Proterozoic supercontinent cycle; the end of the flat Earth, emergence of continents, development of significant topography, changes in the style of orogeny and the rise in atmospheric oxygen; and, the appearance of passive margins and changes in the style of sedimentation. Estimates of the timing have varied from the Hadean to Neoproterozoic. I will summarize evidence for a growing consensus that the late Mesoarchean to early Paleoproterozoic was a 700 Myr long period of transition to continuous (?) subduction and global (?) mobile-lid plate tectonics.

  20. Caribbean tectonics and relative plate motions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Burke, K.; Dewey, J. F.; Cooper, C.; Mann, P.; Pindell, J. L.

    1984-01-01

    During the last century, three different ways of interpreting the tectonic evolution of the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean have been proposed, taking into account the Bailey Willis School of a permanent pre-Jurassic deep sea basin, the Edward Suess School of a subsided continental terrain, and the Alfred Wegener School of continental separation. The present investigation is concerned with an outline of an interpretation which follows that of Pindell and Dewey (1982). An attempt is made to point out ways in which the advanced hypotheses can be tested. The fit of Africa, North America, and South America is considered along with aspects of relative motion between North and South America since the early Jurasic. Attention is given to a framework for reconstructing Caribbean plate evolution, the evolution of the Caribbean, the plate boundary zones of the northern and southern Caribbean, and the active deformation of the Caribbean plate.

  1. 3-D simulation of temporal change in tectonic deformation pattern and evolution of the plate boundary around the Kanto Region of Japan due to the collision of the Izu-Bonin Arc

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hashima, A.; Sato, T.; Ito, T.; Miyauchi, T.; Furuya, H.; Tsumura, N.; Kameo, K.; Yamamoto, S.

    2010-12-01

    The Kanto region of Japan is in a highly complex tectonic setting with four plates interacting with each other: beneath Kanto, situated on the Eurasian and North American plates, the Philippine sea plate subducts and the Pacific plate further descends beneath the North American and Philippine sea plates, forming the unique trench-trench-trench triple junction on the earth. In addition, the Izu-Bonin (Ogasawara) arc on the Philippine sea plate is colliding with the Japan islands, which is considered to be a significant effect on the tectonics of Kanto. To reveal the present crustal structure and the present internal stress fields in such a complex tectonic setting, it is essential to comprehend them through the long-term tectonic evolution process. In this study, we estimate the temporal change in tectonic deformation pattern along with the geometry of the plate boundary around Kanto by numerical simulation with a kinematic plate subduction model based on the elastic dislocation theory. This model is based on the idea that mechanical interaction between plates can rationally be represented by the increase of the displacement discontinuity (dislocation) across plate interfaces. Given the 3-D geometry of plate interfaces, the distribution of slip rate vectors for simple plate subduction can be obtained directly from relative plate velocities. In collision zones, the plate with arc crust cannot easily descend because of its buoyancy. This can be represented by giving slip-rate deficit. When crustal deformation occurs, it also causes change in geometry of the plate boundary itself. This geometry change sensitively affects mechanical interaction at the plate boundary. Then the renewed plate-to-plete interaction alters crustal deformation rates. This feedback system has a large effect on collision zones. Indeed, the plate boundary around the Izu peninsula, the northernmost end of the Izu-Bonin arc, intends landward as large as 100 km. Iterating this effect sequentially

  2. Looking for Plate Tectonics in all the wrong fluids

    Science.gov (United States)

    Davaille, Anne

    2017-04-01

    Ever since the theory of Plate Tectonics in the 1960's, the dream of the geomodeler has been to generate plate tectonics self-consistently from thermal convection in the laboratory. By selfconsistenly, I mean that the configuration of the plate boundaries is in no way specified a priori, so that the plates develop and are wholly consumed without intervention from the modeler. The reciepe is simple : put a well-chosen fluid in a fishtank heated from below and cooled from above, wait and see. But the « well-chosen » is the difficult part... and the interesting one. Plate tectonics is occuring on Earth because of the characteristics of the lithosphere rheology. The latter are complex to estimate as they depend on temperature, pressure, phase, water content, chemistry, strain rate, memory and scale. As a result, the ingredients necessary for plate tectonics are still debated, and it would be useful to find an analog fluid who could reproduce plate tectonics in the laboratory. I have therefore spent the last 25 years to try out fluids, and I shall present a number of failures to generate plate tectonics using polymers, colloids, ketchup, milk, chocolate, sugar, oils. To understand why they failed is important to narrow down the « well-chosen » fluid.

  3. Plate Tectonic Cycle. K-6 Science Curriculum.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blueford, J. R.; And Others

    Plate Tectonics Cycle is one of the units of a K-6 unified science curriculum program. The unit consists of four organizing sub-themes: (1) volcanoes (covering formation, distribution, and major volcanic groups); (2) earthquakes (with investigations on wave movements, seismograms and sub-suface earth currents); (3) plate tectonics (providing maps…

  4. On the breakup of tectonic plates by polar wandering

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liu, H.-S.

    1974-01-01

    The equations for the stresses in a homogeneous shell of uniform thickness caused by a shift of the axis of rotation are derived. The magnitude of these stresses reaches a maximum value of the order of 10 to the 9th power dyn/sq cm, which is sufficient for explaining a tectonic breakup. In order to deduce the fracture pattern according to which the breakup of tectonic plates can be expected the theory of plastic deformation of shells is applied. The analysis of this pattern gives an explanation of the existing boundary systems of the major tectonic plates as described by Morgan (1968), LePichon (1968) and Isacks et al. (1968).

  5. Hierarchical self-organization of tectonic plates

    OpenAIRE

    2010-01-01

    The Earth's surface is subdivided into eight large tectonic plates and many smaller ones. We reconstruct the plate tessellation history and demonstrate that both large and small plates display two distinct hierarchical patterns, described by different power-law size-relationships. While small plates display little organisational change through time, the structure of the large plates oscillate between minimum and maximum hierarchical tessellations. The organization of large plates rapidly chan...

  6. Continental tectonics in the aftermath of plate tectonics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Molnar, Peter

    1988-01-01

    It is shown that the basic tenet of plate tectonics, rigid-body movements of large plates of lithosphere, fails to apply to continental interiors. There, buoyant continental crust can detach from the underlying mantle to form mountain ranges and broad zones of diffuse tectonic activity. The role of crustal blocks and of the detachment of crustal fragments in this process is discussed. Future areas of investigation are addressed.

  7. Continental tectonics in the aftermath of plate tectonics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Molnar, Peter

    1988-01-01

    It is shown that the basic tenet of plate tectonics, rigid-body movements of large plates of lithosphere, fails to apply to continental interiors. There, buoyant continental crust can detach from the underlying mantle to form mountain ranges and broad zones of diffuse tectonic activity. The role of crustal blocks and of the detachment of crustal fragments in this process is discussed. Future areas of investigation are addressed.

  8. Hierarchical self-organization of tectonic plates

    CERN Document Server

    Morra, Gabriele; Müller, R Dietmar

    2010-01-01

    The Earth's surface is subdivided into eight large tectonic plates and many smaller ones. We reconstruct the plate tessellation history and demonstrate that both large and small plates display two distinct hierarchical patterns, described by different power-law size-relationships. While small plates display little organisational change through time, the structure of the large plates oscillate between minimum and maximum hierarchical tessellations. The organization of large plates rapidly changes from a weak hierarchy at 120-100 million years ago (Ma) towards a strong hierarchy, which peaked at 65-50, Ma subsequently relaxing back towards a minimum hierarchical structure. We suggest that this fluctuation reflects an alternation between top and bottom driven plate tectonics, revealing a previously undiscovered tectonic cyclicity at a timescale of 100 million years.

  9. Structural and Tectonic Map Along the Pacific-North America Plate Boundary in Northern Gulf of California, Sonora Desert and Valle de Mexicali, Mexico, from Seismic Reflection Evidence

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gonzalez-Escobar, M.; Suarez-Vidal, F.; Mendoza-Borunda, R.; Martin Barajas, A.; Pacheco-Romero, M.; Arregui-Estrada, S.; Gallardo-Mata, C.; Sanchez-Garcia, C.; Chanes-Martinez, J.

    2012-12-01

    Between 1978 and 1983, Petróleos Mexicanos (PEMEX) carried on an intense exploration program in the northern Gulf of California, the Sonora Desert and the southern part of the Mexicali Valley. This program was supported by a seismic reflection field operation. The collected seismic data was 2D, with travel time of 6 s recording, in 48 channels, and the source energy was: dynamite, vibroseis and air guns. Since 2007 to present time, the existing seismic data has been re-processing and ire-interpreting as part of a collaboration project between the PEMEX's Subdirección de Exploración (PEMEX) and CICESE. The study area is located along a large portion of the Pacific-North America plate boundary in the northern Gulf of California and the Southern part of the Salton Trough tectonic province (Mexicali Valley). We present the result of the processes reflection seismic lines. Many of the previous reported known faults were identify along with the first time described located within the study region. We identified regions with different degree of tectonic activity. In structural map it can see the location of many of these known active faults and their associated seismic activity, as well as other structures with no associated seismicity. Where some faults are mist placed they were deleted or relocated based on new information. We included historical seismicity for the region. We present six reflection lines that cross the aftershocks zone of the El Mayor-Cucapah earthquake of April 4, 2010 (Mw7.2). The epicenter of this earthquake and most of the aftershocks are located in a region where pervious to this earthquake no major earthquakes are been reported. A major result of this study is to demonstrate that there are many buried faults that increase the seismic hazard.

  10. A revised estimate of Pacific-North America motion and implications for Western North America plate boundary zone tectonics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Demets, Charles; Gordon, Richard G.; Stein, Seth; Argus, Donald F.

    1987-01-01

    Marine magnetic profiles from the Gulf of Californa are studied in order to revise the estimate of Pacific-North America motion. It is found that since 3 Ma spreading has averaged 48 mm/yr, consistent with a new global plate motion model derived without any data. The present data suggest that strike-slip motion on faults west of the San Andreas is less than previously thought, reducing the San Andreas discrepancy with geodetic, seismological, and other geologic observations.

  11. Earth's Decelerating Tectonic Plates

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Forte, A M; Moucha, R; Rowley, D B; Quere, S; Mitrovica, J X; Simmons, N A; Grand, S P

    2008-08-22

    Space geodetic and oceanic magnetic anomaly constraints on tectonic plate motions are employed to determine a new global map of present-day rates of change of plate velocities. This map shows that Earth's largest plate, the Pacific, is presently decelerating along with several other plates in the Pacific and Indo-Atlantic hemispheres. These plate decelerations contribute to an overall, globally averaged slowdown in tectonic plate speeds. The map of plate decelerations provides new and unique constraints on the dynamics of time-dependent convection in Earth's mantle. We employ a recently developed convection model constrained by seismic, geodynamic and mineral physics data to show that time-dependent changes in mantle buoyancy forces can explain the deceleration of the major plates in the Pacific and Indo-Atlantic hemispheres.

  12. Earth's Decelerating Tectonic Plates

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Forte, A M; Moucha, R; Rowley, D B; Quere, S; Mitrovica, J X; Simmons, N A; Grand, S P

    2008-08-22

    Space geodetic and oceanic magnetic anomaly constraints on tectonic plate motions are employed to determine a new global map of present-day rates of change of plate velocities. This map shows that Earth's largest plate, the Pacific, is presently decelerating along with several other plates in the Pacific and Indo-Atlantic hemispheres. These plate decelerations contribute to an overall, globally averaged slowdown in tectonic plate speeds. The map of plate decelerations provides new and unique constraints on the dynamics of time-dependent convection in Earth's mantle. We employ a recently developed convection model constrained by seismic, geodynamic and mineral physics data to show that time-dependent changes in mantle buoyancy forces can explain the deceleration of the major plates in the Pacific and Indo-Atlantic hemispheres.

  13. Plate tectonic raster reconstruction in GPlates

    OpenAIRE

    2014-01-01

    We describe a novel method implemented in the GPlates plate tectonic reconstruction software to interactively reconstruct arbitrarily high-resolution raster data to past geological times using a rotation model. The approach is based on the projection of geo-referenced raster data into a cube map followed by a reverse projection onto rotated tectonic plates on the surface of the globe. This decouples the rendering of a geo-referenced raster from its reconstruction, providing ...

  14. How mantle slabs drive plate tectonics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Conrad, Clinton P; Lithgow-Bertelloni, Carolina

    2002-10-04

    The gravitational pull of subducted slabs is thought to drive the motions of Earth's tectonic plates, but the coupling between slabs and plates is not well established. If a slab is mechanically attached to a subducting plate, it can exert a direct pull on the plate. Alternatively, a detached slab may drive a plate by exciting flow in the mantle that exerts a shear traction on the base of the plate. From the geologic history of subduction, we estimated the relative importance of "pull" versus "suction" for the present-day plates. Observed plate motions are best predicted if slabs in the upper mantle are attached to plates and generate slab pull forces that account for about half of the total driving force on plates. Slabs in the lower mantle are supported by viscous mantle forces and drive plates through slab suction.

  15. Using the Mesozoic History of the Canadian Cordillera as a Case Study in Teaching Plate Tectonics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chamberlain, Valerie Elaine

    1989-01-01

    Reviews a model used in the teaching of plate tectonics which includes processes and concepts related to: terranes and the amalgamation of terranes, relative plate motion and oblique subduction, the effects of continent-continent collision, changes in plate motion, plate configuration, and the type of plate boundary. Diagrams are included.…

  16. Using the Mesozoic History of the Canadian Cordillera as a Case Study in Teaching Plate Tectonics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chamberlain, Valerie Elaine

    1989-01-01

    Reviews a model used in the teaching of plate tectonics which includes processes and concepts related to: terranes and the amalgamation of terranes, relative plate motion and oblique subduction, the effects of continent-continent collision, changes in plate motion, plate configuration, and the type of plate boundary. Diagrams are included.…

  17. Tectonic isolation of the Levant basin offshore Galilee-Lebanon effects of the Dead Sea fault plate boundary on the Levant continental margin, eastern Mediterranean

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schattner, U.; Ben-Avraham, Z.; Lazar, M.; Hüebscher, C.

    2006-11-01

    The continental margin of the central Levant, offshore northern Israel and southern Lebanon is characterized by a sharp continental-oceanic crustal transition, exhibited on the bathymetry as a steep continental slope. At the base of the slope a narrow zone of faulting deforms the upper Messinian-recent sedimentary sequence. Further into the basin no major deformations are observed. However, onland a restraining bend along the Dead Sea fault plate boundary results in the formation of the Lebanon and anti-Lebanon mountain ranges, which exhibit a large positive isostatic anomaly not compensated at depth. All these geologic features follow a NNE-SSW trend. A dense network of multi-channel and single-channel seismic profiles, covering 5000 km of ship-track offshore northern Israel and southern Lebanon, was analyzed for the purpose of characterizing the continental margin. Additional seismic surveys covering the area between the Levant margin and the Cyprean arc were examined. Data were then incorporated with magnetic, gravity and earthquake measurements to reveal the deep crustal structure of the area and integrated with bathymetry data to describe the behavior of the young sedimentary basin fill. Results indicate that the Levant basin, offshore northern Israel and southern Lebanon (up to Beirut) is more-or-less unaffected by the intense tectonic deformation occurring onland. The transition between the deformed area onland and the undeformed Levant basin occurs along the base of the continental slope. Along the base, the upper Messinian-recent sedimentary sequence is cut by two sets of faults: shallow growth faults resulting from salt tectonics and high angle faults, marking the surface expression of a deeper crustal discontinuity - the marine extension of the Carmel fault zone. The central Levant continental margin is being reactivated by transpressional faulting of the marine continuation of the Carmel fault, at the base of the continental slope. This fault system

  18. Reducing risk where tectonic plates collide

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gomberg, Joan S.; Ludwig, Kristin A.

    2017-06-19

    Most of the world’s earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides, and volcanic eruptions are caused by the continuous motions of the many tectonic plates that make up the Earth’s outer shell. The most powerful of these natural hazards occur in subduction zones, where two plates collide and one is thrust beneath another. The U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) “Reducing Risk Where Tectonic Plates Collide—A USGS Plan to Advance Subduction Zone Science” is a blueprint for building the crucial scientific foundation needed to inform the policies and practices that can make our Nation more resilient to subduction zone-related hazards.

  19. Spreading continents kick-started plate tectonics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rey, Patrice F; Coltice, Nicolas; Flament, Nicolas

    2014-09-18

    Stresses acting on cold, thick and negatively buoyant oceanic lithosphere are thought to be crucial to the initiation of subduction and the operation of plate tectonics, which characterizes the present-day geodynamics of the Earth. Because the Earth's interior was hotter in the Archaean eon, the oceanic crust may have been thicker, thereby making the oceanic lithosphere more buoyant than at present, and whether subduction and plate tectonics occurred during this time is ambiguous, both in the geological record and in geodynamic models. Here we show that because the oceanic crust was thick and buoyant, early continents may have produced intra-lithospheric gravitational stresses large enough to drive their gravitational spreading, to initiate subduction at their margins and to trigger episodes of subduction. Our model predicts the co-occurrence of deep to progressively shallower mafic volcanics and arc magmatism within continents in a self-consistent geodynamic framework, explaining the enigmatic multimodal volcanism and tectonic record of Archaean cratons. Moreover, our model predicts a petrological stratification and tectonic structure of the sub-continental lithospheric mantle, two predictions that are consistent with xenolith and seismic studies, respectively, and consistent with the existence of a mid-lithospheric seismic discontinuity. The slow gravitational collapse of early continents could have kick-started transient episodes of plate tectonics until, as the Earth's interior cooled and oceanic lithosphere became heavier, plate tectonics became self-sustaining.

  20. Energy of plate tectonics calculation and projection

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    N. H. Swedan

    2013-02-01

    Full Text Available Mathematics and observations suggest that the energy of the geological activities resulting from plate tectonics is equal to the latent heat of melting, calculated at mantle's pressure, of the new ocean crust created at midocean ridges following sea floor spreading. This energy varies with the temperature of ocean floor, which is correlated with surface temperature. The objective of this manuscript is to calculate the force that drives plate tectonics, estimate the energy released, verify the calculations based on experiments and observations, and project the increase of geological activities with surface temperature rise caused by climate change.

  1. Next-generation plate-tectonic reconstructions using GPlates

    OpenAIRE

    2011-01-01

    Plate tectonics is the kinematic theory that describes the large-scale motions and events of the outermost shell of the solid Earth in terms of the relative motions and interactions of large, rigid, interlocking fragments of lithosphere called tectonic plates. Plates form and disappear incrementally over time as a result of tectonic processes. There are currently about a dozen major plates on the surface of the Earth, and many minor ones. The present-day configuration of tectonic plates is il...

  2. A window for plate tectonics in terrestrial planet evolution?

    Science.gov (United States)

    O'Neill, Craig; Lenardic, Adrian; Weller, Matthew; Moresi, Louis; Quenette, Steve; Zhang, Siqi

    2016-06-01

    The tectonic regime of a planet depends critically on the contributions of basal and internal heating to the planetary mantle, and how these evolve through time. We use viscoplastic mantle convection simulations, with evolving core-mantle boundary temperatures, and radiogenic heat decay, to explore how these factors affect tectonic regime over the lifetime of a planet. The simulations demonstrate (i) hot, mantle conditions, coming out of a magma ocean phase of evolution, can produce a "hot" stagnant-lid regime, whilst a cooler post magma ocean mantle may begin in a plate tectonic regime; (ii) planets may evolve from an initial hot stagnant-lid condition, through an episodic regime lasting 1-3 Gyr, into a plate-tectonic regime, and finally into a cold, senescent stagnant lid regime after ∼10 Gyr of evolution, as heat production and basal temperatures wane; and (iii) the thermal state of the post magma ocean mantle, which effectively sets the initial conditions for the sub-solidus mantle convection phase of planetary evolution, is one of the most sensitive parameters affecting planetary evolution - systems with exactly the same physical parameters may exhibit completely different tectonics depending on the initial state employed. Estimates of the early Earth's temperatures suggest Earth may have begun in a hot stagnant lid mode, evolving into an episodic regime throughout most of the Archaean, before finally passing into a plate tectonic regime. The implication of these results is that, for many cases, plate tectonics may be a phase in planetary evolution between hot and cold stagnant states, rather than an end-member.

  3. Plate Tectonics and Continental Drift: Classroom Ideas.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stout, Prentice K.

    1983-01-01

    Suggests various classroom studies related to plate tectonics and continental drift, including comments on and sources of resource materials useful in teaching the topics. A complete list of magazine articles on the topics from the Sawyer Marine Resource Collection may be obtained by contacting the author. (JN)

  4. Laboratory plate tectonics: a new experiment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gans, R F

    1976-03-26

    A "continent" made of a layer of hexagonally packed black polyethylene spheres floating in clear silicon oil breaks into subcontinents when illuminated by an ordinary incandescent light bulb. This experiment may be a useful model of plate tectonics driven by horizontal temperature gradients. Measurements of the spreading rate are made to establish the feasibility of this model.

  5. Plate tectonic raster reconstruction in GPlates

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    J. Cannon

    2014-03-01

    Full Text Available We describe a novel method implemented in the GPlates plate tectonic reconstruction software to interactively reconstruct arbitrarily high-resolution raster data to past geological times using a rotation model. The approach is based on the projection of geo-referenced raster data into a cube map followed by a reverse projection onto rotated tectonic plates on the surface of the globe. This decouples the rendering of a geo-referenced raster from its reconstruction, providing a number of benefits including a simple implementation and the ability to combine rasters with different geo-referencing or inbuilt raster projections. The cube map projection is accelerated by graphics hardware in a wide variety of computer systems manufactured over the last decade. Furthermore, by integrating a multi-resolution tile partitioning into the cube map we can provide on-demand tile streaming, level-of-detail rendering and hierarchical visibility culling enabling researchers to visually explore essentially unlimited resolution geophysical raster data attached to tectonic plates and reconstructed through geological time. This capability forms the basis for interactively building and improving plate reconstructions in an iterative fashion, particularly for tectonically complex regions.

  6. Plate tectonics in the late Paleozoic

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mathew Domeier

    2014-05-01

    Full Text Available As the chronicle of plate motions through time, paleogeography is fundamental to our understanding of plate tectonics and its role in shaping the geology of the present-day. To properly appreciate the history of tectonics—and its influence on the deep Earth and climate—it is imperative to seek an accurate and global model of paleogeography. However, owing to the incessant loss of oceanic lithosphere through subduction, the paleogeographic reconstruction of ‘full-plates’ (including oceanic lithosphere becomes increasingly challenging with age. Prior to 150 Ma ∼60% of the lithosphere is missing and reconstructions are developed without explicit regard for oceanic lithosphere or plate tectonic principles; in effect, reflecting the earlier mobilistic paradigm of continental drift. Although these ‘continental’ reconstructions have been immensely useful, the next-generation of mantle models requires global plate kinematic descriptions with full-plate reconstructions. Moreover, in disregarding (or only loosely applying plate tectonic rules, continental reconstructions fail to take advantage of a wealth of additional information in the form of practical constraints. Following a series of new developments, both in geodynamic theory and analytical tools, it is now feasible to construct full-plate models that lend themselves to testing by the wider Earth-science community. Such a model is presented here for the late Paleozoic (410–250 Ma together with a review of the underlying data. Although we expect this model to be particularly useful for numerical mantle modeling, we hope that it will also serve as a general framework for understanding late Paleozoic tectonics, one on which future improvements can be built and further tested.

  7. Plate tectonics in the late Paleozoic

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Mathew Domeier; Trond H. Torsvik

    2014-01-01

    As the chronicle of plate motions through time, paleogeography is fundamental to our understanding of plate tectonics and its role in shaping the geology of the present-day. To properly appreciate the history of tectonicsdand its influence on the deep Earth and climatedit is imperative to seek an accurate and global model of paleogeography. However, owing to the incessant loss of oceanic lithosphere through subduction, the paleogeographic reconstruction of‘full-plates’ (including oceanic lithosphere) becomes increasingly challenging with age. Prior to 150 Ma w60% of the lithosphere is missing and re-constructions are developed without explicit regard for oceanic lithosphere or plate tectonic principles;in effect, reflecting the earlier mobilistic paradigm of continental drift. Although these ‘continental’ re-constructions have been immensely useful, the next-generation of mantle models requires global plate kinematic descriptions with full-plate reconstructions. Moreover, in disregarding (or only loosely applying) plate tectonic rules, continental reconstructions fail to take advantage of a wealth of additional information in the form of practical constraints. Following a series of new developments, both in geo-dynamic theory and analytical tools, it is now feasible to construct full-plate models that lend themselves to testing by the wider Earth-science community. Such a model is presented here for the late Paleozoic (410e250 Ma) together with a review of the underlying data. Although we expect this model to be particularly useful for numerical mantle modeling, we hope that it will also serve as a general framework for understanding late Paleozoic tectonics, one on which future improvements can be built and further tested.

  8. Global Dynamic Numerical Simulations of Plate Tectonic Reorganizations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Morra, G.; Quevedo, L.; Butterworth, N.; Matthews, K. J.; Müller, D.

    2010-12-01

    We use a new numerical approach for global geodynamics to investigate the origin of present global plate motion and to identify the causes of the last two global tectonic reorganizations occurred about 50 and 100 million years ago (Ma) [1]. While the 50 Ma event is the most well-known global plate-mantle event, expressed by the bend in the Hawaiian-Emperor volcanic chain, a prominent plate reorganization at about 100 Ma, although presently little studied, is clearly indicated by a major bend in the fracture zones in the Indian Ocean and by a change in Pacific plate motion [2]. Our workflow involves turning plate reconstructions into surface meshes that are subsequently employed as initial conditions for global Boundary Element numerical models. The tectonic setting that anticipates the reorganizations is processed with the software GPlates, combining the 3D mesh of the paleo-plate morphology and the reconstruction of paleo-subducted slabs, elaborated from tectonic history [3]. All our models involve the entire planetary system, are fully dynamic, have free surface, are characterized by a spectacular computational speed due to the simultaneous use of the multi-pole algorithm and the Boundary Element formulation and are limited only by the use of sharp material property variations [4]. We employ this new tool to unravel the causes of plate tectonic reorganizations, producing and comparing global plate motion with the reconstructed ones. References: [1] Torsvik, T., Müller, R.D., Van der Voo, R., Steinberger, B., and Gaina, C., 2008, Global Plate Motion Frames: Toward a unified model: Reviews in Geophysics, VOL. 46, RG3004, 44 PP., 2008 [2] Wessel, P. and Kroenke, L.W. Pacific absolute plate motion since 145 Ma: An assessment of the fixed hot spot hypothesis. Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol 113, B06101, 2008 [3] L. Quevedo, G. Morra, R. D. Mueller. Parallel Fast Multipole Boundary Element Method for Crustal Dynamics, Proceeding 9th World Congress and 4th Asian

  9. Plate tectonics drive tropical reef biodiversity dynamics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leprieur, Fabien; Descombes, Patrice; Gaboriau, Théo; Cowman, Peter F; Parravicini, Valeriano; Kulbicki, Michel; Melián, Carlos J; de Santana, Charles N; Heine, Christian; Mouillot, David; Bellwood, David R; Pellissier, Loïc

    2016-05-06

    The Cretaceous breakup of Gondwana strongly modified the global distribution of shallow tropical seas reshaping the geographic configuration of marine basins. However, the links between tropical reef availability, plate tectonic processes and marine biodiversity distribution patterns are still unknown. Here, we show that a spatial diversification model constrained by absolute plate motions for the past 140 million years predicts the emergence and movement of diversity hotspots on tropical reefs. The spatial dynamics of tropical reefs explains marine fauna diversification in the Tethyan Ocean during the Cretaceous and early Cenozoic, and identifies an eastward movement of ancestral marine lineages towards the Indo-Australian Archipelago in the Miocene. A mechanistic model based only on habitat-driven diversification and dispersal yields realistic predictions of current biodiversity patterns for both corals and fishes. As in terrestrial systems, we demonstrate that plate tectonics played a major role in driving tropical marine shallow reef biodiversity dynamics.

  10. Plate tectonics drive tropical reef biodiversity dynamics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leprieur, Fabien; Descombes, Patrice; Gaboriau, Théo; Cowman, Peter F.; Parravicini, Valeriano; Kulbicki, Michel; Melián, Carlos J.; de Santana, Charles N.; Heine, Christian; Mouillot, David; Bellwood, David R.; Pellissier, Loïc

    2016-01-01

    The Cretaceous breakup of Gondwana strongly modified the global distribution of shallow tropical seas reshaping the geographic configuration of marine basins. However, the links between tropical reef availability, plate tectonic processes and marine biodiversity distribution patterns are still unknown. Here, we show that a spatial diversification model constrained by absolute plate motions for the past 140 million years predicts the emergence and movement of diversity hotspots on tropical reefs. The spatial dynamics of tropical reefs explains marine fauna diversification in the Tethyan Ocean during the Cretaceous and early Cenozoic, and identifies an eastward movement of ancestral marine lineages towards the Indo-Australian Archipelago in the Miocene. A mechanistic model based only on habitat-driven diversification and dispersal yields realistic predictions of current biodiversity patterns for both corals and fishes. As in terrestrial systems, we demonstrate that plate tectonics played a major role in driving tropical marine shallow reef biodiversity dynamics. PMID:27151103

  11. Plate tectonics drive tropical reef biodiversity dynamics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leprieur, Fabien; Descombes, Patrice; Gaboriau, Théo; Cowman, Peter F.; Parravicini, Valeriano; Kulbicki, Michel; Melián, Carlos J.; de Santana, Charles N.; Heine, Christian; Mouillot, David; Bellwood, David R.; Pellissier, Loïc

    2016-05-01

    The Cretaceous breakup of Gondwana strongly modified the global distribution of shallow tropical seas reshaping the geographic configuration of marine basins. However, the links between tropical reef availability, plate tectonic processes and marine biodiversity distribution patterns are still unknown. Here, we show that a spatial diversification model constrained by absolute plate motions for the past 140 million years predicts the emergence and movement of diversity hotspots on tropical reefs. The spatial dynamics of tropical reefs explains marine fauna diversification in the Tethyan Ocean during the Cretaceous and early Cenozoic, and identifies an eastward movement of ancestral marine lineages towards the Indo-Australian Archipelago in the Miocene. A mechanistic model based only on habitat-driven diversification and dispersal yields realistic predictions of current biodiversity patterns for both corals and fishes. As in terrestrial systems, we demonstrate that plate tectonics played a major role in driving tropical marine shallow reef biodiversity dynamics.

  12. Tectonic and Kinematic Regime along the Northern Caribbean Plate Boundary: New Insights from Broad-band Modeling of the May 25, 1992, Ms = 6.9 Cabo Cruz, Cuba, Earthquake

    Science.gov (United States)

    Perrot, J.; Calais, E.; Mercier de Lépinay, B.

    On May 25th, 1992, an Ms = 6.9 earthquake occurred off the southwestern tip of Cuba, along the boundary between the Caribbean and North American plates. This earthquake was the largest to strike southern Cuba since 1917 and the largest ever recorded in that region by global seismic networks. It is therefore a key element for our understanding of the tectonic and kinematic regime along the northern Caribbean plate boundary. In order to test the previously proposed source parameters of the Cabo Cruz earthquake and to better constrain its focal mechanism, we derived a new set of source parameters from unfiltered broad-band teleseismic records. We used a hybrid ray tracing method that allows us to take into account propagation effects of seismic waves in a realistic crustal model around the source. Our solution is consistent with the long-period focal mechanism solution of Virieux et al. (1992). Our solution also models the higher frequency crustal and water layer phases. The primarily strike-slip focal mechanism has a small thrust component. Its shows an east-west trending nodal plane dipping 55° to the north that we interpret as the rupture plane since it corresponds to the geometry of the major active fault in that area. The displacement on this plane is a left-lateral strike-slip combined with a small amount of southward thrust. The result is in good agreement with the active tectonic structures observed along the Oriente fault south of Cuba. The small thrust component demonstrates that, contrary to prior belief, the transpressive regime extends along this whole segment of the Caribbean/North American plate boundary. Together with historical seismicity, it suggests that most of the stress accumulated by the Caribbean/North American plate motion is released seismically along the southern Cuban margin during relatively few but large earthquakes.

  13. Relationship between plume and plate tectonics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Puchkov, V. N.

    2016-07-01

    The relationship between plate- and plume-tectonics is considered in view of the growth and breakdown of supercontinents, active rifting, the formation of passive volcanic-type continental margins, and the origin of time-progressive volcanic chains on oceanic and continental plates. The mantle wind phenomenon is described, as well as its effect on plume morphology and anisotropy of the ambient mantle. The interaction of plumes and mid-ocean ridges is discussed. The principles and problems of plume activity analysis in subduction- and collision-related foldbelts are considered and illustrated with examples.

  14. Writing and Visualization for Teaching Plate Tectonics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thomas, S. F.

    2004-12-01

    The Theory of Plate Tectonics is probably the most important paradigm for understanding the workings of our planet. As such it is an integral part in any Introductory Geology course. Whereas geology majors usually easily embrace the Theory of Plate Tectonics, the enthusiasm for the coherence and elegance of this theory appears to be much more subdued among the majority of non-science majors. While visual and electronic media certainly support the teaching of the theory, pretty pictures and animations are not sufficient for many non-science majors to grasp the concepts of interacting lithospheric plates. It is well known that students do better in learning scientific concepts if they create their own understanding through research and inquiry-based learning, by working in the field, manipulating real earth-science data, and through writing. Writing assignments give instructors the opportunity to assess their students' learning and to clarify misconceptions yet they also have to be willing to teach students how to craft a science paper. Most electronic media and textbook-added CD-ROMs are not useful for making the structure of a science paper transparent. I found many of the necessary ingredients for effectively teaching plate tectonics in the interactive CD-ROM, "Our Dynamic Planet", developed by Wm. Prothero together with G. Kelly (University of California at Santa Barbara). It allows students to select and manipulate real earth-science data of plate-tectonically active regions, and provides an electronic interface that lets students create graphical representations of their collected data. A downloadable Teacher's Manual provides suggestions on teaching students to write a scientific argument, rooted in sound pedagogy. Originally designed for a large oceanography class, the material was modified for use in a small introductory geology class for non-science majors. Various assignments were given to instruct students in writing a scientific argument based on their

  15. Vertical tectonics at a continental crust-oceanic plateau plate boundary zone: Fission track thermochronology of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Villagómez, Diego; Spikings, Richard; Mora, AndréS.; GuzmáN, Georgina; Ojeda, GermáN.; CortéS, Elizabeth; van der Lelij, Roelant

    2011-08-01

    The topographically prominent Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta forms part of a faulted block of continental crust located along the northern boundary of the South American Plate, hosts the highest elevation in the world (˜5.75 km) whose local base is at sea level, and juxtaposes oceanic plateau rocks of the Caribbean Plate. Quantification of the amount and timing of exhumation constrains interpretations of the history of the plate boundary, and the driving forces of rock uplift along the active margin. The Sierra Nevada Province of the southernmost Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta exhumed at elevated rates (≥0.2 Km/My) during 65-58 Ma in response to the collision of the Caribbean Plateau with northwestern South America. A second pulse of exhumation (≥0.32 Km/My) during 50-40 Ma was driven by underthrusting of the Caribbean Plate beneath northern South America. Subsequent exhumation at 40-25 Ma (≥0.15 Km/My) is recorded proximal to the Santa Marta-Bucaramanga Fault. More northerly regions of the Sierra Nevada Province exhumed rapidly during 26-29 Ma (˜0.7 Km/My). Further northward, the Santa Marta Province exhumed at elevated rates during 30-25 Ma and 25-16 Ma. The highest exhumation rates within the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta progressed toward the northwest via the propagation of NW verging thrusts. Exhumation is not recorded after ˜16 Ma, which is unexpected given the high elevation and high erosive power of the climate, implying that rock and surface uplift that gave rise to the current topography was very recent (i.e., ≤1 Ma?), and there has been insufficient time to expose the fossil apatite partial annealing zone.

  16. Mantle convection and plate tectonics on Earth-like exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sotin, C.; Schubert, G.

    2009-12-01

    The likelihood of plate tectonics on exoplanets larger than Earth can be assessed using either scaling laws or numerical models describing mantle thermal convection. We investigate the parameters which control the ratio of convective driving forces to lithosphere resisting forces. Two papers, Valencia et al. (AstroPhys. J., 670, L45-L48, 2007) and O’Neill and Lenardic (Geophys. Res. Lett., 34, L19204, 2007), came to opposite conclusions based on scaling laws and numerical calculations, respectively. The different assumptions and parameters used in each study are compared. The definition of thermal boundary layer and lithosphere and the use of their characteristics in the scaling laws are clarified. We show that Valencia et al. (2007) overestimate the ratio of driving forces to resistive forces because they infer too large values for both the thickness of the thermal boundary layer and the length of the plate and too small a value for the yield strength. We show that this ratio is so weakly dependent on the size of an Earth-like planet that other parameters such as presence of water, heating per unit mass, upper mantle thickness, etc., may actually determine the occurrence or not of plate tectonics. The numerical calculations of O’Neill and Lenardic (2007) show the importance of 2D simulations for determining the values of the velocity below the lithosphere, the convective stresses, and the plate dimensions. It demonstrates the need for 3D spherical numerical simulations. Their conclusion that super-Earths would not have plate tectonics depends on a number of assumptions including the constancy of heat-flux as a function of planetary size. We present a 3D spherical scaling including the increase of heat flux with the size of a planet showing that larger Earth-like planets would be marginally in the mobile lid convection regime reinforcing our caution that other factors may tip the balance. The present study points out the importance of the distance between

  17. Quantitative tests for plate tectonics on Venus

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kaula, W. M.; Phillips, R. J.

    1981-01-01

    Quantitative comparisons are made between the characteristics of plate tectonics on the earth and those which are possible on Venus. Considerations of the factors influencing rise height and relating the decrease in rise height to plate velocity indicate that the rate of topographic dropoff from spreading centers should be about half that on earth due to greater rock-fluid density contrast and lower temperature differential between the surface and interior. Statistical analyses of Pioneer Venus radar altimetry data and global earth elevation data is used to identify 21,000 km of ridge on Venus and 33,000 km on earth, and reveal Venus ridges to have a less well-defined mode in crest heights and a greater concavity than earth ridges. Comparison of the Venus results with the spreading rates and associated heat flow on earth reveals plate creation rates on Venus to be 0.7 sq km/year or less and indicates that not more than 15% of Venus's energy is delivered to the surface by plate tectonics, in contrast to values of 2.9 sq km a year and 70% for earth.

  18. Creep of phyllosilicates at the onset of plate tectonics

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Amiguet, Elodie; Reynard, Bruno; Caracas, Razvan; Van de Moortele, Bertrand; Hilairet, Nadege; Wang, Yanbin (ENSL); (UC)

    2012-10-24

    Plate tectonics is the unifying paradigm of geodynamics yet the mechanisms and causes of its initiation remain controversial. Some models suggest that plate tectonics initiates when the strength of lithosphere is lower than 20-200 MPa, below the frictional strength of lithospheric rocks (>700 MPa). At present-day, major plate boundaries such as the subduction interface, transform faults, and extensional faults at mid-oceanic ridge core complexes indicate a transition from brittle behaviour to stable sliding at depths between 10 and 40 km, in association with water-rock interactions forming phyllosilicates. We explored the rheological behaviour of lizardite, an archetypal phyllosilicate of the serpentine group formed in oceanic and subduction contexts, and its potential influence on weakening of the lithospheric faults and shear zones. High-pressure deformation experiments were carried out on polycrystalline lizardite - the low temperature serpentine variety - using a D-DIA apparatus at a variety of pressure and temperature conditions from 1 to 8 GPa and 150 to 400 C and for strain rates between 10{sup -4} and 10{sup -6} s{sup -1}. Recovered samples show plastic deformation features and no evidence of brittle failure. Lizardite has a large rheological anisotropy, comparable to that observed in the micas. Mechanical results and first-principles calculations confirmed easy gliding on lizardite basal plane and show that the flow stress of phyllosilicate is in the range of the critical value of 20-200 MPa down to depths of about 200 km. Thus, foliated serpentine or chlorite-bearing rocks are sufficiently weak to account for plate tectonics initiation, aseismic sliding on the subduction interface below the seismogenic zone, and weakening of the oceanic lithosphere along hydrothermally altered fault zones. Serpentinisation easing the deformation of the early crust and shallow mantle reinforces the idea of a close link between the occurrence of plate tectonics and water at

  19. Analysis of geometry of volcanoes and faults in Terceira Island (Azores): Evidence for reactivation tectonics at the EUR/AFR plate boundary in the Azores triple junction

    Science.gov (United States)

    Navarro, A.; Lourenço, N.; Chorowicz, J.; Miranda, J. M.; Catalão, J.

    2009-02-01

    The late Pliocene to Quaternary (5 Ma) volcanism in the central and eastern Azores Archipelago is related to the Eurasia/Africa divergence, but a clear deformation pattern has not yet been established at this location. This work focuses on the contribution of Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) scenes and Digital Elevation Models (DEM), complemented with geophysical, geodetic and morpho-structural data, to establish the geometric relationships between volcanic edifices and tectonic structures in the central and eastern Azores Archipelago. Bathymetric data were also used to extend field observations to the significant submarine area of the Azores plateau. Strikes of extension fractures, directly observed or inferred from elongated volcanic vents or linear volcanic clusters in Terceira Island, indicate that volcanism is mainly controlled by regional extension as given by NUVEL-1A plate motion model. Additionally, other directions were also detected for extension fractures around the Santa Barbara volcano (defining a radial pattern) and in the central part of the island (exhibiting an S-shape pattern). Although most of the volcanic vents are controlled by extension fractures, some seem to be controlled by faulting, such as the case of the ones rooted in releasing bends along strike-slip or oblique-slip faults in the central part of the island. Concerning the Azores plateau, most of the structures have directions that do not directly fit with present-day direction of relative motion (˜ N70°) between Eurasia and Africa. Directions ranging from N110° to N125°, found mainly along the Terceira rift, are interpreted as ancient transform directions, reactivating as transtensional fault zones due to the present-day plate motion. N-S directions are also visible in the plateau, being interpreted as former middle-oceanic rift faults reactivated as left-lateral fault zones. These results contrast with the volcanic expression in other hotspot dominated oceanic islands such as the

  20. Plate tectonics and crustal deformation around the Japanese Islands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hashimoto, Manabu; Jackson, David D.

    1993-01-01

    We analyze over a century of geodetic data to study crustal deformation and plate motion around the Japanese Islands, using the block-fault model for crustal deformation developed by Matsu'ura et al. (1986). We model the area including the Japanese Islands with 19 crustal blocks and 104 faults based on the distribution of active faults and seismicity. Geodetic data are used to obtain block motions and average slip rates of faults. This geodetic model predicts that the Pacific plate moves N deg 69 +/- 2 deg W at about 80 +/- 3 mm/yr relative to the Eurasian plate which is much lower than that predicted in geologic models. Substantial aseismic slip occurs on the subduction boundaries. The block containing the Izu Peninsula may be separated from the rigid part of the Philippine Sea plate. The faults on the coast of Japan Sea and the western part of the Median Tectonic Line have slip rates exceeding 4 mm/yr, while the Fossa Magna does not play an important role in the tectonics of the central Japan. The geodetic model requires the division of northeastern Japan, contrary to the hypothesis that northeastern Japan is a part of the North American plate. Owing to rapid convergence, the seismic risk in the Nankai trough may be larger than that of the Tokai gap.

  1. Plate tectonics and crustal deformation around the Japanese Islands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hashimoto, Manabu; Jackson, David D.

    1993-01-01

    We analyze over a century of geodetic data to study crustal deformation and plate motion around the Japanese Islands, using the block-fault model for crustal deformation developed by Matsu'ura et al. (1986). We model the area including the Japanese Islands with 19 crustal blocks and 104 faults based on the distribution of active faults and seismicity. Geodetic data are used to obtain block motions and average slip rates of faults. This geodetic model predicts that the Pacific plate moves N deg 69 +/- 2 deg W at about 80 +/- 3 mm/yr relative to the Eurasian plate which is much lower than that predicted in geologic models. Substantial aseismic slip occurs on the subduction boundaries. The block containing the Izu Peninsula may be separated from the rigid part of the Philippine Sea plate. The faults on the coast of Japan Sea and the western part of the Median Tectonic Line have slip rates exceeding 4 mm/yr, while the Fossa Magna does not play an important role in the tectonics of the central Japan. The geodetic model requires the division of northeastern Japan, contrary to the hypothesis that northeastern Japan is a part of the North American plate. Owing to rapid convergence, the seismic risk in the Nankai trough may be larger than that of the Tokai gap.

  2. Seafloor morphology of the Eurasia-Nubia (Africa) plate boundary between the Tore-Madeira Rise and the Straits of Gibraltar: a case of coexistent Mesozoic through Present day features of tectonic, oceanographic and sedimentary origin

    Science.gov (United States)

    Terrinha, Pedro; Duarte, João.; Valadares, Vasco; Batista, Luis; Zitellini, Nevio; Grácia, Eulalia; Lourenço, Nuno; Rosas, Filipe; Roque, Cristina

    2010-05-01

    The joint use of more than 10.000 km multichannel seismic reflection profiles and 180.000km2 of multibeam swath bathymetry and backscatter allowed for a new vision of the seafloor tectonic and geomorphic processes of the area that encompasses the present day plate boundary between Africa and Eurasia, between the Gibraltar Straits and the Tore-Madeira Rise, in the southern sector of the North Atlantic Ocean. The interpretation of this data allowed for the detailed description of the seafloor morphology (i.e. a morphologic map) and the classification of the morphologic features in what respects the genetic process and age. It can be seen that in the same region coexist morphologic features that result from tectonic processes associated with the Triassic-Cretaceous break-up of Pangea, the Paleogene-Miocene compressive phase, the Miocene through Present subduction under the Gibraltar Arc (Gutscher et al., 2002), the Pliocene-Quaternary wrench tectonics and possible coeval plate boundary (Zitellini et al., 2009), the Present day mud volcanism and propagation of the compressive deformation along the West Continental Margin of Portugal (Terrinha et al., 2009). Interpretation of the seismic profiles together with the bathymetry allows the understanding of endogenous and exogenous processes that creates reliefs associated with active structures (related to the Miocene through Present compressive stress field). Other reliefs generated in Mesozoic times by analogous processes can be as well preserved as these active ones. In what concerns exogenous processes, the analysis of the two datasets (reflection seismics and bathymetry) allowed for the description of morphologic features associated with oceanic currents that interact with the seafloor forming these important features. As is the case of the well known active contourites but also less known features, like giant scours at 4 km water depth that have recently been described, suggesting the interaction of deep currents and

  3. Inevitability of Plate Tectonics on Super-Earths

    CERN Document Server

    Valencia, Diana; Sasselov, Dimitar D

    2007-01-01

    The recent discovery of super-Earths (masses less or equal to 10 earth-masses) has initiated a discussion about conditions for habitable worlds. Among these is the mode of convection, which influences a planet's thermal evolution and surface conditions. On Earth, plate tectonics has been proposed as a necessary condition for life. Here we show, that super-Earths will also have plate tectonics. We demonstrate that as planetary mass increases, the shear stress available to overcome resistance to plate motion increases while the plate thickness decreases, thereby enhancing plate weakness. These effects contribute favorably to the subduction of the lithosphere, an essential component of plate tectonics. Moreover, uncertainties in achieving plate tectonics in the one earth-mass regime disappear as mass increases: super-Earths, even if dry, will exhibit plate tectonic behaviour.

  4. Crustal thickness controlled by plate tectonics

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Artemieva, Irina M.; Meissner, Rolf

    2012-01-01

    /gabbro–eclogite phase transition in crustal evolution and the links between lithosphere recycling, mafic magmatism, and crustal underplating. We advocate that plate tectonics processes, togetherwith basalt/gabbro–eclogite transition, limit crustal thickness worldwide by providing effective mechanisms of crustal...... (lithosphere) recycling. The processes of crust–mantle interaction have created very dissimilar crustal styles in Europe, as seen by its seismic structure, crustal thickness, and average seismic velocities in the basement. Our special focus is on processes responsible for the formation of the thin crust...

  5. The San Andreas fault experiment. [gross tectonic plates relative velocity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smith, D. E.; Vonbun, F. O.

    1973-01-01

    A plan was developed during 1971 to determine gross tectonic plate motions along the San Andreas Fault System in California. Knowledge of the gross motion along the total fault system is an essential component in the construction of realistic deformation models of fault regions. Such mathematical models will be used in the future for studies which will eventually lead to prediction of major earthquakes. The main purpose of the experiment described is the determination of the relative velocity of the North American and the Pacific Plates. This motion being so extremely small, cannot be measured directly but can be deduced from distance measurements between points on opposite sites of the plate boundary taken over a number of years.

  6. Metamorphism, Plate Tectonics, and the Supercontinent Cycle

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brown, Michael

    duality of thermal regimes is the hallmark of modern plate tectonics and the duality of metamorphic belts is the characteristic imprint of plate tectonics in the rock record. The occurrence of both G-UHTM and E-HPGM belts since the Neoarchean manifests the onset of a 'Proterozoic plate tectonics regime', although the style of tectonics likely involved differences. The 'Proterozoic plate tectonics regime' evolved during a Neoproterozoic transition to the 'modern plate tectonics regime' characterized by colder subduction and subduction of continental crust deep into the mantle and its (partial) return from depths of up to 300 km, as chronicled by the appearance of HPM-UHPM in the rock record. The age distribution of metamorphic belts that record extreme conditions of metamorphism is not uniform, and metamorphism occurs in periods that correspond to amalgamation of continental lithosphere into supercratons (e.g. Superia/Sclavia) or supercontinents (e.g. Nuna (Columbia), Rodinia, Gondwana, and Pangea).

  7. Learning Plate Tectonics Using a Pre-Analogy Step

    Science.gov (United States)

    Glesener, G. B.; Sandoval, W. A.

    2011-12-01

    Previous research has shown that children tend to demonstrate lower performance on analogical reasoning tasks at a causal relations level compared to most adults (Gentner & Toupin, 1986). This tendency is an obstacle that geoscience educators must overcome because of the high frequency of analogies used in geoscience pedagogy. In particular, analog models are used to convey complex systems of non-everyday/non-observable events found in nature, such as plate tectonics. Key factors in successful analogical reasoning that have been suggested by researchers include knowledge of the causal relations in the base analog (Brown & Kane, 1988; Gentner, 1988; Gentner & Toupin, 1986), and development of learning strategies and metaconceptual competence(Brown & Kane, 1988). External factors, such as guiding cues and hints have been useful cognitive supports that help students reason through analogical problems (Gick & Holyoak, 1980). Cognitive supports have been seen by researchers to decrease processing demands on retrieval and working memory (Richland, Zur, & Holyoak, 2007). We observed third and fourth graders learning about plate tectonics beginning with a pre-analogy step-a cognitive support activity a student can do before working with an analogy to understand the target. This activity was designed to aid students in developing their understanding of object attributes and relations within an analog model so that more focus can be placed on mapping the corresponding higher-order relations between the base and target. Students learned targeted concepts of plate tectonics, as measured by pre to post gains on items adapted from the Geosciences Concept Inventory. Analyses of classroom interaction showed that students used the object attributes and higher-order relations highlighted in the pre-analogy activity as resources to reason about plate boundaries and plate movement during earthquakes.

  8. The seismotectonics of plate boundaries

    Science.gov (United States)

    Berger, J.; Brune, J. N.; Goodkind, J.; Wyatt, F.; Agnew, D. C.; Beaumont, C.

    1981-01-01

    Research on the seismotectonics of plate boundaries is summarized. Instrumental development and an observational program designed to study various aspects of the seismotectonics of southern California and the northern Gulf of California are described. A unique superconducting gravimeter was further developed and supported under this program for deployment and operation at several sites. Work on Earth tides is also discussed.

  9. A plate tectonics oddity: Caterpillar-walk exhumation of subducted continental crust

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Tirel, C.; Brun, J.-P.; Burov, E.; Wortel, M.J.R.; Lebedev, S.

    2013-01-01

    Since plate tectonics began on Earth, grandiose "subduction factories" have continually shaped the continents, accreting continental blocks and new crust at the convergent plate boundaries. An enigmatic product of subduction factories is the high-pressure to ultrahigh-pressure (HP-UHP) metamorphic

  10. A plate tectonics oddity: Caterpillar-walk exhumation of subducted continental crust

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Tirel, C.; Brun, J.-P.; Burov, E.; Wortel, M.J.R.; Lebedev, S.

    2013-01-01

    Since plate tectonics began on Earth, grandiose "subduction factories" have continually shaped the continents, accreting continental blocks and new crust at the convergent plate boundaries. An enigmatic product of subduction factories is the high-pressure to ultrahigh-pressure (HP-UHP) metamorphic c

  11. A plate tectonics oddity: Caterpillar-walk exhumation of subducted continental crust

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Tirel, C.; Brun, J.-P.; Burov, E.; Wortel, M.J.R.; Lebedev, S.

    2013-01-01

    Since plate tectonics began on Earth, grandiose "subduction factories" have continually shaped the continents, accreting continental blocks and new crust at the convergent plate boundaries. An enigmatic product of subduction factories is the high-pressure to ultrahigh-pressure (HP-UHP) metamorphic c

  12. Plate tectonics and hotspots: the third dimension.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anderson, D L; Tanimoto, T; Zhang, Y S

    1992-06-19

    High-resolution seismic tomographic models of the upper mantle provide powerful new constraints on theories of plate tectonics and hotspots. Midocean ridges have extremely low seismic velocities to a depth of 100 kilometers. These low velocities imply partial melting. At greater depths, low-velocity and high-velocity anomalies record, respectively, previous positions of migrating ridges and trenches. Extensional, rifting, and hotspot regions have deep (> 200 kilometers) low-velocity anomalies. The upper mantle is characterized by vast domains of high temperature rather than small regions surrounding hotspots; the asthenosphere is not homogeneous or isothermal. Extensive magmatism requires a combination of hot upper mantle and suitable lithospheric conditions. High-velocity regions of the upper 200 kilometers of the mantle correlate with Archean cratons.

  13. Crustal thickness controlled by plate tectonics

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Artemieva, Irina M.; Meissner, Rolf

    2012-01-01

    The continental crust on Earth cannot be extracted directly from the mantle, and the primary crust extracted directly from an early magma ocean is not preserved on Earth. We review geophysical and geochemical aspects of global crust–mantle material exchange processes and examine the processes which...... magmatism. While both subduction and delamination recycle crustal material into the mantle, mafic magmatism transports mantle material upward and participates in growth of newoceanic and continental crusts and significant structural and chemicalmodification of the latter. We discuss the role of basalt....../gabbro–eclogite phase transition in crustal evolution and the links between lithosphere recycling, mafic magmatism, and crustal underplating. We advocate that plate tectonics processes, togetherwith basalt/gabbro–eclogite transition, limit crustal thickness worldwide by providing effective mechanisms of crustal...

  14. Beyond plate tectonics - Looking at plate deformation with space geodesy

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jordan, Thomas H.; Minster, J. Bernard

    1988-01-01

    The requirements that must be met by space-geodetic systems in order to constrain the horizontal secular motions associated with the geological deformation of the earth's surface are explored. It is suggested that in order to improve existing plate-motion models, the tangential components of relative velocities on interplate baselines must be resolved to an accuracy of less than 3 mm/yr. Results indicate that measuring the velocities between crustal blocks to + or - 5 mm/yr on 100-km to 1000-km scales can produce geologically significant constraints on the integrated deformation rates across continental plate-boundary zones such as the western United States.

  15. Beyond plate tectonics - Looking at plate deformation with space geodesy

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jordan, Thomas H.; Minster, J. Bernard

    1988-01-01

    The requirements that must be met by space-geodetic systems in order to constrain the horizontal secular motions associated with the geological deformation of the earth's surface are explored. It is suggested that in order to improve existing plate-motion models, the tangential components of relative velocities on interplate baselines must be resolved to an accuracy of less than 3 mm/yr. Results indicate that measuring the velocities between crustal blocks to + or - 5 mm/yr on 100-km to 1000-km scales can produce geologically significant constraints on the integrated deformation rates across continental plate-boundary zones such as the western United States.

  16. Is plate tectonics needed to evolve technological species on exoplanets?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Robert J. Stern

    2016-07-01

    Full Text Available As we continue searching for exoplanets, we wonder if life and technological species capable of communicating with us exists on any of them. As geoscientists, we can also wonder how important is the presence or absence of plate tectonics for the evolution of technological species. This essay considers this question, focusing on tectonically active rocky (silicate planets, like Earth, Venus, and Mars. The development of technological species on Earth provides key insights for understanding evolution on exoplanets, including the likely role that plate tectonics may play. An Earth-sized silicate planet is likely to experience several tectonic styles over its lifetime, as it cools and its lithosphere thickens, strengthens, and becomes denser. These include magma ocean, various styles of stagnant lid, and perhaps plate tectonics. Abundant liquid water favors both life and plate tectonics. Ocean is required for early evolution of diverse single-celled organisms, then colonies of cells which specialized further to form guts, appendages, and sensory organisms up to the complexity of fish (central nervous system, appendages, eyes. Large expanses of dry land also begin in the ocean, today produced above subduction zones in juvenile arcs and by their coalescence to form continents, although it is not clear that plate tectonics was required to create continental crust on Earth. Dry land of continents is required for further evolution of technological species, where modification of appendages for grasping and manipulating, and improvement of eyes and central nervous system could be perfected. These bioassets allowed intelligent creatures to examine the night sky and wonder, the beginning of abstract thinking, including religion and science. Technology arises from the exigencies of daily living such as tool-making, agriculture, clothing, and weapons, but the pace of innovation accelerates once it is allied with science. Finally, the importance of plate

  17. Plate tectonics and planetary habitability: current status and future challenges.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Korenaga, Jun

    2012-07-01

    Plate tectonics is one of the major factors affecting the potential habitability of a terrestrial planet. The physics of plate tectonics is, however, still far from being complete, leading to considerable uncertainty when discussing planetary habitability. Here, I summarize recent developments on the evolution of plate tectonics on Earth, which suggest a radically new view on Earth dynamics: convection in the mantle has been speeding up despite its secular cooling, and the operation of plate tectonics has been facilitated throughout Earth's history by the gradual subduction of water into an initially dry mantle. The role of plate tectonics in planetary habitability through its influence on atmospheric evolution is still difficult to quantify, and, to this end, it will be vital to better understand a coupled core-mantle-atmosphere system in the context of solar system evolution. © 2012 New York Academy of Sciences.

  18. When and how did plate tectonics begin? Theoretical and empirical considerations

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    R. J. STERN

    2007-01-01

    Plate tectonics is the horizontal motion of Earth's thermal boundary layer (lithosphere) over the convecting mantle (asthenosphere) and is mostly driven by lithosphere sinking in subduction zones. Plate tectonics is an outstanding example of a self organizing, far from equilibrium complex system (SOFFECS), driven by the negative buoyancy of the thermal boundary layer and controlled by dissipation in the bending lithosphere and viscous mantle. Plate tectonics is an unusual way for a silicate planet to lose heat, as it exists on only one of the large five silicate bodies in the inner solar system. It is not known when this mode of tectonic activity and heat loss began on Earth. All silicate planets probably experienced a short-lived magma ocean stage. After this solidified, stagnant lid behavior is the common mode of planetary heat loss, with interior heat being lost by delamination and "hot spot" volcanism and shallow intrusions. Decompression melting in the hotter early Earth generated a different lithosphere than today, with thicker oceanic crust and thinner mantle lithosphere; such lithosphere would take much longer than at present to become negatively buoyant, suggesting that plate tectonics on the early Earth occurred sporadically if at all. Plate tectonics became sustainable (the modern style) when Earth cooled sufficiently that decompression melting beneath spreading ridges made thin oceanic crust, allowing oceanic lithosphere to become negatively buoyant after a few tens of millions of years. Ultimately the question of when plate tectonics began must be answered by information retrieved from the geologic record. Criteria for the operation of plate tectonics includes ophiolites, blueschist and ultra-high pressure metamorphic belts, eclogites, passive margins, transform faults, paleomagnetic demonstration of different motions of different cratons, and the presence of diagnostic geochemical and isotopic indicators in igneous rocks. This record must be

  19. This dynamic earth: the story of plate tectonics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kious, W. Jacquelyne; Tilling, Robert I.

    1996-01-01

    In the early 1960s, the emergence of the theory of plate tectonics started a revolution in the earth sciences. Since then, scientists have verified and refined this theory, and now have a much better understanding of how our planet has been shaped by plate-tectonic processes. We now know that, directly or indirectly, plate tectonics influences nearly all geologic processes, past and present. Indeed, the notion that the entire Earth's surface is continually shifting has profoundly changed the way we view our world.People benefit from, and are at the mercy of, the forces and consequences of plate tectonics. With little or no warning, an earthquake or volcanic eruption can unleash bursts of energy far more powerful than anything we can generate. While we have no control over plate-tectonic processes, we now have the knowledge to learn from them. The more we know about plate tectonics, the better we can appreciate the grandeur and beauty of the land upon which we live, as well as the occasional violent displays of the Earth's awesome power.This booklet gives a brief introduction to the concept of plate tectonics and complements the visual and written information in This Dynamic Planet (see Further reading), a map published in 1994 by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the Smithsonian Institution. The booklet highlights some of the people and discoveries that advanced the development of the theory and traces its progress since its proposal. Although the general idea of plate tectonics is now widely accepted, many aspects still continue to confound and challenge scientists. The earth-science revolution launched by the theory of plate tectonics is not finished.

  20. Diffuse oceanic plate boundaries: Strain rates, vertically averaged rheology, and comparisons with narrow plate boundaries and stable plate interiors

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gordon, Richard G.

    Diffuse plate boundaries occur in both oceanic and continental lithosphere and cover ≈ 15% of Earth's solid surface. The fastest plate speeds accommodated across diffuse oceanic plate boundaries are ≈ 15 mm/yr. The smallest strain rates averaged across narrow plate boundaries are at least 102 times larger than the largest strain rates across diffuse oceanic plate boundaries and at least 102 times larger than those across stable plate interiors. The effective viscosity (ηeff) of the lithosphere is estimated from the ratio of vertically averaged shear stresses to strain rates for three tectonic settings: (i) oceanic transform fault zones, for which ηeff = 3 ×1016 to 5×1019 Pa s, comparable to estimates for the asthenosphere, (ii) diffuse oceanic plate boundaries, for which ηeff = 1×1023 to 6×l023 Pa s, ≈ 10 times larger than for diffuse continental plate boundaries, and (iii) stable plate interiors, for which ηeff = 1x1024 to 2×1027 Pa s. The rheology of oceanic lithosphere over times longer than earthquake cycles is modeled as a plastic layer overlying a layer that deforms by creeping flow [Martinod and Davy, 1992]. Oceanic lithosphere deforms when the yield strength of the upper lithosphere is exceeded. The vertically averaged rheology of deforming oceanic lithosphere can be approximated by a power-law fluid for which ɛ. ∝ (τs)n where ɛ. is the rate of shear strain and τs is the shear stress. If the ratio of the yield strength of the upper lithosphere to the force required to deform the lower lithosphere at a strain rate of 10-16 s-1 is varied from 10-2 to 102 , the calculated value of n varies from ≈3 to ≈300. The map-view aspect ratio of a deforming zone in a thin sheet of power-law fluid is proportional to n-½ [England et al., 1985]. A profile of displacement versus distance inferred from a seismic profile across the Central Indian Basin (India-Capricorn diffuse oceanic plate boundary), where the lithosphere is about 60-Myr old

  1. ADOPT: A tool for automatic detection of tectonic plates at the surface of convection models

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mallard, C.; Jacquet, B.; Coltice, N.

    2017-08-01

    Mantle convection models with plate-like behavior produce surface structures comparable to Earth's plate boundaries. However, analyzing those structures is a difficult task, since convection models produce, as on Earth, diffuse deformation and elusive plate boundaries. Therefore we present here and share a quantitative tool to identify plate boundaries and produce plate polygon layouts from results of numerical models of convection: Automatic Detection Of Plate Tectonics (ADOPT). This digital tool operates within the free open-source visualization software Paraview. It is based on image segmentation techniques to detect objects. The fundamental algorithm used in ADOPT is the watershed transform. We transform the output of convection models into a topographic map, the crest lines being the regions of deformation (plate boundaries) and the catchment basins being the plate interiors. We propose two generic protocols (the field and the distance methods) that we test against an independent visual detection of plate polygons. We show that ADOPT is effective to identify the smaller plates and to close plate polygons in areas where boundaries are diffuse or elusive. ADOPT allows the export of plate polygons in the standard OGR-GMT format for visualization, modification, and analysis under generic softwares like GMT or GPlates.

  2. The importance of temporal stress variation and dynamic disequilibrium for the initiation of plate tectonics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stamenković, V.; Höink, T.; Lenardic, A.

    2016-06-01

    We use 1-D thermal history models and 3-D numerical experiments to study the impact of dynamic thermal disequilibrium and large temporal variations of normal and shear stresses on the initiation of plate tectonics. Previous models that explored plate tectonics initiation from a steady state, single plate mode of convection concluded that normal stresses govern the initiation of plate tectonics, which based on our 1-D model leads to plate yielding being more likely with increasing interior heat and planet mass for a depth-dependent Byerlee yield stress. Using 3-D spherical shell mantle convection models in an episodic regime allows us to explore larger temporal stress variations than can be addressed by considering plate failure from a steady state stagnant lid configuration. The episodic models show that an increase in convective mantle shear stress at the lithospheric base initiates plate failure, which leads with our 1-D model to plate yielding being less likely with increasing interior heat and planet mass. In this out-of-equilibrium and strongly time-dependent stress scenario, the onset of lithospheric overturn events cannot be explained by boundary layer thickening and normal stresses alone. Our results indicate that in order to understand the initiation of plate tectonics, one should consider the temporal variation of stresses and dynamic disequilibrium.

  3. Global strike-slip faults: Bounds from plate tectonics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gordon, R. G.; Argus, D. F.

    2006-12-01

    According to the tenets of plate tectonics, a transform fault is a strike-slip fault along which neither convergence nor divergence occurs. Analysis of global plate motion data indicates that the only true transform faults are the strike-slip faults that offset segments of mid-ocean ridges. Thus, many of Earth's major strike-slip fault systems are not true transform faults as they accommodate large components of oblique convergence or oblique divergence. This is particularly true for several important ocean-continent systems such as the San Andreas, the strike-slip systems bounding the northern and southern Caribbean plate, the Alpine fault system of New Zealand, the Anatolian fault system, and the Azores-Gibraltar-Alboran sea system. These strike-slip systems are commonly sites of large scale mountain building and basin formation. Here we examine the far-field constraints on the motions of the plates bounding several of these strike-slip systems using both conventional plate motion circuits and results from global positioning system and other space geodetic data. We pay particular attention to the San Andreas fault system in central and northern California, where the San Andreas system is part of the boundary between the Sierran microplate and the Pacific plate. Most of the fault system accommodates obliquely convergent motion, giving rise to the California Coast Range, but in the northern San Francisco Bay Area it is obliquely divergent, producing San Pablo Bay and a gap in the Coast Range that permits the Sierran watershed to drain to the Pacific through the Golden Gate.

  4. Seismic link at plate boundary

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    Faical Ramdani; Omar Kettani; Benaissa Tadili

    2015-06-01

    Seismic triggering at plate boundaries has a very complex nature that includes seismic events at varying distances. The spatial orientation of triggering cannot be reduced to sequences from the main shocks. Seismic waves propagate at all times in all directions, particularly in highly active zones. No direct evidence can be obtained regarding which earthquakes trigger the shocks. The first approach is to determine the potential linked zones where triggering may occur. The second step is to determine the causality between the events and their triggered shocks. The spatial orientation of the links between events is established from pre-ordered networks and the adapted dependence of the spatio-temporal occurrence of earthquakes. Based on a coefficient of synchronous seismic activity to grid couples, we derive a network link by each threshold. The links of high thresholds are tested using the coherence of time series to determine the causality and related orientation. The resulting link orientations at the plate boundary conditions indicate that causal triggering seems to be localized along a major fault, as a stress transfer between two major faults, and parallel to the geothermal area extension.

  5. Geodynamic evolution of the Earth over the Phanerozoic:Plate tectonic activity and palaeoclimatic indicators

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Christian Vérard; Cyril Hochard; Peter O. Baumgartner; Gérard M. Stamplfi

    2015-01-01

    During the last decades, numerous local reconstructions based on ifeld geol-ogy were developed at the University of Lausanne (UNIL). Team members of the UNIL partici-pated in the elaboration of a 600 Ma to present global plate tectonic model deeply rooted in geological data, controlled by geometric and kinematic constraints and coherent with forces acting at plate boundaries. In this paper, we compare values derived from the tectonic model (ages of oceanic lfoor, production and subduction rates, tectonic activity) with a combination of chemical proxies (namely CO2, 87Sr/86Sr, glaciation evidence, and sea-level variations) known to be strongly in-lfuenced by tectonics. One of the outstanding results is the observation of an overall decreas-ing trend in the evolution of the global tectonic activity, mean oceanic ages and plate velocities over the whole Phanerozoic. We speculate that the decreasing trend relfects the global cooling of the Earth system. Additionally, the parallel between the tectonic activity and CO2 together with the extension of glaciations conifrms the generally accepted idea of a primary control of CO2 on climate and highlights the link between plate tectonics and CO2 in a time scale greater than 107 yr. Last, the wide variations observed in the reconstructed sea-lfoor production rates are in contradiction with the steady-state model hypothesized by some.

  6. Plate Tectonics: A Framework for Understanding Our Living Planet.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Achache, Jose

    1987-01-01

    Discusses some of the events leading to the development of the theory of plate tectonics. Describes how seismic, volcanic, and tectonic features observed at the surface of the planet are now seen as a consequence of intense internal activity, and makes suggestions about their further investigation. (TW)

  7. Activities for Plate Tectonics using GeoMapApp

    Science.gov (United States)

    Goodwillie, A. M.

    2016-12-01

    The concept of plate tectonics is a fundamental component of our understanding of how Earth works yet authentic, high-quality geoscience data related to plate tectonics may not be readily available to all students. To compound matters, when data is accessible, students may not possess the skills or resources necessary to explore and analyse it. As a result, much emphasis at federal and state level is now placed upon encouraging students to work with more data and more technology more often and more rigourously. Easy-to-use digital platforms offer much potential for promoting inquiry-based learning at all levels of education. GeoMapApp is one such tool. Developed at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, GeoMapApp (http://www.geomapapp.org) is a free resource that integrates a wide range of research-grade geoscience data in one intuitive map-based interface. Simple strategies for data manipulation, visualisation and presentation allow uses to explore the data in meaningful ways. Layering and transparency capabilities further allow learners to use GeoMapApp to compare multiple data sets at once, and high-impact Save Session functionality allows a GeoMapApp project to be saved for sharing or later use. In this presentation, activities related to plate tectonics will be highlighted. One GeoMapApp activity helps students investigate plate boundaries by exploring earthquake and volcano locations. Another requires students to calculate the rate of seafloor spreading using crustal age data in various ocean basins. A third uses the GeoMapApp layering technique to explore the influence of geological forces in shaping the landscape. Each activity shown can be done by students on an individual basis, as pairs, or as groups. Educators report that student use of GeoMapApp fosters an increased sense of data "ownership" amongst students, promotes STEM skills, and provides them with access to authentic research-grade geoscience data using the same cutting

  8. Grain-damage hysteresis and plate tectonic states

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bercovici, David; Ricard, Yanick

    2016-04-01

    Shear localization in the lithosphere is an essential ingredient for understanding how and why plate tectonics is generated from mantle convection on terrestrial planets. The theoretical model for grain-damage and pinning in two-phase polycrystalline rocks provides a frame-work for understanding lithospheric shear weakening and plate-generation, and is consistent with laboratory and field observations of mylonites. Grain size evolves through the competition between coarsening, which drives grain-growth, and damage, which drives grain reduction. The interface between crystalline phases controls Zener pinning, which impedes grain growth. Damage to the interface enhances the Zener pinning effect, which then reduces grain-size, forcing the rheology into the grain-size-dependent diffusion creep regime. This process thus allows damage and rheological weakening to co-exist, providing a necessary positive self-weakening feedback. Moreover, because pinning inhibits grain-growth it promotes shear-zone longevity and plate-boundary inheritance. However, the suppression of interface damage at low interface curvature (wherein inter-grain mixing is inefficient and other energy sinks of deformational work are potentially more facile) causes a hysteresis effect, in which three possible equilibrium grain-sizes for a given stress coexist: (1) a stable, large-grain, weakly-deforming state, (2) a stable, small-grain, rapidly-deforming state analogous to ultramylonites, and (3) an unstable, intermediate grain-size state perhaps comparable to protomylonites. A comparison of the model to field data suggests that shear-localized zones of small-grain mylonites and ultra-mylonites exist at a lower stress than the co-existing large-grain porphyroclasts, rather than, as predicted by paleopiezometers or paleowattmeters, at a much higher stress; this interpretation of field data thus allows localization to relieve instead of accumulate stress. The model also predicts that a lithosphere that

  9. The present-day number of tectonic plates

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harrison, Christopher G. A.

    2016-03-01

    The number of tectonic plates on Earth described in the literature has expanded greatly since the start of the plate tectonic era, when only about a dozen plates were considered in global models of present-day plate motions. With new techniques of more accurate earthquake epicenter locations, modern ways of measuring ocean bathymetry using swath mapping, and the use of space based geodetic techniques, there has been a huge growth in the number of plates thought to exist. The study by Bird (2003) proposed 52 plates, many of which were delineated on the basis of earthquake locations. Because of the pattern of areas of these plates, he suggested that there should be more small plates than he could identify. In this paper, I gather together publications that have proposed a total of 107 new plates, giving 159 plates in all. The largest plate (Pacific) is about 20 % of the Earth's area or 104 Mm2, and the smallest of which (Plate number 5 from Hammond et al. 2011) is only 273 km2 in area. Sorting the plates by size allows us to investigate how size varies as a function of order. There are several changes of slope in the plots of plate number organized by size against plate size order which are discussed. The sizes of the largest seven plates is constrained by the area of the Earth. A middle set of 73 plates down to an area of 97,563 km2 (the Danakil plate at number 80, is the plate of median size) follows a fairly regular pattern of plate size as a function of plate number. For smaller plates, there is a break in the slope of the plate size/plate number plot and the next 32 plates follow a pattern of plate size proposed by the models of Koehn et al. (2008) down to an area of 11,638 km2 (West Mojave plate # 112). Smaller plates do not follow any regular pattern of area as a function of plate number, probably because we have not sampled enough of these very small plates to reveal any clear pattern.

  10. Optimal Planet Properties For Plate Tectonics Through Time And Space

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stamenkovic, Vlada; Seager, Sara

    2014-11-01

    Both the time and the location of planet formation shape a rocky planet’s mass, interior composition and structure, and hence also its tectonic mode. The tectonic mode of a planet can vary between two end-member solutions, plate tectonics and stagnant lid convection, and does significantly impact outgassing and biogeochemical cycles on any rocky planet. Therefore, estimating how the tectonic mode of a planet is affected by a planet’s age, mass, structure, and composition is a major step towards understanding habitability of exoplanets and geophysical false positives to biosignature gases. We connect geophysics to astronomy in order to understand how we could identify and where we could find planet candidates with optimal conditions for plate tectonics. To achieve this goal, we use thermal evolution models, account for the current wide range of uncertainties, and simulate various alien planets. Based on our best model estimates, we predict that the ideal targets for plate tectonics are oxygen-dominated (C/O<1) (solar system like) rocky planets of ~1 Earth mass with surface oceans, large metallic cores super-Mercury, rocky body densities of ~7000kgm-3), and with small mantle concentrations of iron 0%), water 0%), and radiogenic isotopes 10 times less than Earth). Super-Earths, undifferentiated planets, and especially hypothetical carbon planets, speculated to consist of SiC and C, are not optimal for the occurrence of plate tectonics. These results put Earth close to an ideal compositional and structural configuration for plate tectonics. Moreover, the results indicate that plate tectonics might have never existed on planets formed soon after the Big Bang—but instead is favored on planets formed from an evolved interstellar medium enriched in iron but depleted in silicon, oxygen, and especially in Th, K, and U relative to iron. This possibly sets a belated Galactic start for complex Earth-like surface life if plate tectonics significantly impacts the build up

  11. Petroleum and natural gas geology and plate tectonics

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Koebel, B.

    1984-01-01

    Several processes of oil and gas geology are studied in connection with plate-tectonical processes. Thus it becomes clear, that there is a distinct difference between the Paleozoic development of the European plate and the Mesozoic development. One can state, that the Paleozoic development is essentially influenced by the positions of the mobile belts and the cratonized parts of the plates. The development during Meso-Caenozoic is mainly characterized by crustal processes in the result of the disintegration of Pangaea.

  12. The Okhotsk Plate and the Eurasia-North America plate boundary zone.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hindle, David; Mackey, Kevin

    2014-05-01

    The Eurasia-North America plate boundary zone transitions from spreading at rates of ~ 25mm/yr in the North Atlantic, to compression at rates of ~ 5mm/yr in the region of the Okhotsk plate. Because the pole of rotation between Eurasia and North America lies more or less on their mutual boundary, there is a linear change in rate along the boundary, and regions near the euler pole are subject to extremely low deformation rates. The Okhotsk - Eurasia - North America triple junction lies slightly south of the rotation pole, placing the Okhotsk plate entirely in a weakly contractional setting. Regions near the triple junction absorb 1mm/yr contraction. Further south, towards the shoreline of the Okhotsk sea, up to 5 mm/yr contraction may be absorbed within the plate. How shortening is accommodated across the boundary remains an open question. One possibility is wholesale extrusion of the entire Okhotsk plate (or possibly its northwestern corner) along two plate boundary strike slip faults (Eurasia-Okhostk and North America Okhotsk). The problem with this model is that the seismic record does not presently clearly support it, with the largest events distributed both within the plate interior and on its boundaries. This may suggest that instead, the Okhotsk plate, and particularly its north-western end, consists of a series of smaller blocks which shuffle against each other, partially accommodating extrusion, but also permitting some internal deformation and change of shape of the Okhotsk plate itself. We present analyses of the very sparse seismic record from the region, as well as geometric-kinematic, tectonic models of the possible deformation of northwest Okhotsk to try to better understand the different probabilities of how this slowly deforming plate boundary zone is behaving.

  13. Swath sonar mapping of Earth's submarine plate boundaries

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carbotte, S. M.; Ferrini, V. L.; Celnick, M.; Nitsche, F. O.; Ryan, W. B. F.

    2014-12-01

    The recent loss of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in an area of the Indian Ocean where less than 5% of the seafloor is mapped with depth sounding data (Smith and Marks, EOS 2014) highlights the striking lack of detailed knowledge of the topography of the seabed for much of the worlds' oceans. Advances in swath sonar mapping technology over the past 30 years have led to dramatic improvements in our capability to map the seabed. However, the oceans are vast and only an estimated 10% of the seafloor has been mapped with these systems. Furthermore, the available coverage is highly heterogeneous and focused within areas of national strategic priority and community scientific interest. The major plate boundaries that encircle the globe, most of which are located in the submarine environment, have been a significant focus of marine geoscience research since the advent of swath sonar mapping. While the location of these plate boundaries are well defined from satellite-derived bathymetry, significant regions remain unmapped at the high-resolutions provided by swath sonars and that are needed to study active volcanic and tectonic plate boundary processes. Within the plate interiors, some fossil plate boundary zones, major hotspot volcanoes, and other volcanic provinces have been the focus of dedicated research programs. Away from these major tectonic structures, swath mapping coverage is limited to sparse ocean transit lines which often reveal previously unknown deep-sea channels and other little studied sedimentary structures not resolvable in existing low-resolution global compilations, highlighting the value of these data even in the tectonically quiet plate interiors. Here, we give an overview of multibeam swath sonar mapping of the major plate boundaries of the globe as extracted from public archives. Significant quantities of swath sonar data acquired from deep-sea regions are in restricted-access international archives. Open access to more of these data sets would

  14. Magma genesis, plate tectonics, and chemical differentiation of the Earth

    OpenAIRE

    Wyllie, Peter J.

    1988-01-01

    Magma genesis, migration, and eruption have played prominent roles in the chemical differentiation of the Earth. Plate tectonics has provided the framework of tectonic environments for different suites of igneous rocks and the dynamic mechanisms for moving masses of rock into melting regions. Petrology is rooted in geophysics. Petrological and geophysical processes are calibrated by the phase equilibria of the materials. The geochemistry of basalts and mantle xenoliths demonstrates that the m...

  15. Tectonic plates, D (double prime) thermal structure, and the nature of mantle plumes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lenardic, A.; Kaula, W. M.

    1994-01-01

    It is proposed that subducting tectonic plates can affect the nature of thermal mantle plumes by determining the temperature drop across a plume source layer. The temperature drop affects source layer stability and the morphology of plumes emitted from it. Numerical models are presented to demonstrate how introduction of platelike behavior in a convecting temperature dependent medium, driven by a combination of internal and basal heating, can increase the temperature drop across the lower boundary layer. The temperature drop increases dramatically following introduction of platelike behavior due to formation of a cold temperature inversion above the lower boundary layer. This thermal inversion, induced by deposition of upper boundary layer material to the system base, decays in time, but the temperature drop across the lower boundary layer always remains considerably higher than in models lacking platelike behavior. On the basis of model-inferred boundary layer temperature drops and previous studies of plume dynamics, we argue that generally accepted notions as to the nature of mantle plumes on Earth may hinge on the presence of plates. The implication for Mars and Venus, planets apparently lacking plate tectonics, is that mantle plumes of these planets may differ morphologically from those of Earth. A corollary model-based argument is that as a result of slab-induced thermal inversions above the core mantle boundary the lower most mantle may be subadiabatic, on average (in space and time), if major plate reorganization timescales are less than those acquired to diffuse newly deposited slab material.

  16. A planetary perspective on Earth evolution: Lid Tectonics before Plate Tectonics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Piper, John D. A.

    2013-03-01

    Plate Tectonics requires a specific range of thermal, fluid and compositional conditions before it will operate to mobilise planetary lithospheres. The response to interior heat dispersion ranges from mobile lids in constant motion able to generate zones of subduction and spreading (Plate Tectonics), through styles of Lid Tectonics expressed by stagnant lids punctured by volcanism, to lids alternating between static and mobile. The palaeomagnetic record through Earth history provides a test for tectonic style because a mobile Earth of multiple continents is recorded by diverse apparent polar wander paths, whilst Lid Tectonics is recorded by conformity to a single position. The former is difficult to isolate without extreme selection whereas the latter is a demanding requirement and easily recognised. In the event, the Precambrian palaeomagnetic database closely conforms to this latter property over very long periods of time (~ 2.7-2.2 Ga, 1.5-1.3 Ga and 0.75-0.6 Ga); intervening intervals are characterised by focussed loops compatible with episodes of true polar wander stimulated by disturbances to the planetary figure. Because of this singular property, the Precambrian palaeomagnetic record is highly effective in showing that a dominant Lid Tectonics operated throughout most of Earth history. A continental lid comprising at least 60% of the present continental area and volume had achieved quasi-integrity by 2.7 Ga. Reconfiguration of mantle and continental lid at ~ 2.2 Ga correlates with isotopic signatures and the Great Oxygenation Event and is the closest analogy in Earth history to the resurfacing of Venus. Change from Lid Tectonics to Plate Tectonics is transitional and the geological record identifies incipient development of Plate Tectonics on an orogenic scale especially after 1.1 Ga, but only following break-up of the continental lid (Palaeopangaea) in Ediacaran times beginning at ~ 0.6 Ga has it become comprehensive in the style evident during the

  17. A seismic reflection image for the base of a tectonic plate.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stern, T A; Henrys, S A; Okaya, D; Louie, J N; Savage, M K; Lamb, S; Sato, H; Sutherland, R; Iwasaki, T

    2015-02-05

    Plate tectonics successfully describes the surface of Earth as a mosaic of moving lithospheric plates. But it is not clear what happens at the base of the plates, the lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary (LAB). The LAB has been well imaged with converted teleseismic waves, whose 10-40-kilometre wavelength controls the structural resolution. Here we use explosion-generated seismic waves (of about 0.5-kilometre wavelength) to form a high-resolution image for the base of an oceanic plate that is subducting beneath North Island, New Zealand. Our 80-kilometre-wide image is based on P-wave reflections and shows an approximately 15° dipping, abrupt, seismic wave-speed transition (less than 1 kilometre thick) at a depth of about 100 kilometres. The boundary is parallel to the top of the plate and seismic attributes indicate a P-wave speed decrease of at least 8 ± 3 per cent across it. A parallel reflection event approximately 10 kilometres deeper shows that the decrease in P-wave speed is confined to a channel at the base of the plate, which we interpret as a sheared zone of ponded partial melts or volatiles. This is independent, high-resolution evidence for a low-viscosity channel at the LAB that decouples plates from mantle flow beneath, and allows plate tectonics to work.

  18. Dynamic Analysis of Modifications to Simple Plate Tectonic Theory

    Science.gov (United States)

    Paczkowski, Karen

    A number of geological and geophysical observations suggest significant departures from simple, first-order plate tectonic theory. In this thesis we address the dynamic implications of some of these observations and propose generalized theories to explain their dynamics and conditions of formation. In Chapter 2, we develop a generalized theory and analytic model to predict the conditions under which large-volume removal of continental lithosphere can occur through the formation of drip instabilities. Using damage physics relevant for Earth, we find a large portion of the lithosphere may be mobilized and entrained into growing drip instabilities. For a critical amount of damage, the growth is accelerated sufficiently that large-volume drip instabilities may form within geologically feasible time frames. Our model suggests large-volume lithospheric drip instabilities may arise independently of tectonic settings through damage-assisted mobilization and entrainment of the highly viscous lithosphere. In Chapter 3, we develop a mechanical model independent of volcanism and thermal weakening to explain the initial formation and length scale of rifting and extension near convergent plate boundaries. We conduct a linear stability analysis of a simple viscous necking model, which includes the lithosphere's negative buoyancy, non-Newtonian rheology, and freely moving top surface, to determine which properties of the lithosphere govern the location of rifting. We find that the negative buoyancy of the lithosphere promotes the formation of rifting structures when simple Newtonian viscosities are present. However, localized weakening, introduced through a power law exponent, is required to generate realistic rifting length scales. Our model suggests that the initial location of rifting in the overriding plate at subduction zones is primarily due to the mechanical extension induced by rollback of the subducting slab. In Chapter 4, we propose a theory to explain the seismic

  19. Barrel organ of plate tectonics - a new tool for outreach and education

    Science.gov (United States)

    Broz, Petr; Machek, Matěj; Šorm, Zdar

    2016-04-01

    Plate tectonics is the major geological concept to explain dynamics and structure of Earth's outer shell, the lithosphere. In the plate tectonic theory processes in the Earth lithosphere and its dynamics is driven by the relative motion and interaction of lithospheric plates. Geologically most active regions on Earth often correlate with the lithospheric plate boundaries. Thus for explaining the earth surface evolution, mountain building, volcanism and earthquake origin it is important to understand processes at the plate boundaries. However these processes associated with plate tectonics usually require significant period of time to take effects, therefore, their entire cycles cannot be directly observed in the nature by humans. This makes a challenge for scientists studying these processes, but also for teachers and popularizers trying to explain them to students and to the general public. Therefore, to overcome this problem, we developed a mechanical model of plate tectonics enabling demonstration of most important processes associated with plate tectonics in real time. The mechanical model is a wooden box, more specifically a special type of barrel organ, with hand painted backdrops in the front side. These backdrops are divided into several components representing geodynamic processes associated with plate tectonics, specifically convective currents occurring in the mantle, sea-floor spreading, a subduction of the oceanic crust under the continental crust, partial melting and volcanism associated with subduction, a formation of magmatic stripes, an ascent of mantle plume throughout the mantle, a volcanic activity associated with hot spots, and a formation and degradation of volcanic islands on moving lithospheric plate. All components are set in motion by a handle controlled by a human operator, and the scene is illuminated with colored lights controlled automatically by an electric device embedded in the box. Operation of the model may be seen on www

  20. The dynamics of plate tectonics and mantle flow: from local to global scales.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stadler, Georg; Gurnis, Michael; Burstedde, Carsten; Wilcox, Lucas C; Alisic, Laura; Ghattas, Omar

    2010-08-27

    Plate tectonics is regulated by driving and resisting forces concentrated at plate boundaries, but observationally constrained high-resolution models of global mantle flow remain a computational challenge. We capitalized on advances in adaptive mesh refinement algorithms on parallel computers to simulate global mantle flow by incorporating plate motions, with individual plate margins resolved down to a scale of 1 kilometer. Back-arc extension and slab rollback are emergent consequences of slab descent in the upper mantle. Cold thermal anomalies within the lower mantle couple into oceanic plates through narrow high-viscosity slabs, altering the velocity of oceanic plates. Viscous dissipation within the bending lithosphere at trenches amounts to approximately 5 to 20% of the total dissipation through the entire lithosphere and mantle.

  1. Plate tectonic history of the Arctic

    Science.gov (United States)

    Burke, K.

    1984-01-01

    Tectonic development of the Arctic Ocean is outlined, and geological maps are provided for the Arctic during the mid-Cenozoic, later Cretaceous, late Jurassic, early Cretaceous, early Jurassic and late Devonian. It is concluded that Arctic basin history is moulded by the events of the following intervals: (1) continental collision and immediately subsequent rifting and ocean formation in the Devonian, and continental rifting ocean formation, rapid rotation of microcontinents, and another episode of collision in the latest Jurassic and Cretaceous. It is noted that Cenozoic Arctic basin formation is a smaller scale event superimposed on the late Mesozoic ocean basin.

  2. Plate tectonic history of the Arctic

    Science.gov (United States)

    Burke, K.

    1984-01-01

    Tectonic development of the Arctic Ocean is outlined, and geological maps are provided for the Arctic during the mid-Cenozoic, later Cretaceous, late Jurassic, early Cretaceous, early Jurassic and late Devonian. It is concluded that Arctic basin history is moulded by the events of the following intervals: (1) continental collision and immediately subsequent rifting and ocean formation in the Devonian, and continental rifting ocean formation, rapid rotation of microcontinents, and another episode of collision in the latest Jurassic and Cretaceous. It is noted that Cenozoic Arctic basin formation is a smaller scale event superimposed on the late Mesozoic ocean basin.

  3. Numerical modelling of instantaneous plate tectonics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Minster, J. B.; Haines, E.; Jordan, T. H.; Molnar, P.

    1974-01-01

    Assuming lithospheric plates to be rigid, 68 spreading rates, 62 fracture zones trends, and 106 earthquake slip vectors are systematically inverted to obtain a self-consistent model of instantaneous relative motions for eleven major plates. The inverse problem is linearized and solved iteratively by a maximum-likelihood procedure. Because the uncertainties in the data are small, Gaussian statistics are shown to be adequate. The use of a linear theory permits (1) the calculation of the uncertainties in the various angular velocity vectors caused by uncertainties in the data, and (2) quantitative examination of the distribution of information within the data set. The existence of a self-consistent model satisfying all the data is strong justification of the rigid plate assumption. Slow movement between North and South America is shown to be resolvable.

  4. Plate Tectonism on Early Mars: Diverse Geological and Geophysical Evidence

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dohm, J. M.; Maruyama, S.; Baker, V. R.; Anderson, R. C.; Ferris, Justin C.; Hare, Trent M.

    2002-01-01

    Mars has been modified by endogenic and exogenic processes similar in many ways to Earth. However, evidence of Mars embryonic development is preserved because of low erosion rates and stagnant lid convective conditions since the Late Noachian. Early plate tectonism can explain such evidence. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  5. Junior Secondary School Students' Conceptions about Plate Tectonics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mills, Reece; Tomas, Louisa; Lewthwaite, Brian

    2017-01-01

    There are ongoing calls for research that identifies students' conceptions about geographical phenomena. In response, this study investigates junior secondary school students' (N = 95) conceptions about plate tectonics. Student response data was generated from semi-structured interviews-about-instances and a two-tiered multiple-choice test…

  6. Plate tectonics: Delayed response to mantle pull

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nedimović, Mladen R.

    2016-08-01

    At mid-ocean ridges, the directions in which plates spread and the underlying mantle flows were thought to broadly align. A synthesis of results from ridges that spread at a variety of rates reveals that instead there may be a systematic skew.

  7. Inversion for the driving forces of plate tectonics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Richardson, R. M.

    1983-01-01

    Inverse modeling techniques have been applied to the problem of determining the roles of various forces that may drive and resist plate tectonic motions. Separate linear inverse problems have been solved to find the best fitting pole of rotation for finite element grid point velocities and to find the best combination of force models to fit the observed relative plate velocities for the earth's twelve major plates using the generalized inverse operator. Variance-covariance data on plate motion have also been included. Results emphasize the relative importance of ridge push forces in the driving mechanism. Convergent margin forces are smaller by at least a factor of two, and perhaps by as much as a factor of twenty. Slab pull, apparently, is poorly transmitted to the surface plate as a driving force. Drag forces at the base of the plate are smaller than ridge push forces, although the sign of the force remains in question.

  8. Inversion for the driving forces of plate tectonics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Richardson, R. M.

    1983-01-01

    Inverse modeling techniques have been applied to the problem of determining the roles of various forces that may drive and resist plate tectonic motions. Separate linear inverse problems have been solved to find the best fitting pole of rotation for finite element grid point velocities and to find the best combination of force models to fit the observed relative plate velocities for the earth's twelve major plates using the generalized inverse operator. Variance-covariance data on plate motion have also been included. Results emphasize the relative importance of ridge push forces in the driving mechanism. Convergent margin forces are smaller by at least a factor of two, and perhaps by as much as a factor of twenty. Slab pull, apparently, is poorly transmitted to the surface plate as a driving force. Drag forces at the base of the plate are smaller than ridge push forces, although the sign of the force remains in question.

  9. Scaling of plate-tectonic convection with pseudoplastic rheology

    CERN Document Server

    Korenaga, Jun

    2010-01-01

    The scaling of plate-tectonic convection is investigated by simulating thermal convection with pseudoplastic rheology and strongly temperature-dependent viscosity. The effect of mantle melting is also explored with additional depth-dependent viscosity. Heat-flow scaling can be constructed with only two parameters, the internal Rayleigh number and the lithospheric viscosity contrast, the latter of which is determined entirely by rheological properties. The critical viscosity contrast for the transition between plate-tectonic and stagnant-lid convection is found to be proportional to the square root of the internal Rayleigh number. The relation between mantle temperature and surface heat flux on Earth is discussed on the basis of these scaling laws, and the inverse relationship between them, as previously suggested from the consideration of global energy balance, is confirmed by this fully dynamic approach. In the presence of surface water to reduce the effective friction coefficient, the operation of plate tec...

  10. Tectonics of the Indo-Australian plate near the Ninetyeast Ridge constrained from marine gravity and magnetic data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chen, Jie; Zhang, Jinchang

    2017-06-01

    Although the Indo-Australian plate near the Ninetyeast Ridge is important for understanding the formation of new plate boundaries, its tectonic problems are complex and most of them are poorly known. This paper made a detailed tectonic analysis based on the data of bathymetry, gravity and magnetics. Bathymetry and gravity maps show morphological features of many folds, which are related to the intraplate deformation of the Indo-Australian plate due to the collision between the Indian and Asian plates. Gravity anomalies show the structure of fracture zones, which are caused by the seafloor spreading and transform faulting. The characteristics of the folds and fracture zones are consistent with the hypothesis that diffuse plate boundaries and redefined plate components would occur within the Indo-Australian plate. In addition, compiled magnetic data demonstrate magnetic lineations, abandoned spreading centers, southward ridge jumps and plate motions. These features provide useful information for rebuilding the tectonic evolution history of the study area. Magnetic anomalies suggest that an additional plate boundary of transform fault type is developing.

  11. Plate Tectonics as a Far-From-Equilibrium Self-Organized Dissipative System

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anderson, D. L.

    2001-12-01

    A fluid above the critical Rayleigh number is far from equilibrium and spontaneously organizes itself into patterns involving the collective motion of large numbers of molecules which are resisted by the viscosity of the fluid. No external template is involved in forming the pattern. In 1928 Pearson showed that Bénard's experiments were driven by variations in surface tension at the top of the fluid and the surface motions drove convection in the fluid. In this case, the surface organized itself AND the underlying fluid. Both internal buoyancy driven flow and flow driven by surface forces can be far-from-equilibrium self-organized open systems that receive energy and matter from the environment. In the Earth, the cold thermal boundary layer at the surface drives plate tectonics and introduces temperature, shear and pressure gradients into the mantle that drive mantle convection. The mantle provides energy and material but may not provide the template. Plate tectonics is therefore a candidate for a far-from-equilibrium dissipative self-organizing system. Alternatively, one could view mantle convection as the self-organized system and the plates as simply the surface manifestation. Lithospheric architecture also imposes lateral temperature gradients onto the mantle which can drive and organize flow. Far-from-equilibrium self-organization requires; an open system, interacting parts, nonlinearities or feedbacks, an outside steady source of energy or matter, multiple possible states and a source of dissipation. In uniform fluids viscosity is the source of dissipation. Sources of dissipation in the plate system include bending, breaking, folding, shearing, tearing, collision and basal drag. These can change rapidly, in contrast to plate driving forces, and introduce the sort of fluctuations that can reorganize far-from-equilibrium systems. Global plate reorganizations can alternatively be thought of as convective overturns of the mantle, or thermal weakening of plates

  12. Mixed boundary conditions for piezoelectric plates

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2009-01-01

    For plate bending and stretching problems in piezoelectric materials,the reciprocal theorem and the general solution of piezoelasticity are applied in a novel way to obtain the appropriate mixed boundary conditions accurate to all order.A decay analysis technique is used to establish necessary conditions that the prescribed data on the edge of the plate must satisfy in order that it should generate a decaying state within the plate.For the case of axisymmetric bending and stretching of a circular plate,these decaying state conditions are obtained explicitly for the first time when the mixed conditions are imposed on the plate edge.They are then used for the correct formulation of boundary conditions for the interior solution.

  13. The magma ocean as an impediment to lunar plate tectonics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Warren, Paul H.

    1993-01-01

    The primary impediment to plate tectonics on the moon was probably the great thickness of its crust and particularly its high crust/lithosphere thickness ratio. This in turn can be attributed to the preponderance of low-density feldspar over all other Al-compatible phases in the lunar interior. During the magma ocean epoch, the moon's crust/lithosphere thickness ratio was at the maximum theoretical value, approximately 1, and it remained high for a long time afterwards. A few large regions of thin crust were produced by basin-scale cratering approximately contemporaneous with the demise of the magma ocean. However, these regions probably also tend to have uncommonly thin lithosphere, since they were directly heated and indirectly enriched in K, Th, and U by the same cratering process. Thus, plate tectonics on the moon in the form of systematic lithosphere subduction was impeded by the magma ocean.

  14. Could plate tectonics on Venus be concealed by volcanic deposits

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kaula, W. M.; Muradian, L. M.

    1982-01-01

    The present investigation is supplementary to a study reported by Kaula and Phillips (1981). From an analysis of Pioneer Venus altimetry, Kaula and Phillips had inferred that any heat loss from the planet by plate tectonics must be small compared to that from the earth. However, it has been suggested by others that plate tectonic may exist on Venus, but that the expected 'square root of s' dependence of the topographic drop off is not observed because it is concealed by lava flows. The present investigation has the objective to conduct an examination whether this suggestion of concealment by lava flow is correct. On the basis of the performed analysis, it is concluded that the results obtained by Kaula and Phillips appear to be well justified.

  15. Teaching Earth Dynamics: What's Wrong with Plate Tectonics Theory?

    CERN Document Server

    Herndon, J M

    2005-01-01

    Textbooks frequently extol plate tectonics theory without questioning what might be wrong with the theory or without discussing a competitive theory. How can students be taught to challenge popular ideas when they are only presented a one-sided view? In just a few pages, I describe more than a century of geodynamic ideas. I review what is wrong with plate tectonics theory and with Earth expansion theory, and describe my new Whole-Earth Decompression Dynamics Theory, which unifies the two previous dominant theories in a self- consistent manner. Along the way, I disclose details of what real science is all about, details all too often absent in textbooks and classroom discussions. In these few pages, I only touch on highlights and just part the curtain a bit so that teachers might glimpse ways to bring to their students some of the richness and excitement of discovery that becomes evident when one begins to question prevailing, currently popular perceptions of our world.

  16. Could plate tectonics on Venus be concealed by volcanic deposits

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kaula, W. M.; Muradian, L. M.

    1982-01-01

    The present investigation is supplementary to a study reported by Kaula and Phillips (1981). From an analysis of Pioneer Venus altimetry, Kaula and Phillips had inferred that any heat loss from the planet by plate tectonics must be small compared to that from the earth. However, it has been suggested by others that plate tectonic may exist on Venus, but that the expected 'square root of s' dependence of the topographic drop off is not observed because it is concealed by lava flows. The present investigation has the objective to conduct an examination whether this suggestion of concealment by lava flow is correct. On the basis of the performed analysis, it is concluded that the results obtained by Kaula and Phillips appear to be well justified.

  17. The magma ocean as an impediment to lunar plate tectonics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Warren, Paul H.

    1993-01-01

    The primary impediment to plate tectonics on the moon was probably the great thickness of its crust and particularly its high crust/lithosphere thickness ratio. This in turn can be attributed to the preponderance of low-density feldspar over all other Al-compatible phases in the lunar interior. During the magma ocean epoch, the moon's crust/lithosphere thickness ratio was at the maximum theoretical value, approximately 1, and it remained high for a long time afterwards. A few large regions of thin crust were produced by basin-scale cratering approximately contemporaneous with the demise of the magma ocean. However, these regions probably also tend to have uncommonly thin lithosphere, since they were directly heated and indirectly enriched in K, Th, and U by the same cratering process. Thus, plate tectonics on the moon in the form of systematic lithosphere subduction was impeded by the magma ocean.

  18. Titanium isotopic evidence for felsic crust and plate tectonics 3.5 billion years ago.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Greber, Nicolas D; Dauphas, Nicolas; Bekker, Andrey; Ptáček, Matouš P; Bindeman, Ilya N; Hofmann, Axel

    2017-09-22

    Earth exhibits a dichotomy in elevation and chemical composition between the continents and ocean floor. Reconstructing when this dichotomy arose is important for understanding when plate tectonics started and how the supply of nutrients to the oceans changed through time. We measured the titanium isotopic composition of shales to constrain the chemical composition of the continental crust exposed to weathering and found that shales of all ages have a uniform isotopic composition. This can only be explained if the emerged crust was predominantly felsic (silica-rich) since 3.5 billion years ago, requiring an early initiation of plate tectonics. We also observed a change in the abundance of biologically important nutrients phosphorus and nickel across the Archean-Proterozoic boundary, which might have helped trigger the rise in atmospheric oxygen. Copyright © 2017 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works.

  19. Organization of the tectonic plates in the last 200 Myr (Invited)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Morra, G.; Seton, M.; Quevedo, L. E.; Müller, D.

    2013-12-01

    The present tessellation of the Earth's surface into tectonic plates displays a remarkably regular plate size distribution, described by either one (Sornette and Pisarenko, 2003) or two (Bird, 2003) statistically distinct groups, characterised by large and small plate size. A unique distribution implies a hierarchical structure from the largest to the smallest plate. Alternatively, two distributions indicate distinct evolutionary laws for large and small plates, the first tied to mantle flow, the second determined by a hierarchical fragmentation process. We analyse detailed reconstructions of plate boundaries during the last 200 Myr and find that (i) large and small plates display distinct statistical distributions, (ii) the small plates display little organisational change since 60 Ma and (iii) the large plates oscillate between heterogeneous (200-170 Ma and 65-50 Ma) and homogeneous (120-100 Ma) plate tessellations on a timescale of about 100 Myr. Heterogeneous states are reached more rapidly, while the plate configuration decays into homogeneous states following a slower asymptotic curve, suggesting that heterogeneous configurations are excited states while homogeneous tessellations are equilibrium states. We explain this evolution by proposing a model that alternates between bottom- and top-driven Earth dynamics, physically described by fluid-dynamic analogies, the Rayleigh-Benard and Bénard-Marangoni convection, respectively. We discuss the implications for true polar wander (TPW), global kinematic reorganisations (50 and 100 Ma) and the Earth's magnetic field inversion frequency. Earth's present tessellation: grey scale proportional to the logarithm of plate size. Plot: logarithm of complementary 'cumulative plate count' (Y-axis) vs. the logarithm of the plate size (X-axis). Time evolution of the 'standard deviation' of the plate size every one million years.

  20. BOLIVAR & GEODINOS: Investigations of the Southern Caribbean Plate Boundary

    Science.gov (United States)

    Levander, A.; Schmitz, M.; Working Groups, B.

    2006-12-01

    The southern Caribbean-South American plate boundary has many similarities to California's San Andreas system: 1) The CAR-SA system consists of a series of strands of active right lateral strike-slip faults extending >1000 km from the Antilles subduction zone. This system has several names and includes the El Pilar, Coche, San Sebastian, Moron, and Oca faults. 2) The CAR-SA relative velocity has been about 20 mm/yr of mostly right lateral motion since about 55 Ma, giving a total displacement on the CAR-SA plate boundary similar to that of the San Andreas system. 3) The plate boundary has about 10% convergence in western SA, with less as one moves eastward due to relative convergence between North and South America. 4) The CAR-SA system has fold and thrust belts best developed continentward of the strike-slip faults, similar to the San Andreas. 5) There is a big bend in the CAR plate boundary at approximately the same distance from the Antilles trench as the big bend in Southern California is from the Cascadia subduction zone. The tectonic origins of the CAR-SA plate boundary and the San Andreas are very different, however, despite the similarities between the systems. Rather than impingement of a ridge on a trench, the CAR-SA system is thought to have resulted from a continuous oblique collision of the southern end of a Cretaceous island arc system with the northern edge of South America. During this process the CAR island arc and the modern CAR plate overrode a proto-Caribbean plate and destroyed a Mesozoic passive margin on the northern edge of SA. BOLIVAR and GEODINOS are multi-disciplinary investigations of the lithosphere and deeper structures associated with the diffuse CAR-SA plate boundary zone. We review a number of observations regarding the plate boundary obtained or confirmed from these studies: 1) The Caribbean Large Igneous Province, being overridden by the Maracaibo block in western Venezuela, can be identified beneath Aruba and coastal Venezuela

  1. Long-term exhumation of landscapes along the Pacific-North American plate boundary as inferred from apatite (U-Th)/He and ArcGIS analyses

    OpenAIRE

    Buscher, Jamie Todd

    2007-01-01

    The Pacific-North American plate boundary is typified by transpression and convergence, yet the relationship between interplate deformation and long-term crustal shortening is not fully understood. The continuous belt of rugged topography that extends along the entire plate boundary is generally associated with oblique tectonic plate motion, strong interplate coupling, and terrane accretion, but relating plate boundary orogenesis to variations in plate geometry and behavior requires detailed ...

  2. Turbulent boundary layer over flexible plates

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rostami, Parand; Ioppolo, Tindaro

    2016-11-01

    This research describes the structure of a turbulent boundary layer flow with a zero pressure gradient over elastic plates. The elastic plates made of a thin aluminum sheets with thickness between 50 and 500 microns were placed on the floor of a subsonic wind tunnel and exposed to a turbulent boundary layer flow with a free stream velocity between 20m/s and 100m/s. The ceiling of the test section of the wind tunnel is adjustable so that a nearly zero pressure gradient is obtained in the test section. Hot-wire anemometry was used to measure the velocity components. Mean, fluctuating velocities and Reynolds stresses will be presented and compared with the values of a rigid plate.

  3. The Biggest Plates on Earth. Submarine Ring of Fire--Grades 5-6. Plate Tectonics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (DOC), Rockville, MD.

    This activity is designed to teach how tectonic plates move, what some consequences of this motion are, and how magnetic anomalies document the motion at spreading centers do. The activity provides learning objectives, a list of needed materials, key vocabulary words, background information, day-to-day procedures, internet connections, career…

  4. Structures in the Deep Mantle: Implications for the Onset of Plate Tectonics and the Viscosity Structure

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stein, Claudia; Hansen, Ulrich

    2016-04-01

    Recently deep structures have been studied intensively. The observed large anomalies with reduced seismic velocities (LLSVPs) beneath Africa and the Pacific are obtained in numerical models as an initial dense layer at the core-mantle boundary (CMB) is pushed up to piles by the convective flow (e.g., McNamara et al., EPSL 229, 1-9, 2010). Adding a dense CMB layer to a model featuring active plate tectonics, Trim et al. (EPSL 405, 1-14, 2014) find that surface mobility is strongly hindered by the dense material and can even vanish completely for a CMB layer that has a too high density or too large a volume. In a further study we employed a fully rheological model in which oceanic plates form self-consistently. We observe that an initial dense CMB layer strongly affects the formation of plates and therefore the onset time of plate tectonics. In a systematic 2D parameter study of thermochemical convection we discuss the resulting viscosity structure and time of plate initiation.

  5. Deep Structures and Initiation of Plate Tectonics in Thermochemical Mantle Convection Models

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hansen, U.; Stein, C.

    2015-12-01

    Recently deep thermochemical structures have been studied intensively. The observed large anomalies with reduced seismic velocities (LLSVPs) beneath Africa and the Pacific are obtained in numerical models as an initial dense layer at the core-mantle boundary (CMB) is pushed up to piles by the convective flow (e.g., McNamara et al., EPSL 229, 1-9, 2010). Adding a dense CMB layer to a model featuring active plate tectonics, Trim et al. (EPSL 405, 1-14, 2014) find that surface mobility is strongly hindered by the dense material and can even vanish completely for a CMB layer that has a too high density or too large a volume.In a further study we employed a fully rheological model in which oceanic plates form self-consistently. We observe that an initial dense CMB layer strongly affects the formation of plates and therefore the onset time of plate tectonics. We present a systematic 2D parameter study exploring the time of plate initiation and discuss the resulting deep thermal and thermochemical structures in a self-consistent thermochemical mantle convection system.

  6. Study provides data on active plate tectonics in southeast Asia region

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilson, P.; Rais, J.; Reigber, Ch.; Reinhart, E.; Ambrosius, B. A. C.; Le Pichon, X.; Kasser, M.; Suharto, P.; Majid, Dato'Abdul; Yaakub, Dato'Paduka Awang Haji Othman Bin Haji; Almeda, R.; Boonphakdee, C.

    A major geodynamic study has provided significant new information about the location of active plate boundaries in and around Southeast Asia, as well as deformation processes in the Sulawesi region of Indonesia and tectonic activity in the Philippine archipelago. Results also have confirmed the existence of the so-called Sunda Block, which appears to be rotating with respect to adjacent plates.The study, known as the Geodynamics of South and South-East Asia (GEODYSSEA) project, has been a joint venture of the European Commission and the Association of South- East Asian Nations. It began in 1991 and involved a large team of European and Asian scientists and technicians studying the complex geodynamic processes and natural hazards of the region from the Southeast Asia mainland to the Philippines to northern Australia. Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, and tectonically induced landslides endanger the lives of millions of people in the region, and the tectonic activity behind these natural hazards results from the convergence and collision of the Eurasian, Philippine, and Indo-Australian Plates at relative velocities of up to 10 cm per year.

  7. Continental Transform Boundaries: Tectonic Evolution and Geohazards

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Michael Steckler

    2012-04-01

    Full Text Available Continental transform boundaries cross heavily populated regions, and they are associated with destructive earthquakes,for example, the North Anatolian Fault (NAFacross Turkey, the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden fault in Haiti,the San Andreas Fault in California, and the El Pilar fault in Venezuela. Transform basins are important because they are typically associated with 3-D fault geometries controlling segmentation—thus, the size and timing of damaging earthquakes—and because sediments record both deformation and earthquakes. Even though transform basins have been extensively studied, their evolution remains controversial because we don’t understand the specifics about coupling of vertical and horizontal motions and about the basins’long-term kinematics. Seismic and tsunami hazard assessments require knowing architecture and kinematics of faultsas well as how the faults are segmented.

  8. Geoid Data and Implications for Plate Tectonic Dynamics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Richardson, R. M.; Coblentz, D. D.

    2013-12-01

    It has long been recognized that the motion of the mechanically rigid lithospheric plates of the earth are the surface expression of large-scale convection in the mantle. It is also accepted that the stresses driving plate motion are an amalgam of the basal tractions associated with this convection and long-wavelength density variations within the plates themselves. Parsing the relative contribution from these two sources to the geodynamics of the lithosphere continues to be an important topic of plate dynamics research. Because geoid anomalies are directly related to the local dipole moment of the density-depth distribution, they provide an ideal method for evaluating density variations within the lithosphere and the associated tectonic stresses. The main challenge with this approach is isolating the lithospheric geoid contribution from the full geoid (which is dominated by sources from deeper in the earth, namely the lower mantle). We address this issue by using a high-pass spherical harmonic filtering of the EGM2008-WGS84 geoid (which is complete to spherical harmonic degree and order 2159), with a cosine taper between orders 9 to 13 and 78 to 82 to produce a 'lithospheric' geoid. In the present study we focus on tectonic implications of the lithospheric geoid in three different areas: 1) passive continental margins where we have evaluated over 150 margin-transects spaced roughly every three degrees. The global average geoid anomaly associated with the transition from old oceanic lithosphere to the continent was found to 6-9 meters and appears to be insensitive to a range of geoid filtering degrees and orders; 2) The geoid highs associated with the mid-ocean ridges and the cooling oceanic lithospheric, where we have examined a number of geoid profiles across ridges and find that previous estimates of a geoid anomaly of 10-15 meters associated with ridges to be valid; and 3) continental regions which are characterized by both elevated geoid anomalies (e.g., the

  9. This Dynamic Planet: World map of volcanoes, earthquakes, impact craters and plate tectonics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Simkin, Tom; Tilling, Robert I.; Vogt, Peter R.; Kirby, Stephen H.; Kimberly, Paul; Stewart, David B.

    2006-01-01

    Our Earth is a dynamic planet, as clearly illustrated on the main map by its topography, over 1500 volcanoes, 44,000 earthquakes, and 170 impact craters. These features largely reflect the movements of Earth's major tectonic plates and many smaller plates or fragments of plates (including microplates). Volcanic eruptions and earthquakes are awe-inspiring displays of the powerful forces of nature and can be extraordinarily destructive. On average, about 60 of Earth's 550 historically active volcanoes are in eruption each year. In 2004 alone, over 160 earthquakes were magnitude 6.0 or above, some of which caused casualties and substantial damage. This map shows many of the features that have shaped--and continue to change--our dynamic planet. Most new crust forms at ocean ridge crests, is carried slowly away by plate movement, and is ultimately recycled deep into the earth--causing earthquakes and volcanism along the boundaries between moving tectonic plates. Oceans are continually opening (e.g., Red Sea, Atlantic) or closing (e.g., Mediterranean). Because continental crust is thicker and less dense than thinner, younger oceanic crust, most does not sink deep enough to be recycled, and remains largely preserved on land. Consequently, most continental bedrock is far older than the oldest oceanic bedrock. (see back of map) The earthquakes and volcanoes that mark plate boundaries are clearly shown on this map, as are craters made by impacts of extraterrestrial objects that punctuate Earth's history, some causing catastrophic ecological changes. Over geologic time, continuing plate movements, together with relentless erosion and redeposition of material, mask or obliterate traces of earlier plate-tectonic or impact processes, making the older chapters of Earth's 4,500-million-year history increasingly difficult to read. The recent activity shown on this map provides only a present-day snapshot of Earth's long history, helping to illustrate how its present surface came to

  10. What drives microplate motion and deformation in the northeastern Caribbean plate boundary region?

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    van Benthem, S.A.C.|info:eu-repo/dai/nl/304833657; Govers, R.|info:eu-repo/dai/nl/108173836; Wortel, R.|info:eu-repo/dai/nl/068439202

    2014-01-01

    The north Caribbean plate boundary zone is a broad deformation zone with several fault systems and tectonic blocks that move with different velocities. The indentation by the Bahamas Platform (the “Bahamas Collision”) is generally invoked as a cause of this fragmentation. We propose that a second

  11. What drives microplate motion and deformation in the northeastern Caribbean plate boundary region?

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    van Benthem, S.A.C.|info:eu-repo/dai/nl/304833657; Govers, R.|info:eu-repo/dai/nl/108173836; Wortel, R.|info:eu-repo/dai/nl/068439202

    2014-01-01

    The north Caribbean plate boundary zone is a broad deformation zone with several fault systems and tectonic blocks that move with different velocities. The indentation by the Bahamas Platform (the “Bahamas Collision”) is generally invoked as a cause of this fragmentation. We propose that a second dr

  12. The efficiency of plate tectonics and nonequilibrium dynamical evolution of planetary mantles

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moore, W. B.; Lenardic, A.

    2015-11-01

    Consideration of the structure of dynamical equilibria in terrestrial planets using simplified descriptions of the relevant heat transport processes (rigid-lid convection, plate tectonics, and heat pipe volcanism) reveals that if the efficiency of plate tectonic heat transport decreases at higher mantle temperature, then it cannot govern quasi-equilibrium dynamical evolution, and the system is always evolving away from the plate tectonic regime. A planet on which plate tectonics is less efficient at higher temperature stays in heat pipe mode longer, spends less time undergoing plate tectonics, and has a low and ever-decreasing Urey number during this phase. These conclusions are based solely on the structure of the equilibria in a system with less efficient plate tectonics in the past and are independent of the mechanisms leading to this behavior. Commonly used quasi-equilibrium approaches to planetary thermal evolution are likely not valid for planets in which heat transport becomes less efficient at higher temperature.

  13. Relationship between outer forearc subsidence and plate boundary kinematics along the Northeast Japan convergent margin

    Science.gov (United States)

    Regalla, Christine; Fisher, Donald M.; Kirby, Eric; Furlong, Kevin P.

    2013-12-01

    Tectonic erosion along convergent plate boundaries, whereby removal of upper plate material along the subduction zone interface drives kilometer-scale outer forearc subsidence, has been purported to explain the evolution of nearly half the world's subduction margins, including part of the history of northeast Japan. Here, we evaluate the role of plate boundary dynamics in driving forearc subsidence in northeastern Japan. A synthesis of newly updated analyses of outer forearc subsidence, the timing and kinematics of upper plate deformation, and the history of plate convergence along the Japan trench demonstrate that the onset of rapid fore-arc tectonic subsidence is contemporaneous with upper plate extension during the opening of the Sea of Japan and with an acceleration in convergence rate at the trench. In Plio-Quaternary time, relative uplift of the outer forearc is contemporaneous with contraction across the arc and a decrease in plate convergence rate. The coincidence of these changes across the forearc, arc, backarc system appears to require an explanation at the scale of the entire plate boundary. Similar observations along other western Pacific margins suggest that correlations between forearc subsidence and major changes in plate kinematics are the rule, rather than the exception. We suggest that a significant component of forearc subsidence at the northeast Japan margin is not the consequence of basal tectonic erosion, but instead reflects dynamic changes in plate boundary geometry driven by temporal variations in plate kinematics. If correct, this model requires a reconsideration of the mass balance and crustal recycling of continental crust at nonaccretionary margins.

  14. Observing tectonic plate motions and deformations from satellite laser ranging

    Science.gov (United States)

    Christodoulidis, D. C.; Smith, D. E.; Kolenkiewicz, R.; Klosko, S. M.; Torrence, M. H.

    1985-01-01

    The scope of geodesy has been greatly affected by the advent of artificial near-earth satellites. The present paper provides a description of the results obtained from the reduction of data collected with the aid of satellite laser ranging. It is pointed out that dynamic reduction of satellite laser ranging (SLR) data provides very precise positions in three dimensions for the laser tracking network. The vertical components of the stations, through the tracking geometry provided by the global network and the accurate knowledge of orbital dynamics, are uniquely related to the center of mass of the earth. Attention is given to the observations, the methodologies for reducing satellite observations to estimate station positions, Lageos-observed tectonic plate motions, an improved temporal resolution of SLR plate motions, and the SLR vertical datum.

  15. Observing tectonic plate motions and deformations from satellite laser ranging

    Science.gov (United States)

    Christodoulidis, D. C.; Smith, D. E.; Kolenkiewicz, R.; Klosko, S. M.; Torrence, M. H.

    1985-01-01

    The scope of geodesy has been greatly affected by the advent of artificial near-earth satellites. The present paper provides a description of the results obtained from the reduction of data collected with the aid of satellite laser ranging. It is pointed out that dynamic reduction of satellite laser ranging (SLR) data provides very precise positions in three dimensions for the laser tracking network. The vertical components of the stations, through the tracking geometry provided by the global network and the accurate knowledge of orbital dynamics, are uniquely related to the center of mass of the earth. Attention is given to the observations, the methodologies for reducing satellite observations to estimate station positions, Lageos-observed tectonic plate motions, an improved temporal resolution of SLR plate motions, and the SLR vertical datum.

  16. Plate tectonics from VLBI and SLR global data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harrison, Christopher G. A.; Robaudo, Stefano

    1992-01-01

    This study is based on data derived from fifteen years of observations of the SLR (side-looking radar) network and six years of the VLBI (very long baseline interferometry) network. In order to use all available information VLBI and SLR global data sets were combined in a least squares fashion to calculate station horizontal velocities. All significant data pertaining to a single site contribute to the station horizontal motion. The only constraint on the solution is that no vertical motion is allowed. This restriction does not greatly affect the precision of the overall solution given the fact that the expected vertical motion for most stations, even those experiencing post glacial uplift, is well under 1 cm/yr. Since the average baseline is under 4,000 km, only a small fraction of the station vertical velocity is translated into baseline rates so that the error introduced in the solution by restricting up-down station movement is minimal. As a reference, station velocities were then compared to the ones predicted by the NUVEL-1 geological model of DeMets et al. (1990). The focus of the study is on analyzing these discrepancies for global plate tectonics as well as regional tectonic settings. The method used also allows us not only to derive horizontal motion for individual stations but also to calculate Euler vectors for those plates that have enough stations located on the stable interior like North America, Pacific, Eurasia, and Australia.

  17. Why is understanding when Plate Tectonics began important for understanding Earth?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Korenaga, J.

    2015-12-01

    Almost all kinds of geological activities on Earth depend critically on the operation of plate tectonics, but did plate tectonics initiate right after the solidification of a putative magma ocean, or did it start much later, e.g., sometime during the Archean? This problem of the initiation of plate tectonics in the Earth history presents us a unique combination of observational and theoretical challenges. Finding geological evidence for the onset of plate tectonics is difficult because plate tectonics is a dynamic process that continuously destroys a remnant of the past. We therefore need to rely on more secondary traces, the interpretation of which often involves theoretical considerations. At the same time, it is still hard to predict, on a firm theoretical ground, when plate tectonics should have prevailed, because there is no consensus on why plate tectonics currently takes place on Earth. Knowing when plate tectonics began is one thing, and understanding why it did so is another. The initiation of plate tectonics is one of the last frontiers in earth science, which encourages a concerted effort from both geologists and geophysicists to identify key geological evidence and distinguish between competing theories of early Earth evolution. Such an endeavor is essential to arrive at a self-contained theory for the evolution of terrestrial planets.

  18. Pliocene eclogite exhumation at plate tectonic rates in eastern Papua New Guinea.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baldwin, Suzanne L; Monteleone, Brian D; Webb, Laura E; Fitzgerald, Paul G; Grove, Marty; Hill, E June

    2004-09-16

    As lithospheric plates are subducted, rocks are metamorphosed under high-pressure and ultrahigh-pressure conditions to produce eclogites and eclogite facies metamorphic rocks. Because chemical equilibrium is rarely fully achieved, eclogites may preserve in their distinctive mineral assemblages and textures a record of the pressures, temperatures and deformation the rock was subjected to during subduction and subsequent exhumation. Radioactive parent-daughter isotopic variations within minerals reveal the timing of these events. Here we present in situ zircon U/Pb ion microprobe data that dates the timing of eclogite facies metamorphism in eastern Papua New Guinea at 4.3 +/- 0.4 Myr ago, making this the youngest documented eclogite exposed at the Earth's surface. Eclogite exhumation from depths of approximately 75 km was extremely rapid and occurred at plate tectonic rates (cm yr(-1)). The eclogite was exhumed within a portion of the obliquely convergent Australian-Pacific plate boundary zone, in an extending region located west of the Woodlark basin sea floor spreading centre. Such rapid exhumation (> 1 cm yr(-1)) of high-pressure and, we infer, ultrahigh-pressure rocks is facilitated by extension within transient plate boundary zones associated with rapid oblique plate convergence.

  19. Tertiary plate tectonics and high-pressure metamorphism in New Caledonia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brothers, R.N.; Blake, M.C.

    1973-01-01

    The sialic basement of New Caledonia is a Permian-Jurassic greywacke sequence which was folded and metamorphosed to prehnite-pumpellyite or low-grade greenschist facies by the Late Jurassic. Succeeding Cretaceous-Eocene sediments unconformably overlie this basement and extend outwards onto oceanic crust. Tertiary tectonism occurred in three distinct phases. 1. (1) During the Late Eocene a nappe of peridotite was obducted onto southern New Caledonia from northeast to southwest, but without causing significant metamorphism in the underlying sialic rocks. 2. (2) Oligocene compressive thrust tectonics in the northern part of the island accompanied a major east-west subduction zone, at least 30 km wide, which is identified by an imbricate system of tectonically intruded melanges and by development of lawsonite-bearing assemblages in adjacent country rocks; this high-pressure mineralogy constituted a primary metamorphism for the Cretaceous-Eocene sedimentary pile, but was overprinted on the Mesozoic prehnite-pumpellyite metagreywackes. 3. (3) Post-Oligocene transcurrent faulting along a northwest-southeast line (the sillon) parallel to the west coast caused at least 150 km of dextral offset of the southwest frontal margin of the Eocene ultramafic nappe. At the present time, the tectonics of the southwest Pacific are related to a series of opposite facing subduction (Benioff) zones connected by transform faults extending from New Britain-Solomon Islands south through the New Hebrides to New Zealand and marking the boundary between the Australian and Pacific plates. Available geologic data from this region suggest that a similar geometry existed during the Tertiary and that the microcontinents of New Guinea, New Caledonia and New Zealand all lay along the former plate boundary which has since migrated north and east by a complex process of sea-floor spreading behind the active island arcs. ?? 1973.

  20. Destruction geodynamics of the North China Craton and its Paleoproterozoic plate tectonics

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    ZHU RiXiang; ZHENG TianYu

    2009-01-01

    Much attention has been paid in the last two decades to the physical and chemical processes as well as temporal-spatial variations of the lithospheric mantle beneath the North China Craton. In order to provide insights into the geodynamics of this variation, it is necessary to thoroughly study the state and structure of the lithospheric crust and mantle of the North China Craton and its adjacent regions as an integrated unit. Based on the velocity structure of the crust and upper mantle constrained from seismological studies, this paper presents various available geophysical results regarding the lithosphere thickness, the nature of crust-mantle boundary, the upper mantle structure and deformation characteristics as well as their tectonic features and evolution systematics. Combined with the obtained data from petrology and geochemistry, a mantle flow model is proposed for the tectonic evolution of the North China Craton during the Mesozoic-Cenozoic. We suggest that subduction of the Pacific plate made the mantle underneath the eastern Asian continent unstable and able to flow faster. Such a regional mantle flow system would cause an elevation of melt/fluid content in the upper mantle of the North China Craton and the lithospheric softening, which, subsequently resulted in destruction of the North China Craton in different ways of delamination and thermal erosion in Yanshan, Taihang Mountains and the Tan-Lu Fault zone. Multiple lines of evidence recorded in the crust of the North China Craton, such as the amalgamation of the Archean eastern and western blocks, the subduction of Paleo-oceanic crust and Paleo-continental residue, indicate that the Earth in the Paleoproterozoic had already evolved into the plate tectonic system similar to the present plate tectonics.

  1. Plate boundaries in the Woodlark Basin and Solomon Sea Region, Papua New Guinea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Goodliffe, A. M.; Cameron, M.

    2009-12-01

    The Solomon Sea and Woodlark Basin region of eastern Papua New Guinea is a tectonically complex region between the obliquely converging Pacific and Australian plates. Despite numerous marine geophysical surveys in the region, the exact nature of the tectonic boundaries between the Solomon Sea and the Woodlark Basin remains controversial. Marine geophysical data collected in the last decade provides additional insight into this region and clearly defines the boundaries of the Solomon Sea, Trobriand, Woodlark, and Australian plates. Multibeam bathymetry data collected in 2004 along the Trobriand Trough, together with seismic profiles across the trough, show a prominent deformation front in the trench that defines the southern boundary of the Solomon Sea plate. Petrologic data from volcanoes to the south of this boundary indicate that they have a subduction affinity. Heat flow profiles to the south of the plate boundary show a clear subduction signature. At the eastern termination of the Trobriand Trough the plate boundary forms a triple junction with the NE-SW trending Nubaru strike-slip fault. To the NE this major fault separates the Solomon Sea plate from the Woodlark plate. The morphology of this fault and a CMT solution indicate that it is right-lateral. To the SW the Nubaru strike-slip fault passes to the south of the Trobriand Trough, forming the southern boundary of the Trobriand plate (with the Trobriand Trough as the northern boundary). Further west the trend of the strike slip fault becomes more ENE-WSW. A significant extension component is evident as the fault passes to the north of Egum Graben and meets the Woodlark Basin spreading system at the current rifting to seafloor spreading transition directly to the east of Moresby Seamount. The revised tectonic model for this region has important implications for tectonic reconstructions that include an active rifting to spreading transition and prominent core complexes. In the past, models have assumed a

  2. Hidden Earthquake Potential in Plate Boundary Transition Zones

    Science.gov (United States)

    Furlong, Kevin P.; Herman, Matthew; Govers, Rob

    2017-04-01

    Plate boundaries can exhibit spatially abrupt changes in their long-term tectonic deformation (and associated kinematics) at triple junctions and other sites of changes in plate boundary structure. How earthquake behavior responds to these abrupt tectonic changes is unclear. The situation may be additionally obscured by the effects of superimposed deformational signals - juxtaposed short-term (earthquake cycle) kinematics may combine to produce a net deformational signal that does not reflect intuition about the actual strain accumulation in the region. Two examples of this effect are in the vicinity of the Mendocino triple junction (MTJ) along the west coast of North America, and at the southern end of the Hikurangi subduction zone, New Zealand. In the region immediately north of the MTJ, GPS-based observed crustal displacements (relative to North America (NAm)) are intermediate between Pacific and Juan de Fuca (JdF) motions. With distance north, these displacements rotate to become more aligned with JdF - NAm displacements, i.e. to motions expected along a coupled subduction interface. The deviation of GPS motions from the coupled subduction interface signal near the MTJ has been previously interpreted to reflect clock-wise rotation of a coastal, crustal block and/or reduced coupling at the southern Cascadia margin. The geologic record of crustal deformation near the MTJ reflects the combined effects of northward crustal shortening (on geologic time scales) associated with the MTJ Crustal Conveyor (Furlong and Govers, 1999) overprinted onto the subduction earthquake cycle signal. With this interpretation, the Cascadia subduction margin appears to be well-coupled along its entire length, consistent with paleo-seismic records of large earthquake ruptures extending to its southern limit. At the Hikurangi to Alpine Fault transition in New Zealand, plate interactions switch from subduction to oblique translation as a consequence of changes in lithospheric structure of

  3. Emerging Possibilities and Insuperable Limitations of Exogeophysics: The Example of Plate Tectonics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stamenković, Vlada; Seager, Sara

    2016-07-01

    To understand the evolution and the habitability of any rocky exoplanet demands detailed knowledge about its geophysical state and history—such as predicting the tectonic mode of a planet. Yet no astronomical observation can directly confirm or rule out the occurrence of plate tectonics on a given exoplanet. Moreover, the field of plate tectonics is still young—questioning whether we should study plate tectonics on exoplanets at this point in time. In this work, we determine the limitations and the emerging possibilities of exogeophysics, the science of connecting geophysics to exoplanets, on the example of plate tectonics. Assuming current uncertainties in model and planet parameters, we develop a qualitatively probabilistic and conservative framework to estimate on what kind of planets and where in the Galaxy plate tectonics might occur. This we achieve by modeling how plate yielding, the most critical condition needed for plate mobility and subduction, is affected by directly observable (planet mass, size) or indirectly, to some degree, assessable planet properties (structure and composition). Our framework not only highlights the importance of a planet’s chemistry for the existence of plate tectonics and the path toward practical exogeophysics but also demonstrates how exoplanet science can actually help to better understand geophysics and the fundamentals of plate tectonics on Earth itself.

  4. How transpressive is the northern Caribbean plate boundary?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Corbeau, J.; Rolandone, F.; Leroy, S.; Meyer, B.; Mercier de Lépinay, B.; Ellouz-Zimmermann, N.; Momplaisir, R.

    2016-04-01

    Transpressive deformation at the northern Caribbean plate boundary is accommodated mostly by two major strike-slip faults, but the amount and location of accommodation of the compressional component of deformation are still debated. We collected marine geophysical data including multibeam bathymetry and multichannel seismic reflection profiles along this plate boundary around Hispaniola, in the Jamaica Passage, and in the Gulf of Gonâve. The data set allows us to image the offshore active strike-slip faults as well as the compressional structures. We confirm that the Enriquillo-Plantain-Garden Fault Zone (EPGFZ) in the Jamaica Passage has a primary strike-slip motion, as indicated by active left-lateral strike-slip-related structures, i.e., restraining bend, asymmetrical basin, en echelon pressures ridges, and horsetail splay. Based on topographic cross sections across the EPGFZ, we image a very limited compressional component, if any, for at least the western part of the Jamaica Passage. Toward the east of the Jamaica Passage, the fault trace becomes more complex, and we identify adjacent compressional structures. In the Gulf of Gonâve, distributed folding and thrust faulting of the most recent sediments indicate active pervasive compressional tectonics. Estimates of shortening in the Jamaica Passage and in the Gulf of Gonâve indicate an increase of the compressional component of deformation toward the east, which nonetheless remains very small compared to that inferred from block modeling based on GPS measurements.

  5. Developing the plate tectonics from oceanic subduction to continental collision

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    ZHENG YongFei; YE Kai; ZHANG LiFei

    2009-01-01

    The studies of continental deep subduction and ultrahigh-pressure metamorphism have not only promoted the development of solid earth science in China,but also provided an excellent opportunity to advance the plate tectonics theory.In view of the nature of subducted crust,two types of subduction and collision have been respectively recognized in nature.On one hand,the crustal subduction occurs due to underflow of either oceanic crust (Pacific type) or continental crust (Alpine type).On the other hand,the continental collision proceeds by arc-continent collision (Himalaya-Tibet type) or continent-continent collision (Dabie-Sulu type).The key issues in the future study of continental dynamics are the chemical changes and differential exhumation in continental deep subduction zones,and the temporal-spatial transition from oceanic subduction to continental subduction.

  6. Plate Tectonics and Taiwan Orogeny based on TAIGER Experiments

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wu, F. T.; Kuochen, H.; McIntosh, K. D.

    2014-12-01

    Plate tectonics framework is usually complex in a collision zone, where continental lithosphere is involved. In the young Taiwan orogeny, with geologic understanding and large new geodetic and subsurface datasets now available an environment has been created for testing tectonic hypotheses regarding collision and orogeny. Against the background of the commonly accepted view of Taiwan as a southward propagating, self-similar 2-D orogen, a fully 3-D structure is envisaged. Along the whole length of the island the convergence of the Eurasian plate (EUP) the Philippine Sea plate (PSP) takes shape with different plate configurations. In northern Taiwan the convergence occurs with simultaneous collision of the oceanic PSP with continental EUP and the northward subduction of the PSP; in the south, EUP, in the guise of the South China Sea rifted Eurasian continent, subducts toward the east; in central Taiwan collision of oceanic PSP with continental EUP dominates. When relocated seismicity and focal mechanisms are superposed on subsurface P and Vp/Vs velocity images the configurations and the kinematics of the PSP and EUP collision and subduction become clear. While in northern Taiwan the subduction/collision explains well the high peaks and their dwindling (accompanied by crustal thinning) toward the north. In the south, mountains rise above the east-dipping EUP subduction zone as the Eurasian continental shelf veers toward the southwest, divergent from the trend of the Luzon Arc - calling into question the frequently cited arc-continent collision model of Taiwan orogeny. High velocity anomaly and Benioff seismicity coexist in the south. Going north toward Central Taiwan the high velocity anomaly persists for another 150 km or so, but it becomes seismically quiescent. Above the quiescent section the PSP and EUP collide to build the main part of the Central Range and its parallel neighbor the eastern Coastal Range. Key implications regarding orogeny include: 1) Significant

  7. Plate tectonics on the Earth triggered by plume-induced subduction initiation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gerya, T V; Stern, R J; Baes, M; Sobolev, S V; Whattam, S A

    2015-11-12

    Scientific theories of how subduction and plate tectonics began on Earth--and what the tectonic structure of Earth was before this--remain enigmatic and contentious. Understanding viable scenarios for the onset of subduction and plate tectonics is hampered by the fact that subduction initiation processes must have been markedly different before the onset of global plate tectonics because most present-day subduction initiation mechanisms require acting plate forces and existing zones of lithospheric weakness, which are both consequences of plate tectonics. However, plume-induced subduction initiation could have started the first subduction zone without the help of plate tectonics. Here, we test this mechanism using high-resolution three-dimensional numerical thermomechanical modelling. We demonstrate that three key physical factors combine to trigger self-sustained subduction: (1) a strong, negatively buoyant oceanic lithosphere; (2) focused magmatic weakening and thinning of lithosphere above the plume; and (3) lubrication of the slab interface by hydrated crust. We also show that plume-induced subduction could only have been feasible in the hotter early Earth for old oceanic plates. In contrast, younger plates favoured episodic lithospheric drips rather than self-sustained subduction and global plate tectonics.

  8. Towards implementing plate tectonics in 3D mantle convection simulations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bollada, Peter; Davies, Huw

    2010-05-01

    One of the great challenges in numerical mantle convection simulations is to achieve models that naturally develop plate tectonic like behaviour at the surface. In this work we are looking to achieve such models by investigating the set of models where a single consistent rheology is used for the whole model. We have started by investigating a viscoelastic rheology, related to the Oldroyd-B model from the field of polymers. The goal will be to have the parameter that controls the relaxation between elastic and viscous behaviour to depend upon temperature, pressure and strain-rate. With an appropriate choice of this dependence we have, on the near surface, high viscous/elastic regions interfaced with lower, pure viscous, regions of high strain-rate; while it also becomes more viscous at depth in the interior. In this way we hope to obtain plate like behaviour at the surface which naturally progresses to viscous convective behaviour in the interior. We have started to implement this model in the established mantle 3D finite element spherical mantle convection code TERRA (Baumgardner, 1984). Some parts of the model have been implemented as a force (to be combined with the gravitational body force) on the right hand side. The work has required us to develop and code in TERRA: (i) methods to overcome the continuity problem of the stress field stemming from the fact that the velocity field is represented by linear finite elements; (ii) new operators to handle stress and its gradients; (iii) methods to analyse plate-like behaviour at the surface (iv) the necessary functional dependence of viscosity and elastic relaxation time on temperature, strain-rate and pressure We will present the background to the work, its implementation and results.

  9. Ongoing glacial-isostatic adjustment and present-day motion of tectonic plates

    OpenAIRE

    2008-01-01

    The effect of glacial-isostatic adjustment (GIA) on the motion of tectonic plates is usually neglected. Employing a recently developed numerical approach, we examine the effect of glacial loading on the motion of the Earth’s main tectonic plates where we consider an elastic lithosphere of laterally variable strength and the plates losely connected by low viscous zones. Aim of the paper is to show the physical processes which controls the GIA induced horizontal motion and to assess the impact ...

  10. Precambrian plate tectonic setting of Africa from multidimensional discrimination diagrams

    Science.gov (United States)

    Verma, Sanjeet K.

    2017-01-01

    New multi-dimensional discrimination diagrams have been used to identify plate tectonic setting of Precambrian terrains. For this work, nine sets of new discriminant-function based multi-dimensional discrimination diagrams were applied for thirteen case studies of Precambrian basic, intermediate and acid magmas from Africa to highlight the application of these diagrams and probability calculations. The applications of these diagrams indicated the following results: For northern Africa: to Wadi Ghadir ophiolite, Egypt indicated an arc setting for Neoproterozoic (746 ± 19 Ma). For South Africa: Zandspruit greenstone and Bulai pluton showed a collision and a transitional continental arc to collision setting at about Mesoarchaean and Neoarchaean (3114 ± 2.3 Ma and 2610-2577 Ma); Mesoproterozoic (1109 ± 0.6 Ma and 1100 Ma) ages for Espungabera and Umkondo sills were consistent with an island arc setting. For eastern Africa, Iramba-Sekenke greenstone belt and Suguti area, Tanzania showed an arc setting for Neoarchaean (2742 ± 27 Ma and 2755 ± 1 Ma). Chila, Bulbul-Kenticha domain, and Werri area indicated a continental arc setting at about Neoproterozoic (800-789 Ma); For western Africa, Sangmelima region and Ebolowa area, southern Cameroon indicated a collision and continental arc setting, respectively for Neoarchaean (∼2800-2900 Ma and 2687-2666 Ma); Finally, Paleoproterozoic (2232-2169 Ma) for Birimian supergroup, southern Ghana a continental arc setting; and Paleoproterozoic (2123-2108 Ma) for Katiola-Marabadiassa, Côte d'Ivoire a transitional continental arc to collision setting. Although there were some inconsistencies in the inferences, most cases showed consistent results of tectonic settings. These inconsistencies may be related to mixed ages, magma mixing, crustal contamination, degree of mantle melting, and mantle versus crustal origin.

  11. Subduction controls the distribution and fragmentation of Earth’s tectonic plates.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mallard, Claire; Coltice, Nicolas; Seton, Maria; Müller, R Dietmar; Tackley, Paul J

    2016-07-07

    The theory of plate tectonics describes how the surface of Earth is split into an organized jigsaw of seven large plates of similar sizes and a population of smaller plates whose areas follow a fractal distribution. The reconstruction of global tectonics during the past 200 million years suggests that this layout is probably a long-term feature of Earth, but the forces governing it are unknown. Previous studies, primarily based on the statistical properties of plate distributions, were unable to resolve how the size of the plates is determined by the properties of the lithosphere and the underlying mantle convection. Here we demonstrate that the plate layout of Earth is produced by a dynamic feedback between mantle convection and the strength of the lithosphere. Using three-dimensional spherical models of mantle convection that self-consistently produce the plate size–frequency distribution observed for Earth, we show that subduction geometry drives the tectonic fragmentation that generates plates. The spacing between the slabs controls the layout of large plates, and the stresses caused by the bending of trenches break plates into smaller fragments. Our results explain why the fast evolution in small back-arc plates reflects the marked changes in plate motions during times of major reorganizations. Our study opens the way to using convection simulations with plate-like behaviour to unravel how global tectonics and mantle convection are dynamically connected.

  12. Subduction controls the distribution and fragmentation of Earth’s tectonic plates

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mallard, Claire; Coltice, Nicolas; Seton, Maria; Müller, R. Dietmar; Tackley, Paul J.

    2016-07-01

    The theory of plate tectonics describes how the surface of Earth is split into an organized jigsaw of seven large plates of similar sizes and a population of smaller plates whose areas follow a fractal distribution. The reconstruction of global tectonics during the past 200 million years suggests that this layout is probably a long-term feature of Earth, but the forces governing it are unknown. Previous studies, primarily based on the statistical properties of plate distributions, were unable to resolve how the size of the plates is determined by the properties of the lithosphere and the underlying mantle convection. Here we demonstrate that the plate layout of Earth is produced by a dynamic feedback between mantle convection and the strength of the lithosphere. Using three-dimensional spherical models of mantle convection that self-consistently produce the plate size-frequency distribution observed for Earth, we show that subduction geometry drives the tectonic fragmentation that generates plates. The spacing between the slabs controls the layout of large plates, and the stresses caused by the bending of trenches break plates into smaller fragments. Our results explain why the fast evolution in small back-arc plates reflects the marked changes in plate motions during times of major reorganizations. Our study opens the way to using convection simulations with plate-like behaviour to unravel how global tectonics and mantle convection are dynamically connected.

  13. 3-D thermo-mechanical laboratory modelling of plate-tectonics

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    D. Boutelier

    2011-02-01

    Full Text Available We present an experimental apparatus for 3-D thermo-mechanical analogue modelling of plate-tectonics processes such as oceanic and continental subductions, arc-continent or continental collisions. The model lithosphere, made of temperature-sensitive elasto-plastic with softening analogue materials, is submitted to a constant temperature gradient producing a strength reduction with depth in each layer. The surface temperature is imposed using infrared emitters, which allows maintaining an unobstructed view of the model surface and the use of a high resolution optical strain monitoring technique (Particle Imaging Velocimetry. Subduction experiments illustrate how the stress conditions on the interplate zone can be estimated using a force sensor attached to the back of the upper plate and changed because of the density and strength of the subducting lithosphere or the lubrication of the plate boundary. The first experimental results reveal the potential of the experimental set-up to investigate the three-dimensional solid-mechanics interactions of lithospheric plates in multiple natural situations.

  14. Tectonic escape of the Caribbean plate since the Paleocene: a consequence of the Chicxulub meteor impact?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rangin, C.; Martinez-Reyes, J.; Crespy, A.; Zitter, T. A. C.

    2012-04-01

    The debate for Pacific exotic origin versus in situ inter American plate Atlantic origin of the Caribbean plate is active in the scientific community since decades. Independently of the origin of this plate, its fast motion towards the east at a present rate of 2cm/yr is accepted to have been initiated during the early-most Cenozoic. The Paleocene is a key period in the global evolution of Central America mainly marked also by the Chicxulub multiring meteor impact in Yucatan. We question here the genetic relationship between this impact event and the incipient tectonic escape of the Caribbean plate. The mostly recent published models suggest this impact has affected the whole crust down to the Moho, the upper mantle being rapidly and considerably uplifted. The crust was then fragmented 600km at least from the point of impact, and large circular depressions were rapidly filled by clastic sediments from Cantarell to Western Cuba via Chiapas and Belize. North of the impact, the whole Gulf of Mexico was affected by mass gravity sliding, initiated also during the Paleocene in Texas, remaining active in this basin up to present time. South of the impact, in the Caribbean plate, the Yucatan basin was rapidly opened, indicating a fast escape of the crustal material towards the unique free boundary, the paleo-Antilles subduction zone. Shear waves velocity data below the Caribbean plate suggest this crustal tectonic escape was enhanced by the fast eastward flowing mantle supporting a fragmented and stretched crust. The proposed model suggests Chicxulub impact (but also the hypothetic Beata impact) have fragmented brittle crust, then easily drifted towards the east. This could explain the Paleogene evolution of the Caribbean plate largely stretched during its early evolution. Geologically, this evolution could explain the absence of evident Paleogene oblique subduction along the Caribbean plate northern and southern margins, marked only by Mid Cretaceous dragged volcanic

  15. The GEORED and Plate Boundary Observatory Engineer Exchange Program

    Science.gov (United States)

    Feaux, K.; Mora-Paez, H.

    2007-05-01

    In early 2007, the Colombian Institute of Geology and Mining - INGEOMINAS initiated GEORED (Geodesia: Red de Estudios de Deformación) in order to increase the knowledge of the geodynamics of northwestern South America. GEORED is an essential tool for determining crustal deformation and is primary in the analysis of inter- plate and intraplate deformation and the present seismic cycle. Some of the objectives of the project are to improve the technical, scientific, and operational capabilities of Colombian scientists regarding tectonic and volcanic deformation in Colombia, to implement a Colombian GPS permanent network for the study of geodynamics, with near real-time data retrieval and processing, and to establish a high precision geodetic reference frame for multipurpose activities within INGEOMINAS. Phase 1 of GEORED, which includes the installation of 30 permanent GPS stations in Colombia, will commence in early 2007. The Plate Boundary Observatory (PBO), part of the larger NSF-funded EarthScope project managed by UNAVCO, will study the three-dimensional strain field resulting from active plate boundary deformation across the Western United States. PBO is a large construction project involving the reconnaissance, permitting, installation, documentation, and maintenance of 875 permanent GPS stations scheduled for completion in September 2008. PBO is currently in the fourth year of the project, with over 550 GPS stations completed to date. INGEOMINAS recently became a member of the UNAVCO consortium. UNAVCO has been working with INGEOMINAS by providing technical support for the GEORED project relating to GPS receiver specifications. In the spirit of collaboration and outreach, INGEOMINAS and UNAVCO will begin an engineer exchange program starting in early summer 2007. The purpose of this outreach program is to provide a mechanism for the exchange of ideas relating to GPS station construction techniques, hardware designs, data communications, and data archiving

  16. Mantle convection and plate tectonics: toward an integrated physical and chemical theory

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tackley

    2000-06-16

    Plate tectonics and convection of the solid, rocky mantle are responsible for transporting heat out of Earth. However, the physics of plate tectonics is poorly understood; other planets do not exhibit it. Recent seismic evidence for convection and mixing throughout the mantle seems at odds with the chemical composition of erupted magmas requiring the presence of several chemically distinct reservoirs within the mantle. There has been rapid progress on these two problems, with the emergence of the first self-consistent models of plate tectonics and mantle convection, along with new geochemical models that may be consistent with seismic and dynamical constraints on mantle structure.

  17. Plate tectonic regulation of global marine animal diversity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zaffos, Andrew; Finnegan, Seth; Peters, Shanan E.

    2017-05-01

    Valentine and Moores [Valentine JW, Moores EM (1970) Nature 228:657-659] hypothesized that plate tectonics regulates global biodiversity by changing the geographic arrangement of continental crust, but the data required to fully test the hypothesis were not available. Here, we use a global database of marine animal fossil occurrences and a paleogeographic reconstruction model to test the hypothesis that temporal patterns of continental fragmentation have impacted global Phanerozoic biodiversity. We find a positive correlation between global marine invertebrate genus richness and an independently derived quantitative index describing the fragmentation of continental crust during supercontinental coalescence-breakup cycles. The observed positive correlation between global biodiversity and continental fragmentation is not readily attributable to commonly cited vagaries of the fossil record, including changing quantities of marine rock or time-variable sampling effort. Because many different environmental and biotic factors may covary with changes in the geographic arrangement of continental crust, it is difficult to identify a specific causal mechanism. However, cross-correlation indicates that the state of continental fragmentation at a given time is positively correlated with the state of global biodiversity for tens of millions of years afterward. There is also evidence to suggest that continental fragmentation promotes increasing marine richness, but that coalescence alone has only a small negative or stabilizing effect. Together, these results suggest that continental fragmentation, particularly during the Mesozoic breakup of the supercontinent Pangaea, has exerted a first-order control on the long-term trajectory of Phanerozoic marine animal diversity.

  18. Plate tectonic regulation of global marine animal diversity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zaffos, Andrew; Finnegan, Seth; Peters, Shanan E

    2017-05-30

    Valentine and Moores [Valentine JW, Moores EM (1970) Nature 228:657-659] hypothesized that plate tectonics regulates global biodiversity by changing the geographic arrangement of continental crust, but the data required to fully test the hypothesis were not available. Here, we use a global database of marine animal fossil occurrences and a paleogeographic reconstruction model to test the hypothesis that temporal patterns of continental fragmentation have impacted global Phanerozoic biodiversity. We find a positive correlation between global marine invertebrate genus richness and an independently derived quantitative index describing the fragmentation of continental crust during supercontinental coalescence-breakup cycles. The observed positive correlation between global biodiversity and continental fragmentation is not readily attributable to commonly cited vagaries of the fossil record, including changing quantities of marine rock or time-variable sampling effort. Because many different environmental and biotic factors may covary with changes in the geographic arrangement of continental crust, it is difficult to identify a specific causal mechanism. However, cross-correlation indicates that the state of continental fragmentation at a given time is positively correlated with the state of global biodiversity for tens of millions of years afterward. There is also evidence to suggest that continental fragmentation promotes increasing marine richness, but that coalescence alone has only a small negative or stabilizing effect. Together, these results suggest that continental fragmentation, particularly during the Mesozoic breakup of the supercontinent Pangaea, has exerted a first-order control on the long-term trajectory of Phanerozoic marine animal diversity.

  19. Seismo-electromagnetic phenomena in the western part of the Eurasia-Nubia plate boundary

    OpenAIRE

    Silva, H. G; Bezzeghoud, M.; J. P. Rocha; P. F. Biagi; Tlemçani, M.; Rosa, R.N.; M. A. Salgueiro da Silva; Borges, J. F.; Caldeira, B.; Reis, A. H.; MANSO M.

    2011-01-01

    This paper presents a future research plan that aims to monitor Seismo-electromagnetic (SEM) phenomena in the western part of the Eurasia-Nubia plate boundary (WENP). This region has a significant tectonic activity [1] combined with relatively low electromagnetic noise levels and for that reason presents the possibility to perform high quality SEM measurements. Further, it is known that low-frequency [ultra (ULF), very (VLF), and low-frequencies (LF)] electromag- netic (EM) waves produce m...

  20. The interpretation of crustal dynamics data in terms of plate interactions and active tectonics of the Anatolian plate and surrounding regions in the Middle East

    Science.gov (United States)

    Toksoz, M. Nafi; Reilinger, Robert

    1992-01-01

    A detailed study was made of the consequences of the Arabian plate convergence against Eurasia and its effects on the tectonics of Anatolia and surrounding regions of the eastern Mediterranean. A primary source of information is time rates of change of baseline lengths and relative heights determined by repeated SLR measurements. These SLR observations are augmented by a network of GPS stations in Anatolia, Aegea, and Greece, established and twice surveyed since 1988. The existing SLR and GPS networks provide the spatial resolution necessary to reveal the details of ongoing tectonic processes in this area of continental collision. The effort has involved examining the state of stress in the lithosphere and relative plate motions as revealed by these space based geodetic measurements, seismicity, and earthquake mechanisms as well as the aseismic deformations of the plates from conventional geodetic data and geological evidence. These observations are used to constrain theoretical calculations of the relative effects of: (1) the push of the Arabian plate; (2) high topography of Eastern Anatolia; (3) the geometry and properties of African-Eurasian plate boundary; (4) subduction under the Hellenic Arc and southwestern Turkey; and (5) internal deformation and rotation of the Anatolian plate.

  1. The life cycle of continental rifts: Numerical models of plate tectonics and mantle convection.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ulvrova, Martina; Brune, Sascha; Williams, Simon

    2017-04-01

    Plate tectonic processes and mantle convection form a self-organized system whose surface expression is characterized by repeated Wilson cycles. Conventional numerical models often capture only specific aspects of plate-mantle interaction, due to imposed lateral boundary conditions or simplified rheologies. Here we study continental rift evolution using a 2D spherical annulus geometry that does not require lateral boundary conditions. Instead, continental extension is driven self-consistently by slab pull, basal drag and trench suction forces. We use the numerical code StagYY to solve equations of conservation of mass, momentum and energy and transport of material properties. This code is capable of computing mantle convection with self-consistently generated Earth-like plate tectonics using a pseudo-plastic rheology. Our models involve an incompressible mantle under the Boussinesq approximation with internal heat sources and basal heating. Due to the 2D setup, our models allow for a comparably high resolution of 10 km at the mantle surface and 15 km at the core mantle boundary. Viscosity variations range over 7 orders of magnitude. We find that the causes for rift initiation are often related to subduction dynamics. Some rifts initiate due to increasing slab pull, others because of developing trench suction force, for instance by closure of an intra-oceanic back-arc basin. In agreement with natural settings, our models reproduce rifts forming in both young and old collision zones. Our experiments show that rift dynamics follow a characteristic evolution, which is independent of the specific setting: (1) continental rifts initiate during tens of million of years at low extension rates (few millimetres per year) (2) the extension velocity increases during less than 10 million years up to several tens of millimetres per year. This speed-up takes place before lithospheric break-up and affects the structural architecture of rifted margins. (3) high divergence rates

  2. Plate Tectonic Consequences of competing models for the origin and history of the Banda Sea subducted oceanic lithosphere

    CERN Document Server

    Heine, Christian; McKay, Hamish; Müller, R Dietmar

    2012-01-01

    The Banda Arc, situated west of Irian Jaya and in the easternmost extension of the Sunda subduction zone system, reveals a characteristic bowl-shaped geometry in seismic tomographic images. This indicates that the oceanic lithosphere still remains attached to the surrounding continental margins of northern Australia and the Bird's Head microcontinent. Major controversies exist between authors proposing an allochthonous or autochthonous origin of the Bird's Head block. Either scenario has important implications for plate kinematic models aiming to reconstruct the tectonic evolution of the region and the late Jurassic seaoor spreading geometry of this now subducted Argo-Tanimbar-Seram (ATS) ocean basin. Wider implications affect the tectonic conguration of the Tethyan-Pacic realm, the distribution of plate boundaries as well as the shape and size of continental blocks which have been rifted off the northeastern Gondwana margin during the Late Jurassic and are now accreted to the SE Asia margin. We apply structu...

  3. [Comment on “Plate tectonics: Scientific revolution or scientific program?” by Jean-Claude Mareschal] Development of plate tectonics theory: The missing piece

    Science.gov (United States)

    Doe, Bruce R.

    The recent article by Jean-Claude Mareschal (“Plate Tectonics: Scientific Revolution or Scientific Program?” in Eos, May 19, 1987, p. 529) adds to the interesting literature on the evolution of the theory of plate tectonics. It is curious that an aspect of the general theory that seems to be little considered and mentioned by Mareschal or others who write about the history of development of the theory, but that was vitally important in my own acceptance of the theory, was the discovery of subduction and, to a lesser extent, abduction.

  4. Paleogene plate tectonic evolution of the Arabian and Eastern Somali basins

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Royer, J.-Y.; Chaubey, A; Dyment, J.; Bhattacharya, G.C.; Srinivas, K.; Yatheesh, V.; Ramprasad, T.

    Previous models reviewed for the Paleogene tectonic evolution of the Arabian and Eastern Somali basins and present a model based on a new compilation of magnetic and gravity data. Using plate reconstructions, a self-consistent set of isochrons...

  5. The Earth's Mantle Is Solid: Teachers' Misconceptions About the Earth and Plate Tectonics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    King, Chris

    2000-01-01

    Discusses the misconceptions revealed by the teachers' answers and outlines more accurate answers and explanations based on established evidence and uses these to provide a more complete understanding of plate tectonic process and the structure of Earth. (Author/YDS)

  6. The Earth's Mantle Is Solid: Teachers' Misconceptions About the Earth and Plate Tectonics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    King, Chris

    2000-01-01

    Discusses the misconceptions revealed by the teachers' answers and outlines more accurate answers and explanations based on established evidence and uses these to provide a more complete understanding of plate tectonic process and the structure of Earth. (Author/YDS)

  7. Tectonic Plate Parameters Estimated in the International Terrestrial Reference Frame ITRF2008 Based on SLR Stations

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kraszewska Katarzyna

    2016-10-01

    Full Text Available This paper concerns an analysis of the accuracy of estimated parameters Ω(Φ, Λ, ω which define the tectonic plate motions. The study is based on the velocities of station positions published by ITRF2008 for Satellite Laser Ranging (SLR technique. The Eurasian, African, North American and Australian plates were used in the analysis. Influence of the number and location of stations on the plate surface on estimation accuracy of the tectonic plate motion parameters was discussed. The results were compared with the APKIM 2005 IGN model. In general, a remarkable concurrence agreement between our solutions and the APKIM 2005 model was found.

  8. Regional tectonics of the Coso geothermal area along the intracontinental plate boundary in central eastern California: Three-dimensional V_p and V_p/V_s models, spatial-temporal seismicity patterns, and seismogenic deformation

    OpenAIRE

    Hauksson, Egill; Unruh, Jeffrey

    2007-01-01

    We synthesize the tectonics of the southern Walker Lane belt and Coso Range in central eastern California using regional earthquake data. First, we invert for three-dimensional models of the V_p and V_p/V_s structure of the upper and middle crust. Using these models, we also determine three-dimensional Vs and Poisson’s ratio models. The changes in seismic velocities across the region are small, except for low velocities in sedimentary basins and a ∼2-km positive elevation of the basement velo...

  9. New Paleomagnetic Justification for the Plate Tectonic Reconstruction of the Arctic

    Science.gov (United States)

    Metelkin, D. V.; Vernikovskiy, V. A.; Matushkin, N. Y.; Zhdanova, A.; Mikhaltsov, N. E.; Abashev, V. V.; Kulakov, E.

    2015-12-01

    We report paleomagnetic and geologic data that support a new plate tectonic reconstruction for the Arctic from the Neoproterozoic to Mesozoic. We propose a new outlook on the history of the Arctida paleocontinent, which combined sialic blocks of the present Eurasian shelf of the Arctic Ocean. Our model implies two Arctidas at that time. The earlier Arctida-I was located near equator and connected the continental margins of Laurentia, Baltica and Siberia within the supercontinent of Rodinia. The Arcrtida-I disintegration was caused by a breakup of Rodinia. As a result, small plates like on Svalbard, Kara, New Siberia Island (NSI) terrane and others were formed. We have reconstructed the main stages of later remobilization and global drift of these plates before Pangea assemblage. In contrast to traditional interpretation of the NSI as a part of the Chukchi-Alaska terrane, our observation suggest a linkage between the NSI and Kolyma-Omolon terrane that framed Siberia. As a result of Pangea assembly at Paleozoic-Mesozoic boundary the second recovery of Arctida took place. We assume that Arctida-II also connected Laurentia, Baltica, and Siberia but constituted the Pangean periphery in the temperate latitudes. The later Arctida-II disintegrated during the Mesozoic during the opening of Arctic Ocean.

  10. Jules Verne Voyager, Jr: An Interactive Map Tool for Teaching Plate Tectonics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hamburger, M. W.; Meertens, C. M.

    2010-12-01

    We present an interactive, web-based map utility that can make new geological and geophysical results accessible to a large number and variety of users. The tool provides a user-friendly interface that allows users to access a variety of maps, satellite images, and geophysical data at a range of spatial scales. The map tool, dubbed 'Jules Verne Voyager, Jr.', allows users to interactively create maps of a variety of study areas around the world. The utility was developed in collaboration with the UNAVCO Consortium for study of global-scale tectonic processes. Users can choose from a variety of base maps (including "Face of the Earth" and "Earth at Night" satellite imagery mosaics, global topography, geoid, sea-floor age, strain rate and seismic hazard maps, and others), add a number of geographic and geophysical overlays (coastlines, political boundaries, rivers and lakes, earthquake and volcano locations, stress axes, etc.), and then superimpose both observed and model velocity vectors representing a compilation of 2933 GPS geodetic measurements from around the world. A remarkable characteristic of the geodetic compilation is that users can select from some 21 plates' frames of reference, allowing a visual representation of both 'absolute' plate motion (in a no-net rotation reference frame) and relative motion along all of the world's plate boundaries. The tool allows users to zoom among at least three map scales. The map tool can be viewed at http://jules.unavco.org/VoyagerJr/Earth. A more detailed version of the map utility, developed in conjunction with the EarthScope initiative, focuses on North America geodynamics, and provides more detailed geophysical and geographic information for the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The ‘EarthScope Voyager’ can be accessed at http://jules.unavco.org/VoyagerJr/EarthScope. Because the system uses pre-constructed gif images and overlays, the system can rapidly create and display maps to a large number of users

  11. Scientific Advances from Paul Silver's Inspirational Leadership of the EarthScope Plate Boundary Observatory

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miller, M. M.; Calais, E.; Jackson, M. E.; Owen, S. E.; Segall, P.

    2009-12-01

    While major scientific endeavors and advances rely on the work and dedication of many, they are often made possible thanks to the passion and clear vision articulated by one or two leading scientists. Paul Silver was that leading visionary for EarthScope’s Plate Boundary Observatory. Paul Silver understood early on that the synergy of seismic and geodetic observations contained fundamental information on the coupled lithosphere-mantle system, the key to cracking the dynamics that underlies plate tectonics and continental deformation. This became a central theme of the Earthscope initiative, and Paul, a seismologist by training, became a tireless advocate for geodesy at all stages of the project - and for instrumentation over the broadest possible temporal bandwidth, from GPS geodesy to strainmeters. The presentation, given on behalf of UNAVCO and the UNAVCO community, will review and honor Paul's contributions to UNAVCO and the Plate Boundary Observatory science.

  12. Plate tectonics on the early Earth: Limitations imposed by strength and buoyancy of subducted lithosphere

    Science.gov (United States)

    van Hunen, Jeroen; van den Berg, Arie P.

    2008-06-01

    The tectonic style and viability of modern plate tectonics in the early Earth is still debated. Field observations and theoretical arguments both in favor and against the uniformitarian view of plate tectonics back until the Archean continue to accumulate. Here, we present the first numerical modeling results that address for a hotter Earth the viability of subduction, one of the main requirements for plate tectonics. A hotter mantle has mainly two effects: 1) viscosity is lower, and 2) more melt is produced, which in a plate tectonic setting will lead to a thicker oceanic crust and harzburgite layer. Although compositional buoyancy resulting from these thick crust and harzburgite might be a serious limitation for subduction initiation, our modeling results show that eclogitization significantly relaxes this limitation for a developed, ongoing subduction process. Furthermore, the lower viscosity leads to more frequent slab breakoff, and sometimes to crustal separation from the mantle lithosphere. Unlike earlier propositions, not compositional buoyancy considerations, but this lithospheric weakness could be the principle limitation to the viability of plate tectonics in a hotter Earth. These results suggest a new explanation for the absence of ultrahigh-pressure metamorphism (UHPM) and blueschists in most of the Precambrian: early slabs were not too buoyant, but too weak to provide a mechanism for UHPM and exhumation.

  13. Reorganization of convergent plate boundaries. Geologica Ultraiectina (340)

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Baes, M.|info:eu-repo/dai/nl/304824739

    2011-01-01

    It is still unclear where a subduction is initiated and what are the responsible mechanisms involved in subduction initiation process. Understanding of subduction initiation will advance our knowledge of how and when plate tectonics started on Earth. Another issue concerning the subduction process

  14. FRACTURE CALCULATION OF BENDING PLATES BY BOUNDARY COLLOCATION METHOD

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    王元汉; 伍佑伦; 余飞

    2003-01-01

    Fracture of Kirchhoff plates is analyzed by the theory of complex variables and boundary collocation method. The deflections, moments and shearing forces of the plates are assumed to be the functions of complex variables. The functions can satisfy a series of basic equations and governing conditions, such as the equilibrium equations in the domain, the boundary conditions on the crack surfaces and stress singularity at the crack tips. Thus, it ts only necessary to consider the boundary conditions on the external boundaries of the plate, which can be approximately satisfied by the collocation method and least square technique. Different boundary conditions and loading cases of the cracked plates are analyzed and calculated. Compared to other methods, the numerical examples show that the present method has many advantages such as good accuracy and less computer time This is an effective semi-analytical and semi-numerical method.

  15. Whole-mantle convection with tectonic plates preserves long-term global patterns of upper mantle geochemistry.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barry, T L; Davies, J H; Wolstencroft, M; Millar, I L; Zhao, Z; Jian, P; Safonova, I; Price, M

    2017-05-12

    The evolution of the planetary interior during plate tectonics is controlled by slow convection within the mantle. Global-scale geochemical differences across the upper mantle are known, but how they are preserved during convection has not been adequately explained. We demonstrate that the geographic patterns of chemical variations around the Earth's mantle endure as a direct result of whole-mantle convection within largely isolated cells defined by subducting plates. New 3D spherical numerical models embedded with the latest geological paleo-tectonic reconstructions and ground-truthed with new Hf-Nd isotope data, suggest that uppermost mantle at one location (e.g. under Indian Ocean) circulates down to the core-mantle boundary (CMB), but returns within ≥100 Myrs via large-scale convection to its approximate starting location. Modelled tracers pool at the CMB but do not disperse ubiquitously around it. Similarly, mantle beneath the Pacific does not spread to surrounding regions of the planet. The models fit global patterns of isotope data and may explain features such as the DUPAL anomaly and long-standing differences between Indian and Pacific Ocean crust. Indeed, the geochemical data suggests this mode of convection could have influenced the evolution of mantle composition since 550 Ma and potentially since the onset of plate tectonics.

  16. Estimating area of inclusions in anisotropic plates from boundary data

    CERN Document Server

    Morassi, Antonino; Vessella, Sergio

    2011-01-01

    We consider the inverse problem of determining the possible presence of an inclusion in a thin plate by boundary measurements. The plate is made by non-homogeneous linearly elastic material belonging to a general class of anisotropy. The inclusion is made by different elastic material. Under some a priori assumptions on the unknown inclusion, we prove constructive upper and lower estimates of the area of the unknown defect in terms of an easily expressed quantity related to work, which is given in terms of measurements of a couple field applied at the boundary and of the induced transversal displacement and its normal derivative taken at the boundary of the plate.

  17. Subduction controls the distribution and fragmentation of Earth’s tectonic plates

    OpenAIRE

    2016-01-01

    International audience; The theory of plate tectonics describes how the surface of the Earth is split into an organized jigsaw of seven large plates 1 of similar sizes and a population of smaller plates, whose areas follow a fractal distribution 2,3. The reconstruction of global tectonics during the past 200 My 4 suggests that this layout is probably a long-term feature of our planet, but the forces governing it are unknown. Previous studies 3,5,6 , primarily based on statistical properties o...

  18. Seismic evidence for sharp lithosphere-asthenosphere boundaries of oceanic plates.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kawakatsu, Hitoshi; Kumar, Prakash; Takei, Yasuko; Shinohara, Masanao; Kanazawa, Toshihiko; Araki, Eiichiro; Suyehiro, Kiyoshi

    2009-04-24

    The mobility of the lithosphere over a weaker asthenosphere constitutes the essential element of plate tectonics, and thus the understanding of the processes at the lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary (LAB) is fundamental to understand how our planet works. It is especially so for oceanic plates because their relatively simple creation and evolution should enable easy elucidation of the LAB. Data from borehole broadband ocean bottom seismometers show that the LAB beneath the Pacific and Philippine Sea plates is sharp and age-dependent. The observed large shear wave velocity reduction at the LAB requires a partially molten asthenosphere consisting of horizontal melt-rich layers embedded in meltless mantle, which accounts for the large viscosity contrast at the LAB that facilitates horizontal plate motions.

  19. Plate boundaries and evolution of the Solomon Sea region

    Science.gov (United States)

    Honza, E.; Davies, H. L.; Keene, J. B.; Tiffin, D. L.

    1987-09-01

    The Solomon Sea Plate was widely developed during late Oligocene, separating the proto-West Melanesian Arc from the proto-Trobriand Arc. Spreading in the Bismarck Sea and in the Woodlark Basin resulted from interaction between the Pacific and Australian Plates, specifically from the collision of the proto-West Melanesian Arc with north New Guinea, which occurred after arc reversal. This model explains the extensive Miocene, Pliocene, and Quaternary volcanism of the Papua New Guinea mainland as it related to southward subduction of the Trobriand Trough. Our interpreted plate motions are concordant with the geological evidence onshore and also with complex tectonic features in the Solomon Sea Basin Region.

  20. Plate Tectonics 2.0: Using GPS to Refine Global Crustal Kinematics and Rewrite Textbooks

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kreemer, C.; Blewitt, G.; Stamps, D. S.; Saria, E.

    2015-12-01

    Any model of the Earth's inner workings should be consistent with the observed motion and deformation at its surface. The whole idea that the entire Earth's surface comprises of a dozen or so tectonic plates with no deformation in between them (as most textbooks will tell you) is embarrassingly outdated. The advent of high-precision GNSS measurements of crustal motion has led to the direct observation of plate motion, the confirmation of plate rigidity, and the refinement of crustal kinematics in diffuse plate boundary zones. With the rapidly growing number of continuous GPS (cGPS) stations (as well as campaign-style measurements) some of the earlier results can now be reassessed while at the same time we can continue to quantify the motion and deformation of a large part of the Earth's surface. We present the latest version (v. 2.2) of the Global Strain Rate Model (GSRM), which is almost entirely constrained by horizontal GPS velocities. The model contains the rigid-body rotations of 50 plates as well as strain rate and vorticity estimates at a high spatial resolution for the ~14% of the Earth's surface that is caught up in between the plates. Resulting global or regional maps of dilatation, vorticity, and strain tensor amplitude and style, are poised to augment standard textbook images of plate motions, and we anticipate that they will foster further scientific and educational inquiry. GSRM v2.2 is constrained by >24,000 velocities. Of those ~7900 were determined by us from time-series that we obtained through a routine processing of all globally available RINEX data. Many of these stations were not installed with the intention to track crustal motions, but often are very usable. This station category is currently the biggest contributor to the data explosion; our solution has >1100 more stations compared with the previous solution of just 18 months ago. We transform to our solution GPS velocities from >250 published studies, >30 more than in the previous

  1. Initiation of Plate Tectonics from Post-Magma Ocean Thermo-Chemical Convection

    CERN Document Server

    Foley, Bradford J; Elkins-Tanton, Linda T

    2014-01-01

    Leading theories for the presence of plate tectonics on Earth typically appeal to the role of present day conditions in promoting rheological weakening of the lithosphere. However, it is unknown whether the conditions of the early Earth were favorable for plate tectonics, or any form of subduction, and thus how subduction begins is unclear. Using physical models based on grain-damage, a grainsize-feedback mechanism capable of producing plate-like mantle convection, we demonstrate that subduction was possible on the Hadean Earth (hereafter referred to as proto-subduction or proto-plate tectonics), that proto-subduction differed from modern day plate tectonics, and that it could initiate rapidly. Scaling laws for convection with grain-damage show that, though either higher mantle temperatures or higher surface temperatures lead to slower plates, proto-subduction, with plate speeds of $\\approx 1.75$ cm/yr, can still be maintained in the Hadean, even with a CO$_2$ rich primordial atmosphere. Furthermore, when the...

  2. Models of convection-driven tectonic plates - A comparison of methods and results

    Science.gov (United States)

    King, Scott D.; Gable, Carl W.; Weinstein, Stuart A.

    1992-01-01

    Recent numerical studies of convection in the earth's mantle have included various features of plate tectonics. This paper describes three methods of modeling plates: through material properties, through force balance, and through a thin power-law sheet approximation. The results obtained are compared using each method on a series of simple calculations. From these results, scaling relations between the different parameterizations are developed. While each method produces different degrees of deformation within the surface plate, the surface heat flux and average plate velocity agree to within a few percent. The main results are not dependent upon the plate modeling method and herefore are representative of the physical system modeled.

  3. Vibration Analysis of Annular Sector Plates under Different Boundary Conditions

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Dongyan Shi

    2014-01-01

    Full Text Available An analytical framework is developed for the vibration analysis of annular sector plates with general elastic restraints along each edge of plates. Regardless of boundary conditions, the displacement solution is invariably expressed as a new form of trigonometric expansion with accelerated convergence. The expansion coefficients are treated as the generalized coordinates and determined using the Rayleigh-Ritz technique. This work allows a capability of modeling annular sector plates under a variety of boundary conditions and changing the boundary conditions as easily as modifying the material properties or dimensions of the plates. Of equal importance, the proposed approach is universally applicable to annular sector plates of any inclusion angles up to 2π. The reliability and accuracy of the current method are adequately validated through numerical examples.

  4. Pre-plate tectonics and structure of the Archean mantle lithosphere imaged by seismic anisotropy - inferences from the LAPNET array in northern Fennoscandia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Plomerova, Jaroslava; Vecsey, Ludek; Babuska, Vladislav; Lapnet Working Group

    2013-04-01

    unstable stagnant lithospheric lid models in the Archean (~4.0 Ga), both evolving into the modern-style plate tectonics (Ernst 2007). The stage of platelets or supercratonal lasted during the deep mantle and plume-driven circulations, when plate motions were controlled by asthenospheric convection dragging buoyant lithosphere along and down. Differential motions between pairs of Precambrian cratons indicated in paleomagnetic records suggest supercontinental amalgamation and dispersal involving Archean cratons. Current thick and cold Archean cratons are thus formed by a collage of fragments of old lithosphere, each of them retaining its fabric. Studies of fossil anisotropy preserved in the mantle lithosphere contribute both to mapping the lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary and deciphering boundaries of individual blocks building the continental lithosphere (Plomerova and Babuska, Lithos 2010).

  5. Spatio-temporal mapping of plate boundary faults in California using geodetic imaging

    Science.gov (United States)

    Donnellan, Andrea; Arrowsmith, Ramon; DeLong, Stephen B.

    2017-01-01

    Satellite System (GNSS), and high-resolution topography and can improve our understanding of tectonic deformation and rupture characteristics within the broad plate boundary zone.

  6. On the relationship between tectonic plates and thermal mantle plume morphology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lenardic, A.; Kaula, W. M.

    1993-01-01

    Models incorporating plate-like behavior, i.e., near uniform surface velocity and deformation concentrated at plate boundaries, into a convective system, heated by a mix of internal and basal heating and allowing for temperature dependent viscosity, were constructed and compared to similar models not possessing plate-like behavior. The simplified numerical models are used to explore how plate-like behavior in a convective system can effect the lower boundary layer from which thermal plumes form. A principal conclusion is that plate-like behavior can significantly increase the temperature drop across the lower thermal boundary layer. This temperature drop affects the morphology of plumes by determining the viscosity drop across the boundary layer. Model results suggest that plumes on planets possessing plate-like behavior, e.g., the Earth, may differ in morphologic type from plumes on planets not possessing plate-like behavior, e.g., Venus and Mars.

  7. Constraints on plate tectonics initiation from scaling laws for single-cell convection

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wong, Teresa; Solomatov, Viatcheslav S.

    2016-08-01

    The Earth is the only planet known to have plate tectonics, while other planets are covered with a stagnant lid. On the Earth, the initiation of subduction, which is thought to be the fundamental process for plate tectonics initiation, is caused not only by the negative buoyancy of the lithosphere but also by the forces from plate motions. However, for planets which do not have plate tectonics, the very first episode of lithospheric failure has to be caused by forces other than plate motions. Sublithospheric convection has been proposed as a possible mechanism that provides lithospheric instability through inducing stresses in the lithosphere, and lithospheric failure can occur when the yield stress is below a critical value. We test the applicability of scaling laws for the critical yield stress obtained in single-cell convection simulations to strongly time-dependent multi-cell systems. We show that with an appropriate choice of characteristic aspect ratio for the convective system, the scaling laws from single-cell simulations can be used to evaluate the conditions on the terrestrial planets in the inner Solar System for plate tectonics to exist. In agreement with previous studies, the estimated values for critical yield stress and coefficient of friction are much lower than the expected values for the Earth's lithosphere.

  8. Origins of Japan : the 'Big Picture' Revisited : A Review of New Plate Tectonics Research

    OpenAIRE

    BARNES, Gina L.

    2013-01-01

    This review essay mainly compares two articles by G. L. Barnes on Japanese geology, previously published in Japan Review (2003, 2008), with a series of articles on 'New Paradigms' in Japanese plate tectonics published in Chigaku zasshi in 2009-2010. The first purpose is to update and add new details to flesh out the previous Japan Review overviews. A discussion about collisional and accretionary tectonics then follows, outlining problems of interpretation by scholars coming from different a...

  9. Discovering plate boundaries: Laboratory and classroom exercises using geodetic data to develop students' understanding of plate motion

    Science.gov (United States)

    Olds, S. E.

    2010-12-01

    To introduce the concept of plate boundaries, typical introductory geology exercises include students observing and plotting the location of earthquakes and volcanoes on a map to visually demarcate plate boundaries. Accompanying these exercises, students are often exposed to animations depicting the movement of Earth’s tectonic plates over time. Both of these teaching techniques are very useful for describing where the tectonics plates have been in the past, their shapes, and where the plates are now. With the integration of data from current geodetic techniques such as GPS, InSAR, LiDAR, students can learn that not only have the tectonic plates moved in the past, but they are moving, deforming, and changing shape right now. Additionally, GPS data can be visualized using time scales of days to weeks and on the scale of millimeters to centimeters per year. The familiar temporal and spatial scales of GPS data also help students understand that plate tectonics is a process that is happening in the present and can ease the transition to thinking about processes that are typically described using deep time, a very difficult concept for students to grasp. To provide a more robust learning environment, UNAVCO has been incorporating high-precision GPS data into free, place-based, data-rich learning modules for educators and students in introductory Earth science courses at secondary and undergraduate levels. These modules integrate new scientific discoveries related to crustal deformation and explore applications of GPS, LiDAR, and InSAR techniques to research. They also provide students with case studies highlighting the process of scientific discovery, providing context and meaning. Concurrent to these efforts, tools to visualize the inter-relationships of geophysical and geologic processes, structures, and measurements including high-precision GPS velocity data are an essential part of the learning materials. Among the suite of visualization tools that UNAVCO has made

  10. Plate tectonic controls on atmospheric CO2 levels since the Triassic.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Van Der Meer, Douwe G; Zeebe, Richard E; van Hinsbergen, Douwe J J; Sluijs, Appy; Spakman, Wim; Torsvik, Trond H

    2014-03-25

    Climate trends on timescales of 10s to 100s of millions of years are controlled by changes in solar luminosity, continent distribution, and atmosphere composition. Plate tectonics affect geography, but also atmosphere composition through volcanic degassing of CO2 at subduction zones and midocean ridges. So far, such degassing estimates were based on reconstructions of ocean floor production for the last 150 My and indirectly, through sea level inversion before 150 My. Here we quantitatively estimate CO2 degassing by reconstructing lithosphere subduction evolution, using recent advances in combining global plate reconstructions and present-day structure of the mantle. First, we estimate that since the Triassic (250-200 My) until the present, the total paleosubduction-zone length reached up to ∼200% of the present-day value. Comparing our subduction-zone lengths with previously reconstructed ocean-crust production rates over the past 140 My suggests average global subduction rates have been constant, ∼6 cm/y: Higher ocean-crust production is associated with longer total subduction length. We compute a strontium isotope record based on subduction-zone length, which agrees well with geological records supporting the validity of our approach: The total subduction-zone length is proportional to the summed arc and ridge volcanic CO2 production and thereby to global volcanic degassing at plate boundaries. We therefore use our degassing curve as input for the GEOCARBSULF model to estimate atmospheric CO2 levels since the Triassic. Our calculated CO2 levels for the mid Mesozoic differ from previous modeling results and are more consistent with available proxy data.

  11. Novel boundary element method for resolving plate bending problems

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    陈颂英; 王乐勤; 焦磊

    2003-01-01

    This paper discusses the application of the boundary contour method for resolving plate bending problems. The exploitation of the integrand divergence free property of the plate bending boundary integral equation based on the Kirchhoff hypothesis and a very useful application of Stokes' Theorem are presented to convert surface integrals on boundary elements to the computation of bending potential functions on the discretized boundary points, even for curved surface elements of arbitrary shape. Singularity and treatment of the discontinued corner point are not needed at all. The evaluation of the physics variant at internal points is also shown in this article. Numerical results are presented for some plate bending problems and compared against analytical and previous solutions.

  12. Neogene Caribbean plate rotation and associated Central American tectonic evolution

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wadge, G.; Burke, K.

    1983-01-01

    A theoretical model of the opening of the Cayman Trough is developed on the basis of geological evidence from a wide area. It is proposed that strike slip motion began about 30 Myr ago and proceeded at a rate of 37 + or - 6 mm/yr for a total of 1100 km of relative plate displacement, and that Central America Underwent an anticlockwise rotation with internal plate deformation. Maps of the reconstructed motion are provided.

  13. Neogene Caribbean plate rotation and associated Central American tectonic evolution

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wadge, G.; Burke, K.

    1983-01-01

    A theoretical model of the opening of the Cayman Trough is developed on the basis of geological evidence from a wide area. It is proposed that strike slip motion began about 30 Myr ago and proceeded at a rate of 37 + or - 6 mm/yr for a total of 1100 km of relative plate displacement, and that Central America Underwent an anticlockwise rotation with internal plate deformation. Maps of the reconstructed motion are provided.

  14. Miocene uplift of the NE Greenland margin linked to plate tectonics: Seismic evidence from the Greenland Fracture Zone, NE Atlantic.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Døssing, Arne; Japsen, Peter; Watts, Anthony; Nielsen, Tove; Jokat, Wilfried; Thybo, Hans

    2016-04-01

    Tectonic models predict that, following breakup, rift margins undergo only decaying thermal subsidence during their post-rift evolution. However, post-breakup stratigraphy beneath the NE Atlantic shelves shows evidence of regional-scale unconformities, commonly cited as outer margin responses to inner margin episodic uplift, including the formation of coastal mountains. The origin of these events remains enigmatic. We present a seismic reflection study from the Greenland Fracture Zone - East Greenland Ridge (GFZ-EGR) and the NE Greenland shelf. We document a regional intra-Miocene seismic unconformity (IMU), which marks the termination of syn-rift deposition in the deep-sea basins and onset of: (i) thermo-mechanical coupling across the GFZ, (ii) basin compression, and (iii) contourite deposition, north of the EGR. The onset of coupling across the GFZ is constrained by results of 2-D flexural backstripping. We explain the thermo-mechanical coupling and the deposition of contourites by the formation of a continuous plate boundary along the Mohns and Knipovich ridges, leading to an accelerated widening of the Fram Strait. We demonstrate that the IMU event is linked to onset of uplift and massive shelf-progradation on the NE Greenland margin. Given an estimated middle-to-late Miocene (~15-10 Ma) age of the IMU, we speculate that the event is synchronous with uplift of the East and West Greenland margins. The correlation between margin uplift and plate-motion changes further indicates that the uplift was triggered by plate tectonic forces, induced perhaps by a change in the Iceland plume (a hot pulse) and/or by changes in intra-plate stresses related to global tectonics.

  15. Supercontinents, mantle dynamics and plate tectonics: A perspective based on conceptual vs. numerical models

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yoshida, Masaki; Santosh, M.

    2011-03-01

    The periodic assembly and dispersal of supercontinents through the history of the Earth had considerable impact on mantle dynamics and surface processes. Here we synthesize some of the conceptual models on supercontinent amalgamation and disruption and combine it with recent information from numerical studies to provide a unified approach in understanding Wilson Cycle and supercontinent cycle. Plate tectonic models predict that superdownwelling along multiple subduction zones might provide an effective mechanism to pull together dispersed continental fragments into a closely packed assembly. The recycled subducted material that accumulates at the mantle transition zone and sinks down into the core-mantle boundary (CMB) provides the potential fuel for the generation of plumes and superplumes which ultimately fragment the supercontinent. Geological evidence related to the disruption of two major supercontinents (Columbia and Gondwana) attest to the involvement of plumes. The re-assembly of dispersed continental fragments after the breakup of a supercontinent occurs through complex processes involving 'introversion', 'extroversion' or a combination of both, with the closure of the intervening ocean occurring through Pacific-type or Atlantic-type processes. The timescales of the assembly and dispersion of supercontinents have varied through the Earth history, and appear to be closely linked with the processes and duration of superplume genesis. The widely held view that the volume of continental crust has increased over time has been challenged in recent works and current models propose that plate tectonics creates and destroys Earth's continental crust with more crust being destroyed than created. The creation-destruction balance changes over a supercontinent cycle, with a higher crustal growth through magmatic influx during supercontinent break-up as compared to the tectonic erosion and sediment-trapped subduction in convergent margins associated with supercontinent

  16. Active faulting south of the Himalayan Front: Establishing a new plate boundary

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yeats, Robert S.; Thakur, V. C.

    2008-06-01

    New tectonic uplifts south of the Salt Range Thrust and Himalayan Front Thrust (HFT) represent an outward step of the plate boundary from the principal tectonic displacement zone into the Indo-Gangetic Plain. In Pakistan, the Lilla Anticline deforms fine-grained overbank deposits of the Jhelum River floodplain 15 km south of the Salt Range. The anticline is overpressured in Eocambrian non-marine strata. In northwest India south of Dehra Dun, the Piedmont Fault (PF) lies 15 km south of the HFT. Coalescing fans derived from the Himalaya form a piedmont (Old Piedmont Zone) 15-20 km wide east of the Yamuna River. This zone is uplifted as much as 15-20 m near the PF, and bedding is tilted 5-7° northeast. Holocene thermoluminescence-optically-stimulated luminescence dates for sediments in the Old Piedmont Zone suggest that the uplift rate might be as high as several mm/a. The Old Piedmont Zone is traced northwest 200 km and southeast another 200 km to the Nepal border. These structures, analogous to protothrusts in subduction zones, indicate that the Himalayan plate boundary is not a single structure but a series of structures across strike, including reactivated parts of the Main Boundary Thrust north of the range front, the HFT sensu stricto, and stepout structures on the Indo-Gangetic Plain. Displacement rates on all these structures must be added to determine the local India-Himalaya convergence rate.

  17. Plate-tectonic evolution of the western U.S.A.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hamilton, W.

    1987-01-01

    Changing interactions of lithospheric plates provide the framework for this review of the 3100 m.y. geological history of some 3 million km2 of mountains, deserts, plateaux and plains. The Precambrian to Neogene development of the western U.S.A. is outlined in terms of plate collisions, subduction events and deformation of lithospheric slabs, with some interpretations based on SE Asia and other regions of complex tectonics.-R.A.H.

  18. Geodynamic evolution of the Earth over the Phanerozoic: Plate tectonic activity and palaeoclimatic indicators

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Christian Vérard

    2015-04-01

    In this paper, we compare values derived from the tectonic model (ages of oceanic floor, production and subduction rates, tectonic activity with a combination of chemical proxies (namely CO2, 87Sr/86Sr, glaciation evidence, and sea-level variations known to be strongly influenced by tectonics. One of the outstanding results is the observation of an overall decreasing trend in the evolution of the global tectonic activity, mean oceanic ages and plate velocities over the whole Phanerozoic. We speculate that the decreasing trend reflects the global cooling of the Earth system. Additionally, the parallel between the tectonic activity and CO2 together with the extension of glaciations confirms the generally accepted idea of a primary control of CO2 on climate and highlights the link between plate tectonics and CO2 in a time scale greater than 107 yr. Last, the wide variations observed in the reconstructed sea-floor production rates are in contradiction with the steady-state model hypothesized by some.

  19. 3-D simulation for the tectonic evolution around the Kanto Region of Japan using the kinematic plate subduction model

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hashima, A.; Sato, T.; Ito, T.; Miyauchi, T.; Kameo, K.; Yamamoto, S.

    2011-12-01

    In the Kanto region of Japan, we can observe one of the most active crustal deformations on the earth. In the southern part of the Boso peninsula to the south, the uplift rate is estimated to be 5 mm/yr from the height of marine terraces. From geological evidence, the Kanto mountains to the west are considered to uplift at 1mm/yr. In contrast, the center part of the Kanto region is stable or subsiding, covered by the Holocene sediments. The depth of the basement reaches 3 km at the deepest. Vertical deformation in the timescale of 1 Myr is being revealed by the analysis of the recent seismic reflection experiments compared with the heights of the dated sediment layers exposed on land. These crustal deformation occurs in a highly complex tectonic setting with four plates interacting with each other: beneath Kanto, situated on the Eurasian and North American plates, the Philippine sea plate subducts and the Pacific plate further descends beneath the North American and Philippine sea plates, forming the unique trench-trench-trench triple junction on the earth. In addition, the Izu-Bonin (Ogasawara) arc on the Philippine sea plate is colliding with the Japan islands due to the buoyancy of the arc crust. At the plate boundaries near the Izu-Bonin arc, large interplate earthquakes occurred at the Sagami trough in 1703 and 1923 (Kanto earthquake) and at the Nankai trough in 1707, 1854 and 1944. To reveal the crustal deformation under these plate-to-plate interactions, we use the kinematic plate subduction model based on the elastic dislocation theory. This model is based on the idea that mechanical interaction between plates can rationally be represented by the increase of the displacement discontinuity (dislocation) across plate interfaces. Given the 3-D geometry of plate interfaces, the distribution of slip rate vectors for simple plate subduction can be obtained directly from relative plate velocities. In collision zones, the plate with arc crust cannot easily descend

  20. Geodynamic Evolution of the Nubia-Arabia-Somalia Plate Boundary System

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reilinger, R. E.; McClusky, S.; Vernant, P.; Ogubazghi, G.; Fisseha, S.; Arrajehi, A.; Bendick, R. O.; Sholan, J.

    2009-12-01

    We present a geodynamic scenario for the evolution of the Nubia (Nu)-Arabia (Ar)-Somalia (So) plate boundary system that is based on new geodetic constraints on the kinematics of active deformation, and published estimates of the timing of regional tectonic processes. This scenario supports two, long debated, principal hypotheses for plate dynamics, 1) plate motions are driven primarily by sinking of oceanic lithosphere at subduction zones, and 2) the lithosphere is strong in relation to plate boundaries and drag forces on the base of the lithosphere (and likely, resisting forces associate with continental collision). 1) During the Late Oligocene (~30 Ma), domal uplift of the Afar region due to the Afar hot spot caused regional extension and the initial development of the Afar Triple Junction (TJ) along pre-existing zones of weakness; 2) The So-Nu plate boundary, East African Rift (EAR), developed at a slow rate due to the absence of boundary-normal extensional stresses (i.e., no subduction “pulling” the So Plate), slow motion that continues to the present; 3) Larger extensional stresses across the Nu-Ar and Ar-So boundaries (Red Sea and Gulf of Aden) due to active subduction of the Neotethys ocean lithosphere beneath Eu caused more rapid extension of these early rifts, with full scale continental rifting beginning ~ 25-30 Ma; 4) Between 16 - 11 Ma full ocean rifting in the Gulf of Aden caused a decrease in the forces transmitted to the So and Nu plates, causing slowing of the Nu and So plates with respect to Eu and Ar, and (possibly) an additional component of N-S oriented extension across the Red Sea; 5) Around this time (~10 Ma), activity shifted from the Gulf of Suez to the DSF system in the N Red Sea, and the Danakil Block in the southern Red Sea began rotating with respect to Nu and Ar, both changes related to the change in Nu-Ar relative motion; and 6) The balance of forces on the plate system have remained roughly unchanged since ~10 Ma, as have

  1. Early impact basins and the onset of plate tectonics. Ph.D. Thesis - Maryland Univ.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Frey, H.

    1977-01-01

    The fundamental crustal dichotomy of the Earth (high and low density crust) was established nearly 4 billion years ago. Therefore, subductable crust was concentrated at the surface of the Earth very early in its history, making possible an early onset for plate tectonics. Simple thermal history calculations spanning 1 billion years show that the basin forming impact thins the lithosphere by at least 25%, and increases the sublithosphere thermal gradients by roughly 20%. The corresponding increase in convective heat transport, combined with the highly fractured nature of the thinned basin lithosphere, suggest that lithospheric breakup or rifting occurred shortly after the formation of the basins. Conditions appropriate for early rifting persisted from some 100,000,000 years following impact. We suggest a very early stage of high temperature, fast spreading "microplate" tectonics, originating before 3.5 billion years ago, and gradually stabilizing over the Archaean into more modern large plate or Wilson Cycle tectonics.

  2. Plate Tectonics: The Way the Earth Works. Teacher's Guide. LHS GEMS.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cuff, Kevin

    This teacher guide presents a unit on plate tectonics and introduces hands-on activities for students in grades 6-8. In each unit, students act as real scientists and gather evidence by using science process skills such as observing, graphing, analyzing data, designing and making models, visualizing, communicating, theorizing, and drawing…

  3. Introduction of the Concepts of Plate Tectonics into Secondary-School Earth Science Textbooks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Glenn, William Harold

    1992-01-01

    Secondary school earth-science textbooks in print from 1960 through 1979 were examined to determine how rapidly concepts of plate tectonics were incorporated into those texts during the period when scientists' views about these concepts were evolving most rapidly. Suggests that delays were probably due to an unwillingness to engage in speculation…

  4. Plate tectonic controls on atmospheric CO2 levels since the Triassic

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    van der Meer, D.G.; Zeebe, R.; van Hinsbergen, D.J.J.; Sluijs, A.; Spakman, W.; Torsvik, T.H.

    2014-01-01

    Climate trends on timescales of 10s to 100s of millions of years are controlled by changes in solar luminosity, continent distribution, and atmosphere composition. Plate tectonics affect geography, but also atmosphere composition through volcanic degassing of CO2 at subduction zones and midocean rid

  5. Plate Tectonics: The Way the Earth Works. Teacher's Guide. LHS GEMS.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cuff, Kevin

    This teacher guide presents a unit on plate tectonics and introduces hands-on activities for students in grades 6-8. In each unit, students act as real scientists and gather evidence by using science process skills such as observing, graphing, analyzing data, designing and making models, visualizing, communicating, theorizing, and drawing…

  6. Seismicity and plate tectonics in south central Alaska

    Science.gov (United States)

    Van Wormer, J. D.; Davies, J.; Gedney, L.

    1974-01-01

    Hypocenter distribution shows that the Benioff zone associated with the Aleutian arc terminates in interior Alaska some 75 km north of the Denali fault. There appears to be a break in the subducting Pacific plate in the Yentna River-Prince William Sound area which separates two seismically independent blocks, similar to the segmented structure reported for the central Aleutian arc.

  7. The Proto Southern Gulf of California represented by GIS Plate Tectonic Reconstructions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Skinner, L. A.; Umhoefer, P. J.; Kluesner, J. W.

    2012-12-01

    We present GIS-based plate tectonic reconstruction maps for the southern Gulf of California oblique rift. The maps track plate boundary deformation back to 14 Ma. Tectonic blocks are defined by faults, geology, seismic data, and bathymetry/topography. Spreading center and fault-slip rates were acquired from geologic data, cross-Gulf tie points, and GPS studies. Baja California-North America GPS rates (47 mm/yr across the Gulf; 4 mm/yr in the borderland) agree remarkably with ~6 Ma geologic offsets across the Gulf and are used during reconstruction steps back to 6 Ma. The Alarcon and Guaymas spreading centers initiated at 2.4 Ma and 6 Ma (Lizarralde et al., 2007), respectively, while the Farallon, Pescadero, and Carmen spreading centers began between ~2-1 Ma (Lonsdale, 1989). Therefore, the 2, 4, and 6 Ma reconstruction steps include a long transtensional fault zone along much of the southern Gulf, connecting the Guaymas spreading center with either the Alarcon spreading center or East Pacific Rise. For reconstructions at 8, 10, and 12 Ma, a range of across-Gulf and borderland fault rates fit the current constraints, but all models suggest an increase in across-Gulf faulting rates at 8 - 6 Ma. We used 30 mm/yr across the Gulf and 20 mm/yr across the borderland. These models result in ~470 km northwestward offset across the Gulf (we also account for a minor E-W offset) and ~145 km offset across the borderland. The 12 - 14 Ma reconstructions suggest that the Gulf of California formed along a 100 x 1600 km volcanic arc and narrow extensional belt between the Cretaceous batholith and the Sierra Madre Occidental. The initial seaway at 8 - 6.5 Ma was only ~200-250 km wide by 1600 km long. We will also combine our 12 Ma map with the McQuarrie and Werrnicke (2005) reconstruction to present a new reconstruction for the whole Walker Lane to Gulf of California belt.

  8. Plate Tectonics Constrained by Evidence-Based Magmatic Temperatures and Phase Relations of Fertile Lherzolite (Invited)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Green, D. H.; Falloon, T.

    2010-12-01

    hotspot magmas are derived by smaller melt fraction from a refertilized refractory source. In the plate tectonics paradigm, intraplate volcanic chains associated with broad swells are due to upper mantle compositional heterogeneity and consequent buoyancy contrasts and are not a consequence of deep mantle thermal plumes A new experimental study has determined the solidus and melting behaviour of model fertile lherzolite (MORB source) between 1.5 and 6 GPa, and with water contents from ~500 ppm to 14.5 wt % H2O, i.e. from water in nominally anhydrous minerals (NAMs) to vapour-leaching conditions. The lithosphere/asthenosphere boundary is attributed to a change in the water-storage capacity of fertile lherzolite from 2000-4000 ppm at 3 GPa, due to the high pressure instability of pargasite. The consequent appearance of silicate melt along an oceanic geotherm at depths >3GPa causes the rheological change characterising thin plate tectonics. The upper asthenosphere becomes chemically enriched (intraplate magma source) and lower asthenosphere depleted in incompatible elements (MORB source, including ~200 ppm H2O in NAMs) by movement of an incipient melt fraction at the water-saturated solidus.

  9. The rapid drift of the Indian tectonic plate.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kumar, Prakash; Yuan, Xiaohui; Kumar, M Ravi; Kind, Rainer; Li, Xueqing; Chadha, R K

    2007-10-18

    The breakup of the supercontinent Gondwanaland into Africa, Antarctica, Australia and India about 140 million years ago, and consequently the opening of the Indian Ocean, is thought to have been caused by heating of the lithosphere from below by a large plume whose relicts are now the Marion, Kerguelen and Réunion plumes. Plate reconstructions based on palaeomagnetic data suggest that the Indian plate attained a very high speed (18-20 cm yr(-1) during the late Cretaceous period) subsequent to its breakup from Gondwanaland, and then slowed to approximately 5 cm yr(-1) after the continental collision with Asia approximately 50 Myr ago. The Australian and African plates moved comparatively less distance and at much lower speeds of 2-4 cm yr(-1) (refs 3-5). Antarctica remained almost stationary. This mobility makes India unique among the fragments of Gondwanaland. Here we propose that when the fragments of Gondwanaland were separated by the plume, the penetration of their lithospheric roots into the asthenosphere were important in determining their speed. We estimated the thickness of the lithospheric plates of the different fragments of Gondwanaland around the Indian Ocean by using the shear-wave receiver function technique. We found that the fragment of Gondwanaland with clearly the thinnest lithosphere is India. The lithospheric roots in South Africa, Australia and Antarctica are between 180 and 300 km deep, whereas the Indian lithosphere extends only about 100 km deep. We infer that the plume that partitioned Gondwanaland may have also melted the lower half of the Indian lithosphere, thus permitting faster motion due to ridge push or slab pull.

  10. Geological record of fluid flow and seismogenesis along an erosive subducting plate boundary.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vannucchi, Paola; Remitti, Francesca; Bettelli, Giuseppe

    2008-02-07

    Tectonic erosion of the overriding plate by the downgoing slab is believed to occur at half the Earth's subduction zones. In situ investigation of the geological processes at active erosive margins is extremely difficult owing to the deep marine environment and the net loss of forearc crust to deeper levels in the subduction zone. Until now, a fossil erosive subduction channel-the shear zone marking the plate boundary-has not been recognized in the field, so that seismic observations have provided the only information on plate boundary processes at erosive margins. Here we show that a fossil erosive margin is preserved in the Northern Apennines of Italy. It formed during the Tertiary transition from oceanic subduction to continental collision, and was preserved by the late deactivation and fossilization of the plate boundary. The outcropping erosive subduction channel is approximately 500 m thick. It is representative of the first 5 km of depth, with its deeper portions reaching approximately 150 degrees C. The fossil zone records several surprises. Two décollements were simultaneously active at the top and base of the subduction channel. Both deeper basal erosion and near-surface frontal erosion occurred. At shallow depths extension was a key deformation component within this erosive convergent plate boundary, and slip occurred without an observable fluid pressure cycle. At depths greater than about 3 km a fluid cycle is clearly shown by the development of veins and the alternation of fast (co-seismic) and slow (inter-seismic) slip. In the deepest portions of the outcropping subduction channel, extension is finally overprinted by compressional structures. In modern subduction zones the onset of seismic activity is believed to occur at approximately 150 degrees C, but in the fossil channel the onset occurred at cooler palaeo-temperatures.

  11. Gravity anomalies, plate tectonics and the lateral growth of Precambrian North America

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thomas, M. D.; Grieve, R. A. F.; Sharpton, V. L.

    1988-01-01

    The widespread gravity coverage of North America provides a picture of the gross structural fabric of the continent via the trends of gravity anomalies. The structural picture so obtained reveals a mosaic of gravity trend domains, many of which correlate closely with structural provinces and orogenic terranes. The gravity trend map, interpreted in the light of plate-tectonic theory, thus provides a new perspective for examining the mode of assembly and growth of North America. Suture zones, palaeosubduction directions, and perhaps, contrasting tectonic histories may be identified using gravity patterns.

  12. Plate tectonic setting and genetic types of gas (oil)-bearing basins in China

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    张一伟; 陈发景; 陆克政; 漆家福

    1997-01-01

    The plate tectonic setting and genetic types of the gas (oil)-bearing basins in China are studied. Based on the history of break-up and amalgamation of Pangea, the three tectonic evolutionary megastages can be divided and the sedimentary basins in China are classified as Palaeozoic and Meso-Cenozoic basins. The Palaeozoic gas(oil)-bearing basins are mainly located in intracratonic basins, on which different types of Meso-Cenozoic basins are superimposed, and located in cratonic marginal basins and aulacogens destroyed with a slight degree, (n contrast, the Mesozoic and Cenozoic gas (oil)-bearing basins mainly formed in extensional foreland and intracontmental shortening flexural basins.

  13. Gravity anomalies, plate tectonics and the lateral growth of Precambrian North America

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thomas, M. D.; Grieve, R. A. F.; Sharpton, V. L.

    1988-01-01

    The widespread gravity coverage of North America provides a picture of the gross structural fabric of the continent via the trends of gravity anomalies. The structural picture so obtained reveals a mosaic of gravity trend domains, many of which correlate closely with structural provinces and orogenic terranes. The gravity trend map, interpreted in the light of plate-tectonic theory, thus provides a new perspective for examining the mode of assembly and growth of North America. Suture zones, palaeosubduction directions, and perhaps, contrasting tectonic histories may be identified using gravity patterns.

  14. A source-sink model of the generation of plate tectonics from non-Newtonian mantle flow

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bercovici, David

    1995-01-01

    A model of mantle convection which generates plate tectonics requires strain rate- or stress-dependent rheology in order to produce strong platelike flows with weak margins as well as strike-slip deformation and plate spin (i.e., toroidal motion). Here, we employ a simple model of source-sink driven surface flow to determine the form of such a rheology that is appropriate for Earth's present-day plate motions. In this model, lithospheric motion is treated as shallow layer flow driven by sources and sinks which correspond to spreading centers and subduction zones, respectively. Two plate motion models are used to derive the source sink field. As originally implied in the simpler Cartesian version of this model, the classical power law rheologies do not generate platelike flows as well as the hypothetical Whitehead-Gans stick-slip rheology (which incorporates a simple self-lubrication mechanism). None of the fluid rheologies examined, however, produce more than approximately 60% of the original maximum shear. For either plate model, the viscosity fields produced by the power law rheologies are diffuse, and the viscosity lows over strike-slip shear zones or pseudo-margins are not as small as over the prescribed convergent-divergent margins. In contrast, the stick-slip rheology generates very platelike viscosity fields, with sharp gradients at the plate boundaries, and margins with almost uniformly low viscosity. Power law rheologies with high viscosity contrasts, however, lead to almost equally favorable comparisons, though these also yield the least platelike viscosity fields. This implies that the magnitude of toroidal flow and platelike strength distributions are not necessarily related and thus may present independent constraints on the determination of a self-consistent plate-mantle rheology.

  15. Towards an Integrated Model of Earth's Thermo-Chemical Evolution and Plate Tectonics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tackley, P. J.; Xie, S.

    2001-05-01

    It has long been a challenge for geodynamicists, who have typically modeled homogeneous mantles, to explain the geochemical evidence for the existence of several distinct chemical reservoirs, in terms of a dynamically and chemically self-consistent model. While the mixing behavior of generalized tracers has received much attention in the modeling community, a recent trend has been towards mantle convection models that track the evolution of specific chemical species, both major and minor, and can thus be related to geochemical observations. However, obtaining realistic chemical evolution in such models is dependent on their having a reasonable representation of plate tectonic behavior since the recycling of oceanic crust and complementary depleted residuum is a key process in Earth that other terrestrial planets may lack. In general, this has required inserting plate motions by hand in models. In recent years, however, we have learned how to perform numerical simulations of mantle convection in which plate tectonic behavior is introduced self-consistently through plastic yielding of the lithosphere. In this presentation, models of mantle convection that combine a treatment of geochemical evolution with self-consistently generated plate tectonics, will be presented. Preliminary results indicate that the system can self-consistently evolve regions which have a HIMU-like signature as well as regions with a high He3/He4 ratio.

  16. Global plate tectonics and the secular motion of the pole

    Science.gov (United States)

    Soler, T.

    1977-01-01

    Astronomical data compiled during the last 70 years by the international organizations providing the coordinates of the instantaneous pole clearly shows a persistent drift of the mean pole. The differential contributions to the earth's second-order tensor of inertia were obtained and applied, resulting in no significant displacement of the earth's principal axis. In view of the above, the effect that theoretical geophysical models for absolute plate velocities may have on an apparent displacement of the mean pole as a consequence of station drifting was analyzed. The investigation also reports new values for the crustal tensor of inertia (assuming an ellipsoidal earth) and the orientation of its axis of figure, reopening the old speculation of a possible sliding of the whole crustover the upper mantle, including the supporting geophysical and astronomic evidence.

  17. 3-D thermo-mechanical laboratory modeling of plate-tectonics: modeling scheme, technique and first experiments

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    D. Boutelier

    2011-05-01

    Full Text Available We present an experimental apparatus for 3-D thermo-mechanical analogue modeling of plate tectonic processes such as oceanic and continental subductions, arc-continent or continental collisions. The model lithosphere, made of temperature-sensitive elasto-plastic analogue materials with strain softening, is submitted to a constant temperature gradient causing a strength reduction with depth in each layer. The surface temperature is imposed using infrared emitters, which allows maintaining an unobstructed view of the model surface and the use of a high resolution optical strain monitoring technique (Particle Imaging Velocimetry. Subduction experiments illustrate how the stress conditions on the interplate zone can be estimated using a force sensor attached to the back of the upper plate and adjusted via the density and strength of the subducting lithosphere or the lubrication of the plate boundary. The first experimental results reveal the potential of the experimental set-up to investigate the three-dimensional solid-mechanics interactions of lithospheric plates in multiple natural situations.

  18. Mantle Convection, Plate Tectonics, and the Asthenosphere: A Bootstrap Model of the Earth's Internal Dynamics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lenardic, A.; Hoink, T.

    2008-12-01

    Several studies have highlighted the role of a low viscosity asthenosphere in promoting plate-like behavior in mantle convection models. It has also been argued that the asthenosphere is fed by mantle plumes (Phipps- Morgan et al. 1993; Deffeyes 1972) and that the existence of the specific plume types required for this depends on plate subduction (Lenardic and Kaula 1995; Jellinek et al. 2002). Independent of plumes, plate subduction can generate a non-adiabatic temperature gradient which, together with temperature dependent mantle viscosity, leads to a low viscosity near surface region. The above suggests a conceptual model in which the asthenosphere can not be defined solely in terms of material properties but must also be defined in terms of an active process, plate tectonics, which both maintains it and is maintained by it. The bootstrap aspect of the model is its circular causality between plates and the asthenosphere, neither being more fundamental than the other and the existence of each depending on the other. Several of the feedbacks key to the conceptual model will be quantified. The implications for modeling mantle convection in a plate-tectonic mode will also be discussed: 1) A key is to get numerical simulations into the bootstrap mode of operation and this is dependent on assumed initial conditions; 2) The model implies potentially strong hysteresis effects (e.g., transition between convection states, associated with variable yield stress, will occur at different values depending on whether the yield stress is systematically lowered or raised between successive models).

  19. Late Miocene to recent plate tectonic history of the southern Central America convergent margin

    Science.gov (United States)

    Morell, Kristin D.

    2015-10-01

    New plate reconstructions constrain the tectonic evolution of the subducting Cocos and Nazca plates across the southern Central American subduction zone from late Miocene to recent. Because of the strong relationships between lower and upper (Caribbean) plate dynamics along this margin, these constraints have wide-ranging implications for the timing and growth of upper plate deformation and volcanism in southern Central America. The reconstructions outline three important events in the Neogene history of this margin: (1) the coeval development of the Panama Triple Junction with the initiation of oblique subduction of the Nazca plate at ˜8.5 Ma; (2) the initiation of seamount and rough crust subduction beginning at ˜3-4 Ma; and (3) Cocos Ridge subduction from ˜2 to 3 Ma. A comparison of these events with independent geologic, geomorphic, volcanic, and stratigraphic data sets reveals that the timing, rates, and origin of subducting crust directly impacted the Neogene growth of upper plate deformation and volcanism in southern Central America. These analyses constrain the timing, geometry, and causes of a number of significant tectonic and volcanic processes, including rapid Plio-Quaternary arc-fore arc contraction due to Cocos Ridge subduction, the detachment of the Panama microplate at ˜1-3 Ma, and the late Miocene cessation of mantle-wedge-derived volcanism across ˜300 km of the subduction zone.

  20. World Stress Map Release 2005 - Stress orientations from single focal mechanisms at plate boundaries

    Science.gov (United States)

    Heidbach, O.; Barth, A.; Müller, B.; Reinecker, J.; Sperner, B.; Tingay, M.

    2005-12-01

    The World Stress Map (WSM) is a global compilation of data about recent tectonic stresses from a wide range of indicators (e.g. focal mechanisms, borehole breakouts). It is a valuable tool for the solution of numerous of technological and scientific problems. The orientation of the stress field, for instance, is a primary control on subsurface fluid flow and thus WSM data can be used to improve petroleum production or the efficiency of geothermal power stations. In scientific context, information on the stress state is essential for seismic hazard assessment. The WSM database release 2005 contains more than 14,000 data sets all classified according to a unified quality ranking. Thus, the comparability of data from different types of measurement is guaranteed. The database as well as guidelines and software for plotting stress maps are available free of charge from our website www.world-stress-map.org. Users can create their own stress map including their own stress data almost instantly with the CASMO (Create A Stress Map Online) web tool. Alternatively, users can download the software CASMI (Create A Stress Map Interactively) free of charge and produce their own stress maps. In the WSM 2005 release we refined the definition of so-called Possible Plate Boundary Events (PBE) for stress data from single focal mechanisms (FMS) considering that the orientations of these earthquakes might be rather controlled by the geometry of the plate boundary than by the stress field orientation. In general, it is assumed that numerous randomly oriented faults are present in the crust, so that earthquakes occur on faults optimally oriented relative to the regional stress field. In such a setting the principal axes of the moment tensor (P, B, T) provide good approximations for the principal stress orientations (σ_1, σ2, σ3). However, plate boundaries show a different mechanical behavior. They are characterized by faults with preferred orientations and presumably include major

  1. Earthquake stress drops, ambient tectonic stresses and stresses that drive plate motions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hanks, T.C.

    1977-01-01

    A variety of geophysical observations suggests that the upper portion of the lithosphere, herein referred to as the elastic plate, has long-term material properties and frictional strength significantly greater than the lower lithosphere. If the average frictional stress along the non-ridge margin of the elastic plate is of the order of a kilobar, as suggested by the many observations of the frictional strength of rocks at mid-crustal conditions of pressure and temperature, the only viable mechanism for driving the motion of the elastic plate is a basal shear stress of several tens of bars. Kilobars of tectonic stress are then an ambient, steady condition of the earth's crust and uppermost mantle. The approximate equality of the basal shear stress and the average crustal earthquake stress drop, the localization of strain release for major plate margin earthquakes, and the rough equivalence of plate margin slip rates and gross plate motion rates suggest that the stress drops of major plate margin earthquakes are controlled by the elastic release of the basal shear stress in the vicinity of the plate margin, despite the existence of kilobars of tectonic stress existing across vertical planes parallel to the plate margin. If the stress differences available to be released at the time of faulting are distributed in a random, white fasbion with a mean-square value determined by the average earthquake stress drop, the frequency of occurrence of constant stress drop earthquakes will be proportional to reciprocal faulting area, in accordance with empirically known frequency of occurrence statistics. ?? 1977 Birkha??user Verlag.

  2. Topography of Venus and earth - A test for the presence of plate tectonics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Head, J. W.; Yuter, S. E.; Solomon, S. C.

    1981-01-01

    Comparisons of earth and Venus topography by use of Pioneer/Venus radar altimetry are examined. Approximately 93% of the Venus surface has been mapped with a horizontal resolution of 200 km and a vertical resolution of 200 m. Tectonic troughs have been indicated in plains regions which cover 65% of Venus, and hypsometric comparisons between the two planets' elevation distributions revealed that while the earth has a bimodal height distribution, Venus displays a unimodal configuration, with 60% of the planet surface within 500 m of the modal planet radius. The effects of mapping the earth at the same resolution as the Venus observations were explored. Continents and oceans were apparent, and although folded mountains appeared as high spots, no indications of tectonic activity were discernible. A NASA Venus Orbiting Imaging radar is outlined, which is designed to detect volcanoes, folded mountain ranges, craters, and faults, and thereby allow definition of possible plate-tectonic activity on Venus.

  3. Topography of Venus and earth - A test for the presence of plate tectonics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Head, J. W.; Yuter, S. E.; Solomon, S. C.

    1981-01-01

    Comparisons of earth and Venus topography by use of Pioneer/Venus radar altimetry are examined. Approximately 93% of the Venus surface has been mapped with a horizontal resolution of 200 km and a vertical resolution of 200 m. Tectonic troughs have been indicated in plains regions which cover 65% of Venus, and hypsometric comparisons between the two planets' elevation distributions revealed that while the earth has a bimodal height distribution, Venus displays a unimodal configuration, with 60% of the planet surface within 500 m of the modal planet radius. The effects of mapping the earth at the same resolution as the Venus observations were explored. Continents and oceans were apparent, and although folded mountains appeared as high spots, no indications of tectonic activity were discernible. A NASA Venus Orbiting Imaging radar is outlined, which is designed to detect volcanoes, folded mountain ranges, craters, and faults, and thereby allow definition of possible plate-tectonic activity on Venus.

  4. How diking affects the longer-term structure and evolution of divergent plate boundaries

    KAUST Repository

    Trippanera, Daniele

    2015-04-01

    Recurrent diking episodes along divergent plate boundaries, as at Dabbahu (2005, Afar) or at Bardarbunga (2014, Iceland) , highlight the possibility to have m-wide opening in a short time (days to weeks). This suggests a prominent role of magma enhancing transient plate separations. However, the role of diking on a longer term (> 102 years) and its influence on the structure and the evolution of a divergent plate boundary is still poorly investigated. Here we use field surveys along the oceanic Icelandic and continental Ethiopian plate boundaries, along five eruptive fissures and four rift segments. Field observations have also been integrated with analogue and numerical models of dike emplacement to better understand the effect of dike emplacement at depth and at the surface. Our results show that the dike-fed eruptive fissures are systematically associated with graben structures formed by inward dipping normal faults having throws up to 10 m and commonly propagating downward. Moreover, rift segments (i.e. mature rift zones), despite any asymmetry and repetition, are characterized by the same features as the eruptive fissures, the only difference lying in the larger size (higher fault throws, up to 40 m, and wider deformation zones). Analogue and numerical models of dike intrusion confirm that all the structural features observed along the rift segments may be dike-induced; these features include downward propagating normal faults bordering graben structures, contraction at the base of the hanging walls of the faults and upward propagating faults. Simple calculations based on the deeper structure of the eroded rift segments in eastern and western Iceland also suggest that all the fault slip in the active rift segments may result from diking. These results suggest that the overall deformation pattern of eruptive fissures and rift segments may be explained only by dike emplacement. In a magmatic rift, the regional tectonic stress may rarely be high enough to be

  5. JaMBES: A "New" Way of Calculating Plate Tectonic Reconstruction

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chambord, A. I.; Smith, E. G. C.; Sutherland, R.

    2014-12-01

    Calculating the paleoposition of tectonic plates using marine geophysical data has been usually done by using the Hellinger criterion [Hellinger, 1981]. However, for the Hellinger software [Kirkwood et al., 1999] to produce stable results, we find that the input data must be abundant and spatially well distributed. Although magnetic anomalies and fracture zone data have been increasingly abundant since the 1960s, some parts of the globe remain too sparsely explored to provide enough data for the Hellinger code to provide satisfactory rotations. In this poster, we present new software to calculate the paleopositions of tectonic plates using magnetic anomalies and fracture zone data. Our method is based on the theory of plate tectonics as introduced by [Bullard et al., 1965] and [Morgan, 1968], which states that ridge segments (ie. magnetic lineations) and fracture zones are at right angles to each other. In order to test our software, we apply it to a region of the world where climatic conditions hinder the acquisition of magnetic data: the Southwest Pacific, between New Zealand and Antarctica from breakup time to chron 20 (c43Ma). Bullard, E., J. E. Everett, and A. G. Smith (1965), The fit of continents around the atlantic, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series A: Mathematical and Physical Sciences, 258(1088), 41-51. Hellinger, S. J. (1981), The uncertainties of finite rotations in plate tectonics, Journal of Geophysical Research, 86(B10), 9312-9318. Kirkwood, B. H., J. Y. Royer, T. C. Chang, and R. G. Gordon (1999), Statistical tools for estimating and combining finite rotations and their uncertainties, Geophysical Journal International, 137(2), 408-428. Morgan, W. J. (1968), Rises, trenches, great faults, and crustal blocks, Journal of Geophysical Research, 73(6), 1959-1982.

  6. Stability of active mantle upwelling revealed by net characteristics of plate tectonics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Conrad, Clinton P; Steinberger, Bernhard; Torsvik, Trond H

    2013-06-27

    Viscous convection within the mantle is linked to tectonic plate motions and deforms Earth's surface across wide areas. Such close links between surface geology and deep mantle dynamics presumably operated throughout Earth's history, but are difficult to investigate for past times because the history of mantle flow is poorly known. Here we show that the time dependence of global-scale mantle flow can be deduced from the net behaviour of surface plate motions. In particular, we tracked the geographic locations of net convergence and divergence for harmonic degrees 1 and 2 by computing the dipole and quadrupole moments of plate motions from tectonic reconstructions extended back to the early Mesozoic era. For present-day plate motions, we find dipole convergence in eastern Asia and quadrupole divergence in both central Africa and the central Pacific. These orientations are nearly identical to the dipole and quadrupole orientations of underlying mantle flow, which indicates that these 'net characteristics' of plate motions reveal deeper flow patterns. The positions of quadrupole divergence have not moved significantly during the past 250 million years, which suggests long-term stability of mantle upwelling beneath Africa and the Pacific Ocean. These upwelling locations are positioned above two compositionally and seismologically distinct regions of the lowermost mantle, which may organize global mantle flow as they remain stationary over geologic time.

  7. Application of Laser Ranging and VLBI Data to a Study of Plate Tectonic Driving Forces

    Science.gov (United States)

    Solomon, S. C.

    1980-01-01

    The conditions under which changes in plate driving or resistive forces associated with plate boundary earthquakes are measurable with laser ranging or very long base interferometry were investigated. Aspects of plate forces that can be characterized by such measurements were identified. Analytic solutions for two dimensional stress diffusion in a viscoelastic plate following earthquake faulting on a finite fault, finite element solutions for three dimensional stress diffusion in a viscoelastic Earth following earthquake faulting, and quantitative constraints from modeling of global intraplate stress on the magnitude of deviatoric stress in the lithosphere are among the topics discussed.

  8. Faunal breaks and species composition of Indo-Pacific corals: the role of plate tectonics, environment and habitat distribution.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Keith, S A; Baird, A H; Hughes, T P; Madin, J S; Connolly, S R

    2013-07-22

    Species richness gradients are ubiquitous in nature, but the mechanisms that generate and maintain these patterns at macroecological scales remain unresolved. We use a new approach that focuses on overlapping geographical ranges of species to reveal that Indo-Pacific corals are assembled within 11 distinct faunal provinces. Province limits are characterized by co-occurrence of multiple species range boundaries. Unexpectedly, these faunal breaks are poorly predicted by contemporary environmental conditions and the present-day distribution of habitat. Instead, faunal breaks show striking concordance with geological features (tectonic plates and mantle plume tracks). The depth range over which a species occurs, its larval development rate and genus age are important determinants of the likelihood that species will straddle faunal breaks. Our findings indicate that historical processes, habitat heterogeneity and species colonization ability account for more of the present-day biogeographical patterns of corals than explanations based on the contemporary distribution of reefs or environmental conditions.

  9. The fate of water within Earth and super-Earths and implications for plate tectonics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tikoo, Sonia M; Elkins-Tanton, Linda T

    2017-05-28

    The Earth is likely to have acquired most of its water during accretion. Internal heat of planetesimals by short-lived radioisotopes would have caused some water loss, but impacts into planetesimals were insufficiently energetic to produce further drying. Water is thought to be critical for the development of plate tectonics, because it lowers viscosities in the asthenosphere, enabling subduction. The following issue persists: if water is necessary for plate tectonics, but subduction itself hydrates the upper mantle, how is the upper mantle initially hydrated? The giant impacts of late accretion created magma lakes and oceans, which degassed during solidification to produce a heavy atmosphere. However, some water would have remained in the mantle, trapped within crystallographic defects in nominally anhydrous minerals. In this paper, we present models demonstrating that processes associated with magma ocean solidification and overturn may segregate sufficient quantities of water within the upper mantle to induce partial melting and produce a damp asthenosphere, thereby facilitating plate tectonics and, in turn, the habitability of Earth-like extrasolar planets.This article is part of the themed issue 'The origin, history and role of water in the evolution of the inner Solar System'. © 2017 The Authors.

  10. Determination of the tectonic plate motion by satellite laser ranging in 1999-2003

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schillak, S.; Wnuk, E.

    The paper presents results of the tectonic plates motion determination from satellite laser ranging in the period 1999-2003 The SLR station velocities were calculated from station geocentric coordinates determined from one month orbital arcs of Lageos-1 and Lageos-2 satellites for the first day of each arc The mean orbital RMS-of-fit for 5 years was equal to 15 mm The station velocities were determined for 29 stations and points in 1999-2003 it means for all SLR stations with data time span longer than 20 months The accuracy of station velocities determination varied from 0 4 mm year to 3 mm year dependent on quality of data and data span The difference of station velocities between ITRF2000 and the presented results were in the range 0-5 mm year Only for four stations Riyad Maidanak-2 Beijng and Arequipa after earthquake in 2001 the differences were statistically significant For the most stations is a good agreement with the NUVEL1A model of tectonic plates motion The significant differences were detected for stations Arequipa Concepcion Shanghai and Simosato The results differs from the model NUVEL1A in the station velocities and azimuths for South America tectonic plate and Japan

  11. Free, transverse vibrations of thin plates with discontinuous boundary conditions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Febbo, M.; Vera, S. A.; Laura, P. A. A.

    2005-03-01

    Vibrations of circular and rectangular plates clamped on part of the boundary and simply supported along the remainder are analyzed by means of a method of perturbation of boundary conditions. This approach appears to be simple and straightforward, giving excellent results for the first mode and its versatility permits to extend it to higher modes of vibration without difficulty. Furthermore, it is shown that the fundamental frequency coefficient can also be determined using a modified Galerkin approach and very simple polynomial coordinate functions which yield good engineering accuracy.

  12. Crustal structure of the Eurasia-Africa plate boundary across the Gloria Fault, North Atlantic Ocean

    Science.gov (United States)

    Batista, Luis; Hübscher, Christian; Terrinha, Pedro; Matias, Luis; Afilhado, Alexandra; Lüdmann, Thomas

    2017-05-01

    The oceanic crustal and uppermost lithospheric mantle structure across the Gloria Fault (GF) transcurrent plate boundary between Africa and Eurasia in the Northeast Atlantic is investigated based on seismic reflection, seismic refraction and wide-angle reflection data. This experiment used 18 ocean bottom stations along an N-S 150 km long traverse together with acquisition of a multichannel seismic reflection profile. Modeling of P and S seismic waves and gravimetric anomalies allowed estimation of P- and S-wave velocities, density, Poisson's ratio and discussion of a compositional model. A five-layer model is proposed in which layers 1-3 correspond to normal sediments through typical oceanic crust layers 2 and 3. Layer 5 yielded mantle velocities above 7.9 km s-1. Layer 4 with 4 km of thickness has Vp velocities between 7.1 and 7.4 km s-1 and is clearly separated from typical oceanic crust and mantle layers. Comparison with natural analogues and published lab measurements suggest that layer 4 can be a mix of lithologies that comply with the estimated P and S velocities and computed Poisson's ratio and densities, such as, olivine cumulates, peridotite, gabbro and hydrated mantle. We favour the tectonic process that produces secondary porosity from which results serpentinization due to sea water circulation in fractures. Structural and seismic stratigraphic interpretation of the reflection profile shows that Neogene to recent tectonic deformation on this segment of the plate boundary concentrated on the southern side of the GF, that is, the Africa plate.

  13. Plate boundary deformation at the latitude of the Salton Trough - northern Gulf of California (Invited)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stock, J. M.

    2013-12-01

    Along the Pacific-North America plate boundary zone, the segment including the southern San Andreas fault to Salton Trough and northern Gulf of California basins has been transtensional throughout its evolution, based on Pacific-North America displacement vectors calculated from the global plate circuit (900 × 20 km at N54°W since 20 Ma; 460 × 20 km at N48°W since 11 Ma). Nevertheless, active seismicity and focal mechanisms show a broad zone of plate boundary deformation within which the inferred stress regime varies locally (Yang & Hauksson 2013 GJI), and fault patterns in some regions suggest ongoing tectonic rotation. Similar behavior is inferred to have occurred in this zone over most of its history. Crustal structure in this region is constrained by surface geology, geophysical experiments (e.g., the 2011 Salton Seismic Imaging Project (SSIP), USGS Imperial Valley 1979, PACE), and interdisciplinary marine and onland studies in Mexico (e.g., NARS-Baja, Cortes, and surveys by PEMEX). Magnetic data (e.g., EMAG-2) aids in the recognition of large-scale crustal provinces and fault boundaries in regions lacking detailed geophysical surveys. Consideration of existing constraints on crustal thickness and architecture, and fault and basin evolution suggests that to reconcile geological deformation with plate motion history, the following additional factors need to be taken into account. 1) Plate boundary displacement via interacting systems of rotating blocks, coeval with slip on steep strike slip faults, and possibly related to slip on low angle extensional faults (e.g, Axen & Fletcher 1998 IGR) may be typical prior to the onset of seafloor spreading. This fault style may have accommodated up to 150 km of plate motion in the Mexican Continental Borderland and north of the Vizcaino Peninsula, likely between 12 and 15 Ma, as well as explaining younger rotations adjacent to the Gulf of California and current deformation southwest of the Salton Sea. 2) Geophysical

  14. Global plate boundary evolution and kinematics since the late Paleozoic

    Science.gov (United States)

    Matthews, Kara J.; Maloney, Kayla T.; Zahirovic, Sabin; Williams, Simon E.; Seton, Maria; Müller, R. Dietmar

    2016-11-01

    Many aspects of deep-time Earth System models, including mantle convection, paleoclimatology, paleobiogeography and the deep Earth carbon cycle, require high-resolution plate motion models that include the evolution of the mosaic of plate boundaries through time. We present the first continuous late Paleozoic to present-day global plate model with evolving plate boundaries, building on and extending two previously published models for the late Paleozoic (410-250 Ma) and Mesozoic-Cenozoic (230-0 Ma). We ensure continuity during the 250-230 Ma transition period between the two models, update the absolute reference frame of the Mesozoic-Cenozoic model and add a new Paleozoic reconstruction for the Baltica-derived Alexander Terrane, now accreted to western North America. This 410-0 Ma open access model provides a framework for deep-time whole Earth modelling and acts as a base for future extensions and refinement. We analyse the model in terms of the number of plates, predicted plate size distribution, plate and continental root mean square (RMS) speeds, plate velocities and trench migration through time. Overall model trends share many similarities to those for recent times, which we use as a first order benchmark against which to compare the model and identify targets for future model refinement. Except for during the period 260-160 Ma, the number of plates (16-46) and ratio of "large" plates (≥ 107.5 km2) to smaller plates ( 2.7-6.6) are fairly similar to present-day values (46 and 6.6, respectively), with lower values occurring during late Paleozoic assembly and growth of Pangea. This temporal pattern may also reflect difficulties in reconstructing small, now subducted oceanic plates further back in time, as well as whether a supercontinent is assembling or breaking up. During the 260-160 Ma timeframe the model reaches a minima in the number of plates, in contrast to what we would expect during initial Pangea breakup and thus highlighting the need for refinement

  15. Geodetic observations in Iceland: divergent plate boundary influenced by a hotspot

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ofeigsson, Benedikt Gunnar; Hreinsdóttir, Sigrun; Sigmundsson, Freysteinn; Arnadottir, Thora; Vogfjord, Kristin; Geirsson, Halldor; Einarsson, Pall; Jonsson, Sigurjon; Villemin, Thierry; Fjalar Sigurdsson, Sigurdur; Roberts, Matthew; Sturkell, Erik; Lafemina, Peter C.; Bennett, Richard; Voelksen, Christof; Valsson, Gudmundur; Sigurdsson, Thorarinn

    2013-04-01

    The mid Atlantic ridge, separating the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates, is mostly buried below the Atlantic. There are, however, a few places where subaerial exposure of the mid-oceanic rift system allows geodetic observations of the deformation associated with the plate boundary. Iceland is the largest portion of the system emerged above sea level, a consequence of excessive volcanism caused by the interaction of a mantle plume with the mid-oceanic ridge. Iceland is therefore a unique site to study processes associated with divergent plate boundaries, and the effects of the plume-ridge interaction. A network of continuous GPS stations have been operating in Iceland since 1995 when the first station was installed in Reykjavik. Since then, stations have been added to the network at different points in time, with over 70 stations presently in operation. The network has been used e.g. for studies of deformation associated with the divergent plate boundary, micro-plate formation due to rift jumps, the plate-spreading deformation cycle associated with rifting episodes, strain rates and stress accumulation on transform zones connecting the ridge segments and deformation due to magmatic processes. In addition the GPS network is used in studies of the deformation associated with mass variations of Iceland's glaciers. The continuous GPS network serves as monitoring tool in Iceland, both for volcanic and seismic hazards but also as a research tool. In the recent Futurvolc project, which partly builds on EPOS, the data from the continuous GPS network along with data from the seismic network and InSAR observations, will serve as the main input in joint analyses of long and short term magma movements in volcanic regions. The establishment of the continuous GPS network in Iceland has provided an ideal tool to further increase our understanding of the geodynamic processes associated with divergent plate boundaries and plume-ridge interaction as well as establishing a

  16. The effect of plumes and a free surface on mantle dynamics with continents and self-consistent plate tectonics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jain, Charitra; Rozel, Antoine; Tackley, Paul

    2014-05-01

    Rolf et al. (EPSL, 2012) and Coltice et al. (Science, 2012) investigated the thermal and dynamical influences of continents on plate tectonics and the thermal state of Earth's mantle, but they did not explicitly consider the influence of mantle plumes. When present, strong mantle plumes arising from the deep mantle can impose additional stresses on the continents, thereby facilitating continental rifting (Storey, Nature 1995; Santosh et al., Gondwana Research 2009) and disrupting the supercontinent cycle (Philips and Bunge, Geology 2007). In recent years, several studies have characterized the relation between the location of the plumes and the continents, but with contradicting observations. While Heron and Lowman (GRL, 2010; Tectonophysics, 2011) propose regions where downwelling has ceased (irrespective of overlying plate) as the preferred location for plumes, O'Neill et al. (Gondwana Research, 2009) show an anti-correlation between the average positions of subducting slabs at continental margins, and mantle plumes at continental/oceanic interiors. Continental motion is attributed to the viscous stresses imparted by the convecting mantle and the extent of this motion depends on the heat budget of the mantle. Core-mantle boundary (CMB) heat flux, internal heating from decay of radioactive elements, and mantle cooling contribute to this heat budget. Out of these sources, CMB heat flux is not well defined; however, the recent determination that the core's thermal conductivity is much higher than previously thought requires a CMB heat flow of at least 12 TW (de Koker et al., PNAS 2012; Pozzo et al., Nature 2012; Gomi et al., PEPI 2013), much higher than early estimates of 3-4 TW (Lay et al., Nature 2008). Thus, it is necessary to characterize the effect of increased CMB heat flux on mantle dynamics. In almost all mantle convection simulations, the top boundary is treated as a free-slip surface whereas Earth's surface is a deformable free surface. With a free

  17. Filling in the juvenile magmatic gap: Evidence for uninterrupted Paleoproterozoic plate tectonics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Partin, C. A.; Bekker, A.; Sylvester, P. J.; Wodicka, N.; Stern, R. A.; Chacko, T.; Heaman, L. M.

    2014-02-01

    Despite several decades of research on growth of the continental crust, it remains unclear whether the production of juvenile continental crust has been continuous or episodic throughout the Precambrian. Models for episodic crustal growth have gained traction recently through compilations of global U-Pb zircon age frequency distributions interpreted to delineate peaks and lulls in crustal growth through geologic time. One such apparent trough in zircon age frequency distributions between ∼2.45 and 2.22 Ga is thought to represent a pause in crustal addition, resulting from a global shutdown of magmatic and tectonic processes. The ∼2.45-2.22 Ga magmatic shutdown model envisions a causal relationship between the cessation of plate tectonics and accumulation of atmospheric oxygen over the same period. Here, we present new coupled U-Pb, Hf, and O isotope data for detrital and magmatic zircon from the western Churchill Province and Trans-Hudson orogen of Canada, covering an area of approximately 1.3 million km2, that demonstrate significant juvenile crustal production during the ∼2.45-2.22 Ga time interval, and thereby argue against the magmatic shutdown hypothesis. Our data is corroborated by literature data showing an extensive 2.22-2.45 Ga record in both detrital and magmatic rocks on every continent, and suggests that the operation of plate tectonics continued throughout the early Paleoproterozoic, while atmospheric oxygen rose over the same time interval. We argue that uninterrupted plate tectonics between ∼2.45 and 2.22 Ga would have contributed to efficient burial of organic matter and sedimentary pyrite, and the consequent rise in atmospheric oxygen documented for this time interval.

  18. Philippine Sea and East Asian plate tectonics since 52 Ma constrained by new subducted slab reconstruction methods

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wu, Jonny; Suppe, John; Lu, Renqi; Kanda, Ravi

    2016-06-01

    We reconstructed Philippine Sea and East Asian plate tectonics since 52 Ma from 28 slabs mapped in 3-D from global tomography, with a subducted area of ~25% of present-day global oceanic lithosphere. Slab constraints include subducted parts of existing Pacific, Indian, and Philippine Sea oceans, plus wholly subducted proto-South China Sea and newly discovered "East Asian Sea." Mapped slabs were unfolded and restored to the Earth surface using three methodologies and input to globally consistent plate reconstructions. Important constraints include the following: (1) the Ryukyu slab is ~1000 km N-S, too short to account for ~20° Philippine Sea northward motion from paleolatitudes; (2) the Marianas-Pacific subduction zone was at its present location (±200 km) since 48 ± 10 Ma based on a >1000 km deep slab wall; (3) the 8000 × 2500 km East Asian Sea existed between the Pacific and Indian Oceans at 52 Ma based on lower mantle flat slabs; (4) the Caroline back-arc basin moved with the Pacific, based on the overlapping, coeval Caroline hot spot track. These new constraints allow two classes of Philippine Sea plate models, which we compared to paleomagnetic and geologic data. Our preferred model involves Philippine Sea nucleation above the Manus plume (0°/150°E) near the Pacific-East Asian Sea plate boundary. Large Philippine Sea westward motion and post-40 Ma maximum 80° clockwise rotation accompanied late Eocene-Oligocene collision with the Caroline/Pacific plate. The Philippine Sea moved northward post-25 Ma over the northern East Asian Sea, forming a northern Philippine Sea arc that collided with the SW Japan-Ryukyu margin in the Miocene (~20-14 Ma).

  19. Spatially developing turbulent boundary layer on a flat plate

    CERN Document Server

    Lee, J H; Hutchins, N; Monty, J P

    2012-01-01

    This fluid dynamics video submitted to the Gallery of Fluid motion shows a turbulent boundary layer developing under a 5 metre-long flat plate towed through water. A stationary imaging system provides a unique view of the developing boundary layer as it would form over the hull of a ship or fuselage of an aircraft. The towed plate permits visualisation of the zero-pressure-gradient turbulent boundary layer as it develops from the trip to a high Reynolds number state ($Re_\\tau \\approx 3000$). An evolving large-scale coherent structure will appear almost stationary in this frame of reference. The visualisations provide an unique view of the evolution of fundamental processes in the boundary layer (such as interfacial bulging, entrainment, vortical motions, etc.). In the more traditional laboratory frame of reference, in which fluid passes over a stationary body, it is difficult to observe the full evolution and lifetime of turbulent coherent structures. An equivalent experiment in a wind/water-tunnel would requ...

  20. Integrating Geochemical and Geodynamic Numerical Models of Mantle Evolution and Plate Tectonics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tackley, P. J.; Xie, S.

    2001-12-01

    The thermal and chemical evolution of Earth's mantle and plates are inextricably coupled by the plate tectonic - mantle convective system. Convection causes chemical differentiation, recycling and mixing, while chemical variations affect the convection through physical properties such as density and viscosity which depend on composition. It is now possible to construct numerical mantle convection models that track the thermo-chemical evolution of major and minor elements, and which can be used to test prospective models and hypotheses regarding Earth's chemical and thermal evolution. Model thermal and chemical structures can be compared to results from seismic tomography, while geochemical signatures (e.g., trace element ratios) can be compared to geochemical observations. The presented, two-dimensional model combines a simplified 2-component major element model with tracking of the most important trace elements, using a tracer method. Melting is self-consistently treated using a solidus, with melt placed on the surface as crust. Partitioning of trace elements occurs between melt and residue. Decaying heat-producing elements and secular cooling of the mantle and core provide the driving heat sources. Pseudo-plastic yielding of the lithosphere gives a first-order approximation of plate tectonics, and also allows planets with a rigid lid or intermittent plate tectonics to be modeled simply by increasing the yield strength. Preliminary models with an initially homogeneous mantle show that regions with a HIMU-like signature can be generated by crustal recycling, and regions with high 3He/4He ratios can be generated by residuum recycling. Outgassing of Argon is within the observed range. Models with initially layered mantles will also be investigated. In future it will be important to include a more realistic bulk compositional model that allows continental crust as well as oceanic crust to form, and to extend the model to three dimensions since toroidal flow may alter

  1. Duality of thermal regimes is the distinctive characteristic of plate tectonics since the Neoarchean

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brown, Michael

    2006-11-01

    Ultrahigh-temperature (UHT) granulite metamorphism is documented predominantly in the Neoarchean to Cambrian rock record, but UHT granulite metamorphism also may be inferred at depth in Cenozoic orogenic systems. The first occurrence of UHT granulite metamorphism in the record signifies a change in geodynamics that generated transient sites of very high heat flow. Many UHT granulite metamorphic belts may have developed in settings analogous to modern continental backarcs; on a warmer Earth, destruction of oceans floored by thinner lithosphere may have generated hotter backarcs than those associated with the modern Pacific ring of fire. Medium-temperature eclogite high- pressure (EHP) granulite metamorphism is documented in the Neoarchean rock record and at intervals throughout the Proterozoic and Paleozoic record. EHP granulite metamorphic belts are complementary to UHT granulite metamorphic belts in that they are generally inferred to record subduction-to-collision orogenesis. Blueschists become evident in the Neoproterozoic rock record, but lawsonite blueschist eclogite metamorphism (high pressure [HP]) and ultrahigh-pressure metamorphism (UHP) characterized by coesite or diamond are predominantly Phanerozoic phenomena. HP-UHP metamorphism registers the low thermal gradients and deep subduction of continental crust during the early stage of subduction-to-collision orogenesis. A duality of metamorphic belts—reflecting a duality of thermal regimes—appears in the record only since the Neoarchean Era. A duality of thermal regimes is the hallmark of modern plate tectonics, and the duality of metamorphic belts is the characteristic imprint of plate tectonics in the rock record. The occurrence of both UHT and EHP granulite metamorphism since the Neoarchean marks the onset of a “Proterozoic plate tectonics” regime, which evolved during a Neoproterozoic transition to the modern plate tectonics regime, characterized by colder subduction as chronicled by HP

  2. Plate tectonics

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Chaubey, A.K.

    of magnetic reversals. Matuyama's study, based on available age information of the rock samples, has revealed that during early part of the Quaternary period the earth's magnetic field was reversely magnetized and that has gradually changed over to normal...). While Heirtzler et al. (1968) proposed a magnetic polarity reversal time scale for the Late Cretaceous to 211 Recent, about 75 Ma (anomaly 32), based on the distribution of oceanic magnetic anomalies on a few long magnetic profiles. This time...

  3. Development of the Plate Tectonics and Seismology markup languages with XML

    Science.gov (United States)

    Babaie, H.; Babaei, A.

    2003-04-01

    The Extensible Markup Language (XML) and its specifications such as the XSD Schema, allow geologists to design discipline-specific vocabularies such as Seismology Markup Language (SeismML) or Plate Tectonics Markup Language (TectML). These languages make it possible to store and interchange structured geological information over the Web. Development of a geological markup language requires mapping geological concepts, such as "Earthquake" or "Plate" into a UML object model, applying a modeling and design environment. We have selected four inter-related geological concepts: earthquake, fault, plate, and orogeny, and developed four XML Schema Definitions (XSD), that define the relationships, cardinalities, hierarchies, and semantics of these concepts. In such a geological concept model, the UML object "Earthquake" is related to one or more "Wave" objects, each arriving to a seismic station at a specific "DateTime", and relating to a specific "Epicenter" object that lies at a unique "Location". The "Earthquake" object occurs along a "Segment" of a "Fault" object, which is related to a specific "Plate" object. The "Fault" has its own associations with such things as "Bend", "Step", and "Segment", and could be of any kind (e.g., "Thrust", "Transform'). The "Plate" is related to many other objects such as "MOR", "Subduction", and "Forearc", and is associated with an "Orogeny" object that relates to "Deformation" and "Strain" and several other objects. These UML objects were mapped into XML Metadata Interchange (XMI) formats, which were then converted into four XSD Schemas. The schemas were used to create and validate the XML instance documents, and to create a relational database hosting the plate tectonics and seismological data in the Microsoft Access format. The SeismML and TectML allow seismologists and structural geologists, among others, to submit and retrieve structured geological data on the Internet. A seismologist, for example, can submit peer-reviewed and

  4. Tectonic geomorphology and volcano-tectonic interaction in the eastern boundary of the Southern Cascades (Hat Creek Graben region, California, USA

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Engielle Mae Raot-raot Paguican

    2016-07-01

    Full Text Available The eastern boundary of the Southern Cascades (Hat Creek Graben region, California, USA, is an extensively faulted volcanic corridor between the Cascade Range and Modoc Plateau. The east-west extending region is in the transition zone between the convergence and subduction of the Gorda Plate underneath the North American Plate; north-south shortening within the Klamath Mountain region; and transcurrent movement in the Walker Lane. We describe the geomorphological and tectonic features, their alignment and distribution, in order to understand the tectonic geomorphology and volcano-tectonic relationships. One outcome of the work is a more refined morpho-structural description that will affect future hazard assessment in the area.A database of volcanic centers and structures was created from interpretations of topographic models generated from satellite images. Volcanic centers in the region were classified by morphological type into cones, sub-cones, shields and massifs. A second classification by height separated the bigger and smaller edifices and revealed an evolutionary trend. Poisson Nearest Neighbor analysis shows that bigger volcanoes are spatially dispersed while smaller ones are clustered. Using volcano centroid locations, about 90 lineaments consisting of at least three centers within 6km of one another were found, revealing that preferential north-northwest directed pathways control the transport of magma from the source to the surface, consistent with the strikes of the major fault systems. Most of the volcano crater openings are perpendicular to the maximum horizontal stress, expected for extensional environments with dominant normal regional faults. These results imply that the extension of the Hat Creek Graben region and impingement of the Walker Lane is accommodated mostly by extensional faults and partly by the intrusions that formed the volcanoes. Early in the history of a volcano or volcano cluster, melt produced at depth in the

  5. Tectonic geomorphology and volcano-tectonic interaction in the eastern boundary of the Southern Cascades (Hat Creek Graben region), California, USA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Paguican, Engielle Mae; Bursik, Marcus

    2016-07-01

    The eastern boundary of the Southern Cascades (Hat Creek Graben region), California, USA, is an extensively faulted volcanic corridor between the Cascade Range and Modoc Plateau. The east-west extending region is in the transition zone between the convergence and subduction of the Gorda Plate underneath the North American Plate; north-south shortening within the Klamath Mountain region; and transcurrent movement in the Walker Lane. We describe the geomorphological and tectonic features, their alignment and distribution, in order to understand the tectonic geomorphology and volcano-tectonic relationships. One outcome of the work is a more refined morpho-structural description that will affect future hazard assessment in the area. A database of volcanic centers and structures was created from interpretations of topographic models generated from satellite images. Volcanic centers in the region were classified by morphological type into cones, sub-cones, shields and massifs. A second classification by height separated the bigger and smaller edifices and revealed an evolutionary trend. Poisson Nearest Neighbor analysis shows that bigger volcanoes are spatially dispersed while smaller ones are clustered. Using volcano centroid locations, about 90 lineaments consisting of at least three centers within 6km of one another were found, revealing that preferential north-northwest directed pathways control the transport of magma from the source to the surface, consistent with the strikes of the major fault systems. Most of the volcano crater openings are perpendicular to the maximum horizontal stress, expected for extensional environments with dominant normal regional faults. These results imply that the extension of the Hat Creek Graben region and impingement of the Walker Lane is accommodated mostly by extensional faults and partly by the intrusions that formed the volcanoes. Early in the history of a volcano or volcano cluster, melt produced at depth in the region propagates

  6. Archean upper crust transition from mafic to felsic marks the onset of plate tectonics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tang, Ming; Chen, Kang; Rudnick, Roberta L

    2016-01-22

    The Archean Eon witnessed the production of early continental crust, the emergence of life, and fundamental changes to the atmosphere. The nature of the first continental crust, which was the interface between the surface and deep Earth, has been obscured by the weathering, erosion, and tectonism that followed its formation. We used Ni/Co and Cr/Zn ratios in Archean terrigenous sedimentary rocks and Archean igneous/metaigneous rocks to track the bulk MgO composition of the Archean upper continental crust. This crust evolved from a highly mafic bulk composition before 3.0 billion years ago to a felsic bulk composition by 2.5 billion years ago. This compositional change was attended by a fivefold increase in the mass of the upper continental crust due to addition of granitic rocks, suggesting the onset of global plate tectonics at ~3.0 billion years ago. Copyright © 2016, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

  7. Numerical simulation of tectonic plates motion and seismic process in Central Asia

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Peryshkin, A. Yu., E-mail: alexb700@yandex.ru [Institute of Strength Physics and Materials Science SB RAS, Tomsk, 634055 (Russian Federation); Makarov, P. V., E-mail: bacardi@ispms.ru; Eremin, M. O., E-mail: bacardi@ispms.ru [Institute of Strength Physics and Materials Science SB RAS, Tomsk, 634055, Russia and National Research Tomsk State University, Tomsk, 634050 (Russian Federation)

    2014-11-14

    An evolutionary approach proposed in [1, 2] combining the achievements of traditional macroscopic theory of solid mechanics and basic ideas of nonlinear dynamics is applied in a numerical simulation of present-day tectonic plates motion and seismic process in Central Asia. Relative values of strength parameters of rigid blocks with respect to the soft zones were characterized by the δ parameter that was varied in the numerical experiments within δ = 1.1–1.8 for different groups of the zonal-block divisibility. In general, the numerical simulations of tectonic block motion and accompanying seismic process in the model geomedium indicate that the numerical solutions of the solid mechanics equations characterize its deformation as a typical behavior of a nonlinear dynamic system under conditions of self-organized criticality.

  8. Abrupt thermal transition reveals hydrothermal boundary and role of seamounts within the Cocos Plate

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fisher, A. T.; Stein, C. A.; Harris, R. N.; Wang, K.; Silver, E. A.; Pfender, M.; Hutnak, M.; Cherkaoui, A.; Bodzin, R.; Villinger, H.

    2003-06-01

    New thermal data from 18-24 Ma lithosphere on the Cocos Plate delineate contrasting subsurface thermal conditions in adjacent sections of crust. Heat flow through seafloor created at the East Pacific Rise is generally suppressed by ~70% relative to conductive lithospheric cooling models, whereas heat flow through adjacent, similarly-aged lithosphere generated at the Cocos-Nazca Spreading Center is consistent with these models. The transition between thermal regimes is remarkably abrupt, only 2-5 km wide, indicating a shallow hydrothermal origin. The transition is more closely associated with differences in the distribution of basement outcrops than with tectonic boundaries, demonstrating the importance of the former in extracting heat from the lithosphere on a regional basis.

  9. Students' mental model development during historically contextualized inquiry: how the `Tectonic Plate' metaphor impeded the process

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dolphin, Glenn; Benoit, Wendy

    2016-01-01

    At present, quality earth science education in grade school is rare, increasing the importance of post-secondary courses. Observations of post-secondary geoscience indicate students often maintain errant ideas about the earth, even after direct instruction. This qualitative case study documents model-building activities of students as they experienced classroom instruction that braids history, inquiry, and model-based-learning within the context of earth dynamics. Transcripts of students' conversations, and their written work indicate students primarily employed model accretion to enhance their mental models. Instances of accretion were descriptive, pertaining to what their model consisted of, as opposed to how it explained the target phenomenon. Participants also conflated "continent" with "tectonic plate" and had difficulty attributing elastic properties - the mechanism for earthquakes - to rocks or "plates". We assert that the documented learning difficulties resulted from use of the metaphor "tectonic plate", reinforced by other everyday experiences and meanings. We suggest students need time with new models or concepts to develop strong descriptions before developing explanations. They need concrete experiences and explicit discussions concerning mapping those experiences to concepts. Lastly, because students often apply common meanings to scientific terms, we should not ask if they understand, but ask how they understand the concept.

  10. Linking geological evidence from the Eurasian suture zones to a regional Indian Ocean plate tectonic model

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gibbons, A.; Aitchison, J.; Müller, R.; Whittaker, J.

    2012-12-01

    We present a revised regional plate tectonic model for the Indian Ocean from the Late Jurassic to present, which assimilates both marine geophysical data constraining the seafloor spreading history as well as a variety of geological observations from the Eurasian collision zone. This model includes relative motion between Greater India, Sri Lanka, West Australia, East Antarctica, East Madagascar, the Seychelles and Argoland, a continental sliver which began migrating towards Eurasia in the Late Jurassic, forming the northern margins of Greater India and western Australia. Recently collected data offshore northwest Australia suggest that the majority of Greater India reached only halfway along the West Australian margin in an Early Mesozoic reconstruction, bounded by the Wallaby-Zenith Fracture Zone. The revised geometries and relative motion histories redefine the timing and nature of collisional events, as well as the history of back-arc basins and intra-oceanic arcs, such as the Kohistan-Ladakh intra-oceanic arc in northwest India and Pakistan. Abundant ophiolites have been identified throughout the Yarlung-Tsangpo Suture Zone, between the Indian-Himalaya and Tibet, several have boninitic compositions and almost all date to either the Mid Jurassic or late Early Cretaceous. Further evidence suggests that an intra-oceanic arc collided with Greater India before colliding with Eurasia. Our model features a transform boundary running north of East Africa, which initiated an oceanic arc following short-lived compression between the western and central Mesotethys in the Late Jurassic, coinciding with the initial motion of Argoland. The arc developed through extension and ophiolite generation until at least the mid-Cretaceous and consumed a narrow thinned sliver of West Argoland between ~120-65 Ma. The arc remained active in the same position until its eventual collision with Greater India ~55 Ma. The eastern portion of the intra-oceanic arc accreted to eastern Eurasia

  11. Lower plate deformation structures along the Costa Rica erosive plate boundary - results from IODP Expedition 344 (CRISP 2)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brandstätter, Jennifer; Kurz, Walter; Micheuz, Peter; Krenn, Kurt

    2015-04-01

    The primary objective of Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) Expedition 344 offshore the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica was to sample and quantify the material entering the seismogenic zone of the Costa Rican erosive subduction margin. Fundamental to this objective is an understanding of the nature of both the subducting Cocos plate crust and of the overriding Caribbean plate. The subducting Cocos plate is investigated trying to define its hydrologic system and thermal state. The forearc structures recorded by the sediment deposited on the forearc, instead, document periods of uplift and subsidence and provide important information about the process of tectonic erosion that characterizes the Costa Rica margin. Offshore the western margin of Costa Rica, the oceanic Cocos plate subducts under the Caribbean plate, forming the southern end of the Middle America Trench. Subduction parameters including the age, convergence rate, azimuth, obliquity, morphology, and slab dip all vary along strike. The age of the Cocos plate at the Middle America Trench decreases from 24 Ma offshore the Nicoya Peninsula to 15 Ma offshore the Osa Peninsula. Subduction rates vary from 70 mm/y offshore Guatemala to 90 mm/y offshore southern Costa Rica. Convergence obliquity across the trench varies from offshore Nicaragua, where it is as much as 25° oblique, to nearly orthogonal southeast of the Nicoya Peninsula. Passage of the Cocos plate over the Galapagos hotspot created the aseismic Cocos Ridge, an overthickened welt of oceanic crust. This ridge is ~25 km thick, greater than three times normal oceanic crustal thickness. During IODP Expedition 344, the incoming Cocos plate was drilled at sites U1381 and U1414. Site U1381 is located ~4.5 km seaward of the deformation front offshore the Osa Peninsula and Caño Island. It is located on a local basement high. Basement relief often focuses fluid flow, so data from this site are likely to document the vigor of fluid flow in this area. Site U

  12. Initiation of modern-style plate tectonics recorded in Mesoarchean marine chemical sediments

    Science.gov (United States)

    Satkoski, Aaron M.; Fralick, Philip; Beard, Brian L.; Johnson, Clark M.

    2017-07-01

    The chemistry of the oceans in part reflects a balance between inputs from the continents and mantle. Traditionally, it has been thought that Archean ocean chemistry was dominated by mantle sources, but recent work has suggested that continental weathering during the Archean provided a much higher flux to the oceans than previously recognized. Here, we present new Rb-Sr and Sm-Nd isotope compositions on carbonate (dolomite and limestone) from the 2.94 Ga Red Lake and 2.80 Ga Steep Rock groups in the Superior Province, Canada to assess the potential impact continental weathering had on ocean chemistry during the Mesoarchean, a time when initiation of modern-style plate tectonics has been proposed to have occurred. The low Rb contents of all carbonate samples suggest that clastic contamination does not affect the Sr isotope compositions. Using O and Sr isotope modeling, we identified unaltered samples and estimate a 87Sr/86Sr ratio of 0.70173 for seawater at 2.94 Ga and 0.70182 at 2.80 Ga. Strontium isotope compositions from both Red Lake and Steep Rock indicate that seawater was significantly more radiogenic than contemporaneous mantle, and suggests that weathering of evolved continental crust was an important input to seawater. Continental weathering likely affected seawater chemistry through uplift of continental lithosphere during the initiation of modern-style plate tectonics at 3.2 Ga, a model that is contrary to those that suggest the Archean continents were small in extent and largely submerged. Initiation of modern-style plate tectonics and associated continental weathering had an important effect on the biosphere, including increased nutrient delivery, as well as creation of ecological niches that allowed development of the first biologically produced shallow marine redox gradients.

  13. Plate tectonics 2.5 billion years ago: evidence at kolar, South India.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Krogstad, E J; Balakrishnan, S; Mukhopadhyay, D K; Rajamani, V; Hanson, G N

    1989-03-10

    The Archean Kolar Schist Belt, south India, is a suture zone where two gneiss terranes and at least two amphibolite terranes with distinct histories were accrted. Amphibolites from the eastern and western sides of the schist belt have distinct incompatible element and isotopic characteristics sugesting that their volcanic protoliths were derived from dint mantle sources. The amphibolite and gneiss terranes were juxtaposed by horizontal compression and shearing between 2530 and 2420 million years ago (Ma) along a zone marked by the Kolar Schist Belt. This history of accretion of discrete crustal terranes resembles those of Phanerozoic convergent margins and thus suggests that plate tectonics operated on Earth by 2500 Ma.

  14. Plate tectonics 2.5 billion years ago - Evidence at Kolar, south India

    Science.gov (United States)

    Krogstad, E. J.; Hanson, G. N.; Balakrishnan, S.; Rajamani, V.; Mukhopadhyay, D. K.

    1989-01-01

    The Archean Kolar Schist Belt, south India, is a suture zone where two gneiss terranes and at least two amphibolite terranes with distinct histories were accreted. Amphibolites from the eastern and western sides of the schist belt have distinct incompatible element and isotopic characteristics suggesting that their volcanic protoliths were derived from different mantle sources. The amphibolite and gneiss terranes were juxtaposed by horizontal compression and shearing between 2530 and 2420 million years ago (Ma) along a zone marked by the Kolar Schist Belt. This history of accretion of discrete crustal terranes resembles those of Phanerozoic convergent margins and thus suggests that plate tectonics operated on earth by 2500 Ma.

  15. Ever deeper phylogeographies: trees retain the genetic imprint of Tertiary plate tectonics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hampe, Arndt; Petit, Rémy J

    2007-12-01

    Changes in species distributions after the last glacial maximum (c. 18 000 years bp) are beginning to be understood, but information diminishes quickly as one moves further back in time. In this issue of Molecular Ecology, Magri et al. (2007) present the fascinating case of a Mediterranean tree species whose populations preserve the genetic imprints of plate tectonic events that took place between 25 million years and 15 million years ago. The study provides a unique insight into the pace of evolution of trees, which, despite interspecific gene flow, can retain a cohesive species identity over timescales long enough to allow the diversification of entire plant and animal genera.

  16. Plate tectonics 2.5 billion years ago - Evidence at Kolar, south India

    Science.gov (United States)

    Krogstad, E. J.; Hanson, G. N.; Balakrishnan, S.; Rajamani, V.; Mukhopadhyay, D. K.

    1989-01-01

    The Archean Kolar Schist Belt, south India, is a suture zone where two gneiss terranes and at least two amphibolite terranes with distinct histories were accreted. Amphibolites from the eastern and western sides of the schist belt have distinct incompatible element and isotopic characteristics suggesting that their volcanic protoliths were derived from different mantle sources. The amphibolite and gneiss terranes were juxtaposed by horizontal compression and shearing between 2530 and 2420 million years ago (Ma) along a zone marked by the Kolar Schist Belt. This history of accretion of discrete crustal terranes resembles those of Phanerozoic convergent margins and thus suggests that plate tectonics operated on earth by 2500 Ma.

  17. Vibration suppression for laminated composite plates with arbitrary boundary conditions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, J.; Narita, Y.

    2013-11-01

    An analysis of vibration suppression for laminated composite plates subject to active constrained layer damping under various boundary conditions is presented. Piezoelectric-fiber-reinforced composites (PFRCs) are used as active actuators, and the effect of PFRC patches on vibration control is reported here. An analytical approach is expanded to analyze the vibration of laminated composites with arbitrary boundary conditions. By using Hamilton's principle and the Rayleigh-Ritz method, the equation of motion for the resulting electromechanical coupling system is derived. A velocity feedback control rule is employed to obtain an effective active damping in the vibration control. The orientation effect of piezoelectric fibers in the PFRC patches on the suppression of forced vibrations is also investigated.

  18. Research on the Characteristics of Large Earthquake Activity on the Active Tectonic Boundaries on the Chinese Mainland

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Ma Hongsheng; Zhang Guomin; Liu Jie; Wang Hui

    2006-01-01

    Based on the research and the division of the active tectonic blocks and their boundaries on the Chinese mainland, the feature of the large earthquake activities on the 24 boundaries between the 6 active tectonic block regions (grade Ⅰ ) and the 22 active tectonic blocks (grade Ⅱ ) are studied. The seismicity levels on the active tectonic block boundaries are discussed considering the large earthquake frequency and the released strain energy in unit distance and time. The theoretic maximal magnitude and the recurrence period of each boundary are then calculated from the G-R relation. By comparing this with the actual earthquake records, it is found that the intensities of the earthquake deduced from the seismic activity parameter (a/b) on the main active boundaries on the Chinese mainland are consistent with that of the natural earthquakes. Meanwhile, an inverse relation is found between the recurrence periods of large earthquakes and the tectonic motion rate on the boundaries. These results show that the a, b values of each boundary obtained in this paper are valuable. In addition, the present seismic activities and hazards of these boundaries are also probed into with the historical data and their elapsed time on each boundary based on the hypothesis that the large earthquakes satisfy Poisson distribution.

  19. Crustal structure and seismicity distribution adjacent to the Pacific and North American plate boundary in southern California

    OpenAIRE

    Hauksson, Egill

    2000-01-01

    New three-dimensional (3-D) V_P and V_P/V_S models are determined for southern California using P and S-P travel times from local earthquakes and controlled sources. These models confirm existing tectonic interpretations and provide new insights into the configuration of geological structures at the Pacific-North America plate boundary. The models extend from the U.S.-Mexico border in the south to the southernmost Coast Ranges and Sierra Nevada in the north and have a 15-km horizontal grid sp...

  20. Evolution of the western segment of Juan Fernández Ridge (Nazca Plate): plume vs. plate tectonic processes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lara, Luis E.; Rodrigo, Cristián; Reyes, Javier; Orozco, Gabriel

    2014-05-01

    The Juan Fernandez Ridge (Eastern Pacific, Nazca Plate) is thought to be a classic hot spot trail because of the apparent age progression observed in 40Ar-39Ar data. However, geological evidence and some thermochronological data suggest a more complex pattern with a rejuvenation stage in Robinson Crusoe Island, the most eroded of the Juan Fernandez Archipelago. In fact, a postshield stage at 900-700 ka separates the underlying shield-related pile from the post-erosional alkaline succession (Ba/Yb=38.15; La/Yb=15.66; Ba/Y=20.27; Ba/Zr=2.31). Shield volcanoes grew at high effusion rate at ca. 5-4 Ma erupting mostly tholeiitic to transitional magmas (Ba/Yb=18.07-8.32; La/Yb=4.59-9.84; Ba/Y=4.24-8.18; Ba/Zr=0.73-1.09). Taken together, shield volcanoes form a continuous plateau with a base at ca. 3900 mbsl. However, a more complex structural pattern can be inferred from geophysical data, which suggest some intracrustal magma storage and a more extended area of magma ascent. A role for the Challenger Fracture Zone is hypothesized fueling the controversy between pristine plume origin and the effect of plate tectonic processes in the origin of intraplate volcanism. This research is supported by FONDECYT Project 1110966.

  1. The emergence of seismic cycles from stress feedback between intra-plate faulting and far-field tectonic loading

    Science.gov (United States)

    So, Byung-Dal; Capitanio, Fabio A.

    2016-08-01

    Using numerical modeling we show the emergence of cyclic slip behavior of faults from stress feedback through an idealized fault, its surrounding plates and far-field tectonic stress. The tectonic stress is exerted on the fault through a force applied along an idealized plate margin, acting on the fault, resulting from the interactions of viscous embedding and external plates. We find that, in such coupled system, the interaction of plates results into feedback with periodic deformation, slip along the fault and episodic plate margin motions. The viscosity of the embedding and loading plates primarily control the stress-loading time and hence the slip recurrence interval. For an Earth-like range of lithospheric viscosities, we derive a power-law with negative exponent, -0.99 to -0.5, scaling the recurrence period with loading-rate, providing an explanation for the observables from paleoseismology and geodesy. The feedback between single fault and far-field stress that arises from interactions of deforming plates provides a context to understand the earthquake cycle within continents, while reconciling the short-term seismic deformation to the long-term plate tectonics frame.

  2. "Discovering Plate Boundaries in Data-Rich Environments": Supporting Pre-service Teachers involvement in Unique Practices of Geosciences

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barrie, A. S.; Moore, J.

    2012-12-01

    plate tectonics using key scientific practices. As a result of the educational activities developed in this project, we will try help teachers to overcome their challenges and develop the pedagogical skills that novice teachers need to use to teach plate tectonics by focusing on key scientific practices with the help of previously-developed educational resources. Learning about the processes that occur at plate boundaries will help future teachers (and their students) understand natural disasters such as earthquakes and volcanoes. Furthermore, the study will have a significant, and broader, impact by 'teaching the teachers' and empowering novice teachers to overcome the challenges of reading maps and using argumentation in science classrooms.

  3. Controllability of a viscoelastic plate using one boundary control in displacement or bending

    OpenAIRE

    Pandolfi, L.

    2016-01-01

    In this paper we consider a viscoelastic plate (linear viscoelasticity of the Maxwell-Boltzmann type) and we compare its controllability properties with the (known) controllability of a purely elastic plate (the control acts on the boundary displacement or bending). By combining operator and moment methods, we prove that the viscoelastic plate inherits the controllability properties of the purely elastic plate.

  4. Past and present seafloor age distributions and the temporal evolution of plate tectonic heat transport

    Science.gov (United States)

    Becker, Thorsten W.; Conrad, Clinton P.; Buffett, Bruce; Müller, R. Dietmar

    2009-02-01

    Variations in Earth's rates of seafloor generation and recycling have far-reaching consequences for sea level, ocean chemistry, and climate. However, there is little agreement on the correct parameterization for the time-dependent evolution of plate motions. A strong constraint is given by seafloor age distributions, which are affected by variations in average spreading rate, ridge length, and the age distribution of seafloor being removed by subduction. Using a simplified evolution model, we explore which physical parameterizations of these quantities are compatible with broad trends in the area per seafloor age statistics for the present-day and back to 140 Ma from paleo-age reconstructions. We show that a probability of subduction based on plate buoyancy (slab-pull, or "sqrt(age)") and a time-varying spreading rate fits the observed age distributions as well as, or better than, a subduction probability consistent with an unvarying "triangular" age distribution and age-independent destruction of ocean floor. Instead, we interpret the present near-triangular distribution of ages as a snapshot of a transient state of the evolving oceanic plate system. Current seafloor ages still contain hints of a ˜ 60 Myr periodicity in seafloor production, and using paleoages, we find that a ˜ 250 Myr period variation is consistent with geologically-based reconstructions of production rate variations. These long-period variations also imply a decrease of oceanic heat flow by ˜ - 0.25%/Ma during the last 140 Ma, caused by a 25-50% decrease in the rate of seafloor production. Our study offers an improved understanding of the non-uniformitarian evolution of plate tectonics and the interplay between continental cycles and the self-organization of the oceanic plates.

  5. On the motion and geometry of the Sierra Nevada Great Valley micro-plate: Implications for Walker Lane tectonics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kreemer, C.; Hammond, W. C.; Blewitt, G.

    2006-12-01

    The Sierra Nevada Great Valley (SNGV) micro-plate, a.k.a. the Fresno block, has long been recognized as a tectonically stable entity within the Pacific North America plate boundary zone. Some early geodetic studies have confirmed and defined its rigid behavior. However, those studies were based on a very limited amount of geodetic station velocities, and were unable to assess the extent of rigidity towards the edges of the block. The San Andreas and Garlock fault systems define the western and southern edges of the block, but no such features are readily recognizable to the north and east, along the Walker Lane belt. A better assessment of the location of the boundary or transition between the stable SNGV block and the Walker Lane is important for three reasons. It will provide a better understanding of what controls Walker Lane development and evolution, it will provide important boundary conditions in understanding the present-day kinematics of the Walker Lane, and it is contributes to the assessment of seismic hazard levels for the Reno-Carson City area. We analyze data from all the available GPS sites in the greater SNGV region, including data from the SCIGN, BARD and BARGEN networks, semi-continuous data from our own MAGNET network, and campaign-style data (e.g., USGS, SCEC). Also we have started to analyze regional PBO sites, however time-series for most of those sites are at present too short to infer reliable velocity estimates. We use the GIPSY OASIS II software which employs precise point positioning using dual-frequency carrier phase and pseudorange data, and the precise orbit, clock, and reference frame transformation products publicly available from JPL. The analysis includes carrier phase ambiguity resolution and regional filtering. Using these velocities we perform a kinematic analysis of the station velocity solution, solving for an angular velocity that best describes the motion of the SNGV. We analyze the residuals to investigate where the SNGV

  6. Feeling and Understanding Plate Tectonics - How can We attract Museum Visitors Attention?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Simon, Gilla; Apel, Michael

    2017-04-01

    Earthquakes, volcano eruptions and other natural hazards are commonly paid attention to, if news about disastrous events reach us. The mission of an Earth Science or Natural History Museum, however, goes beyond explaining the causes of natural disasters, but should also present science history and cutting edge research. Since dealing with a subject, especially with one, which seems to be in the abstract, is more effective, we realised two new projects where our visitors can feel and understand plate tectonics in a more exciting way. In 2015 we installed an earthquake simulator in our permanent exhibition to allow our visitors the physical experience of an earthquake. Because of static restrictions the simulator is housed in a container outside the building where it can be visited as a booked program upon prior reservation or by joining public tours on Sundays and special occasions. The simulation of six real earthquakes in two spatial directions is accompanied by a movie presenting facts about the earthquake itself (e.g. location, magnitude, damage and victims), but also general information about plate tectonics. This standard program takes about 20 minutes. During an educational program, however, not only the simulator is visited, but also the permanent exhibition, where the guide can focus on different aspects and then might choose specific earthquakes and information blocs in the simulator. In addition workshops with experiments are offered for school classes and other groups. This allows us to offer an individual program fitting to the visitor group. In 2016 we converted an old movie room to a state of the art media room. In cooperation with Media Informatics students we developed a quiz for three different levels and various themes like earthquakes, volcanoes, history and plate tectonics in general. Starting the quiz, a virtual earthquake destroys a building which will be reconstructed if the participants answer multiple choice questions correctly. Though, the

  7. Layer-block tectonics of Cenozoic basements and formation of intra-plate basins in Nansha micro-plate,southern South China Sea

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    LIU Hailing; XIE Guofa; LIN Qiujin; ZHENG Hongbo; LIU Yingchun

    2009-01-01

    Layer-block tectonics (LBT) concept, with the core of pluralistic geodynamic outlook and multi-layer-sliding tectonic outlook, is one of new keys to study 3-dimensional solid and its 4-dimensional evolution history of global tectonic system controlled by global geodynamics system. The LBT concept is applied to study the lithospheric tectonics of the southern South China Sea (SCS). Based on the analysis of about 30 000 km of geophysical and geological data, some layer-blocks in the Nansha micro-plate can be divided as Nansha ultra-crustal layer-block, Zengmu crustal layer-block, Nanwei (Rifleman bank)-Andu (Ardasier bank) and Liyue (Reed bank)-North Palawan crustal layer-blocks, Andu-Bisheng and Liyue-Banyue basemental layer-blocks. The basic characteristics of the basemental layer-blocks have been dicussed, and three intra-plate basin groups are identified. The intra-plate basins within Nansha micro-plate can be divided into three basin groups of Nanwei-Andu, Feixin-Nanhua, and Liyue-North Palawan based on the different geodynamics. In the light of pluralistic geodynamic concept, the upheaving force induced by the mid-crust plastic layer is proposed as the main dynamical force which causes the formation of the intra-plate basins within the Nansha micro-plate. Finally, models of a face-to-face dip-slip-detachment of basemental layer-block and a unilateral dip-slip-detachment of basemental layer-block are put forward for the forming mechanisms of the Nanwei-Andu and Liyue-North Palawan intra-plate basin groups, respectively.

  8. Satellite Elevation Magnetic and Gravity Models of Major South American Plate Tectonic Features

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vonfrese, R. R. B.; Hinze, W. J.; Braile, L. W.; Lidiak, E. G.; Keller, G. R. (Principal Investigator); Longacre, M. B.

    1984-01-01

    Some MAGSAT scalar and vector magnetic anomaly data together with regional gravity anomaly data are being used to investigate the regional tectonic features of the South American Plate. An initial step in this analysis is three dimensional modeling of magnetic and gravity anomalies of major structures such as the Andean subduction zone and the Amazon River Aulacogen at satellite elevations over an appropriate range of physical properties using Gaus-Legendre quadrature integration method. In addition, one degree average free-air gravity anomalies of South America and adjacent marine areas are projected to satellite elevations assuming a spherical Earth and available MAGSAT data are processed to obtain compatible data sets for correlation. Correlation of these data sets is enhanced by reduction of the MAGSAT data to radial polarization because of the profound effect of the variation of the magnetic inclination over South America.

  9. Satellite Elevation Magnetic and Gravity Models of Major South American Plate Tectonic Features

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vonfrese, R. R. B.; Hinze, W. J.; Braile, L. W.; Lidiak, E. G.; Keller, G. R. (Principal Investigator); Longacre, M. B.

    1984-01-01

    Some MAGSAT scalar and vector magnetic anomaly data together with regional gravity anomaly data are being used to investigate the regional tectonic features of the South American Plate. An initial step in this analysis is three dimensional modeling of magnetic and gravity anomalies of major structures such as the Andean subduction zone and the Amazon River Aulacogen at satellite elevations over an appropriate range of physical properties using Gaus-Legendre quadrature integration method. In addition, one degree average free-air gravity anomalies of South America and adjacent marine areas are projected to satellite elevations assuming a spherical Earth and available MAGSAT data are processed to obtain compatible data sets for correlation. Correlation of these data sets is enhanced by reduction of the MAGSAT data to radial polarization because of the profound effect of the variation of the magnetic inclination over South America.

  10. A PILOT SEARCH FOR EVIDENCE OF EXTRASOLAR EARTH-ANALOG PLATE TECTONICS

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Jura, M.; Klein, B.; Xu, S. [Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1562 (United States); Young, E. D., E-mail: jura@astro.ucla.edu, E-mail: kleinb@astro.ucla.edu, E-mail: sxu@astro.ucla.edu, E-mail: eyoung@ess.ucla.edu [Department of Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095 (United States)

    2014-08-20

    Relative to calcium, both strontium and barium are markedly enriched in Earth's continental crust compared to the basaltic crusts of other differentiated rocky bodies within the solar system. Here, we both re-examine available archived Keck spectra to place upper bounds on n(Ba)/n(Ca) and revisit published results for n(Sr)/n(Ca) in two white dwarfs that have accreted rocky planetesimals. We find that at most only a small fraction of the pollution is from crustal material that has experienced the distinctive elemental enhancements induced by Earth-analog plate tectonics. In view of the intense theoretical interest in the physical structure of extrasolar rocky planets, this search should be extended to additional targets.

  11. A Pilot Search for Evidence of Extrasolar Earth-analog Plate Tectonics

    CERN Document Server

    Jura, M; Xu, S; Young, E D

    2014-01-01

    Relative to calcium, both strontium and barium are markedly enriched in Earth's continental crust compared to the basaltic crusts of other differentiated rocky bodies within the solar system. Here, we both re-examine available archived Keck spectra to place upper bounds on n(Ba)/n(Ca) and revisit published results for n(Sr)/n(Ca) in two white dwarfs that have accreted rocky planetesimals. We find that at most only a small fraction of the pollution is from crustal material that has experienced the distinctive elemental enhancements induced by Earth-analog plate tectonics. In view of the intense theoretical interest in the physical structure of extrasolar rocky planets, this search should be extended to additional targets.

  12. Early Paleozoic tectonics of Asia: A preliminary full-plate model

    Science.gov (United States)

    Domeier, Mat

    2017-04-01

    One of the largest and longest evolving orogens on Earth, the Central Asian Orogenic Belt (CAOB; alt. the Altaids) is as endlessly fascinating as it is astonishingly complex. By the slow grind of tectonics, the CAOB was forged over hundreds of millions of years, with a spectacular climax during the late Paleozoic and early Mesozoic, when a series of terrane collisions first melded a mosaic of island arcs and continental blocks into a colossal landmass that we now know as Asia. Unsurprisingly, that dynamic late Paleozoic to early Mesozoic interval has garnered tremendous interest, stimulated a great wealth of studies, and instigated captivating ongoing debates. But what set the stage for this action-packed display? Here I report on an ongoing initiative to weave together a self-consistent, full-plate tectonic model of the building blocks of Asia in the early Paleozoic ( 500-400 Ma), this will provide a testable and freely-available geodynamic framework for early CAOB genesis that can focus new work and foster new insights into the nature and evolution of Asia.

  13. Contrasting styles of (U)HP rock exhumation along the Cenozoic Adria-Europe plate boundary (Western Alps, Calabria, Corsica)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Malusà, Marco G.; Faccenna, Claudio; Baldwin, Suzanne L.; Fitzgerald, Paul G.; Rossetti, Federico; Balestrieri, Maria Laura; Danišík, Martin; Ellero, Alessandro; Ottria, Giuseppe; Piromallo, Claudia

    2015-06-01

    Since the first discovery of ultrahigh pressure (UHP) rocks 30 years ago in the Western Alps, the mechanisms for exhumation of (U)HP terranes worldwide are still debated. In the western Mediterranean, the presently accepted model of synconvergent exhumation (e.g., the channel-flow model) is in conflict with parts of the geologic record. We synthesize regional geologic data and present alternative exhumation mechanisms that consider the role of divergence within subduction zones. These mechanisms, i.e., (i) the motion of the upper plate away from the trench and (ii) the rollback of the lower plate, are discussed in detail with particular reference to the Cenozoic Adria-Europe plate boundary, and along three different transects (Western Alps, Calabria-Sardinia, and Corsica-Northern Apennines). In the Western Alps, (U)HP rocks were exhumed from the greatest depth at the rear of the accretionary wedge during motion of the upper plate away from the trench. Exhumation was extremely fast, and associated with very low geothermal gradients. In Calabria, HP rocks were exhumed from shallower depths and at lower rates during rollback of the Adriatic plate, with repeated exhumation pulses progressively younging toward the foreland. Both mechanisms were active to create boundary divergence along the Corsica-Northern Apennines transect, where European southeastward subduction was progressively replaced along strike by Adriatic northwestward subduction. The tectonic scenario depicted for the Western Alps trench during Eocene exhumation of (U)HP rocks correlates well with present-day eastern Papua New Guinea, which is presented as a modern analog of the Paleogene Adria-Europe plate boundary.

  14. Upper plate deformation and seismic barrier in front of Nazca subduction zone: The Chololo Fault System and active tectonics along the Coastal Cordillera, southern Peru

    Science.gov (United States)

    Audin, Laurence; Lacan, Pierre; Tavera, Hernando; Bondoux, Francis

    2008-11-01

    The South America plate boundary is one of the most active subduction zone. The recent Mw = 8.4 Arequipa 2001 earthquake ruptured the subduction plane toward the south over 400 km and stopped abruptly on the Ilo Peninsula. In this exact region, the subduction seismic crisis induced the reactivation of continental fault systems in the coastal area. We studied the main reactivated fault system that trends perpendicular to the trench by detailed mapping of fault related-geomorphic features. Also, at a longer time scale, a recurrent Quaternary transtensive tectonic activity of the CFS is expressed by offset river gullies and alluvial fans. The presence of such extensional fault systems trending orthogonal to the trench along the Coastal Cordillera in southern Peru is interpreted to reflect a strong coupling between the two plates. In this particular case, stress transfer to the upper plate, at least along the coastal fringe, appears to have induced crustal seismic events that were initiated mainly during and after the 2001 earthquake. The seafloor roughness of the subducting plate is usually thought to be a cause of segmentation along subduction zones. However, after comparing and discussing the role of inherited structures within the upper plate to the subduction zone segmentation in southern Peru, we suggest that the continental structure itself may exert some feedback control on the segmentation of the subduction zone and thus participate to define the rupture pattern of major subduction earthquakes along the southern Peru continental margin.

  15. A plate tectonic-paleoceanographic hypothesis for Cretaceous source rocks and cherts of northern South America

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Villamil, T.; Arango, C. (Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, CO (United States))

    1996-01-01

    New paleocontinental reconstructions show a northern migration of the South American Plate with respect to the paleoequator from the Jurassic to the Late Cretaceous. This movement caused the northern margin of South America to migrate from a position south to a position north of the paleoequator. Ekman transport generated net surface water movement towards the south during times when northern South America was south of the paleoequator. This situation favored downwelling and prevented Jurassic and earliest Cretaceous marine source rocks from being deposited. When northern South America was north of the paleoequator Ekman transport forced net water movement to the north favoring upwelling, paleoproductivity, and the deposition of one of the best marine source rocks known (the La Luna, Villeta, and equivalents). This plate tectonic paleoceanographic hypothesis explains the origin of hydrocarbons in northern South America. The stratigraphic record reflects this increase in paleoproductivity through time. This can be observed in facies (non-calcareous shales to calcareous shales to siliceous shales and finally to bedded cherts) and in changing planktic communities which were initially dominated by healthy calcareous foraminifer assemblages, followed by stressed foraminifer populations and finally by radiolarians. Total organic carbon and source rock quality were affected by this long term increase in paleoproductivity but also, and more markedly, by a punctuated sequence stratigraphic record dominated by low- frequency changes in relative sea level. The magnitude of transgressive episodes caused by rise in sea level determined the extent of source rock intervals and indirectly the content of organic carbon.

  16. A plate tectonic-paleoceanographic hypothesis for Cretaceous source rocks and cherts of northern South America

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Villamil, T.; Arango, C. [Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, CO (United States)

    1996-12-31

    New paleocontinental reconstructions show a northern migration of the South American Plate with respect to the paleoequator from the Jurassic to the Late Cretaceous. This movement caused the northern margin of South America to migrate from a position south to a position north of the paleoequator. Ekman transport generated net surface water movement towards the south during times when northern South America was south of the paleoequator. This situation favored downwelling and prevented Jurassic and earliest Cretaceous marine source rocks from being deposited. When northern South America was north of the paleoequator Ekman transport forced net water movement to the north favoring upwelling, paleoproductivity, and the deposition of one of the best marine source rocks known (the La Luna, Villeta, and equivalents). This plate tectonic paleoceanographic hypothesis explains the origin of hydrocarbons in northern South America. The stratigraphic record reflects this increase in paleoproductivity through time. This can be observed in facies (non-calcareous shales to calcareous shales to siliceous shales and finally to bedded cherts) and in changing planktic communities which were initially dominated by healthy calcareous foraminifer assemblages, followed by stressed foraminifer populations and finally by radiolarians. Total organic carbon and source rock quality were affected by this long term increase in paleoproductivity but also, and more markedly, by a punctuated sequence stratigraphic record dominated by low- frequency changes in relative sea level. The magnitude of transgressive episodes caused by rise in sea level determined the extent of source rock intervals and indirectly the content of organic carbon.

  17. Geochemistry of Mesoproterozoic Volcanic Rocks in the Western Kunlun Mountains:Evidence for Plate Tectonic Evolution

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    ZHANG Chuanlin; DONG Yongguan; ZHAO Yu; WANG Aiguo; GUO Kunyi

    2003-01-01

    Mesoproterozoic volcanic rocks occurring in the north of the western Kunlun Mountains can be divided into two groups. The first group (north belt) is an reversely-evolved bimodal series. Petrochemistry shows that the alkalinity of the rocks decreases from early to late: alkaline→calc-alkaline→tholeiite, and geochemistry proves that the volcanic rocks were formed in rifting tectonic systems. The sedimentary facies shows characteristics of back-arc basins. The second (south belt) group, which occurs to the south of Yutian-Minfeng-Cele, is composed of calc-alkaline island arc (basaltic) andesite and minor rhyolite. The space distribution, age and geochemistry of the two volcanite groups indicate that they were formed in a back-arc basin (the first group) and an island arc (the second group) respectively and indicate the plate evolution during the Mesoproterozoic. The orogeny took place at ~1.05 Ga, which was coeval with the Grenville orogeny. This study has provided important geological data for exploring the position of the Paleo-Tarim plate in the Rodinia super-continent.

  18. EarthScope Plate Boundary Observatory Data in the College Classroom (Invited)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eriksson, S. C.; Olds, S. E.

    2009-12-01

    The Plate Boundary Observatory (PBO) is the geodetic component of the EarthScope project, designed to study the 3-D strain field across the active boundary zone between the Pacific and North American tectonics plates in the western United States. All PBO data are freely available to scientific and educational communities and have been incorporated into a variety of activities for college and university classrooms. UNAVCO Education and Outreach program staff have worked closely with faculty users, scientific researchers, and facility staff to create materials that are scientifically and technically accurate as well as useful to the classroom user. Availability of processed GPS data is not new to the geoscience community. However, PBO data staff have worked with education staff to deliver data that are readily accessible to educators. The UNAVCO Data for Educators webpage, incorporating an embedded Google Map with PBO GPS locations and providing current GPS time series plots and downloadable data, extends and updates the datasets available to our community. Google Earth allows the visualization GPS data with other types of datasets, e.g. LiDAR, while maintaining the self-contained and easy-to-use interface of UNAVCO’s Jules Verne Voyager map tools, which have multiple sets of geological and geophysical data. Curricular materials provide scaffolds for using EarthScope data in a variety of forms for different learning goals. Simple visualization of earthquake epicenters and locations of volcanoes can be used with velocity vectors to make simple deductions of plate boundary behaviors. Readily available time series plots provide opportunities for additional science skills, and there are web and paper-based support materials for downloading data, manipulating tables, and using plotting programs for processed GPS data. Scientists have provided contextual materials to explore the importance of these data in interpreting the structure and dynamics of the Earth. These data

  19. The fluid budget of a continental plate boundary fault: Quantification from the Alpine Fault, New Zealand

    Science.gov (United States)

    Menzies, Catriona D.; Teagle, Damon A. H.; Niedermann, Samuel; Cox, Simon C.; Craw, Dave; Zimmer, Martin; Cooper, Matthew J.; Erzinger, Jörg

    2016-07-01

    Fluids play a key role in modifying the chemical and physical properties of fault zones, which may prime them for repeated rupture by the generation of high pore fluid pressures and precipitation of commonly weak, secondary minerals. Fluid flow paths, sources and fluxes, and the permeability evolution of fault zones throughout their seismic cycles remain poorly constrained, despite their importance to understanding fault zone behaviour. Here we use geochemical tracers of fluid-rock exchange to determine budgets for meteoric, metamorphic and mantle fluids on a major compressional tectonic plate boundary. The Alpine Fault marks the transpressional Pacific-Australian plate boundary through South Island, New Zealand and appears to fail in regular (329 ± 68 yrs) large earthquakes (Mw ∼ 8) with the most recent event in 1717 AD. Significant convergent motion has formed the Southern Alps and elevated geothermal gradients in the hangingwall, which drive crustal fluid flow. Along the Alpine Fault the Alpine Schist of the Pacific Plate is thrust over radiogenic metasedimentary rocks on the Australian plate. The absence of highly radiogenic (87Sr/86Sr > 0.7200) strontium isotope ratios of hangingwall hot springs and hydrothermal minerals formed at a range of depths in the Alpine Fault damage zone indicates that the fluid flow is restricted to the hangingwall by a cross-fault fluid flow barrier throughout the seismogenic crust. Helium isotope ratios measured in hot springs near to the Alpine Fault (0.15-0.81 RA) indicate the fault is a crustal-scale feature that acts as a conduit for fluids from the mantle. Rock-exchanged oxygen, but meteoric water-like hydrogen isotope signatures of hydrothermal veins indicate that partially rock-exchanged meteoric fluids dominate down to the top of the brittle to ductile transition zone at ∼6 km. Geochemical tracer transport modelling suggests only ∼0.02 to 0.05% of total rainfall west of the Main Divide penetrates to depth, yet this

  20. Laboratory-observed frictional slip instabilities in samples of the Tohoku plate boundary megathrust

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ikari, M.; Ito, Y.; Ujiie, K.; Kopf, A.

    2014-12-01

    The plate boundary megathrust at the Japan Trench is remarkable due to its capability for a wide range of fault slip styles. In addition to the extraordinarily large amount of coseismic slip (several 10's of meters) that reached the seafloor during the 2011 Tohoku-Oki earthquake, the the Japan Trench is also known host slow earthquakes. The location of these slow earthquakes coincide with the rupture area of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake; one was observed to occur in the month before the 2011 earthquake and was likely ongoing during the earthquake. This shows that the frictional behavior of the Japan Trench megathrust is complex and thus failure can occur in a variety of styles. Samples of the plate boundary fault zone in the Tohoku region were recovered ~7 km from the Japan Trench axis, within the region of largest coseismic slip during the Tohoku earthquakes, during Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Expedition 343, the Japan Trench Fast Drilling Project (JFAST). We used these samples in laboratory friction experiments in order to examine the slip behavior of the shallow Tohoku megathrust. In our tests, we sheared the samples at 10 μm/s to establish a steady shear geometry and friction level and subsequently decrease the slip velocity to 2.7 nm/s, equal to the convergence rate between the Pacific and North American plates (85 mm/yr) and thus simulating realistically slow fault slip rates. Regular stick-slip behavior was observed soon after the velocity decrease but ceases as friction evolves to a new residual level. Shearing then mostly proceeds as stable creep, however infrequent friction perturbations are observed which occur two to three times over several mm. Unlike normal stick-slip behavior, we observe stress increases before the stress drop so that the friction level before and after the event are similar. The stress drop is ~0.015 in friction (~100 kPa) and occurs over several hours; therefore we interpret these events to be laboratory-generated slow

  1. Initial-boundary value problems for a class of nonlinear thermoelastic plate equations

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Zhang Jian-Wen; Rong Xiao-Liang; Wu Run-Heng

    2009-01-01

    This paper studies initial-boundary value problems for a class of nonlinear thermoelastic plate equations. Under some certain initial data and boundary conditions,it obtains an existence and uniqueness theorem of global weak solutions of the nonlinear thermoelstic plate equations,by means of the Galerkin method. Moreover,it also proves the existence of strong and classical solutions.

  2. Accommodation of collisional shortening along the Alpine plate boundary : plate kinematics vs rheological controls

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rosenberg, Claudio; Bellahsen, Nicolas

    2016-04-01

    The style of collision in the Alps varies along strike, reflecting different amounts and different modes of accommodation of collisional shortening. These differences control the patterns of exhumation during collision. Whereas the western Alps largely consist of a metamorphic complex formed during subduction and largely exhumed before the initiation of collision, the subduction nappe-stack of the Central and the Eastern Alps is strongly overprinted by collisional shortening and by Barrovian metamorphism. Based on compiled and new data we estimate amounts of collisional shortening along the strike of the chain and set it in relationship to the geometry of the collisional prism. The western Alpine collisional structures form a very large (in map view), but moderately shortened wedge, terminating in front of a poorly developed Molasse basin. Shortening of this wedge was mainly localized along its external parts, resulting in accretion of basement and cover units thrusted towards the foreland. Back-folding and back-thrusting are barely developed and no shortening takes place in the upper, Adriatic plate. In the Central Alps, the amount of collisional shortening is larger and it is distributed both in the lower and in the upper plate. The collisional prism is bivergent and partitioning of the amount of shortening between the upper and lower plates varies along strike, being most probably controlled by rheological, heterogeneities. The thickened accreted lower plate is strongly affected by Barrovian metamorphism where shortening is largest and localized within a confined area. A deep Molasse basin developed in front of the prism. In the Eastern Alps collisional kinematics vary from east to west, with orogen-parallel displacements dominating in the east and orogen-perpendicular ones in the West, where they culminate in the structural and metamorphic dome of the Tauern Window. Nowhere else in the Alps collisional shortening is so strongly localized in one and the same

  3. Time variability in Cenozoic reconstructions of mantle heat flow: plate tectonic cycles and implications for Earth's thermal evolution.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Loyd, S J; Becker, T W; Conrad, C P; Lithgow-Bertelloni, C; Corsetti, F A

    2007-09-04

    The thermal evolution of Earth is governed by the rate of secular cooling and the amount of radiogenic heating. If mantle heat sources are known, surface heat flow at different times may be used to deduce the efficiency of convective cooling and ultimately the temporal character of plate tectonics. We estimate global heat flow from 65 Ma to the present using seafloor age reconstructions and a modified half-space cooling model, and we find that heat flow has decreased by approximately 0.15% every million years during the Cenozoic. By examining geometric trends in plate reconstructions since 120 Ma, we show that the reduction in heat flow is due to a decrease in the area of ridge-proximal oceanic crust. Even accounting for uncertainties in plate reconstructions, the rate of heat flow decrease is an order of magnitude faster than estimates based on smooth, parameterized cooling models. This implies that heat flow experiences short-term fluctuations associated with plate tectonic cyclicity. Continental separation does not appear to directly control convective wavelengths, but rather indirectly affects how oceanic plate systems adjust to accommodate global heat transport. Given that today's heat flow may be unusually low, secular cooling rates estimated from present-day values will tend to underestimate the average cooling rate. Thus, a mechanism that causes less efficient tectonic heat transport at higher temperatures may be required to prevent an unreasonably hot mantle in the recent past.

  4. Lost in Iceland? Fracture Zone Complications Along the Mid-Atlantic Plate Boundary

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brandsdóttir, B.; Einarsson, P.; Detrick, R. S.; Mayer, L.; Calder, B.; Driscoll, N.; Richter, B.

    2003-12-01

    The mid-Atlantic plate boundary breaks up into a series of segments across Iceland. Two transform zones, the South Iceland Seismic Zone (SISZ) and the Tjörnes Fracture Zone (TFZ) separate the on land rift zones from the Reykjanes Ridge (RR), and the Kolbeinsey Ridge (KR), offshore N-Iceland. Both are markedly different from fracture zones elsewhere along the plate boundary. The 80 km E-W and 10--15 km N-S SISZ is made up of more than 20 N-S aligned, right-lateral, strike-slip faults whereas the TFZ consists of a broad zone of deformation, roughly 150 km E-W and 75 km N-S. The over-all left-lateral transform motion within the SISZ is accommodated by bookshelf faulting whereas the right-lateral transform motion within the TFZ is incorporated within two WNW-trending seismic zones, spaced ˜40 km apart, the Grímsey Seismic Zone (GSZ) and the Húsavík-Flatey fault (HFF). Recently collected EM300 and RESON8101 multibeam bathymetric data along with CHIRP subbottom data has unveiled some tectonic details within the TFZ. The GSZ runs along the offshore extension of the Northern Volcanic Rift Zone (NVRZ) and is made up of four left-stepping, en-echelon, NS-striking rift segments akin to those on land. Large GSZ earthquakes seem to be associated with lateral strike-slip faulting along ESE-striking fault planes. Fissure swarms transecting the offshore volcanic systems have also been subjected to right-lateral transformation along the spreading direction. As the Reykjanes Peninsula, the on land extension of the RR, the GSZ bears the characteristics of an oblique rift zone. The plate boundary segments connecting to the RR and KR are thus symmetrical with respect to the plate separation vector (105° ) and orientation of individual volcanic systems. The HFF has an overall strike of N65° W and can be traced continuously along its 75--80 km length, between the Theistareykir volcanic system within the NVRZ, across the central TFZ-graben, the Skjálfandi bay, and into the largest

  5. Dike-induced contraction along oceanic and continental divergent plate boundaries

    KAUST Repository

    Trippanera, D.

    2014-10-28

    The axis of divergent plate boundaries shows extension fractures and normal faults at the surface. Here we present evidence of contraction along the axis of the oceanic ridge of Iceland and the continental Main Ethiopian Rift. Contraction is found at the base of the tilted hanging wall of dilational normal faults, balancing part of their extension. Our experiments suggest that these structures result from dike emplacement. Multiple dike injection induces subsidence above and uplift to the sides of the dikes; the transition in between is accommodated by reverse faults and subsequent peripheral inward dipping normal faults. Our results suggest that contraction is a direct product of magma emplacement along divergent plate boundaries, at various scales, marking a precise evolutionary stage and initiating part of the extensional structures (extension fractures and normal faults). Key Points Contraction along divergent plate boundaries results from dike emplacementContraction generates extensional structures along divergent plate boundariesSurface deformation along divergent plate boundaries may be magma induced

  6. Evidence for relative motions between the Indian and Australian Plates during the last 20 m.y. from plate tectonic reconstructions: Implications for the deformation of the Indo-Australian Plate

    Science.gov (United States)

    Royer, Jean-Yves; Chang, Ted

    1991-07-01

    We use plate tectonic reconstructions to establish whether motions between India and Australia occurred since chron 18 (43 Ma). We test the Africa/Antarctica/Australia/India plate circuit closure at chrons 5 (10 Ma), 6 (21 Ma) and 13 (36 Ma) using a compilation of magnetic anomalies and fracture zone traces from the Southeast, Southwest, Central Indian and the Carlsberg ridges. Additional reconstructions at chrons 23 (55 Ma) and 26 (61 Ma) are used to estimate the overall motion between India and Australia. Relative motions between the Indian and Australian plates are estimated using the plate circuit India → Africa → Australia. A new statistical approach, based on spherical regression analyses, is used to assess the uncertainty of the "best-fitting" finite rotations from the uncertainties in the data. The uncertainty in a rotation is described by a covariance matrix directly related to the geometry of the reconstructed plate boundary, to the distribution and estimated errors of the data points along it. Our parameterization of the rotations allows for simple combination of the rotation uncertainties along a plate circuit path. Results for chron 5 are remarkably consistent with present-day kinematics in the Indian Ocean, except that the Arabian and Indian plates are found to be separate plates. Comparisons of the motions between the Indian and African plates across the Carlsberg Ridge with that between the Australian and African plates across the Central Indian Ridge evidence a significant counterclockwise rotation of the Australian plate relative to the Indian plate about a pole located in the Central Indian Basin. The determinations are consistent for chrons 26, 13, 6 and 5. Determination at chron 23 is different but questionable due to the small number of available data. We propose two alternative solutions that both predict convergence within the Wharton and Central Indian basins and extension in the vicinity of the Chagos-Laccadive Ridge. The first

  7. Application of laser ranging and VLBI data to a study of plate tectonic driving forces. [finite element method

    Science.gov (United States)

    Solomon, S. C.

    1980-01-01

    The measurability of changes in plate driving or resistive forces associated with plate boundary earthquakes by laser rangefinding or VLBI is considered with emphasis on those aspects of plate forces that can be characterized by such measurements. Topics covered include: (1) analytic solutions for two dimensional stress diffusion in a plate following earthquake faulting on a finite fault; (2) two dimensional finite-element solutions for the global state of stress at the Earth's surface for possible plate driving forces; and (3) finite-element solutions for three dimensional stress diffusion in a viscoelastic Earth following earthquake faulting.

  8. The transition from linear to diffuse plate boundary in the Azores-Gibraltar region: results from a thin-sheet model

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jiménez-Munt, Ivone; Fernàndez, Manel; Torne, Montse; Bird, Peter

    2001-10-01

    We use the thin-sheet plane-stress approach to study the present-day dynamic behavior of the plate boundary between Eurasia and Africa along the Azores-Gibraltar region. This plate boundary, which extends from the Azores triple junction to the Gibraltar strait, shows a tectonic regime that changes from transtension in the west to transpression in the east, with a strike-slip motion in its central segment. Seismological data reveal that the western and central segments are currently marked by a linear series of earthquakes indicating that the plate boundary is located in a narrow zone. In contrast, the eastern segment is not so well defined and deformation spreads over a much broader area. To apply the thin-sheet approach, we combined heat flow, elevation and crustal thickness data to calculate the steady-state geotherm and the total strength of the lithosphere. Several models with different fault friction coefficients and geometries at the eastern segment of the plate boundary were tested. Results are compared with the maximum compressive stress directions from the World Stress Map, and the calculated seismic strain rates and slip vectors from earthquake data. The best fitting models are consistent with the rotation pole of Argus et al. [D.F. Argus et al., J. Geophys. Res. 94 (1989) 5585-5602], and show that the rheological behavior of the plate boundary must necessarily change from the western and central segments to the eastern segment. The diffuse character of the plate boundary east of the Gorringe Bank is dominated by the transition from oceanic to continental lithosphere, the weakness of the Alboran domain, and the convergence between the African and the Eurasian plates. The displacement of the Alboran domain relative to the African plate may play a major role in stress propagation through the Iberian Peninsula and its Atlantic margin.

  9. The Effect of Plumes on the Dynamics of Supercontinents in a Self-Consistent Plate Tectonics Setting

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jain, C.; Rozel, A.; Tackley, P. J.

    2014-12-01

    Strong mantle plumes arising from the deep mantle can impose stresses on the continents, thereby facilitating continental rifting and disrupting the supercontinent cycle (Storey, Nature 1995; Santosh et al., Gondwana Research 2009). In recent years, several studies have characterized the relation between the location of the plumes and the continents, but with contradicting observations. While Heron and Lowman (GRL, 2010; Tectonophysics, 2011) propose regions where downwelling has ceased (irrespective of overlying plate) as the preferred location for plumes, O'Neill et al. (Gondwana Research, 2009) show an anti-correlation between the average positions of subducting slabs at continental margins, and mantle plumes at continental/oceanic interiors. Extent of continental motion depends on the heat budget of the mantle (CMB heat flux, radiogenic heating, mantle cooling). CMB heat flux is not well defined; however, the recent determination of core's high thermal conductivity requires a CMB heat flow of at least 12 TW (de Koker et al., PNAS 2012; Pozzo et al., Nature 2012; Gomi et al., PEPI 2013), much higher than early estimates of 3-4 TW (Lay et al., Nature 2008). Thus, it is necessary to characterize the effect of increased CMB heat flux on mantle dynamics. In almost all mantle convection simulations, the top boundary is treated as a free-slip surface whereas Earth's surface is a deformable free surface. Unlike free-slip, a free surface boundary condition allows for the development of topography and leads to realistic single-sided (asymmetric) subduction (Crameri et al., GJI 2012; Crameri et al., GRL 2012). Using StagYY code (Tackley, PEPI 2008), we test (i) the impact of increased basal heating on mantle dynamics with continents and self-consistent plate tectonics, including whether plumes prefer to develop under continents; (ii) the influence of a free surface on continents using the 'sticky air' approach, in which a low density and a small viscosity fluid layer is

  10. The Plate Boundary Observatory: Data Management Progress and Highlights

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anderson, G.; Blackman, B.; Eakins, J.; Hodgkinson, K.; Matykiewicz, J.; Boler, F.; Beldyk, M.; Henderson, B.; Hoyt, B.; Lee, E.; Persson, E.; Smith, J.; Torrez, D.; Wright, J.; Jackson, M.; Meertens, C.

    2007-12-01

    The Plate Boundary Observatory (PBO), part of the NSF-funded EarthScope project, is designed to study the three- dimensional strain field resulting from deformation across the active boundary zone between the Pacific and North American plates in the western United States. To meet these goals, UNAVCO will install 880 continuous GPS stations, 103 borehole strainmeter stations, 28 tiltmeters, and five laser strainmeters by October 2008, as well as manage data for 209 previously existing continuous GPS stations and one laser strainmeter through the PBO Nucleus project and 11 GPS stations installed by the USArray segment of EarthScope. As of 1 September 2007, UNAVCO had completed 680 PBO GPS stations and had upgraded 89% of the planned PBO Nucleus stations. Most of these stations return data to the UNAVCO Boulder Network Operations Center (NOC) on a daily basis, with about 40 stations returning data on an hourly basis. Overall, the combined PBO and Nucleus network has now provided almost 350 GB of raw standard rate data, which are routinely processed by the PBO GPS Analysis Centers, at Central Washington University and the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, and the PBO GPS Analysis Center Coordinator at MIT. These groups create a range of GPS products, including station position time series, GPS velocity vectors, and related information. As of September 2007, these centers processed data on a daily basis from about 920 stations; typical position uncertainties are under 1.5 mm horizontally and 4 mm vertically. All PBO GPS data products are archived at and available from the UNAVCO Facility, with a second archive at the IRIS Data Management Center (DMC). All these products may be accessed via the PBO web page at http://pboweb.unavco.org/gps_data. As part of PBO, UNAVCO will also install and operate the largest borehole seismic and strainmeter networks in North America, as well as tiltmeters and laser strainmeters. As of September 2007, 41 PBO borehole stations

  11. Origin and evolution of marginal basins of the NW Pacific: Diffuse-plate tectonic reconstructions

    CERN Document Server

    Xu, Junyuan; Ben-Avraham, Zvi; Yu, Ho-Shing

    2012-01-01

    Formation of the gigantic linked dextral pull-apart basin system in the NW Pacific is due to NNE- to ENE-ward motion of east Eurasia. This mainly was a response to the Indo-Asia collision which started about 50 Ma ago. The displacement of east Eurasia can be estimated using three aspects: (1) the magnitude of pull-apart of the dextral pull-apart basin system, (2) paleomagnetic data from eastern Eurasia and the region around the Arctic, and (3) the shortening deficits in the Large Tibetan Plateau. All the three aspects indicate that there was a large amount (about 1200 km) of northward motion of the South China block and compatible movements of other blocks in eastern Eurasia during the rifting period of the basin system. Such large motion of the eastern Eurasia region contradicts any traditional rigid plate tectonic reconstruction, but agrees with the more recent concepts of non-rigidity of both continental and oceanic lithosphere over geological times. Based on these estimates, the method developed for resto...

  12. Lithospheric Rheology Constrained by Loading of the Hawaiian Islands and its Implications for the Dynamics of Plate Tectonics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhong, S.; Watts, A. B.

    2013-12-01

    Lithospheric rheology is important for understanding crustal and lithospheric dynamics, and the conditions for plate tectonics. For example, numerical modeling studies suggest that plate tectonics emerge from the dynamics of mantle convection when a small coefficient of friction (significantly to match the observations, together with frictional coefficient in the range from 0.1 to 0.7. However, the small coefficient of friction weakens the shallow part of the lithosphere so much that it causes the minima in strain rate and stress to occur at too large depths to be consistent with the depth distribution of seismicity at Hawaii. Our results therefore suggest that the coefficient of friction is between 0.25 and 0.7. Finally, maximum lithospheric stress under Hawaiian loads is about 100-200 MPa for models that match the observations, and this stress may be viewed as the largest lithospheric stress on the Earth.

  13. Miocene uplift of the NE Greenland margin linked to plate tectonics: Seismic evidence from the Greenland Fracture Zone, NE Atlantic

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Døssing Andreasen, Arne; Japsen, Peter; Watts, Anthony B.

    2016-01-01

    Tectonic models predict that, following breakup, rift margins undergo only decaying thermal subsidence during their post-rift evolution. However, post-breakup stratigraphy beneath the NE Atlantic shelves shows evidence of regional-scale unconformities, commonly cited as outer margin responses to ...... by plate tectonic forces, induced perhaps by a change in the Iceland plume (a hot pulse) and/or by changes in intra-plate stresses related to global tectonics.......Tectonic models predict that, following breakup, rift margins undergo only decaying thermal subsidence during their post-rift evolution. However, post-breakup stratigraphy beneath the NE Atlantic shelves shows evidence of regional-scale unconformities, commonly cited as outer margin responses...... to inner margin episodic uplift, including the formation of coastal mountains. The origin of these events remains enigmatic. We present a seismic reflection study from the Greenland Fracture Zone – East Greenland Ridge (GFZ-EGR) and the NE Greenland shelf. We document a regional intra-Miocene seismic...

  14. Effect of Rheology on Mantle Dynamics and Plate Tectonics in Super-Earths

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tackley, P. J.; Ammann, M. W.; Brodholt, J. P.; Dobson, D. P.; Valencia, D. C.

    2011-12-01

    The discovery of extra-solar "super-Earth" planets with sizes up to twice that of Earth has prompted interest in their possible lithosphere and mantle dynamics and evolution. Simple scalings [1,2] suggest that super-Earths are more likely than an equivalent Earth-sized planet to be undergoing plate tectonics. Generally, viscosity and thermal conductivity increase with pressure while thermal expansivity decreases, resulting in lower convective vigor in the deep mantle, which, if extralopated to the largest super-Earths might, according to conventional thinking, result a very low effective Rayleigh number in their deep mantles and possibly no convection there. Here we evaluate this. (i) As the mantle of a super-Earth is made mostly of post-perovskite we here extend the density functional theory (DFT) calculations of post-perovskite activation enthalpy of [3] to a pressure of 1 TPa. The activation volume for diffusion creep becomes very low at very high pressure, but nevertheless for the largest super-Earths the viscosity along an adiabat may approach 10^30 Pa s in the deep mantle, which would be too high for convection. (ii) We use these DFT-calculated values in numerical simulations of mantle convection and lithosphere dynamics of planets with up to ten Earth masses. The models assume a compressible mantle including depth-dependence of material properties and plastic yielding induced plate-like lithospheric behavior, solved using StagYY [4]. Results confirm the likelihood of plate tectonics and show a novel self-regulation of deep mantle temperature. The deep mantle is not adiabatic; instead internal heating raises the temperature until the viscosity is low enough to facilitate convective loss of the radiogenic heat, which results in a super-adiabatic temperature profile and a viscosity increase with depth of no more than ~3 orders of magnitude, regardless of what is calculated for an adiabat. It has recently been argued [5] that at very high pressures, deformation

  15. Water Release from Cold Serpentinized Forearc Mantle During Subduction Associated with Changes in Incoming Oceanic Plate Thermal Structure and Plate Boundary Kinematics: New Insights into Serpentinite Belts and Plate-Boundary Rheology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kirby, Stephen

    2016-04-01

    belts in those regions. The weak rheological behavior of present collisional plate boundaries under high fluid pressures from the mantle also provides possible explanations of the mobility of "tectonic escape" strike-slip faulting in Turkey, Syria, and SE Asia following subduction.

  16. Geodetic evidence for passive control of a major Miocene tectonic boundary on the contemporary deformation field of Athens (Greece

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Michael Foumelis

    2014-02-01

    Full Text Available A GPS-derived velocity field is presented from a dense geodetic network (~5km distance between stations established in the broader area of Athens. It shows significant local variations of strain rates across a major inactive tectonic boundary separating metamorphic and non-metamorphic geotectonic units. The southeastern part of Athens plain displays negligible deformation rates, whereas towards the northwestern part higher strain rates are observed, indicating the control of the inactive tectonic boundary on the contemporary deformation field of the region. These findings are in agreement with previous geological observations, however, due to the dense local GPS network it was fatherly possible to localize and quantify the effect of such a major inherited tectonic feature on the deformation pattern of the area.

  17. Emergence of silicic continents as the lower crust peels off on a hot plate-tectonic Earth

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chowdhury, Priyadarshi; Gerya, Taras; Chakraborty, Sumit

    2017-09-01

    The rock record and geochemical evidence indicate that continental recycling has been occurring since the early history of the Earth. The stabilization of felsic continents in place of Earth's early mafic crust about 3.0 to 2.0 billion years ago, perhaps due to the initiation of plate tectonics, implies widespread destruction of mafic crust during this time interval. However, the physical mechanisms of such intense recycling on a hotter, (late) Archaean and presumably plate-tectonic Earth remain largely unknown. Here we use thermomechanical modelling to show that extensive recycling via lower crustal peeling-off (delamination but not eclogitic dripping) during continent-continent convergence was near ubiquitous during the late Archaean to early Proterozoic. We propose that such destruction of the early mafic crust, together with felsic magmatism, may have caused both the emergence of silicic continents and their subsequent isostatic rise, possibly above the sea level. Such changes in the continental character have been proposed to influence the Great Oxidation Event and, therefore, peeling-off plate tectonics could be the geodynamic trigger for this event. A transition to the slab break-off controlled syn-orogenic recycling occurred as the Earth aged and cooled, leading to reduced recycling and enhanced preservation of the continental crust of present-day composition.

  18. MHD Boundary Layer Slip Flow and Heat Transfer over a Flat Plate

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Krishnendu Bhattacharyya; Swati Mukhopadhyay; G.C.Layek

    2011-01-01

    An analysis of magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) boundary layer flow and heat transfer over a flat plate with slip condition at the boundary is presented. A complete self-similar set of equations are obtained from the governing equations using similarity transformations and are solved by a shooting method. In the boundary slip condition no local similarity occurs. Velocity and temperature distributions within the boundary layer are presented. Our analysis reveals that the increase of magnetic and slip parameters reduce the boundary layer thickness and also enhance the heat transfer from the plate.%@@ An analysis of magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) boundary layer flow and heat transfer over a flat plate with slip condition at the boundary is presented.A complete self-similar set of equations are obtained from the governing equations using similarity transformations and are solved by a shooting method.In the boundary slip condition no local similarity occurs.Velocity and temperature distributions within the boundary layer are presented.Our analysis reveals that the increase of magnetic and slip parameters reduce the boundary layer thickness and also enhance the heat transfer from the plate.

  19. The Baja California Borderland and the Neogene Evolution of the Pacific-North American Plate Boundary

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fletcher, J. M.; Eakins, B. W.

    2001-12-01

    New observational data on Neogene faulting in the borderland of Baja California places important constraints on tectonic models for the evolution of the Pacific-North American (P-NA) plate boundary and rifting in the Gulf of California. Neogene faults in the borderland range from strike slip to normal slip and accommodate integrated transtension. Most have east-facing escarpments and likely reactivate the former east-dipping accretionary complex. Numerous lines of evidence indicate that Neogene faults are still active and accomplish a significant component ( ~1-5 mm/yr) of Pacific-North American shearing. Quaternary volcanoes are found offshore and along the Pacific coastal margin, Quaternary marine terraces are warped and uplifted as high as 200 masl. Many of the offshore faults have fresh escarpments and cut Holocene sediments. Extensive arrays of Quaternary fault scarps are found throughout the coastal region and in Bahia Magdalena they are clearly associated with major faults that bound recently uplifted islands. A prominent band of seismicity follows the coast and eight earthquakes (Ms>5.0) were teleseismically recorded between 1973 and 1998. This evidence for active shearing indicates that the Baja microplate has not yet been completely transferred to the Pacific plate. The best lithologic correlation that can be used to define the total Neogene slip across the borderland faults is the offset between the Magdalena submarine fan and its Baja source terrane. The distal facies of the fan drilled during DSDP leg 63 is dominated by mudstone and siltstone that contain reworked Paleogene cocoliths derived from strata correlative with the Tepetate formation found throughout the borderland and fine-grained sandstone derived from a source terrane of granitoid basement. The Middle Miocene La Calera formation of the Cabo trough is one of many granitoid-clast syn-rift alluvial deposits that could form the continental counterpart of the submarine fan near the mouth of the

  20. Hydrological Effects in the EarthScope Plate Boundary Observatory

    Science.gov (United States)

    Meertens, C.; Wahr, J.; Borsa, A.; Jackson, M.; Wahr, A.

    2008-12-01

    The dense network of 1,100 continuously operating GPS stations in the Plate Boundary Observatory (PBO) is providing high quality position time series. Data are processed by PBO Analysis Centers at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology and at Central Washington University. The results are combined by the Analysis Center Coordinator at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and are made available from the UNAVCO Data Center in Boulder. Analysis software of Langbein, 2008, was used to estimate secular trends and annual variations in the time series. The results were interpreted in terms of hydrological loading and poroelastic effects, from both natural and anthropogenic changes in water storage. The effects of monument stability were also considered. The density of PBO observations allows for the identification of spatial patterns that appear coherent over relatively broad areas. Vertical annual signals of 8-10 mm peak-to-peak amplitude are evident at stations in the mountains of northern and central California and southern Oregon showing peak uplift in October and are correlated to hydrological loading. The vertical elastic loading signal, calculated from the 0.25 by 0.25 degree community Noah land-surface model, fits the annual signal well and appears also to model the secular trends, although the time duration of ~3 years is still limited. In contrast to mountainous regions, stations in the valleys of California show greater spatial variability ranging from stations with almost no detectable annual signal to stations with very large, 20-30 mm, amplitudes with peak uplift in March. The vertical signals are temporally correlated to ground-water variations caused by pumping for agricultural irrigation and likely are caused by poroelastic effects in the sediments rather than loading. Annual vertical signals in southern California, where not obviously influenced from localized ground-water fluctuations, are small with ~2 mm amplitude and may be due to

  1. Global tectonics and the plate motion obtained from the ITRF97 station velocity vectors

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    MA; Zongjin(马宗晋); REN; Jinwei(任金卫); ZHANG; Jin(张进)

    2003-01-01

    By studying the characteristics of current crustal motion by using the ITRF97 station velocity vectors, it has been found that the ITRF97 station velocity vectors are coherent with those of NUVEL-1A model. Both the ITRF97 and NUVEL-1A velocity vectors show that the northern hemisphere is moving towards northeast and northwest along the North Atlantic Ridge. The Eurasian plate is moving to northeast, east, and southeast. The North American continent is moving to northwest, west, and southwest. The movement in the southern hemisphere is different completely.The movements of African, South American and Indian-Australian plates almost all direct to NE-NNE. The three plates take the South Atlantic Ridge and the Indian Ridge as boundaries, and the movement vectors increase gradually, showing a "lag" type stretch movement as the result of the superimposition of the whole movement of the southern hemisphere and the spreading of ocean ridges. The difference of velocity fields between the northern and southern hemispheres is obvious, and there is a disharmony zone between the two hemispheres. The geological data show that there is an oblique and discontinuous shear zone between the two hemispheres. Along this shear zone, eight large earthquakes (Ms≥7.8) took place from August 1999 to January 2001, while in the same time period, the seismic activities along the western and southern Pacific subduction zone is low, showing the significance of the shear zone on the global scale. The results in this paper indicate the relative shear motion between the northern and southern hemispheres.

  2. Deformation of the Northwestern Okhotsk Plate: How is it happening?

    OpenAIRE

    Hindle, D; Fujita, K.; Mackey, K

    2009-01-01

    The Eurasia (EU) – North America (NA) plate boundary zone across Northeast Asia still presents many open questions within the plate tectonic paradigm. Constraining the geometry and number of plates or microplates present in the plate boundary zone is especially difficult because of the location of the EU-NA euler pole close to or even upon the EU-NA boundary. One of the major challenges remains the geometry of the Okhotsk plate (OK). whose northwestern portion terminates on ...

  3. Plate convergence, crustal delamination, extrusion tectonics and minimization of shortening work as main controlling factors of the recent Mediterranean deformation pattern

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    D. Babbucci

    1997-06-01

    Full Text Available It is argued that the time-space distribution of major post middle Miocene deformation events in the Central-Eastern Mediterranean region, deduced from the relevant literature, can be coherently explained as a consequence of the convergence between the Africa/Arabia and Eurasia blocks. This plate convergence has mainly been accommodated by the consumption of the thinnest parts of the Northern African (Ionian and Levantine basins and peri-Adriatic margins. During each evolutionary phase the space distribution of trench zones is controlled by the basic physical requirement of minimizing the work of horizontal forces, induced by plate convergence, against the resisting forces, i.e., the cohesion of the upper brittle crustal layer and the buoyancy forces at the consuming boundaries. The significant changes of tectonic styles which determined the transition from one phase to the next, like those which occurred around the Messinian and the late Pliocene-early Pleistocene, were determined by the suture of consuming boundaries. When such an event occurs, the system must activate alternative consuming processes to accommodate the convergence of the major confining blocks. The observed deformations in the study area suggest that this tectonic reorganization mostly developed by the lateral extrusion of crustal wedges away from the sutured borders. This mechanism allowed the translation of maximum horizontal stresses from the locked collisional fronts to the zones where consumable lithosphere was still present, in order to activate the next consuming processes. The extensional episodes which led to the formation of basins and troughs in the Tyrrhenian and Aegean zones are interpreted as secondary effects of the outward escape of crustal wedges, like those which occurred in response to longitudinal compressional regimes in the Apennines and Aegean regions.

  4. Tectonic Storytelling with Open Source and Digital Object Identifiers - a case study about Plate Tectonics and the Geopark Bergstraße-Odenwald

    Science.gov (United States)

    Löwe, Peter; Barmuta, Jan; Klump, Jens; Neumann, Janna; Plank, Margret

    2014-05-01

    The communication of advances in research to the common public for both education and decision making is an important aspect of scientific work. An even more crucial task is to gain recognition within the scientific community, which is judged by impact factor and citation counts. Recently, the latter concepts have been extended from textual publications to include data and software publications. This paper presents a case study for science communication and data citation. For this, tectonic models, Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), best practices for data citation and a multimedia online-portal for scientific content are combined. This approach creates mutual benefits for the stakeholders: Target audiences receive information on the latest research results, while the use of Digital Object Identifiers (DOI) increases the recognition and citation of underlying scientific data. This creates favourable conditions for every researcher as DOI names ensure citeability and long term availability of scientific research. In the developed application, the FOSS tool for tectonic modelling GPlates is used to visualise and manipulate plate-tectonic reconstructions and associated data through geological time. These capabilities are augmented by the Science on a Halfsphere project (SoaH) with a robust and intuitive visualisation hardware environment. The tectonic models used for science communication are provided by the AGH University of Science and Technology. They focus on the Silurian to Early Carboniferous evolution of Central Europe (Bohemian Massif) and were interpreted for the area of the Geopark Bergstraße Odenwald based on the GPlates/SoaH hardware- and software stack. As scientific story-telling is volatile by nature, recordings are a natural means of preservation for further use, reference and analysis. For this, the upcoming portal for audiovisual media of the German National Library of Science and Technology TIB is expected to become a critical service

  5. The 2.0 Ga Usagaran eclogites, Tanzania: the onset of modern plate tectonics or a continuation of the norm?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Buchan, C.; Collins, A. S.; Reddy, S. M.; Mruma, A.

    2003-04-01

    Phanerozoic eclogites are widely interpreted to have formed in subduction zone environments where fragments of oceanic crust have been buried to depths greater than 50 km. The formation and preservation of Phanerozoic eclogites is demonstrably linked to plate convergence and their study of eclogite-facies rocks underpins our understanding of subduction zones and plate tectonic models. Our understanding of more ancient, Precambrian tectonics is based on a uniformitarian model, which assumes that modern day tectonic processes are good analogues of those in the past. This assumption is limited because numerical modelling has shown that the driving force of plate tectonics, the thermal structure of the Earth, has changed dramatically over geological time. For example, at the start of the Palaeoproterozoic (2.5 Ga) the Earth's heat production was twice as high as at present. If these models are true then it is difficult to reconcile the formation of low-med temperature eclogite facies rocks in the Early Earth. The Palaeoproterozoic Usagaran orogenic belt of Tanzania contains the Earth’s oldest reported examples (2.0 Ga) of low/med temperature eclogites. The eclogites are reported to have MORB-like geochemical characteristics, which coupled with P-T estimates for their formation, suggests that they are subduction related. In this study detailed structural analysis and U-Th-Pb SHRIMP zircon dating of gneisses exposed in the high-grade, eclogite bearing part of the orogen (the Isimani Suite), has demonstrated that detrital grains in paragneisses yield ages between 2.4 &2.9 Ga. These are intercalated with 2.7 Ga orthogneisses of a similar age to the Tanzanian craton. The extensive distribution of 2.7 Ga crust in both the footwall and hangingwall of the Usagaran Orogen suggests that the most likely tectonic setting for the protoliths of the mafic eclogites was as oceanic crust in a marginal basin. The identification of Palaeoproterozoic subduction related eclogites that

  6. Subduction Zone Geometry and Pre-seismic Tectonic Constraints From the Andaman Micro- plate Region.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Earnest, A.; Freymueller, J. T.; Rajendran, K.; C. P, R.

    2007-12-01

    The 2004 Sumatra-Andaman mega-thrust rupture broke along the narrow fore-arc sliver boundary of the Indo- Burmese collision. Earlier events of 1679 (M~7.5), 1941 (M 7.7), 1881 (M~7.9) and 2002 (Mw 7.3) generated spatially restricted ruptures along this margin. Spatio-temporal analysis of the pre-seismic earthquakes showed dense seismicity in the back-arc region but negligible activity towards the trench. The hypocentral distribution highlights the shallow subduction at the northern segment, which becomes steeper and deeper to the south. The pre-earthquake stress distribution, inferred from the P and T-axes of earthquake faulting mechanisms, represents the compressional fore-arc and extensional back-arc stress regimes. Shallow NNE-SSW under- thrusting and NNW-SSE opening up of the marginal sea basin stresses were observed and this trend changes to NE-SW to N-S at intermediate depths. We collected three epochs of campaign mode GPS data along the arc from May 2002 to September 2004. These observations show nearly pure convergence along the Andaman trench prior to the earthquake. During this period the GPS sites moved westward relative to India at ~5.5 mm/yr, consistent with the earlier results. Along arc GPS velocity vectors suggest that the Andaman trench is part of a purely slip partitioned boundary, with the strike- slip component of the India-Sunda relative plate motion being taken up on the transform fault in the Andaman Sea or on the West Andaman Fault, and the convergent component on the Andaman trench. Although near normal convergence was observed, it sampled only a fraction of a possible full Andaman microplate convergence velocity, because elastic deformation from the locked shallow megathrust caused displacements toward the overriding plate, that is, away from India. Based on the Indian plate velocity and Andaman spreading rates, this component amounts to ~85% of the pre-seismic convergence. These geodetic velocities represent the present day geologic

  7. Thinned crustal structure and tectonic boundary of the Nansha Block, southern South China Sea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dong, Miao; Wu, Shi-Guo; Zhang, Jian

    2016-12-01

    The southern South China Sea margin consists of the thinned crustal Nansha Block and a compressional collision zone. The Nansha Block's deep structure and tectonic evolution contains critical information about the South China Sea's rifting. Multiple geophysical data sets, including regional magnetic, gravity and reflection seismic data, reveal the deep structure and rifting processes. Curie point depth (CPD), estimated from magnetic anomalies using a windowed wavenumber-domain algorithm, enables us to image thermal structures. To derive a 3D Moho topography and crustal thickness model, we apply Oldenburg algorithm to the gravity anomaly, which was extracted from the observed free air gravity anomaly data after removing the gravity effect of density variations of sediments, and temperature and pressure variations of the lithospheric mantle. We found that the Moho depth (20 km) is shallower than the CPD (24 km) in the Northwest Borneo Trough, possibly caused by thinned crust, low heat flow and a low vertical geothermal gradient. The Nansha Block's northern boundary is a narrow continent-ocean transition zone constrained by magnetic anomalies, reflection seismic data, gravity anomalies and an interpretation of Moho depth (about 13 km). The block extends southward beneath a gravity-driven deformed sediment wedge caused by uplift on land after a collision, with a contribution from deep crustal flow. Its southwestern boundary is close to the Lupar Line defined by a significant negative reduction to the pole (RTP) of magnetic anomaly and short-length-scale variation in crustal thickness, increasing from 18 to 26 km.

  8. Crustal deformation evidences for viscous coupling and fragmented lithosphere at the Nubia-Iberia plate boundary (Western Mediterranean)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Palano, Mimmo; González, Pablo J.; Fernández, José

    2016-04-01

    A spatially dense crustal velocity field, based on up to 15 years of GNSS observations at more than 380 sites and extensively covering the Iberian Peninsula and Northern Africa, allow us to provide new insights into two main tectonic processes currently occurring in this area. We detected a slow large-scale clockwise rotation of the Iberian Peninsula with respect to a local pole located closely to the northwestern sector of the Pyrenean mountain range (Palano et al., 2015). Although this crustal deformation pattern could suggest a rigid rotating lithosphere block, this model would predict significant shortening along the Western (off-shore Lisbon) and North Iberian margin which cannot totally ruled out but currently is not clearly observed. Conversely, we favour the interpretation that this pattern reflects the quasi-continuous straining of the ductile lithosphere in some sectors of South and Western Iberia in response to viscous coupling of the NW Nubia and Iberian plate boundary in the Gulf of Cádiz. Furthermore, the western Mediterranean basin appears fragmented into independent crustal tectonic blocks, which delimited by inherited lithospheric shear structures and trapped within the Nubia-Eurasia collision, are currently accommodating most of the plate convergence rate. Among these blocks, an (oceanic-like western) Algerian one is currently transferring a significant fraction of the Nubia-Eurasia convergence rate into the Eastern Betics (SE Iberia) and likely causing the eastward motion of the Baleares Promontory. Most of the observed crustal ground deformation can be attributed to processes driven by spatially variable lithospheric plate forces imposed along the Nubia-Eurasia convergence boundary. Nevertheless, the observed deformation field infers a very low convergence rates as observed also at the eastern side of the western Mediterranean, along the Calabro Peloritan Arc, by space geodesy (e.g. Palano, 2015). References Palano M. (2015). On the present

  9. Cretaceous alkaline intra-plate magmatism in the Ecuadorian Oriente Basin: Geochemical, geochronological and tectonic evidence

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barragán, Roberto; Baby, Patrice; Duncan, Robert

    2005-08-01

    Small volumes of Cretaceous alkaline basaltic magmas have been identified in the sedimentary infill of the Ecuadorian Oriente foreland basin. They are characterized by a restricted range of compositional variation, low LILE/HFSE ratios and Sr-Nd isotope values within the range of oceanic island basalts (OIB). Reflection seismic data show that a pre-existing NNE-SSW Triassic and Jurassic rift controls the location and occurrence of these alkaline eruptive sites. Radiometric ages ( 40Ar- 39Ar, incremental heating method) and the biostratigraphic record of their surrounding sediments indicate a NNE-SSW systematic age variation for the emplacement of this alkaline volcanism: from Albian (110 ± 5.2 Ma) in the northern part of the Oriente Basin, to Campanian (82.2 ± 2.0 Ma) in the west-central part. The geochemical, geochronological and tectonic evidences suggest that asthenospheric mantle has upwelled and migrated to the SSW, into the region underlying the pre-existing Triassic and Jurassic rift (thin-spot?). We propose that subduction was abandoned, subsequent to the accretion of allochthonous terranes onto the Ecuadorian and Colombian margin in the latest Jurassic-earliest Cretaceous, causing the relict slab material, corresponding to the eastwards-directed leading plate, to roll-back. Unmodified asthenospheric mantle migrated into the region previously occupied by the slab. This resulted in partial melting and the release of magmatic material to the surface in the northern part of the Oriente Basin since at least Aptian times. Then, magmatism migrated along the SSW-trending Central Wrench Corridor of the Oriente Basin during the Upper Cretaceous, probably as a consequence of the lateral propagation of the transpressive inversion of the Triassic-Jurassic rift. Eventually, the Late Cretaceous east-dipping Andean subduction system was renewed farther west, and the development of the compressional retro-foreland Oriente Basin system halted the Cretaceous alkaline

  10. Plate tectonic reconstruction of South and East Asia since 43 Ma using seismic tomographic constraints: role of the subducted ';East Asia Sea' (Invited)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wu, J. E.; Suppe, J.; Renqi, L.; Kanda, R. V.

    2013-12-01

    Lithosphere that subducts at convergent plate boundaries provides a potentially decipherable plate tectonic record. In this study we use global seismic tomography to map subducted slabs in the upper and lower mantle under South and East Asia to constrain plate reconstructions. The mapped slabs include the Pacific, the Indian Ocean and Banda Sea, the Molucca Sea, Celebes Sea, the Philippine Sea and Eurasia, New Guinea and other lower mantle detached slabs. The mapped slabs were restored to the earth surface and used with Gplates software to constrain a globally-consistent, fully animated plate reconstruction of South and East Asia. Three principal slab elements dominate possible plate reconstructions: [1] The mapped Pacific slabs near the Izu-Bonin and the Marianas trenches form a subvertical slab curtain or wall extending down to 1500 km in the lower mantle. The ';slab curtain' geometry and restored slabs lengths indicate that the Pacific subduction zone has remained fixed within +/- 250 km of its present position since ~43 Ma. In contrast, the Tonga Pacific slab curtain records at least 1000 km trench rollback associated with expansion of back-arc basins. [2] West of the Pacific slab curtain, a set of flat slabs exist in the lower mantle and record a major 8000km by 2500-3000km ocean that existed at ~43 Ma. This now-subducted ocean, which we call the ';East Asian Sea', existed between the Ryukyu Asian margin and the Lord Howe hotspot, present-day eastern Australia, and fills a major gap in Cenozoic plate reconstructions between Indo-Australia, the Pacific Ocean and Asia. [3] An observed ';picture puzzle' fit between the restored edges of the Philippine Sea, Molucca Sea and Indian Ocean slabs suggests that the Philippine Sea was once part of a larger Indo-Australian Ocean. Previous models of Philippine Sea plate motions are in conflict with the location of the East Asian Sea lithosphere. Using the mapped slab constraints, we propose the following 43 Ma to 0 plate

  11. New Evidences for Preserved Segmentation of the Alpine-Tethyan Domain in the Iberia-Africa Plate Boundary Region

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fernandez, M.; Torne, M.; Verges, J.; Buffett, G. G.

    2015-12-01

    Based on gravity analysis and previous integrated studies combining potential fields and seismic data, we demonstrate that the Iberia-Africa plate boundary region is characterized by several tectonically inverted transtensional domains inherited from the Jurassic. Gravity data, when filtered for short wavelengths, show conspicuous positive Bouguer anomalies associated with the Gorringe Bank, the Guadalquivir Bank and the Ronda/Beni-Bousera peridotitic massifs. Gravity modelling combined with seismic and geological data shows that the filtered Bouguer anomalies are compatible with relatively high-density and shallow-buried bodies, which correspond to partly serpentinized peridotitic slices with similar densities and geometries as those proved for the Gorringe Bank. The study indicates that the Alpine convergence between Africa and Iberia since Late Cretaceous times reactivated these transtensional domains, which were less deformed westwards and thus preserved their segmentation. The interpretation of these Bouguer anomalies and their distribution substantiates the double-polarity subduction model proposed for the region, and agrees with the present-day seismically diffuse character of the Iberia-Africa plate boundary.

  12. DUAL RECIPROCITY BOUNDARY ELEMENT METHOD FOR FLEXURAL WAVES IN THIN PLATE WITH CUTOUT

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    GAO Suo-wen; WANG Yue-sheng; ZHANG Zi-mao; MA Xing-rui

    2005-01-01

    The theoretical analysis and numerical calculation of scattering of elastic waves and dynamic stress concentrations in the thin plate with the cutout was studied using dual reciprocity boundary element method (DRM). Based on the work equivalent law, the dual reciprocity boundary integral equations for flexural waves in the thin plate were established using static fundamental solution. As illustration, numerical results for the dynamic stress concentration factors in the thin plate with a circular hole are given.The results obtained demonstrate good agreement with other reported results and show high accuracy.

  13. Localised Plate Motion on Venus

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ghail, R. C.

    1996-03-01

    The volcanic and tectonic features observed in Dali Vinculum, Parga Vinculum and Imdr Regio are concentrated at long, narrow, curvilinear zones, with relatively minor volcanism and tectonism between these zones. These zones, whilst more diffuse than terrestrial plate boundaries, nevertheless define the margins of tectonic plates. In contrast to Earth, however, it appears that venusian plates are neither created nor destroyed by lateral motion. Rather, plates are thinned and intruded at vincula plate boundaries, vertically accreted by small-scale intra-plate (planitia) volcanism and perhaps destroyed by delamination of thickened crust in tesserae and montane regions such as Thetis Regio and Ishtar Terra. The diversity in age both between and within these three areas together with the evidence for infrequent, small scale resurfacing in the planitiae are difficult to reconcile with a non-uniformitarian geological process.

  14. Propagation of rifting along the Arabia-Somalia Plate Boundary: Into Afar

    Science.gov (United States)

    Manighetti, I.; Tapponnier, P.; Gillot, P. Y.; Jacques, E.; Courtillot, V.; Armijo, R.; Ruegg, J. C.; King, G.

    1998-03-01

    It is generally accepted that the Aden ridge has propagated westward from ˜58°E to the western tip of the Gulf of Aden/Tadjoura, at the edge of Afar. Here, we use new tectonic and geochronological data to examine the geometry and kinematics of deformation related to the penetration of that ridge on dry land in the Republic of Djibouti. We show that it veers northward, forming a narrow zone of dense faulting along the northeastern edge of the Afar depression. The zone includes two volcanic rifts (Asal-Ghoubbet and Manda Inakir), connected to one another and to the submarine part of the ridge by transfer zones. Both rifts are composite, divided into two or three disconnected, parallel, NW-SE striking subrifts, all of which appear to have propagated northwestward. In Asal-Ghoubbet as in Manda Inakir, the subrifts appear to have formed in succession, through north directed jumps from subrifts more farther south. At present, the northernmost subrifts (Manda and Dirko Koma) of the Manda Inakir rift, form the current tip of the northward propagating Arabia-Somalia plate boundary in Afar. We account for most observations by a mechanical model similar to that previously inferred for the Gulf of Aden, in which propagation is governed by the intensity and direction of the minimum horizontal principal stress, σ3. We interpret the northward propagation on land, almost orthogonal to that in the gulf, to be related to necking of the Central Afar lithosphere where it is thinnest. Such necking may be a consequence of differential magmatic thickening, greater in the center of the Afar depression where the Ethiopian hot spot enhanced profuse basaltic effusion and underplating than along the edges of the depression. The model explains why the Aden ridge foregoes its WSW propagation direction, constant from ˜58°E to Asal-Ghoubbet. At a smaller scale, individual rifts and subrifts keep opening perpendicular to the Arabia-Somalia (or Danakil-Somalia) motion vector and propagate

  15. Stress and mixed boundary conditions for two-dimensional dodecagonal quasi-crystal plates

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    Yan Gao; Si-Peng Xu; Bao-Sheng Zhao

    2007-05-01

    For plate bending and stretching problems in two-dimensional (2D) dodecagonal quasi-crystal (QC) media, the reciprocal theorem and the general solution for QCs are applied in a novel way to obtain the appropriate stress and mixed boundary conditions accurate to all order. The method developed by Gregory and Wan is used to generate necessary conditions which the prescribed data on the edge of the plate must satisfy in order that it should generate a decaying state within the plate; these decaying state conditions are obtained explicitly for axisymmetric bending and stretching of a circular plate when stress or mixed conditions are imposed on the plate edge. They are then used for the correct formulation of boundary conditions for the interior solution. For the stress data, our boundary conditions coincide with those obtained in conventional forms of plate theories. More importantly, appropriate boundary conditions with a set of mixed edge-data are obtained for the first time. Furthermore, the corresponding necessary conditions for transversely isotropic elastic plate are obtained directly, and their isotropic elastic counterparts are also obtained.

  16. Upper boundary of the Pacific plate subducting beneath Hokkaido, Japan, estimated from ScSp phase

    OpenAIRE

    Osada, Kinue; Yoshizawa, Kazunori; YOMOGIDA, Kiyoshi

    2010-01-01

    Three-dimensional geometry of the upper boundary of the Pacific plate subducting beneath Hokkaido, Japan, was obtained using the ScSp phase: the phase converted from ScS (S wave reflected at the core-mantle boundary) to P wave at the plate boundary. Taking the advantage of a dense seismic network, "Hi-net", recently deployed across the Japanese islands, we applied several seismic array analyses to the recorded waveform data for a large nearby deep earthquake, in order to enhance very weak ScS...

  17. New method for solving the bending problem of rectangular plates with mixed boundary conditions

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Liu Xin Min

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available A new method is used to solve the rectangular plate bending problem with mixed boundary conditions. The method overcomes the complicated derivation of the classical solution by Fourth-order differential problem into integrating question. Under uniform loading rectangular plate bending problem with one side fixed the opposite side half simply supported half fixed the other two sides free rectangular plate, one side simply supported the opposite side half simply supported half fixed the other two sides free rectangular plate is systematically solved. According to the actual boundary conditions of the rectangular plate, the corresponding characteristic equation can easily be set up. It is presented deflection curve equation and the numerical calculation. By compared the results of the equation to the finite element program, we are able to demonstrate the correctness of the method. So the method not only has certain theoretical value, but also can be directly applied to engineering practice.

  18. Kinematics to dynamics in the New Zealand plate-boundary zone

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lamb, S. H.

    2013-12-01

    New Zealand straddles the boundary between the Australian and Pacific plate, with a transition from subduction of Pacific oceanic lithosphere beneath North Island, to oblique continental collision in South Island. Cenozoic relative plate motion has resulted in a complex pattern of faulting and block rotation in a zone up to 250 km wide, with displacements on individual faults up to 100s of kilometres. Active deformation must be driven by a combination of plate-boundary forces and internal buoyancy forces. I use a compilation of seismic reflection/refraction studies and high quality receiver function analyses, together with simple Airy isostasy, to determine regional crustal and mantle structure. Integration of the vertical normal stress to the base of the deforming layer yields the buoyancy stress. Horizontal gradients of this can be compared with horizontal gradients of strain rate, using the method of England & Molnar (1997), in the context of a simple thin sheet model of deformation. Thus, if deformation is that of a Newtonian fluid, then appropriate combinations of the horizontal gradients of vorticity and dilatation are related to gradients of buoyancy stress by the fluid viscosity. However, the short term geodetic deformation is strongly biased by elastic strain accumulation related to locking on the plate interface, and cannot be used to determine the plate-boundary velocity field averaged over many seismic cycles (see Lamb & Smith 2013). Therefore, I derive here a velocity field for the plate-boundary zone, which is representative of deformation over tens of thousands of years. This is based on an inversion of fault slip, strain rate azimuth and paleomagnetic data, in the context of the short term relative plate motions, solved in a network of triangles spanning the plate-boundary, using the method of Lamb (2000). A comparison of gradients of buoyancy stress with the appropriate combinations of gradients of vorticity and dilatation shows that deformation in

  19. The Cause of the Republic Day Earthquake of India: Intraplate or Plate Boundary Process?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Q.

    2001-12-01

    The Mw 7.6 Republic Day (1/26/2001) earthquake of India killed at least 14,000 people and destroyed tens of thousands of homes. The cause of this earthquake and other historic earthquakes in the surrounding region, all thrust faults with roughly N-S compression, has been the subject of intensive debate. Some workers argued that this earthquake, located ~400 km from the plate boundary, is an intraplate event that may bear important implications for other intraplate earthquakes such as those in the New Madrid seismic zone. Others, however, recognize the diffuse plate boundary in western India and regard this earthquake as part of the plate boundary activity. We have developed a viscoelastic finite element model to address the question of why this and other historic earthquakes concentrated in this part of the India plate. The computer model includes relevant boundary conditions and first-order rheologic variations as indicated by geological and seismic data. We calculated the stresses within the India plate using displacement boundary conditions as indicated by the GPS data and compared the predicted stresses with the theoretical crustal strengths. Our results indicate that the change of plate boundary conditions (from transform fault along the Owen Fracture zone in the India ocean to continental thrusting and shearing along northwestern India) causes stress to accumulate in a broad zone near the junction of the Indian, the Arabian, and the Eurasian plates. Crustal weakening by diffuse seismicity along the northwestern Indian plate boundary may cause further inland migration of stress accumulation. With additional factors, including the contrasts of the crustal strength between the continental and oceanic Indian plate, the presence of the Kachchh rift zone, and the pronounced thinning of the lithosphere in this region as indicated by seismic tomography, the model predict an earthquake-prone belt extending hundreds of kilometers into the interior of the India plate

  20. Analytical Solutions to the Fundamental Frequency of Arbitrary Laminated Plates under Various Boundary Conditions

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Yingqin Luo; Ming Hong; Yuan Liu

    2015-01-01

    In recent years, as the composite laminated plates are widely used in engineering practice such as aerospace, marine and building engineering, the vibration problem of the composite laminated plates is becoming more and more important. Frequency, especially the fundamental frequency, has been considered as an important factor in vibration problem. In this paper, a calculation method of the fundamental frequency of arbitrary laminated plates under various boundary conditions is proposed. The vibration differential equation of the laminated plates is established at the beginning of this paper and the frequency formulae of specialty orthotropic laminated plates under various boundary conditions and antisymmetric angle-ply laminated plates with simply-supported edges are investigated. They are proved to be correct. Simple algorithm of the fundamental frequency for multilayer antisymmetric and arbitrary laminated plates under various boundary conditions is studied by a series of typical examples. From the perspective of coupling, when the number of laminated plates layersN > 8–10, some coupling influence on the fundamental frequency can be neglected. It is reasonable to use specialty orthotropic laminated plates with the same thickness but less layers to calculate the corresponding fundamental frequency of laminated plates. Several examples are conducted to prove correctness of this conclusion. At the end of this paper, the influence of the selected number of layers of specialty orthotropic laminates on the fundamental frequency is investigated. The accuracy and complexity are determined by the number of layers. It is necessary to use proper number of layers of special orthotropic laminates with the same thickness to simulate the fundamental frequency in different boundary conditions.

  1. Seismo-electromagnetic phenomena in the western part of the Eurasia-Nubia plate boundary

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gonçalves da Silva, Hugo; Bezzeghoud, Mourad; Biagi, Pier; Namorado Rosa, Rui; Salgueiro da Silva, Manuel; Caldeira, Bento; Heitor Reis, Artur; Borges, José Fernando; Tlemçani, Mouhaydine; Manso, Marco

    2010-05-01

    This paper presents a future research plan that aims to monitor Seismo-electromagnetic (SEM) phenomena in the western part of the Eurasia-Nubia plate boundary (WENP). This region has a significant tectonic activity [1] combined with relatively low electromagnetic noise levels and for that reason presents the possibility to perform high quality SEM measurements. Further, it is known that low-frequency [ultra (ULF), very (VLF), and low-frequencies (LF)] electromagnetic (EM) waves produce more convincing earthquake precursors (compared to higher frequencies) because of less contamination, large skin depth, and low attenuation [2]. Thus, two SEM effects will be considered: ULF electromagnetic field emissions [3], and VLF/LF radio broadcastings [4]. With respect to the ULF measurements, as a start, three ULF sensors are planned to be installed in the South of Iberian Peninsula supported by the existing networks of seismic research stations. Subsequent development of this initial plan could result in the implementation of a lager ULF monitoring network not only in the Iberian Peninsula, but also in the rest of Europe. Possible integration in the SEGMA array is now under consideration. Another perspective is to use a portable station to track seismic events. Regarding the VLF/LF radio broadcastings, a receiver is planned to be mounted in University of Évora. Radio signals from up to 10 transmitters (in these bands) of interest to study the seismic activity in the WENP region will be monitored. Actually, the radio path from the transmitter to the receiver should cross the epicentral area, therefore two possible transmitters are the ones installed in Monaco (France) and Sicily (Italy). Furthermore, the system will integrate the INFREP network and in this context it will not be restricted to WENP region. With the development of these research plans we aim to collect novel SEM data emerging from the seismic activity in the WENP region. We expect to address the time

  2. Anisotropy from SKS splitting across the Pacific-North America plate boundary offshore southern California

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ramsay, Joseph; Kohler, Monica D.; Davis, Paul M.; Wang, Xinguo; Holt, William; Weeraratne, Dayanthie S.

    2016-10-01

    SKS arrivals from ocean bottom seismometer (OBS) data from an offshore southern California deployment are analysed for shear wave splitting. The project involved 34 OBSs deployed for 12 months in a region extending up to 500 km west of the coastline into the oceanic Pacific plate. The measurement process consisted of removing the effects of anisotropy using a range of values for splitting fast directions and delay times to minimize energy along the transverse seismometer axis. Computed splitting parameters are unexpectedly similar to onland parameters, exhibiting WSW-ENE fast polarization directions and delays between 0.8 and 1.8 s, even for oceanic plate sites. This is the first SKS splitting study to extend across the entire boundary between the North America and Pacific plates, into the oceanic part of the Pacific plate. The splitting results show that the fast direction of anisotropy on the Pacific plate does not align with absolute plate motion (APM), and they extend the trend of anisotropy in southern California an additional 500 km west, well onto the oceanic Pacific plate. We model the finite strain and anisotropy within the asthenosphere associated with density-buoyancy driven mantle flow and the effects of APM. In the absence of plate motion effects, such buoyancy driven mantle flow would be NE-directed beneath the Pacific plate observations. The best-fit patterns of mantle flow are inferred from the tomography-based models that show primary influences from foundering higher-density zones associated with the history of subduction beneath North America. The new offshore SKS measurements, when combined with measurements onshore within the plate boundary zone, indicate that dramatic lateral variations in density-driven upper-mantle flow are required from offshore California into the plate boundary zone in California and western Basin and Range.

  3. Present-day kinematics of the Rivera plate and implications for tectonics in southwestern Mexico

    Science.gov (United States)

    Demets, Charles; Stein, Seth

    1990-01-01

    A model for the present-day motion of the Rivera plate relative to the North America, Cocos, and Pacific plates is derived using new data from the Pacific-Rivera rise and Rivera transform fault, together with new estimates of Pacific-Rivera motions. The results are combined with the closure-consistent NUVEL-1 global plate motion model of DeMets et al. (1990) to examine present-day deformation in southwestern Mexico. The analysis addresses several questions raised in previous studies of the Rivera plate. Namely, do plate motion data from the northern East Pacific rise require a distinct Rivera plate? Do plate kinematic data require the subduction of the Rivera plate along the seismically quiescent Acapulco trench? If so, what does the predicted subduction rate imply about the earthquake recurrence interval in the Jalisco region of southwestern Mexico?

  4. Seismic tomographic constraints on plate-tectonic reconstruction of Nazca subduction under South America since late Cretaceous (~80 Ma)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chen, Yi-Wei; Wu, Jonny; Suppe, John; Liu, Han-Fang

    2016-04-01

    Our understanding of the global plate tectonics is based mainly on seafloor spreading and hotspot data obtained from the present earth surface, which records the growth of present ocean basins. However, in convergent tectonic settings vast amounts of lithosphere has been lost to subduction, contributing to increasing uncertainty in plate reconstruction with age. However, subducted lithosphere imaged in seismic tomography provides important information. By analyzing subducted slabs we identify the loci of subduction and assess the size and shape of subducted slabs, giving better constrained global plate tectonic models. The Andean margin of South America is a classic example of continuous subduction up to the present day, providing an opportunity to test the global plate prediction that ~24×10e6 km2 (4.7% of earth surface) lithosphere has been subducted since ~80 Ma. In this study, we used 10 different global seismic tomographies and Benioff zone seismicity under South America. To identify slabs, we first compared all data sets in horizontal slices and found the subducted Nazca slab is the most obvious structure between the surface and 750 km depth, well imaged between 10°N and 30°S. The bottom of the subducted Nazca slab reaches its greatest depth at 1400 km at 3°N (Carnegie Andes) and gradually shallows towards the south with 900 km minimum depth at 30°S (Pampean Andes). To assess the undeformed length of subducted slab, we used a refined cross-sectional area unfolding method from Wu et al. (in prep.) in the MITP08 seismic tomography (Li et al., 2008). Having cut spherical-Earth tomographic profiles that parallel to the Nazca-South America convergence direction, we measured slab areas as a function of depth based on edges defined by steep velocity gradients, calculating the raw length of the slab by the area and dividing an assumed initial thickness of oceanic lithosphere of 100km. Slab areas were corrected for density based on the PREM Earth model

  5. Tracking the evolution of mantle sources with incompatible element ratios in stagnant-lid and plate-tectonic planets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Condie, Kent C.; Shearer, Charles K.

    2017-09-01

    The distribution of high field strength incompatible element ratios Zr/Nb, Nb/Th, Th/Yb and Nb/Yb in terrestrial oceanic basalts prior to 2.7 Ga suggests the absence or near-absence of an enriched mantle reservoir. Instead, most oceanic basalts reflect a variably depleted mantle source similar in composition to primitive mantle. In contrast, basalts from hydrated mantle sources (like those associated with subduction) exist from 4 Ga onwards. The gradual appearance of enriched mantle between 2 and 3 Ga may reflect the onset and propagation of plate tectonics around the globe. Prior to 3 Ga, Earth may have been in a stagnant-lid regime with most basaltic magmas coming from a rather uniform, variably depleted mantle source or from a non-subduction hydrated mantle source. It was not until the extraction of continental crust and accompanying propagation of plate tectonics that ;modern type; enriched and depleted mantle reservoirs developed. Consistent with the absence of plate tectonics on the Moon is the near absence of basalts derived from depleted (DM) and enriched (EM) mantle reservoirs as defined by the four incompatible element ratios of this study. An exception are Apollo 17 basalts, which may come from a mixed source with a composition similar to primitive mantle as one end member and a high-Nb component as the other end member. With exception of Th, which requires selective enrichment in at least parts of the martian mantle, most martian meteorites can be derived from sources similar to terrestrial primitive mantle or by mixing of enriched and depleted mantle end members produced during magma ocean crystallization. Earth, Mars and the Moon exhibit three very different planetary evolution paths. The mantle source regions for Mars and the Moon are ancient and have HFS element signatures of magma ocean crystallization well-preserved, and differences in these signatures reflect magma ocean crystallization under two distinct pressure regimes. In contrast, plate

  6. Rupture across arc segment and plate boundaries in the 1 April 2007 Solomons earthquake

    Science.gov (United States)

    Taylor, Frederick W.; Briggs, Richard W.; Frohlich, Cliff; Brown, Abel; Hornbach, Matt; Papabatu, Alison K.; Meltzner, Aron J.; Billy, Douglas

    2008-04-01

    The largest earthquakes are generated in subduction zones, and the earthquake rupture typically extends for hundreds of kilometres along a single subducting plate. These ruptures often begin or end at structural boundaries on the overriding plate that are associated with the subduction of prominent bathymetric features of the downgoing plate. Here, we determine uplift and subsidence along shorelines for the 1 April 2007 moment magnitude MW 8.1 earthquake in the western Solomon Islands, using coral microatolls which provide precise measurements of vertical motions in locations where instrumental data are unavailable. We demonstrate that the 2007 earthquake ruptured across the subducting Simbo ridge transform and thus broke through a triple junction where the Australian and Woodlark plates subduct beneath the overriding Pacific plate. Previously, no known major megathrust rupture has involved two subducting plates. We conclude that this event illustrates the uncertainties of predicting the segmentation of subduction zone rupture on the basis of structural discontinuities.

  7. Analytical solution of conjugate turbulent forced convection boundary layer flow over plates

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Joneydi Shariatzadeh Omid

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available A conjugate (coupled forced convection heat transfer from a heated conducting plate under turbulent boundary layer flow is considered. A heated plate of finite thickness is cooled under turbulent forced convection boundary layer flow. Because the conduction and convection boundary layer flow is coupled (conjugated in the problem, a semi-analytical solution based on Differential Transform Method (DTM is presented for solving the non-linear integro-differential equation occurring in the problem. The main conclusion is that in the conjugate heat transfer case the temperature distribution of the plate is flatter than the one in the non-conjugate case. This feature is more pronounced under turbulent flow when compared with the laminar flow.

  8. Asymptotic analysis of the equations and boundary conditions of thermoelasticity of micropolar thin plates

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Vardanyan S. A.

    2007-09-01

    Full Text Available In the framework of the asymmetrical momental micropolar theory in the present work the boundary value problem of thermal stresses in a three-dimensional thin plate with independent fields of displacements and rotations is studied on the basis of asymptotic method. Depending on the values of physical dimensionless constants of the material three applied two-dimensional theories of thermoelasticity of micropolar thin plate are constructed (theories with independent rotations, with constrained rotations and with small shift rigidity.

  9. The Curious Decoupling of Magmatism and Plate Tectonics During the Cenozoic in Western North America: Insight From the NAVDAT Database

    Science.gov (United States)

    Glazner, A. F.; Walker, J. D.; Farmer, G. L.; Bowers, T. D.

    2004-12-01

    Since the widespread acceptance of plate tectonics, magmatism in the western U.S. has been explained by subduction along the west coast of North America and destruction of the subduction system by development of the San Andreas transform fault system. However, re-analysis of space-time patterns of magmatism in western North America calls many of these inferred patterns of magmatism into question. Animation of space-time patterns found in the developing NAVDAT dataset (which currently hosts about 10,000 Cenozoic age and/or geochemical analyses; navdat.geongrid.org), demonstrates that: (1) subduction-type (e.g., intermediate) volcanism is poorly linked to the subduction system; (2) there is little evidence that slab windows controlled magmatism; (3) magmatism was clearly migratory, but not in ways that can be explained by plate-tectonic processes; and (4) magmatism was migratory at length scales ranging from 1000s of km (continental) to 10s of km (county). Several space-time patterns are evident in the NAVDAT animations, including: (1) a sweep from Montana into Nevada from 50 to about 20 Ma; (2) a clockwise sweep around the Colorado Plateau from New Mexico to southern Nevada, from about 30 to 15 Ma; (3) a burst of magmatism at about 16 Ma in northern Nevada, followed by outward sweeps to Yellowstone, central Oregon, and the Sierra Nevada; (4) a burst of magmatism in the Sierra Nevada at 3.5 Ma; and (5) several local migrations, including from Phoenix north onto the Colorado Plateau and from the San Francisco Bay area north to the Geysers geothermal field. Some of these patterns have been tied to specific events (e.g., impingement of the Yellowstone plume and Pliocene delamination), but the others are difficult to relate to plate-tectonic events. They may be caused by local tectonic events (propagating rifts?), minor convective rolls in the asthenosphere, lithospheric delamination, or delamination of a flat Laramide slab. Whatever their origin, database animation

  10. Plate Boundary Observatory Nucleus Education and Outreach: Bringing GPS and Data- Rich Activities Into College and Secondary Earth Science Classrooms

    Science.gov (United States)

    Walker, B.; Eriksson, S. C.

    2006-05-01

    Incorporating scientific data into the curriculum provides students with insight into elements of the scientific process such as developing questions and hypotheses, understanding how data are collected, evaluating data quality and limitations, and formulating conclusions based on scientific results (Manduca et al., 2003.) UNAVCO, a geodetic consortium and co-administrator of the Plate Boundary Observatory Nucleus project, seeks to increase public appreciation and understanding of Earth deformation processes and their societal relevance through education and outreach. To that end, we are developing place-based instructional materials for college and secondary Earth science classrooms in which GPS data are used to teach students about plate tectonics. To assess the needs of our users, we conducted interviews with college geoscience faculty from a variety of institution types and focus groups with secondary Earth science teachers to solicit feedback on the types of educational materials that they would likely use in their classrooms. We are engaging members of the scientific and educational communities to develop the materials and are catering the modules to accommodate diverse groups of learners and learning styles. In addition, we have completed and scheduled several professional development opportunities on the local and national levels for college and university faculty and secondary teachers and have created a new education and outreach website. Our education programs are being assessed by an external evaluator. We will present interview and focus group results, report on the status of our education programs, and discuss upcoming UNAVCO education activities.

  11. Dynamic Stationary Response of Reinforced Plates by the Boundary Element Method

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Luiz Carlos Facundo Sanches

    2007-01-01

    Full Text Available A direct version of the boundary element method (BEM is developed to model the stationary dynamic response of reinforced plate structures, such as reinforced panels in buildings, automobiles, and airplanes. The dynamic stationary fundamental solutions of thin plates and plane stress state are used to transform the governing partial differential equations into boundary integral equations (BIEs. Two sets of uncoupled BIEs are formulated, respectively, for the in-plane state (membrane and for the out-of-plane state (bending. These uncoupled systems are joined to form a macro-element, in which membrane and bending effects are present. The association of these macro-elements is able to simulate thin-walled structures, including reinforced plate structures. In the present formulation, the BIE is discretized by continuous and/or discontinuous linear elements. Four displacement integral equations are written for every boundary node. Modal data, that is, natural frequencies and the corresponding mode shapes of reinforced plates, are obtained from information contained in the frequency response functions (FRFs. A specific example is presented to illustrate the versatility of the proposed methodology. Different configurations of the reinforcements are used to simulate simply supported and clamped boundary conditions for the plate structures. The procedure is validated by comparison with results determined by the finite element method (FEM.

  12. Plate Boundary Observatory GPS Network Status in California

    Science.gov (United States)

    Walls, C. P.; Austin, K. E.; Dittman, T.; Mann, D.; Basset, A.; Turner, R.; Lawrence, S.; Woolace, A. C.; Kasmer, D.; Hodgkinson, K. M.; Feaux, K.; Mattioli, G. S.

    2015-12-01

    The EarthScope PBO GPS network, funded by the NSF and operated by UNAVCO, is comprised of 599 permanent GPS stations spanning three principal tectonic regimes and is administered by separate management regions (Subduction - Pacific Northwest [91 sites], Extension - East [41 sites], Transform - Southwest [467 sites]). Since the close of construction in September 2008 various enhancements have been implemented through additional funding by the NSF, NOAA, and NASA and in collaboration with stakeholders such as Caltrans, Scripps, and the USGS. Initially, the majority of stations used first generation IP based cellular modems and radios capable of ~10KB/s data rates. The bandwidth limitation was a challenge for regional high-rate data downloads for GPS-seismology and airborne LiDAR surveys, and real-time data flow. Today, only 13 of the original cell modems remain with 297 upgraded cell modems providing 3G/4G/LTE data communications with transfer rates ranging from 80-400 KB/s. Ongoing radio network expansion and upgrades continue to harden communications. 32 VSAT and one manual download site remain. In CA, the network capabilities for 1Hz and 5Hz downloads or real-time streaming are ~95%, ~80% and ~65%, respectively. During the past year, uptime ranged from 94-99% with data return for 15 s data exceeding 99%. Real-time (1 Hz) data from 204 sites are distributed in BINEX and RTCM 2.3/3.1 formats with an average latency of 0.5 s and completion of 86%. A variety of geophysical sensors are co-located with the GPS stations and include: 21 MEMS accelerometers, 31 strong motion and broadband seismometers, 9 borehole strainmeters and 1 long baseline strainmeter. Vaisala meteorological instruments are located at 60 sites of which 38 stream GPS/Met data. In an effort to modernize the network, Trimble NetRS receivers are gradually being replaced with GNSS-capable/enabled receivers and antennas. Today, 11 stations are GLONASS enabled and 84 are GNSS capable.

  13. Lithospheric deformation in the Africa-Iberia plate boundary: Improved neotectonic modeling testing a basal-driven Alboran plate

    Science.gov (United States)

    Neres, M.; Carafa, M. M. C.; Fernandes, R. M. S.; Matias, L.; Duarte, J. C.; Barba, S.; Terrinha, P.

    2016-09-01

    We present an improved neotectonic numerical model of the complex NW Africa-SW Eurasia plate boundary segment that runs from west to east along the Gloria Fault up to the northern Algerian margin. We model the surface velocity field and the ongoing lithospheric deformation using the most recent version of the thin-shell code SHELLS and updated lithospheric model and fault map of the region. To check the presence versus the absence of an independently driven Alboran domain, we develop two alternative plate models: one does not include an Alboran plate; another includes it and determines the basal shear tractions necessary to drive it with known velocities. We also compare two alternative sets of Africa-Eurasia velocity boundary conditions, corresponding to geodetic and geological-scale averages of plate motion. Finally, we perform an extensive parametric study of fault friction coefficient, trench resistance, and velocities imposed in Alboran nodes. The final run comprises 5240 experiments, each scored to geodetic velocities (estimated for 250 stations and here provided), stress direction data, and seismic strain rates. The model with the least discrepancy to the data includes the Alboran plate driven by a basal WSW directed shear traction, slightly oblique to the westward direction of Alboran motion. We provide estimates of long-term strain rates and slip rates for the modeled faults, which can be useful for further hazard studies. Our results support that a mechanism additional to the Africa-Eurasia convergence is required to drive the Alboran domain, which can be related to subduction processes occurring within the mantle.

  14. Dynamics of subduction and continental collision: Influence of the nature of the plate contact. Geologica Ultraiectina (284)

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    De Franco, R.

    2008-01-01

    At convergent plate boundaries, the properties of the actual plate contact are important for the overall dynamics. Convergent plate boundaries both mechanically decouple and link tectonic plates and accommodate large amounts of strain. We investigate two fundamental physical states of the subduction

  15. Azimuthal seismic anisotropy in the Earth's upper mantle and the thickness of tectonic plates

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schaeffer, A. J.; Lebedev, S.; Becker, T. W.

    2016-11-01

    Azimuthal seismic anisotropy, the dependence of seismic wave speeds on propagation azimuth, is largely due to fabrics within the Earth's crust and mantle, produced by deformation. It thus provides constraints on the distribution and evolution of deformation within the upper mantle. Here, we present a new global, azimuthally anisotropic model of the crust, upper mantle and transition zone. Two versions of this new model are computed: the rough SL2016svAr and the smooth SL2016svA. Both are constrained by a very large data set of waveform fits (˜750 000 vertical component seismogram fits). Automated, multimode waveform inversion was used to extract structural information from surface and S wave forms in broad period ranges (dominantly from 11 to 450 s, with the best global sampling in the 20-350 s range), yielding resolving power from the crust down to the transition zone. In our global tomographic inversion, regularization of anisotropy is implemented to more uniformly recover the amplitude and orientation of anisotropy, including near the poles. Our massive waveform data set, with complementary large global networks and high-density regional array data, produces improved resolution of global azimuthal anisotropy patterns. We show that regional scale variations, related to regional lithospheric deformation and mantle flow, can now be resolved by the global models, in particular in densely sampled regions. For oceanic regions, we compare quantitatively the directions of past and present plate motions and the fast-propagation orientations of anisotropy. By doing so, we infer the depth of the boundary between the rigid, high-viscosity lithosphere (preserving ancient, frozen fabric) and the rheologically weak asthenosphere (characterized by fabric developed recently). The average depth of thus inferred rheological lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary (LAB) beneath the world's oceans is ˜115 km. The LAB depth displays a clear dependence on the age of the oceanic

  16. DEFORMATION RATE CHANGES OF TECTONIC BELTS ALONG BOUNDARIES OF YUNNAN SICHAUN BLOCK AND RELATION TO GROUPED STRONG EARTHQUAKES

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    ChengWanzheng; YangYongling

    2003-01-01

    Deformation measurements such as short-range leveling, short-baseline, continuous cross-fault strain measurement are carried out at different intervals from 1982 to 2001. All these measurement sites are built across the boundary tectonic belts of Yunnan-Sichuan block. On the basis of these deformation data, the annual deformation rates at all sites are calculated and their change curves with time are plotted respectively. With these calculated results, we analyze the vertical and horizontal movements of tectonic belts of Yunnan-Sichuan block, and the relationship to grouped strong earthquakes occurred in the block are discussed as well. These results show that the tectonic activities in the western and southeastern Yunnan are intensive. Along some eastern boundary belts: from Qujiang, Xiaojiang fault belts in the south of Yunnan to Xianshuihe fault belts in northwestern Sichuan, present annual rate of horizontal deformation decreases. Along Xianshuihe, Xiaojiang and Longmenshan fault belts the rates of vertical deformation change are small, but the vertical deformation change rates along Anninghe and Zemuhe faul tbelts are comparatively large. The comprehensive analysis shows that grouped strong earthquakes will occur probably when the deformation rate changes sharply. Thus we think that sharp changes of deformation rates may be one of the seismic precursors.

  17. DEFORMATION RATE CHANGES OF TECTONIC BELTS ALONG BOUNDARIES OF YUNNAN SICHAUN BLOCK AND RELATION TO GROUPED STRONG EARTHQUAKES

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Cheng Wanzheng; Yang Yongling

    2003-01-01

    Deformation measurements such as short-range leveling, short-baseline, continuous cross-fault strain measurement are carried out at different intervals from 1982 to 2001. All these measurement sites are built across the boundary tectonic belts of Yunnan-Sichuan block. On the basis of these deformation data, the annual deformation rates at all sites are calculated and their change curves with time are plotted respectively. With these calculated results, we analyze the vertical and horizontal movements of tectonic belts of Yunnan-Sichuan block, and the relationship to grouped strong earthquakes occurred in the block are discussed as well. These results show that the tectonic activities in the western and southeastern Yunnan are intensive. Along some eastern boundary belts: from Qujiang, Xiaojiang fault belts in the south of Yunnan to Xianshuihe fault belts in northwestern Sichuan, present annual rate of horizontal deformation decreases. Along Xianshuihe, Xiaojiang and Longmenshan fault belts the rates of vertical deformation change are small, but the vertical deformation change rates along Anninghe and Zemuhe fault belts are comparatively large. The comprehensive analysis shows that grouped strong earthquakes will occur probably when the deformation rate changes sharply. Thus we think that sharp changes of deformation rates may be one of the seismic precursors.

  18. The Lord Howe Rise continental ribbon: a fragment of eastern Gondwana that reveals the drivers of continental rifting and plate tectonics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Saito, S.; Hackney, R. I.; Bryan, S. E.; Kimura, J. I.; Müller, D.; Arculus, R. J.; Mortimer, N. N.; Collot, J.; Tamura, Y.; Yamada, Y.

    2016-12-01

    Plate tectonics and resulting changes in crustal architecture profoundly influence global climate, oceanic circulation, and the origin, distribution and sustainability of life. Ribbons of continental crust rifted from continental margins are one product of plate tectonics that can influence the Earth system. Yet we have been unable to fully resolve the tectonic setting and evolution of huge, thinned, submerged, and relatively inaccessible continental ribbons like the Lord Howe Rise (LHR), which formed during Cretaceous fragmentation of eastern Gondwana. Thinned continental ribbons like the LHR are not easily explained or predicted by plate-tectonic theory. However, because Cretaceous rift basins on the LHR preserve the stratigraphy of an un-accreted and intact continental ribbon, they can help to determine whether plate motion is self-organised—passively driven by the pull of negatively-buoyant subducting slabs—or actively driven by convective flow in the mantle. In a self-organising scenario, the LHR formed in response to ocean-ward retreat of the long-lived eastern Gondwana subduction zone and linked upper-plate extension. In the mantle-driven scenario, the LHR resulted from rifting near the eastern edge of Gondwana that was triggered by processes linked to emplacement of a silicic Large Igneous Province. These scenarios can be distinguished using the ribbon's extensional history and the composition and tectonic affinity of igneous rocks within rift basins. However, current knowledge of LHR rift basins is based on widely-distributed marine and satellite geophysical data, limited dredge samples, and sparse shallow drilling (<600 m below-seafloor). This limits our ability to understand the evolution of extended continental ribbons, but a recent deep crustal seismic survey across the LHR and a proposed IODP deep stratigraphic well through a LHR rift basin provide new opportunities to explore the drivers behind rifting, continental ribboning and plate tectonics.

  19. Stress Transfer Processes during Great Plate Boundary Thrusting Events: A Study from the Andaman and Nicobar Segments

    Science.gov (United States)

    Andrade, V.; Rajendran, K.

    2010-12-01

    The response of subduction zones to large earthquakes varies along their strike, both during the interseismic and post-seismic periods. The December 26, 2004 earthquake nucleated at 3° N latitude and its rupture propagated northward, along the Andaman-Sumatra subduction zone, terminating at 15°N. Rupture speed was estimated at about 2.0 km per second in the northern part under the Andaman region and 2.5 - 2.7 km per second under southern Nicobar and North Sumatra. We have examined the pre and post-2004 seismicity to understand the stress transfer processes within the subducting plate, in the Andaman (10° - 15° N ) and Nicobar (5° - 10° N) segments. The seismicity pattern in these segments shows distinctive characteristics associated with the outer rise, accretionary prism and the spreading ridge, all of which are relatively better developed in the Andaman segment. The Ninety East ridge and the Sumatra Fault System are significant tectonic features in the Nicobar segment. The pre-2004 seismicity in both these segments conform to the steady-state conditions wherein large earthquakes are fewer and compressive stresses dominate along the plate interface. Among the pre-2004 great earthquakes are the 1881 Nicobar and 1941 Andaman events. The former is considered to be a shallow thrust event that generated a small tsunami. Studies in other subduction zones suggest that large outer-rise tensional events follow great plate boundary breaking earthquakes due to the the up-dip transfer of stresses within the subducting plate. The seismicity of the Andaman segment (1977-2004) concurs with the steady-state stress conditions where earthquakes occur dominantly by thrust faulting. The post-2004 seismicity shows up-dip migration along the plate interface, with dominance of shallow normal faulting, including a few outer rise events and some deeper (> 100 km) strike-slip faulting events within the subducting plate. The September 13, 2002, Mw 6.5 thrust faulting earthquake at

  20. Rubidium-strontium geochronology and plate-tectonic evolution of the southern part of the Arabian Shield

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fleck, Robert J.; Greenwood, W.R.; Hadley, D.G.; Anderson, R.E.; Schmidt, D.L.

    1980-01-01

    Rubidium-strontium studies of Precambrian volcanic and plutonic rocks of the Arabian Shield document an early development of the Arabian craton between 900 and 680 m.y. (million years) ago. Geologic studies indicate an island-arc environment characterized by andesitic (dioritic) magmas, volcaniclastic sedimentation, rapid deposition, and contemporaneous deformation along north or northwest-trending axes. Magmatic trends show consistent variation in both composition and geographic location as a function of age. The oldest units belong to an assemblage of basaltic strata exposed in western Saudi Arabia that yield an age of 1165:!:110 m.y. The oldest andesitic strata studied yield an age of 912:!:76 m.y. The earliest plutonic units are diorite to trondhjemite batholiths that range from 800 to 9,00 m.y. in age and ,occur along the western and southern parts of Saudi Arabia. Younger plutonic units, 680 to 750 m.y. in age, range from quartz diorite to granodiodte and become more abundant in the central and northeastern parts of the Arabian Shield. Initial 'Sr/ 86 Sr ratios for both dioritic groups range from 0.7023 to 0.7030 and average 0.7027. The absence of sialic detritus in sedimentary units and the evidence for an island-arc environment suggest the early development of the Arabian craton at a convergent plate margin between plates of oceanic lithosphere. Active subduction apparently extended from at least 900 m.y. to about 680 m.y. Subsequent to this subduction-related magmatism and tectonism, called the Hijaz tectonic cycle, the Arabian craton was sutured to the late Precambrian African plate in a collisional event. This period of orogeny, represented in Arabia and eastern Africa by the Mozambiquian or Pan-African event, extended from some time before 650 m.y. to at least 540 m.y. and perhaps 520 m.y. B.P. Although the tectonic processes of subduction and continental collision during the 900+ to 500-m.y. period require similar directions of plate convergence, the

  1. The Plate Boundary Observatory (PBO) Network in the PNW region of the United States

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hafner, K.; Austin, K.; Feaux, K.; Jackson, M.; Fengler, K.; Doelger, S.

    2007-05-01

    The Pacific Northwest Region (PNW) of the United States contains a variety of geologic regions and tectonic problems. These include the Cascadia Subduction Zone, Mt. St. Helens and the transition to the Basin and Range province. Since September of 2003, the Plate Boundary Observatory (PBO), which is part of the larger NSF-funded EarthScope project, has been installing a network of continuously operating GPS, strainmeter and tiltmeter instruments. There are currently 78 GPS, 13 strainmeter/borehole seismometers, and 4 tiltmeters operating in the PNW region. The data from this network has already been used to study Episodic Tremor Events (ETS) during September 2005 and January 2007, and renewed activity on Mt. St. Helens that began on September 23, 2004. The goal is have 134 continuously operating GPS stations by the end of September 2008. The locations of the GPS stations were determined by scientific committees. Whenever possible, multiple instruments are deployed at the same location, and share power and communications resources. Examples of this are GPS antennas mounted on top of strainmeter boreholes in the forearc region of western Washington and tiltmeters collecting data through GPS receivers on Mt. St. Helens. In addition, a number of stations provide real time kinematic data to professional surveyors within the region. During the fall of 2006, a 16 GPS and 4 tiltmeter station network was completed on Mt. St. Helens. Results from analysis of both PBO and USGS GPS stations on the mountain, show a radially inward and downward motion, with the maximum vertical offsets high on the mountain and the maximum horizontal offsets located at distances of 5-10km from the crater. Displacements are small over the 2004-present eruption with a maximum of 3cm of inward movement. GPS stations installed high on the mountain experience severe weather and heavy rime accumulations for approximately 6 months of the year. Ice build-up causes distortion of the GPS antenna phase

  2. Analysis of Blasius Equation for Flat-Plate Flow with Infinite Boundary Value

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Miansari, M. O.; Miansari, M. E.; Barari, Amin;

    2010-01-01

    This paper applies the homotopy perturbation method (HPM) to determine the well-known Blasius equation with infinite boundary value for Flat-plate Flow. We study here the possibility of reducing the momentum and continuity equations to ordinary differential equations by a similarity transformatio...

  3. Exact controllability of the Euler-Bernoulli plate with variable coefficients and simply supported boundary condition

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Fengyan Yang

    2016-09-01

    Full Text Available This article studies the exact controllability of an Euler-Bernoulli plate equation with variable coefficients, subject to the simply supported boundary condition. By the Riemannian geometry approach, the duality method, the multiplier technique, and the compactness-uniqueness argument, we establish the corresponding observability inequality and obtain the exact controllability results.

  4. AN EFFECTIVE BOUNDARY ELEMENT METHOD FOR ANALYSIS OF CRACK PROBLEMS IN A PLANE ELASTIC PLATE

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    YAN Xiang-qiao

    2005-01-01

    A simple and effective boundary element method for stress intensity factor calculation for crack problems in a plane elastic plate is presented. The boundary element method consists of the constant displacement discontinuity element presented by Crouch and Starfield and the crack-tip displacement discontinuity elements proposed by YAN Xiangqiao. In the boundary element implementation the left or the right crack-tip displacement discontinuity element was placed locally at the corresponding left or right each crack tip on top of the constant displacement discontinuity elements that cover the entire crack surface and the other boundaries. Test examples ( i. e. , a center crack in an infinite plate under tension, a circular hole and a crack in an infinite plate under tension) are included to illustrate that the numerical approach is very simple and accurate for stress intensity factor calculation of plane elasticity crack problems. In addition, specifically, the stress intensity factors of branching cracks emanating from a square hole in a rectangular plate under biaxial loads were analysed. These numerical results indicate the present numerical approach is very effective for calculating stress intensity factors of complex cracks in a 2-D finite body, and are used to reveal the effect of the biaxial loads and the cracked body geometry on stress intensity factors.

  5. Segmentation of the eastern North Greenland oblique-shear margin – regional plate tectonic implications

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Andreasen, Arne Døssing; Stemmerik, Lars; Dahl-Jensen, T.

    2010-01-01

    a highly complex, Paleozoic–early Cenozoic pre-opening setting. However, due to extreme ice conditions, very little is known about the offshore areas seawards of – and between – the peninsulas. Consequently, prevailing structural-tectonic models of the margin tend to be significantly oversimplified...... and inadequate. We present the first, combined onshore–offshore, model of the margin integrating onshore outcrops with potential field data, new offshore seismic reflection data and receiver-function analysis of seismic broad band data. The results reveal a margin which is far more complex than previously...... anticipated. In particular, we interpret strong margin segmentation along N/NE-striking fault structures. The structures are likely to have formed by Late Mesozoic–early Cenozoic strike-slip tectonics and have continued to be active during the late Cenozoic. A more than 8 km deep sedimentary basin...

  6. Mantle constraints on the plate tectonic evolution of the Tonga-Kermadec-Hikurangi subduction zone and the South Fiji Basin region

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Schellart, W.P.; Spakman, W.

    2012-01-01

    The Tonga–Kermadec–Hikurangi subduction zone is a major plate boundary in the Southwest Pacific region, where the Pacific plate subducts westward underneath the Australian plate. Considerable controversy exists regarding the Cenozoic evolution of this subduction zone, its connection with

  7. Cocos Ridge Collision as a Driver for Plate Boundary Deformation in the Western Caribbean

    Science.gov (United States)

    La Femina, P. C.; Govers, R. M.; Geirsson, H.; Kobayashi, D.

    2011-12-01

    The subduction and collision of bathymetric highs can result in geodynamic changes along convergent plate boundaries, including intense upper plate deformation, increases in mechanical coupling and seismicity, migration and or cessation of volcanism and formation of forearc terranes. But how extensive can the deformation associated with these features be and what are the implications for the long-term formation and evolution of plate boundary zones? Plate boundary evolution and upper plate deformation in southern Central America associated with Cocos Ridge collision is well studied and indicates, 1) migration of the volcanic arc toward the backarc northwest of and cessation of volcanism directly inboard the ridge, 2) uplift of the Cordillera de Talamanca inboard the ridge, 3) shortening across the forearc Fila Costena fold and thrust belt, and 4) outer forearc uplift above and flanking the ridge. Recent geodynamical modeling of Cocos Ridge collision, combined with the results of kinematic block models for the Central American margin, suggests the ridge drives northwest-directed forearc motion from central Costa Rica northwest to the Cocos - Caribbean (Central American forearc block) - North America triple junction, greatly increasing the spatial scale of deformation. Upperplate deformation of the Central American margin to the southeast of the Cocos Ridge in Panama was not investigated in these models. We investigate the dynamics of Cocos Ridge collision along the entire Central American margin and the implications on plate boundary evolution with a new geodynamic model of ridge collision. Our model results are compared to a new GPS derived horizontal velocity field for Central America and preliminary results indicate that the Cocos Ridge drives the Panamanian isthmus into northern South America (i.e., the North Andes block).

  8. Discovering Plate Boundaries Update: Builds Content Knowledge and Models Inquiry-based Learning

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sawyer, D. S.; Pringle, M. S.; Henning, A. T.

    2009-12-01

    Discovering Plate Boundaries (DPB) is a jigsaw-structured classroom exercise in which students explore the fundamental datasets from which plate boundary processes were discovered. The exercise has been widely used in the past ten years as a classroom activity for students in fifth grade through high school, and for Earth Science major and general education courses in college. Perhaps more importantly, the exercise has been used extensively for professional development of in-service and pre-service K-12 science teachers, where it simultaneously builds content knowledge in plate boundary processes (including natural hazards), models an effective data-rich, inquiry-based pedagogy, and provides a set of lesson plans and materials which teachers can port directly into their own classroom (see Pringle, et al, this session for a specific example). DPB is based on 4 “specialty” data maps, 1) earthquake locations, 2) modern volcanic activity, 3) seafloor age, and 4) topography and bathymetry, plus a fifth map of (undifferentiated) plate boundary locations. The jigsaw is structured so that students are first split into one of the four “specialties,” then re-arranged into groups with each of the four specialties to describe the boundaries of a particular plate. We have taken the original DPB materials, used the latest digital data sets to update all the basic maps, and expanded the opportunities for further student and teacher learning. The earthquake maps now cover the recent period including the deadly Banda Aceh event. The topography/bathymetry map now has global coverage and uses ice-free elevations, which can, for example, extend to further inquiry about mantle viscosity and loading processes (why are significant portions of the bedrock surface of Greenland and Antarctica below sea level?). The volcanic activity map now differentiates volcano type and primary volcanic lithology, allowing a more elaborate understanding of volcanism at different plate boundaries

  9. Geological evidence for the geographical pattern of mantle return flow and the driving mechanism of plate tectonics

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Alvarez, W.

    1982-08-10

    Tectonic features at the earth's surface can be used to test models for mantle return flow and to determine the geographic pattern of this flow. A model with shallow return and deep continental roots places the strongest constraints on the geographical pattern of return flow and predicts recognizable surface manifestations. Because of the progressive shrinkage of the Pacific (averaging 0.5 km/sup 2//yr over the last 180 m.y.) this model predicts upper mantle outflow through the three gaps in the chain of continents rimming the Pacific (Carribbean, Drake Passage, Australian-Antartic gap). In this model, upper mantle return flow streams originating at the western Pacific trenches and at the Java Trench meet south of Australia, filling in behind this rapidly northward-moving continent and provding an explanation for the negative bathymetric and gravity anomalies of the 'Australian-Antarctic-Discordance'. The long-continued tectonic movements toward the east that characterize the Caribbean and the eastenmost Scotia Sea may be produced by viscous coupling to the predicted Pacific outflow through the gaps, and the Caribbean floor slopes in the predicted direction. If mantle outflow does not pass through the gaps in the Pacific perimeter, it must pass beneath three seismic zones (Central America, Lesser Antiles, Scotia Sea); none of these seismic zones shows foci below 200 km. Mantle material flowing through the Caribbean and Drake Passage gaps would supply the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, while the Java Trench supplies the Indian Ocean ridges, so that deep-mantle upwellings need not be centered under spreading ridges and therefore are not required to move laterally to follow ridge migrations. The analysis up to this point suggests that upper mantle return flow is a response to the motion of the continents. The second part of the paper suggest driving mechanism for the plate tectonic process which may explain why the continents move.

  10. Global coupling at 660 km is proposed to explain plate tectonics and the generation of the earth's magnetic field

    CERN Document Server

    Garai, Jozsef

    2007-01-01

    The presence of low viscosity layers in the mantle is supported by line of geological and geophysical observations. Recent high pressure and temperature investigations indicated that partial carbonate melt should exist at the bottom of the lithosphere and at 660 km. The presence of few percent carbonate melt reduces the viscosity by several order of magnitude. The globally existing 660 km very low viscosity layer allows the development of differential rotation between the upper and lower mantle. This differential rotation between the 660 km outer shell and the rest of the earth offers a plausible explanation for plate tectonics and for the generation of the earth's magnetic field. Simple dynamo model is proposed, which able to reproduce all of the features of the contemporary and, within reasonable uncertainty, the paleomagnetic field. The model is also consistent with geological and geophysical observations.

  11. Effects of Student-Generated Diagrams versus Student-Generated Summaries on Conceptual Understanding of Causal and Dynamic Knowledge in Plate Tectonics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gobert, Janice D.; Clement, John J.

    1999-01-01

    Grade five students' (n=58) conceptual understanding of plate tectonics was measured by analysis of student-generated summaries and diagrams, and by posttest assessment of both the spatial/static and causal/dynamic aspects of the domain. The diagram group outperformed the summary and text-only groups on the posttest measures. Discusses the effects…

  12. The Role of Plate Tectonic-Climate Coupling and Exposed Land Area in the Development of Habitable Climates on Rocky Planets

    CERN Document Server

    Foley, Bradford J

    2015-01-01

    The long-term carbon cycle is vital for maintaining liquid water oceans on rocky planets due to the negative climate feedbacks involved in silicate weathering. Plate tectonics plays a crucial role in driving the long-term carbon cycle because it is responsible for CO$_2$ degassing at ridges and arcs, the return of CO$_2$ to the mantle through subduction, and supplying fresh, weatherable rock to the surface via uplift and orogeny. However, the presence of plate tectonics itself may depend on climate according to recent geodynamical studies showing that cool surface temperatures are important for maintaining vigorous plate tectonics. Using a simple carbon cycle model, I show that the negative climate feedbacks inherent in the long-term carbon cycle are uninhibited by climate's effect on plate tectonics. Furthermore, initial atmospheric CO$_2$ conditions do not impact the final climate state reached when the carbon cycle comes to equilibrium, as long as liquid water is present and silicate weathering can occur. ...

  13. Effects of Student-Generated Diagrams versus Student-Generated Summaries on Conceptual Understanding of Causal and Dynamic Knowledge in Plate Tectonics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gobert, Janice D.; Clement, John J.

    1999-01-01

    Grade five students' (n=58) conceptual understanding of plate tectonics was measured by analysis of student-generated summaries and diagrams, and by posttest assessment of both the spatial/static and causal/dynamic aspects of the domain. The diagram group outperformed the summary and text-only groups on the posttest measures. Discusses the effects…

  14. Rotational Inerfia of Continents: A Proposed Link between Polar Wandering and Plate Tectonics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kane, M F

    1972-03-24

    A mechanism is proposed whereby displacement between continents and the earth's pole of rotation (polar wandering) gives rise to latitudinal transport of continental plates (continental drift) because of their relatively greater rotational inertia. When extended to short-term polar wobble, the hypothesis predicts an energy change nearly equivalent to the seismic energy rate.

  15. An Experimental Study of Incremental Surface Loading of an Elastic Plate: Application to Volcano Tectonics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Williams, K. K.; Zuber, M. T.

    1995-01-01

    Models of surface fractures due to volcanic loading an elastic plate are commonly used to constrain thickness of planetary lithospheres, but discrepancies exist in predictions of the style of initial failure and in the nature of subsequent fracture evolution. In this study, we perform an experiment to determine the mode of initial failure due to the incremental addition of a conical load to the surface of an elastic plate and compare the location of initial failure with that predicted by elastic theory. In all experiments, the mode of initial failure was tension cracking at the surface of the plate, with cracks oriented circumferential to the load. The cracks nucleated at a distance from load center that corresponds the maximum radial stress predicted by analytical solutions, so a tensile failure criterion is appropriate for predictions of initial failure. With continued loading of the plate, migration of tensional cracks was observed. In the same azimuthal direction as the initial crack, subsequent cracks formed at a smaller radial distance than the initial crack. When forming in a different azimuthal direction, the subsequent cracks formed at a distance greater than the radial distance of the initial crack. The observed fracture pattern may explain the distribution of extensional structures in annular bands around many large scale, circular volcanic features.

  16. Structural vibration a uniform accurate solution for laminated beams, plates and shells with general boundary conditions

    CERN Document Server

    Jin, Guoyong; Su, Zhu

    2015-01-01

    This book develops a uniform accurate method which is capable of dealing with vibrations of laminated beams, plates and shells with arbitrary boundary conditions including classical boundaries, elastic supports and their combinations. It also provides numerous solutions for various configurations including various boundary conditions, laminated schemes, geometry and material parameters, which fill certain gaps in this area of reach and may serve as benchmark solutions for the readers. For each case, corresponding fundamental equations in the framework of classical and shear deformation theory are developed. Following the fundamental equations, numerous free vibration results are presented for various configurations including different boundary conditions, laminated sequences and geometry and material properties. The proposed method and corresponding formulations can be readily extended to static analysis.

  17. Plate boundary forces in the vicinity of Trinidad-the-transition from transpression to transtension in the Southern Caribbean plate boundary zones

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Algar, S.T.; Pindell, J.L. (Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH (United States))

    1993-02-01

    Deformation in the southern Caribbean plate boundary zones as recorded in the Northern Range of Trinidad initiated in the Oligocene with northward vergent gravity sliding of Northern Range sediments due to uplift and oversteepening of the previously passive margin by the eastward migration of the Caribbean flexural forebulge. Progressive east-southeast transvergence of the Caribbean Plate with respect to South America overthrust incorporated the Northern Range sediments into the Caribbean accretionary prism, thrusting them south-southeast to produce a Middle Miocene transpressive foreland fold and thrust belt in southern Trinidad. Late Miocene deformation within Trinidad was increasingly dominated by right-lateral strike-slop (RLSS) faulting, at the expense of transpressive compressional features. Right-stepping of RLSS motion initiated the Gulf of Paria and Caroni pull-apart basins, Since Early Pliocene these basins and other areas to the north of Trinidad have undergone north-south extension in addition to east-west trending RLSS. Such extension caused the northward withdrawal of Caribbean terranes from atop of the Northern Range, Resulting in rapid isostatically induced uplift (approximately 0.5 mmyr[sup -1]). This change in deformation style may relate to a hitherto unrecognized shift in the relative motion of the eastern Caribbean Plate with respect to South America: from east-southeast-directed transpression to east-northeast-directed transtension.

  18. MHD free convective boundary layer flow of a nanofluid past a flat vertical plate with Newtonian heating boundary condition.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mohammed J Uddin

    Full Text Available Steady two dimensional MHD laminar free convective boundary layer flows of an electrically conducting Newtonian nanofluid over a solid stationary vertical plate in a quiescent fluid taking into account the Newtonian heating boundary condition is investigated numerically. A magnetic field can be used to control the motion of an electrically conducting fluid in micro/nano scale systems used for transportation of fluid. The transport equations along with the boundary conditions are first converted into dimensionless form and then using linear group of transformations, the similarity governing equations are developed. The transformed equations are solved numerically using the Runge-Kutta-Fehlberg fourth-fifth order method with shooting technique. The effects of different controlling parameters, namely, Lewis number, Prandtl number, buoyancy ratio, thermophoresis, Brownian motion, magnetic field and Newtonian heating on the flow and heat transfer are investigated. The numerical results for the dimensionless axial velocity, temperature and nanoparticle volume fraction as well as the reduced Nusselt and Sherwood number have been presented graphically and discussed. It is found that the rate of heat and mass transfer increase as Newtonian heating parameter increases. The dimensionless velocity and temperature distributions increase with the increase of Newtonian heating parameter. The results of the reduced heat transfer rate is compared for convective heating boundary condition and found an excellent agreement.

  19. MHD free convective boundary layer flow of a nanofluid past a flat vertical plate with Newtonian heating boundary condition.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Uddin, Mohammed J; Khan, Waqar A; Ismail, Ahmed I

    2012-01-01

    Steady two dimensional MHD laminar free convective boundary layer flows of an electrically conducting Newtonian nanofluid over a solid stationary vertical plate in a quiescent fluid taking into account the Newtonian heating boundary condition is investigated numerically. A magnetic field can be used to control the motion of an electrically conducting fluid in micro/nano scale systems used for transportation of fluid. The transport equations along with the boundary conditions are first converted into dimensionless form and then using linear group of transformations, the similarity governing equations are developed. The transformed equations are solved numerically using the Runge-Kutta-Fehlberg fourth-fifth order method with shooting technique. The effects of different controlling parameters, namely, Lewis number, Prandtl number, buoyancy ratio, thermophoresis, Brownian motion, magnetic field and Newtonian heating on the flow and heat transfer are investigated. The numerical results for the dimensionless axial velocity, temperature and nanoparticle volume fraction as well as the reduced Nusselt and Sherwood number have been presented graphically and discussed. It is found that the rate of heat and mass transfer increase as Newtonian heating parameter increases. The dimensionless velocity and temperature distributions increase with the increase of Newtonian heating parameter. The results of the reduced heat transfer rate is compared for convective heating boundary condition and found an excellent agreement.

  20. Progressive migration of slab break-off along the southern Tyrrhenian plate boundary: Constraints for the present day kinematics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chiarabba, Claudio; Palano, Mimmo

    2017-04-01

    The Ionian subduction in the central Mediterranean, just 200 km wide, is one of the narrowest in the world. Its evolution has involved a progressive disruption of the subducting slab, contemporaneous to the retreat and step-wise opening of back-arc basins. In this study, we analyse velocity anomalies of the upper mantle, together with the most comprehensive set of earthquake locations and kinematic indicators available for Italy, to reconstruct the geodynamics and tectonic evolution of the Ionian subduction system. Along the Sicilian boundary, we identify an eastward migration of the slab edge with detachment of the Ionian oceanic lithosphere. We hypothesize that the progressive detachment of the slab took place along lithospheric transform faults of the Neo-Tethys Ocean. Among the main active kinematic elements of the Ionian accretionary wedge, we suggest that a ∼400-km-long and highly segmented shear zone formed by the Aeolian-Tindari-Letojanni fault system and the Ionian fault represents the surface expression of such a lithospheric tearing. The present day convergence between the Eurasian and African plates is accommodated both at the frontal thrust of the flexed Hyblean margin in southern Sicily and offshore along the Tyrrhenian Sea. Lithospheric bending favors the wedging of the mantle underneath northern Sicily, while magmatic fluids are channeled along slab tears.

  1. Mantle Convection, Plate Tectonics, and Volcanism on Hot Exo-Earths

    CERN Document Server

    van Summeren, Joost; Gaidos, Eric

    2011-01-01

    Recently discovered exoplanets on close-in orbits should have surface temperatures of 100's to 1000's of K. They are likely tidally locked and synchronously rotating around their parent stars and, if an atmosphere is absent, have surface temperature contrasts of many 100's to 1000's K between permanent day and night sides. We investigated the effect of elevated surface temperature and strong surface temperature contrasts for Earth-mass planets on the (i) pattern of mantle convection, (ii) tectonic regime, and (iii) rate and distribution of partial melting, using numerical simulations of mantle convection with a composite viscous/pseudo-plastic rheology. Our simulations indicate that, if a close-in rocky exoplanet lacks an atmosphere to redistribute heat, a >~ 400 K surface temperature contrast can maintain an asymmetric degree 1 pattern of mantle convection in which the surface of the planet moves preferentially toward subduction zones on the cold night side. The planetary surface features a hemispheric dicho...

  2. Recent kinematics of the tectonic plates surrounding the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schettino, Antonio; Macchiavelli, Chiara; Pierantoni, Pietro Paolo; Zanoni, Davide; Rasul, Najeeb

    2016-10-01

    The Red Sea and Gulf of Aden represent two young basins that formed between Africa and Arabia since the early Oligocene, floored by oceanic crust or by transitional and thinned continental crust. While in the easternmost Gulf of Aden, the rift-drift transition can be dated chron C6 (˜20.1 Ma), here we show that in the Red Sea the first pulse of seafloor spreading occurred during chron C3n.2n (˜4.6 Ma) around ˜17.1°N (present-day coordinates) and propagated southwards from this location, separating the Danakil microplate from Arabia. It is also shown that seafloor spreading between Arabia and Nubia started later, around chron 2A (˜2.58 Ma), and propagated northwards. At present, there is no magnetic evidence for the existence of a linear spreading centre in the northern Red Sea at latitudes higher than ˜24°N and in the southern Red Sea below ˜14.8°N. The present-day plate kinematics of this region can be described with high accuracy by a network of five interacting plates (Nubia, Arabia, Somalia, Sinai and Danakil) and six triple junctions. For times older than anomaly 2A (˜2.58 Ma) and up to anomaly 3, the absence of marine magnetic anomalies between Arabia and Nubia prevents a rigorous kinematic description of the five-plates system. However, there is strong evidence that the unique changes in plate motions during the last 5 Myr were a dramatic slowdown at chron C2 (˜1.77 Ma) in the spreading or extension rates along the ridge and rift axes, thereby a good representation of the real plate motions can be obtained anyway by backward extension of the oldest Arabia-Nubia and Arabia-Danakil stage rotations determined on the basis of marine magnetic anomalies, respectively, C2-C2A and C2A-C3. The proposed kinematic reconstructions are accompanied by a geodynamic explanation for the genesis of large continent-continent fracture zones at the rift-drift transition and by an analysis of the strain associated with plate motions in Afar, northeastern Egypt and

  3. Alternate model of Chladni figures for the circular homogenous thin plate case with open boundaries

    Science.gov (United States)

    Trejo-Mandujano, H. A.; Mijares-Bernal, G.; Ordoñez-Casanova, E. G.

    2015-01-01

    The wave equation is a direct but a complex approach to solve analytically for the Chladni figures, mainly because of the complications that non-smooth and open boundary conditions impose. In this paper, we present an alternate solution model based on the principle of Huygens-Fresnel and on the ideas of Bohr for the hydrogen atom. The proposed model has been implemented numerically and compared, with good agreement, to our own experimental results for the case of a thin homogenous circular plate with open boundaries.

  4. STRESS INTENSITY FACTORS FOR A FINITE PLATE WITH AN INCLINED CRACK BY BOUNDARY COLLOCATION

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Xing Li; Xuemei You

    2005-01-01

    In this paper, we combine the Muskhelishvili's complex variable method and boundary collocation method, and choose a set of new stress function based on the stress boundary condition of crack surface,the higher precision and less computation are reached. This method is applied to calculating the stress intensity factor for a finite plate with an inclined crack. The influence of θ (the obliquity of crack) on the stress intensity factors, as well as the number of summation terms on the stress intensity factor are studied and graphically represented.

  5. What Controls Space-Time Patterns of Magmatism in Western North America: Plate Tectonics, Delamination, or Convection?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Glazner, A. F.

    2007-05-01

    Mesozoic and Cenozoic magmatism in western North America is commonly explained by shallowing and steepening of subduction along the west coast of North America, and progressive destruction of the subduction system by development of the San Andreas transform fault system. This hypothesis makes several specific predictions about space-time patterns of magmatism, including eastward and westward sweeps, development of slab-window magmatism, and progressive northward extinction of an ancestral Cascade arc. However, analysis of space-time patterns using the NAVDAT database indicates that these predicted patterns are curiously obscure in the magmatic record, although other unexplained patterns are strong. Animation of about 29,000 Cenozoic U.S. points from NAVDAT (www.navdat.org) demonstrates that: (1) calc- alkaline, intermediate volcanism is poorly linked to the subduction system; (2) there is little evidence for slab- window magmatism; (3) there was no ancestral Cascade arc south of Oregon until ca. 10 Ma; (4) magmatism shifted from primarily silicic to dominantly basaltic throughout the Miocene; and (5) magmatism was clearly migratory in several directions in ways that cannot be explained by plate-tectonic processes, at length scales ranging from 1000s to 10s of km. Space-time patterns that cannot be readily linked to plate-tectonic control include: (1) a silicic sweep from Montana into Nevada from 50 to 20 Ma; (2) a clockwise sweep around the Colorado Plateau from New Mexico to southern Nevada from about 30 to 15 Ma; (3) a burst of magmatism at about 16 Ma in northern Nevada, followed by outward sweeps to Yellowstone, Oregon, and the Sierra Nevada; (4) progressive encroachment of basaltic magmatism onto the Colorado Plateau, and (5) several local migrations, including from Phoenix north onto the Colorado Plateau and from the San Francisco Bay area north to the Geysers geothermal field. These migrations typically occurred at 20-50 mm/yr. Possible origins include

  6. Magmatism at the Eurasian–North American modern plate boundary: Constraints from alkaline volcanism in the Chersky Belt (Yakutia)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tschegg, Cornelius; Bizimis, Michael; Schneider, David; Akinin, Vyacheslav V.; Ntaflos, Theodoros

    2011-01-01

    The Chersky seismic belt (NE-Russia) forms the modern plate boundary of the Eurasian−North American continental plate. The geodynamic evolution of this continent−continent setting is highly complex and remains a matter of debate, as the extent and influence of the Mid-Arctic Ocean spreading center on the North Asian continent since the Eocene remains unclear. The progression from a tensional stress regime to a modern day transpressional one in the Chersky seismic belt, makes the understanding even more complicated. The alkaline volcanism that has erupted along the Chersky range from Eocene through to the Recent can provide constraints on the geodynamic evolution of this continental boundary, however, the source and petrogenetic evolution of these volcanic rocks and their initiating mechanisms are poorly understood. We studied basanites of the central Chersky belt, which are thought to represent the first alkaline volcanic activity in the area, after initial opening of the Arctic Ocean basin. We present mineral and bulk rock geochemical data as well as Sr–Nd–Pb–Hf isotopes of the alkaline suite of rocks combined with new precise K–Ar and 40Ar/39Ar dating, and discuss an integrated tectono-magmatic model for the Chersky belt. Our findings show that the basanites were generated from a homogeneous asthenospheric mantle reservoir with an EM-1 isotopic flavor, under relatively ‘dry’ conditions at segregation depths around 110 km and temperatures of ~ 1500 °C. Trace element and isotope systematics combined with mantle potential temperature estimates offer no confirmation of magmatism related to subduction or plume activity. Mineral geochemical and petrographical observations together with bulk geochemical evidence indicate a rapid ascent of melts and high cooling rates after emplacement in the continental crust. Our preferred model is that volcanism was triggered by extension and thinning of the lithosphere combined with adiabatic upwelling of the

  7. Plate Boundary Observatory Strainmeter Recordings of The M6.0 August 24, 2014 South Napa Earthquake

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hodgkinson, Kathleen; Mencin, David; Phillips, David; Mattioli, Glen; Meertens, Charles

    2015-04-01

    The 2014 Mw6.0 South Napa earthquake nucleated at 11 km depth near the West Napa fault, one of a complex system of sub-parallel major right lateral faults north of San Francisco that together accommodate much of the relative motion between the Pacific and North American tectonic plates. The South Napa event was the largest to have shaken the San Francisco Bay Area (SFBA) in almost 25 years. A major goal of the NSF-funded EarthScope Plate Boundary Observatory (PBO), installed and maintained by UNAVCO, was to enable researchers to study the interaction between the faults that form a plate boundary zone, and in particular, to investigate the role that aseismic transients contribute to strain accumulation and release. To realize this goal, PBO includes borehole tensor strainmeters (BSMs) installed in several targeted regions, including on to the north and east of San Francisco. Two PBO BSMs have been operating in the SFBA since 2008: B057, north of San Francisco and 30 km from the epicenter, and B054, 3 km from the Hayward Fault and 40 km from the epicenter. We find the coseismic strains recorded by B057 are close to those predicted using elastic half-space dislocation theory and the seismically determined focal mechanism, while a more complicated variable slip model may be required for observations from B054. Months after the event, B057 continued to record a significant postseismic signal. In this presentation we document the coseismic signals recorded by the PBO BSMs and characterize the temporal behavior of the postseismic signal at B057. The PBO network includes over 1100 GPS, 75 BSMs, 79 seismometers and arrays of tiltmeters, pore pressure sensors and meteorological instrumentation. UNAVCO generates an Earthscope Level 2 processed strain time-series combined into areal and shear strains for the PBO BSM network; the raw data are available from the IRIS DMC in mSEED format. For events of interest, such as the South Napa earthquake, UNAVCO generates a 1-sps

  8. Near Continuum Velocity and Temperature Coupled Compressible Boundary Layer Flow over a Flat Plate

    Science.gov (United States)

    He, Xin; Cai, Chunpei

    2017-04-01

    The problem of a compressible gas flows over a flat plate with the velocity-slip and temperature-jump boundary conditions are being studied. The standard single- shooting method is applied to obtain the exact solutions for velocity and temperature profiles when the momentum and energy equations are weakly coupled. A double-shooting method is applied if these two equations are closely coupled. If the temperature affects the velocity directly, more significant velocity slip happens at locations closer to the plate's leading edge, and inflections on the velocity profiles appear, indicating flows may become unstable. As a consequence, the temperature-jump and velocity-slip boundary conditions may trigger earlier flow transitions from a laminar to a turbulent flow state.

  9. MHD Natural Convection with Convective Surface Boundary Condition over a Flat Plate

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mohammad M. Rashidi

    2014-01-01

    Full Text Available We apply the one parameter continuous group method to investigate similarity solutions of magnetohydrodynamic (MHD heat and mass transfer flow of a steady viscous incompressible fluid over a flat plate. By using the one parameter group method, similarity transformations and corresponding similarity representations are presented. A convective boundary condition is applied instead of the usual boundary conditions of constant surface temperature or constant heat flux. In addition it is assumed that viscosity, thermal conductivity, and concentration diffusivity vary linearly. Our study indicates that a similarity solution is possible if the convective heat transfer related to the hot fluid on the lower surface of the plate is directly proportional to (x--1/2 where x- is the distance from the leading edge of the solid surface. Numerical solutions of the ordinary differential equations are obtained by the Keller Box method for different values of the controlling parameters associated with the problem.

  10. Basic characteristics of active tectonics of China

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    DENG; Qidong(邓起东); ZHANG; Peizhen(张培震); RAN; Yongkang(冉勇康); YANG; Xiaoping(杨晓平); MIN; Wei(闵伟); CHU; Quanzhi(楚全芝)

    2003-01-01

    During the last 20 years, studies on active tectonics in China have entered a new quantitative research stage and made a great progress. Summing up the quantitative results, a Map of Active Tectonics of China on the scale of 1︰4 million has been compiled. In the map all types of active tectonics and their kinematic parameters are reflected in possible detail, such as active faults, active folds, active basins, active blocks, volcanoes, and earthquakes. This paper summarizes the basic characteristics of active tectonics of China. The Himalaya Mountains and Taiwan Island are major plate boundaries where the slip rates are larger than 15 mm/a. Tectonic activity in the continental intraplate region is characterized by block motion. The crust and lithosphere in the region were dissected into blocks with different orders. Of them the Qinghai-Xizang (Tibet), Xin- jiang, and North China block regions exhibit the most recent tectonic activity. The kinematic characteristics of more than 200 active tectonic zones indicate that the intraplate tectonic activity represents a block motion at a limited low rate. Horizontal slip rate along the tectonic boundary belts between the blocks is generally less than 10 mm/a, and 10-15 mm/a in maximum, and hence it does not support the continental escape theory of high rate of slip.

  11. Control of boundary layer transition location and plate vibration in the presence of an external acoustic field

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maestrello, L.; Grosveld, F. W.

    1991-01-01

    The experiment is aimed at controlling the boundary layer transition location and the plate vibration when excited by a flow and an upstream sound source. Sound has been found to affect the flow at the leading edge and the response of a flexible plate in a boundary layer. Because the sound induces early transition, the panel vibration is acoustically coupled to the turbulent boundary layer by the upstream radiation. Localized surface heating at the leading edge delays the transition location downstream of the flexible plate. The response of the plate excited by a turbulent boundary layer (without sound) shows that the plate is forced to vibrate at different frequencies and with different amplitudes as the flow velocity changes indicating that the plate is driven by the convective waves of the boundary layer. The acoustic disturbances induced by the upstream sound dominate the response of the plate when the boundary layer is either turbulent or laminar. Active vibration control was used to reduce the sound induced displacement amplitude of the plate.

  12. Unsteady Boundary-Layer Flow over Jerked Plate Moving in a Free Stream of Viscoelastic Fluid

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sufian Munawar

    2014-01-01

    Full Text Available This study aims to investigate the unsteady boundary-layer flow of a viscoelastic non-Newtonian fluid over a flat surface. The plate is suddenly jerked to move with uniform velocity in a uniform stream of non-Newtonian fluid. Purely analytic solution to governing nonlinear equation is obtained. The solution is highly accurate and valid for all values of the dimensionless time 0≤τ<∞. Flow properties of the viscoelastic fluid are discussed through graphs.

  13. Plate Tectonics at 3.8-3.7 Ga: Field Evidence from the Isua Accretionary Complex, Southern West Greenland.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Komiya; Maruyama; Masuda; Nohda; Hayashi; Okamoto

    1999-09-01

    Archean oceanic lithosphere was rigid. These conclusions-rigidity and lateral plate movement-support the idea that the modern style of plate tectonics was in operation only 0.7-0.8 G.yr. after the formation of the Earth.

  14. Locking, mass flux and topographic response at convergent plate boundaries - the Chilean case

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oncken, Onno

    2016-04-01

    On the long term, convergent plate boundaries have been shown to be controlled by either accretion/underplating or by subduction erosion. Vertical surface motion is coupled to convergence rate - typically with an uplift rate of the coastal area ranging from 0 to +50% of convergence rate in accretive systems, and -20 to +30% in erosive systems. Vertical kinematics, however, are not necessarily linked to horizontal strain mode, i.e. upper plate shortening or extension, in a simple way. This range of kinematic behaviors - as well as their acceleration where forearcs collide with oceanic ridges/plateau - is well expressed along the Chilean plate margin. Towards the short end of the time scale, deformation appears to exhibit a close correlation with the frictional properties and geodetic locking at the plate interface. Corroborating analogue experiments of strain accumulation during multiple earthquake cycles, forearc deformation and uplift focus above the downdip and updip end of seismic coupling and slip and are each related to a particular stage of the seismic cycle, but with opposite trends for both domains. Similarly, barriers separating locked domains along strike appear to accumulate most upper plate faulting interseismically. Hence, locking patters are reflected in topography. From the long-term memory contained in the forearc topography the relief of the Chilean forearc seems to reflect long term stability of the observed heterogeneity of locking at the plate interface. This has fundamental implications for spatial and temporal distribution of seismic hazard. Finally, the nature of locking at the plate interface controlling the above kinematic behavior appears to be strongly controlled by the degree of fluid overpressuring at the plate interface suggesting that the hydraulic system at the interface takes a key role for the forearc response.

  15. Mantle-derived peridotites in southwestern Oregon: relation to plate tectonics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Medaris, L G; Dott, R H

    1970-09-04

    A group of peridotites in southwestern Oregon contains high-pressure mineral assemblages reflecting recrystallization at high temperatures (1100 degrees to 1200 degrees C) over a range of pressure decreasing from 19 to 5 kilobars. It is proposed that the peridotites represent upper-mantle material brought from depth along the ancestral Gorda-Juan de Fuca ridge system, transported eastward by the spreading Gorda lithosphere plate, and then emplaced by thrust-faulting in the western margin of the Cordillera during late Mesozoic time.

  16. Correlation between abnormal trends in the spontaneous fields of tectonic plates and strong seismicities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tan, Da-Cheng; Xin, Jian-Cun

    2017-06-01

    Tectonic activities, electrical structures, and electromagnetic environments are major factors that affect the stability of spontaneous fields. The method of correlating regional synchronization contrasts (CRSC) can determine the reliability of multi-site data trends or short-impending anomalies. From 2008 to 2013, there were three strong earthquake cluster periods in the North-South seismic belt that lasted for 8-12 months. By applying the CRSC method to analyze the spontaneous field E SP at 25 sites of the region in the past 6 years, it was discovered that for each strong earthquake cluster period, the E SP strength of credible anomalous trends was present at minimum 30% of the stations. In the southern section of the Tan-Lu fault zone, the E SP at four main geoelectric field stations showed significant anomalous trends after June 2015, which could be associated with the major earthquakes of the East China Sea waters (M S 7.2) in November 2015 and Japan's Kyushu island (M S 7.3) in April 2016.

  17. Plate tectonics and the origin of the Juan Fernández Ridge: analysis of bathymetry and magnetic patterns

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Cristián Rodrigo

    2014-10-01

    Full Text Available Juan Fernández Ridge (JFR is a cα. 800 km long alignment of seamounts and islands which is thought to be fed by a deep mantle plume. JFR includes the Friday and Domingo seamounts in the western active edge close to the active hotspot, and the O'Higgins Seamount and Guyot at the eastern limit just in front of the Chile-Perú trench. Recent bathymetric (Global Topography and magnetic (EMAG-2 datasets were interpreted both qualitatively and quantitatively by means of 3D inverse modeling and 2D direct modeling for geometry and susceptibility, together with an interpretation of the synthetic anomalies related to the classical hypothesis of deep seafloor spreading. Topographic and magnetic patterns are used to understand the tectonic evolution and origin of the JFR, especially in the western segment. Results show a continuous corridor with a base at ~3900 m depth formed by four groups of seamounts/islands with a number of summits. The deep ocean floor is ~22 to ~37 Myr old and is younger to the south of the Challenger Fracture Zone that runs in a SW-NE direction. The magnetic pattern of the western JFR segment, which is different than the eastern one, has no correlation with bathymetry and does not present a common polarity nor fit with magnetic models for isolated bodies. This superposition of magnetic patterns indicates a role of the faults/fractures of the Nazca Plate. Geological evidence supports the hypothesis of a fixed mantle plume for the origin of JFR but our data suggest that tectonic processes play a role, thus fueling the global controversy about these competing processes.

  18. Secular and annual hydrologic effects from the Plate Boundary Observatory GPS network

    Science.gov (United States)

    Meertens, C. M.; Wahr, J. M.; Borsa, A. A.; Jackson, M. E.; Herring, T.

    2009-12-01

    The Plate Boundary Observatory (PBO) GPS network is providing accurate and spatially coherent vertical signals that can be interpreted in terms of hydrological loading and poroelastic effects from both natural and anthropogenic changes in water storage. Data used for this analysis are the precise coordinate time series produced on a daily basis by PBO Analysis Centers at New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology and at Central Washington University and combined by the Analysis Center Coordinator at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. These products, as well as derived velocity solutions, are made freely available from the UNAVCO Data Center in Boulder. Analysis of secular trends and annual variations in the time series was made using the analysis software of Langbein, 2008. Spatial variations in the amplitude and phase of the annual vertical component of motion allow for identification of anthropogenic effects due to water pumping, irrigation, and reservoir lake variations, and of outliers due to instrumental or other local site effects. Vertical annual signals of 8-10 mm peak-to-peak amplitude are evident at stations in the mountains of northern and central California and the Pacific Northwest. The peak annual uplift is in October and is correlated to hydrological loading effects. Mountainous areas appear to be responding elastically to the load of the water contained in surface soil, fractures, and snow. Vertical signals are highest when the water load is at a minimum. The vertical elastic hydrologic loading signal was modeled using the 0.25 degree community NOAH land-surface model (LSM) and generally fits the observed GPS signal. Addition comparisons will be made using the Mosaic LSM and the NOAA “Leaky Bucket” hydrologic model. In contrast to mountain stations that are installed principally in bedrock, stations in the valleys of California are installed in sediments. Observations from these stations show greater spatial variability ranging from

  19. Why Understanding When and How Plate Tectonics Began Is Essential for a Robust Theory of the Earth

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stern, R. J.; Gerya, T.

    2014-12-01

    Understanding when and how Plate Tectonics (PT) began and what came before has profound implications for understanding the Earth because the transition to PT from the previous tectonic regime - some variant of deformable lid tectonics (DLT)- resulted in faster cooling and enhanced recycling of surface materials to depth. The transition to PT also would have impacted ocean chemistry, climate and life evolution. There is no consensus about when PT began on Earth; estimates range from >4.2 Ga to ~0.85 Ga. Three pillars of a robust Theory of the Earth illustrate the importance of answering this question: (1) the solid Earth volatile cycle; (2) the Urey ratio; and (3) the kimberlite enigma. For (1), it is now clear that subduction injects more H2O (and probably CO2) into Earth's mantle- where it is stored - than is released to the surface by igneous activity. Presumably the volatile flux from the surface into the mantle was lower during DLT episodes, although delamination and Rayleigh-Taylor drippings would have sent some. Constraining PT H2O and CO2 fluxes requires knowing when PT began and interior soaking accelerated. Regarding (2), estimating Earth's Urey ratio (Ur; heat production/heat loss) evolution requires avoiding the "thermal catastrophe" implying that if Earth has been cooling off as fast as presently (Ur ~0.2) then it must have been totally molten 1-2 Ga; a transition from DLT (high Ur) to PT (low Ur) may resolve the paradox. Finally (3), why are the vast majority of kimberlites of Phaneozoic age? Is it because erosion has removed the evidence or because sufficient H2O-CO2 rich fluids that drive such eruptions have only been delivered below cratonic lithosphere since deep subduction associated with PT began? Determining when did PT start, what was Earth's DLT-regime before this, and how did the transition occur will require the insights of the entire geoscientific community, providing a worthy set of 21st Century geoscientific research priorities.

  20. Streamwise counter-rotating vortices generated by triangular leading edge pattern in flat plate boundary layer

    KAUST Repository

    Hasheminejad, S. M.

    2016-01-05

    A series of flow visualizations were conducted to qualitatively study the development of streamwise counter-rotating vortices over a flat plate induced by triangular patterns at the leading edge of a flat plate. The experiments were carried out for a Reynolds number based on the pattern wavelength (λ) of 3080. The results depict the onset, development and breakdown of the vortical structures within the flat plate boundary layer. Moreover, the effect of one spanwise array of holes with diameter of 0.2λ (=3 mm) was examined. This investigation was done on two different flat plates with holes placed at the location x/λ = 2 downstream of the troughs and peaks. The presence of holes after troughs does not show any significant effect on the vortical structures. However, the plate with holes after peaks noticeably delays the vortex breakdown. In this case, the “mushroom-like” vortices move away from the wall and propagate downstream with stable vortical structures. The vortex growth is halted further downstream but start to tilt aside.

  1. Dinosaur tectonics

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Graversen, Ole; Milàn, Jesper; B. Loope, David

    2007-01-01

    to crustal scale tectonics associated with plate tectonics and foreland fold-thrust belts. A structural analysis of the dinosaur tracks shows the timing and direction of the forces exercised on the substrate by the animal's foot during the stride. Based on the structural analysis, we establish a scenario...... of the undertrack. The total length of the tectonic disturbance created by the dinosaur is up to three times that of the original footprint. Early, near-surface cementation gave the substrate the rheological properties necessary for development of the observed structures....

  2. Discovering Plate Boundaries in Data-integrated Environments: Preservice Teachers' Conceptualization and Implementation of Scientific Practices

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sezen-Barrie, Asli; Moore, Joel; Roig, Cara E.

    2015-08-01

    Drawn from the norms and rules of their fields, scientists use variety of practices, such as asking questions and arguing based on evidence, to engage in research that will contribute to our understanding of Earth and beyond. In this study, we explore how preservice teachers' learn to teach scientific practices while teaching plate tectonic theory. In particular, our aim is to observe which scientific practices preservice teachers use while teaching an earth science unit, how do they integrate these practices into their lessons, and what challenges do they face during their first time teaching of an earth science content area integrated with scientific practices. The study is designed as a qualitative, exploratory case study of seven preservice teachers while they were learning to teach plate tectonic theory to a group of middle school students. The data were driven from the video records and artifacts of the preservice teachers' learning and teaching processes as well as written reflections on the teaching. Intertextual discourse analysis was used to understand what scientific practices preservice teachers choose to integrate into their teaching experience. Our results showed that preservice teachers chose to focus on four aspects of scientific practices: (1) employing historical understanding of how the theory emerged, (2) encouraging the use of evidence to build up a theory, (3) observation and interpretation of data maps, and (4) collaborative practices in making up the theory. For each of these practices, we also looked at the common challenges faced by preservice teachers by using constant comparative analysis. We observed the practices that preservice teachers decided to use and the challenges they faced, which were determined by what might have come as in their personal history as learners. Therefore, in order to strengthen preservice teachers' background, college courses should be arranged to teach important scientific ideas through scientific practices

  3. Seismotectonics of the Lwandle-Nubia plate boundary between South Africa and the Southwest Indian Ridge

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hartnady, Chris; Okal, Emile; Calais, Eric; Stamps, Sarah; Saria, Elifuraha

    2013-04-01

    The Lwandle (LW) plate shares a boundary with the Nubia (NU) plate, extending from a diffuse triple junction with the Rovuma plate in Southern Mozambique to a triple junction with the Antarctic plate along a segment of the Southwest Indian Ridge (SWIR). The LW-NU boundary terminates in the ~750 km-long, complex transform of the Andrew Bain Fracture Zone (ABFZ), but its exact locus is still unclear. Recent works locate it along the eastern boundary of the submarine Mozambique Ridge, parallel to the pre-existing, oceanic transform-fault fabric. However, an early concept of the LW block ('ambiguous region' of Hartnady, 1990, Fig. 2) indicates a more westerly trajectory in the north that includes parts of South Africa, with a southerly extension across old oceanic crust of the submarine Natal Valley and Transkei Basin. This proposed boundary is marked by several, aligned epicentres of moderate to strong earthquakes (1941, 1942, 1956, 1969, 1972, 1975, 1981 and 1989). Our re-examination of seismographic records from the 1975 'intraplate' earthquake (-37.62°N, 30.98°E, mb5.0), in the oceanic crust of the distal Transkei Basin, shows a thrust-faulting focal mechanism along a nodal plane striking N272°E. The largest (ML4.2) of a series of three small earthquakes in the Natal Valley in 2009, close to a zone of recent seafloor deformation mapped in 1992, has similar first-motion patterns at Southern African seismograph stations. When the 1975 slip-vector result (N173°E) is combined with a normal-faulting slip vector (N078°E) from a 1986 onland earthquake (-30.53°N, 28.84°E, mb5.0) near the Lesotho-KZN border, and both are incorporated into the wider data-set previously used to solve for East African Rift kinematics, they produce a LW-NU rotation pole that is located south of Africa, near the Agulhas Plateau, and approximately 950 km from the Natal Valley deformation zone. The modeled low rate of right-lateral, LW-NU slip (~0.50-0.75 mm/yr) across this LW-NU boundary

  4. The northern Caribbean plate boundary in the Jamaica Passage: Structure and seismic stratigraphy

    Science.gov (United States)

    Corbeau, J.; Rolandone, F.; Leroy, S.; Mercier de Lépinay, B.; Meyer, B.; Ellouz-Zimmermann, N.; Momplaisir, R.

    2016-04-01

    Multibeam bathymetry data and multichannel seismic reflection profiles have been collected at the end of 2012 along the Enriquillo-Plantain-Garden Fault Zone (EPGFZ) in the Jamaica Passage, between Jamaica and Hispaniola. Analysis of the data set reveals the tectonic evolution and the stratigraphic complexity of the northern Caribbean boundary. Stratigraphic correlations with previous marine and on land studies are proposed to place the identified seismic sequences in their regional tectonic history. Two distinct crustal domains are interpreted. Typical stratigraphic sequences for the rifted blocks of the Eastern Cayman Trough margin are identified in five basins of the Jamaica Passage, highlighting the eastward limit of the Cayman Trough margin. These inherited basins are deformed and folded during a first phase of compression that could correspond to the regional tectonic rearrangement recorded in the early Miocene (about 20 Ma). A distinct crustal domain that we propose to relate to the Carib Beds (Caribbean typical reflectors A″, B″ and V) is identified in the southern part of the Jamaica Passage, indicating that the Caribbean Large Igneous Province could extend up to the extreme northeast part of the Lower Nicaragua Rise. The left-lateral EPGFZ currently cuts across two pre-existing basins, the Morant and Matley basins. During the activity of the EPGFZ, these basins are deformed and folded indicating a second phase of compression. In contrast, the Navassa basin, located in the middle of the Jamaica Passage, results from the strike-slip motion of the EPGFZ and is interpreted as an asymmetrical basin bordered by the EPGFZ only on its northern side.

  5. Distributed Plate Boundary Deformation Across the San Andreas Fault System, Central California

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dyson, M.; Titus, S. J.; Demets, C.; Tikoff, B.

    2007-12-01

    Plate boundaries are now recognized as broad zones of complex deformation as opposed to narrow zones with discrete offsets. When assessing how plate boundary deformation is accommodated, both spatially and temporally, it is therefore crucial to understand the relative contribution of the discrete and distributed components of deformation. The creeping segment of the San Andreas fault is an ideal location to study the distribution of plate boundary deformation for several reasons. First, the geometry of the fault system in central California is relatively simple. Plate motion is dominated by slip along the relatively linear strike-slip San Andreas fault, but also includes lesser slip along the adjacent and parallel Hosgri-San Gregorio and Rinconada faults, as well as within the borderlands between the three fault strands. Second, the aseismic character of the San Andreas fault in this region allows for the application of modern geodetic techniques to assess creep rates along the fault and across the region. Third, geologic structures within the borderlands are relatively well-preserved allowing comparison between modern and ancient rates and styles of deformation. Continuous GPS stations, alignment arrays surveys, and other geodetic methods demonstrate that approximately 5 mm/yr of distributed slip is accumulated (on top of the fault slip rate) across a 70-100 km wide region centered on the San Andreas fault. New campaign GPS data also suggest 2-5 mm/yr of deformation in the borderlands. These rates depend on the magnitude of the coseismic and postseismic corrections that must be made to our GPS time series to compensate for the 2003 San Simeon and 2004 Parkfield earthquakes, which rupture faults outside, but near the edges of our GPS network. The off-fault deformation pattern can be compared to the style of permanent deformation recorded in the geologic record. Fold and thrust belts in the borderlands are better developed in the Tertiary sedimentary rocks west of

  6. Seismicity and seismotectonics of the diffusive Iberian/African plate boundary: Horseshoe Abyssal Plain and Gorringe Bank

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grevemeyer, Ingo; Lange, Dietrich; Matias, Luis

    2014-05-01

    In the area to the west of the Gibraltar Arc the plate boundary between Africa and Iberia is poorly defined. The deformation in the area is forced by the slow NW-SE convergence of 4 mm/yr between the oceanic domains of Iberia/Eurasia and Africa and is accommodated over a 200 km broad tectonically-active deformation zone. The region, however, is also characterized by large earthquakes and tsunamis, such as the 1969 Mw=7.9 Horseshoe Abyssal Plain earthquake and the November 1, 1755 Great Lisbon earthquake with an estimated magnitude of Mw~8.5. The exact location of the source of the 1755 Lisbon earthquake is still unknown. Recent work may suggest that the event occurred in the vicinity of the Horseshoe fault, an oblique thrust fault. However, estimates of tsunami arrival times suggested a source near the Gorringe Bank, a ~180 km-long and ~70 km-wide ridge that has a relieve of ~5000 m. Deep Sea Drilling (DSDP) and rock samples indicated that the bank is mainly composed of serpentinized peridotites with gabbroic intrusions, perhaps being created by overthrusting of the Horseshoe Abyssal Plain onto the Tagus Abyssal Plain in NW direction. Further, the Horseshoe Abyssal Plain is marked by the presence of compressive structures with a roughly NE-SW orientation and E-W trending, segmented, crustal-scale, strike slip faults that extend from the Gorringe Bank to the Gibraltar Arc in the eastern Gulf of Cadiz, which were called "South West Iberian Margin" or SWIM faults. The fault system may mark a developing Eurasia-Africa plate boundary. Two local seismic networks were operated in the area. First, a network of 14 ocean-bottom seismometers (OBS) was operated between April and October 2012 in the vicinity of the Horseshoe fault between 10°W to 11°W, and 35°50'N to 36°10'N. From October 2013 to March 2014 a second network of 15 OBS monitored seismicity at the Gorringe Bank. Both networks benefitted from seismic stations operated in Portugal. The first network provided in

  7. Seismicity of the diffusive Iberian/African plate boundary at the eastern terminus of the Azores-Gibraltar Transform fault

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lange, D.; Grevemeyer, I.; Matias, L. M.

    2014-12-01

    The plate boundary at the eastern terminus of the Azores-Gibraltar transform fault between Africa and Iberia is poorly defined. The deformation in the area is forced by the slow NW-SE convergence of 4 mm/yr between the oceanic domains of Iberia/Eurasia and Africa and is accommodated over a 200 km broad tectonically-active deformation zone. The region, however, is also characterized by large earthquakes, such as the 1969 Mw=7.9 Horseshoe event and the November 1, 1755 Great Lisbon earthquake with an estimated magnitude of Mw~8.5. The exact location of the source of the 1755 Lisbon earthquake is still unknown. Recent work may suggest that the event occurred in the vicinity of the Horseshoe fault, an oblique thrust fault. However, estimates of tsunami arrival times suggested a source near the Gorringe Bank, a ~180 km-long and ~70 km-wide ridge that has a relieve of ~5000 m. Deep Sea Drilling (DSDP) and rock samples indicated that the bank is mainly composed of serpentinized peridotites with gabbroic intrusions, perhaps being created by overthrusting of the Horseshoe Abyssal Plain onto the Tagus Abyssal Plain in NW direction. Further, the Horseshoe Abyssal Plain is marked by the presence of compressive structures with a roughly NE-SW orientation and E-W trending, segmented, crustal-scale, strike slip faults that extend from the Gorringe Bank to the Gibraltar Arc in the eastern Gulf of Cadiz, which were called "South West Iberian Margin" or SWIM faults. The fault system may mark a developing Eurasia-Africa plate boundary. Two local seismic networks were operated in the area. First, a network of 14 ocean-bottom seismometers (OBS) was operated between April and October 2012 in the vicinity of the Horseshoe fault between 10°W to 11°W, and 35°50'N to 36°10'N. From October 2013 to March 2014 a second network of 15 OBS monitored seismicity at the Gorringe Bank. Both networks benefitted from seismic stations operated in Portugal. The first network provided in the order of

  8. Large vertical motions and basin evolution in the Outer Continental Borderland off Southern California associated with plate boundary development and continental rifting

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nicholson, C.; Sorlien, C. C.; Schindler, C. S.; De Hoogh, G.

    2011-12-01

    The Continental Borderland offshore southern California occupies a strategic position along the continental margin. It was the locus of ~75% of Pacific-North America displacement history, it helped accommodate the large-scale (>90°) tectonic rotation of the Western Transverse Ranges province, and is still accommodating potentially 20% of PAC-NAM plate motion today. As such, it represents an ideal natural laboratory to investigate plate boundary evolution and basin development associated with transform initiation, oblique continental rifting, transrotation and transpression. We have been using newly released grids of high-quality industry multichannel seismic (MCS) reflection data, combined with multibeam bathymetry and offshore well data to map and construct digital 3D fault surfaces and stratigraphic reference horizons over large parts of the Outer Continental Borderland. These 3D surfaces of structure and stratigraphy can be used to better understand and evaluate regional patterns of uplift, subsidence, fault interaction and other aspects of plate boundary deformation. In the northern Outer Borderland, mapping in Santa Cruz basin, and across both Santa Rosa and Santa Cruz-Catalina ridges reveals a pattern of interacting high-and low-angle faults, fault reactivation, basin subsidence, folding, and basin inversion. Subsidence since early-Miocene time is significant (up to 4 km) and is much larger than predicted by simple thermal cooling models of continental rifting. This requires additional tectonic components to drive this regional subsidence and subsequent basin inversion. Farther south, a more en echelon pattern of ridges and basins suggests a distributed component of right-lateral shear also contributed to much of the modern Borderland seafloor topography, including major Borderland basins. Vertical motions of uplift and subsidence can be estimated from a prominent early-Miocene unconformity that likely represents a regional, paleo-horizontal, near

  9. New GPS constraints on active deformation along the Africa-Iberia plate boundary

    Science.gov (United States)

    Koulali, A.; Ouazar, D.; Tahayt, A.; King, R. W.; Vernant, P.; Reilinger, R. E.; McClusky, S.; Mourabit, T.; Davila, J. M.; Amraoui, N.

    2011-08-01

    We use velocities from 65 continuous stations and 31 survey-mode GPS sites as well as kinematic modeling to investigate present day deformation along the Africa-Iberia plate boundary zone in the western Mediterranean region. The GPS velocity field shows southwestward motion of the central part of the Rif Mountains in northern Morocco with respect to Africa varying between 3.5 and 4.0 mm/yr, consistent with prior published results. Stations in the southwestern part of the Betic Mountains of southern Spain move west-southwest with respect to Eurasia (˜ 2-3 mm/yr). The western component of Betics motion is consistent with partial transfer of Nubia-Eurasia plate motion into the southern Betics. The southward component of Betics motion with respect to Iberia is kinematically consistent with south to southwest motion of the Rif Mountains with respect to Africa. We use block modeling, constrained by mapped surface faults and seismicity to estimate the geometry and rates of strain accumulation on plate boundary structures. Our preferred plate boundary geometry includes one block between Iberia and Africa including the SW Betics, Alboran Sea, and central Rif. This geometry provides a good fit to the observed motions, suggesting a wide transpressive boundary in the westernmost Mediterranean, with deformation mainly accommodated by the Gloria-Azores fault system to the West and the Rif-Tell lineament to the East. Block boundaries encompass aspects of earlier interpretations suggesting three main deformation styles: (i) extension along the NE-SW trending Trans-Alboran shear zone, (ii) dextral strike-slip in the Betics corresponding to a well defined E-W seismic lineament, and (iii) right lateral strike-slip motion extending West to the Azores and right-lateral motion with compression extending East along the Algerian Tell. We interpret differential motion in the Rif-Alboran-Betic system to be driven both by surface processes related the Africa-Eurasia oblique convergence and

  10. Аsymptotic solution of a class thermoelasticity nonclassical boundary value problems for the package of an orthotropic plate of variable thickness

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Aghalovyan M.L.

    2014-03-01

    Full Text Available We solve the non-classical boundary value problem for an orthotropic packet when on one of its front surface the corresponding components of the stress tensor are equal to zero and sets the value of the displacement vector. The task, in particular, is modeling the behavior of the lithospheric plates of the Earth, or a specific region of the earth's crust subject to tectonic movements of the fixed seismic stations, GPS and other measuring instruments. On the basis of three-dimensional equations of thermo-elasticity asymptotic method derived recurrence equations allow for a package of orthotropic layers of varying thickness. We derive recursive formulas for determining the components of the stress tensor and the displacement vector.

  11. Evidence of a plate-wide tectonic pressure pulse provided by extensometric monitoring in the Balkan Mountains (Bulgaria

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Briestenský Miloš

    2015-10-01

    Full Text Available The EU-TecNet monitoring network uses customized three-dimensional extensometers to record transient deformations across individual faults. This paper presents the first results from two newly established monitoring points in the Balkan Mountains in Bulgaria. The data from Saeva Dupka, recorded across an EEN-WWS striking fault, show sinistral strike-slip along the fault and subsidence of the southern block. Much of the subsidence occurred around the time of the distal MW = 5.6 Pernik Earthquake. An important transient deformation event, which began in autumn 2012, was reflected by significant compression and following extension, across the monitored fault. The data from Bacho Kiro, recorded across a NE–SW striking fault, show sinistral strike-slip along the fault and subsidence of the north-western block. The same important deformation event was reflected by changes in the strike-slip, dip-slip, and horizontal opening/closing trends. These results have been compared to data from other monitoring points in the Western Carpathians, External Dinarides, and Tian Shan. Many of the sites show evidence of simultaneous displacement anomalies and this observation is interpreted as a reflection of the plate-wide propagation of a tectonic pressure pulse towards the end of 2012.

  12. The Wisconsin magmatic terrane: An Early Proterozoic greenstone-granite terrane formed by plate tectonic processes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schulz, K. J.; Laberge, G. L.

    1986-01-01

    The Wisconsin magmatic terrane (WMT) is an east trending belt of dominantly volcanic-plutonic complexes of Early Proterozoic age (approx. 1850 m.y.) that lies to the south of the Archean rocks and Early Proterozoic epicratonic sequence (Marquette Range Supergroup) in Michigan. It is separated from the epicratonic Marquette Range Supergroup by the high-angle Niagara fault, is bounded on the south, in central Wisconsin, by Archean gneisses, is truncated on the west by rocks of the Midcontinent rift system, and is intruded on the east by the post-orogenic Wolf river batholith. The overall lithologic, geochemical, metallogenic, metamorphic, and deformational characteristics of the WMT are similar to those observed in recent volcanic arc terranes formed at sites of plate convergence. It is concluded that the WMT represents an evolved oceanic island-arc terrane accreated to the Superior craton in the Early Proterozoic. This conclusion is strengthened by the apparent absence of Archean basement from most of the WMT, and the recent recognition of the passive margin character of the epicratonic Marquette Range Supergroup.

  13. Thick shell tectonics on one-plate planets - Applications to Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Banerdt, W. B.; Saunders, R. S.; Phillips, R. J.; Sleep, N. H.

    1982-01-01

    Using the zero frequency equations of a self-gravitating elastic spherical shell overlying a strengthless fluid, a theory for stress distribution in thick lithospheric shells on one-plate planets is developed. For both the compensated and flexural modes, stress distributions in lithospheres are reviewed. For compensated modes, surface stresses depend only on surface topography, whereas for flexural modes it is shown that, for long wavelengths, stress trajectories are mainly dependent on the lithospheric lateral density distribution and not on elastic properties. Computational analyses are performed for Mars, and it is found that isostatically compensated models correctly predict the graben structure in the immediate Tharsis region and a flexural loading model is satisfactory in explaining the graben in the regions surrounding Tharsis. A three-stage model for the evolution of Tharsis is hypothesized: isostasy with north-south graben formation on Tharsis, followed by flexural loading and radial graben formation on the perimeter of Tharsis, followed by a last stage of loading with little or no regional deformation.

  14. The margin between Senja and Spitsbergen fracture zones: Implications from plate tectonics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Myhre, Annik M.; Eldholm, Olav; Sundvor, Eirik

    1982-10-01

    Analysis of multichannel seismic data from the continental margin off Svalbard between the Senja and Spitsbergen fracture zones suggests that the transition between continental and oceanic crust is located at or close to the Hornsund Fault Zone. In the Late Paleocene/Early Eoeene (57 m.y.) the region between Svalbard and Northeast-Greenland was subjected to regional shear movements associated with a transform system between the young Lofoten-Greenland Basin and the Arctic Ocean. Approximately 50 m.y. ago the spreading axis migrated to the northeast creating a deep basin north of the Greenland-Senja Fracture Zone forming the passive margin between Bear Island and 76.5°N. North of 76.5°N the regional transform was maintained. At the time of the main reorganization of relative plate motion (36 m.y.) the northern margin evolved. A continental fragment was possibly cut off from the Svalbard margin forming a small microcontinent. The microcontinent appears as the submarine ridge which has been associated with the Hovgaard Fracture Zone. It is suggested that the sediments west of the Hornsund Fault Zone are not older than Eocene in the south and mid-Oligocene in the north. The position of the spreading axis has greatly influenced the margin sedimentation.

  15. Thick shell tectonics on one-plate planets - Applications to Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Banerdt, W. B.; Saunders, R. S.; Phillips, R. J.; Sleep, N. H.

    1982-01-01

    Using the zero frequency equations of a self-gravitating elastic spherical shell overlying a strengthless fluid, a theory for stress distribution in thick lithospheric shells on one-plate planets is developed. For both the compensated and flexural modes, stress distributions in lithospheres are reviewed. For compensated modes, surface stresses depend only on surface topography, whereas for flexural modes it is shown that, for long wavelengths, stress trajectories are mainly dependent on the lithospheric lateral density distribution and not on elastic properties. Computational analyses are performed for Mars, and it is found that isostatically compensated models correctly predict the graben structure in the immediate Tharsis region and a flexural loading model is satisfactory in explaining the graben in the regions surrounding Tharsis. A three-stage model for the evolution of Tharsis is hypothesized: isostasy with north-south graben formation on Tharsis, followed by flexural loading and radial graben formation on the perimeter of Tharsis, followed by a last stage of loading with little or no regional deformation.

  16. 论菲律宾海板块大地构造分区%Discussion on the tectonic division of the Philippine Sea Plate

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    吴时国; 范建柯; 董冬冬

    2013-01-01

    菲律宾海板块是毗邻中国大陆的一个独特的小型板块.除南端表现十分复杂外,它的构造边界多以海沟为界,比较清楚,然而次级大地构造单元划分则比较复杂.本文根据近年来的研究成果,按照块体构造理论注重统一的地球物理场、相似的地壳结构、有机的成因联系等3个基本原则,将菲律宾海板块划分为3个具有不同构造演化特征的单元,即西菲律宾海块体、四国—帕里西维拉块体和伊豆—博宁—马里亚纳块体.西菲律宾海块体包括两部分:一个是西菲律宾海盆,始新世以来受太平洋板块和印澳板块近南北向的相对俯冲作用影响,并顺时针旋转形成了现今的构造样式,于30 Ma左右停止扩张.另一个包括大东盆岭、花东盆地、帕劳海盆和吕宋岛弧蛇绿岩等洋壳在内的白垩纪洋盆.根据形成年代和形成时的扩张方向可将四国—帕里西维拉块体分为两部分:四国海盆和帕里西维拉海盆,两者以索夫干断裂为界.伊豆—博宁—马里亚纳块体沿博宁高原南缘分为南北两部分,两者表现出不同的地质特征.%Philippine Sea Plate(PSP) is a unique minor plate close to China mainland.Except for the complicated southern part,the tectonic boundaries of the PSP are clear,most of which consist of trenches.However,it is hard to divide the plate into the secondary even three-level units.Based on the research in the recent years and referring to block tectonic theory with the principals of unitary geophysical field,similar crustal structure and organic genesis,the PSP is partitioned into three units with different evolutionary history,i.e.West Philippine Sea Block (WPSB),Shikoku-Parece Vela Block (SPB)and Izu-Bonin-Mariana Block (IBMB).The WPSB consists of two major parts,Cenozoic oceanic basin (west Philippine Basin)which was opened between two opposed subduction zones,rotated clockwise to the present place and culminated at ca.30 Ma

  17. Crustal Structure at the North Eastern Tip of Rivera Plate, Nayarit- Marias Islands Region: Scenarios and Tectonic Implications. Tsujal Project

    Science.gov (United States)

    Danobeitia, J.; Bartolome, R.; Barba, D. C., Sr.; Nunez-Cornu, F. J.; Bandy, W. L.; Prada, M.; Cameselle, A. L.; Nunez, D.; Espindola, J. M.; Estrada, F.; Zamora, A.; Gomez, A.; Ortiz, M.

    2014-12-01

    A primarily analysis of marine geophysical data acquired aboard the RRS James Cook in the framework of the project "Characterization of seismic hazard and tsunami associated with cortical contact structure Rivera Jalisco Block Plate (TSUJAL)" is presented. This survey was held in the region of Nayarit-Tres Marias Islands between February and March 2014. The examination of data recorded by 16 OBS 's, deployed along 4 wide angle seismic profiles is presented, using an airgun-array seismic source of 6800 c.i., which allows sampling the crustal structure to the Moho. The profiles are located along the margin off the Marias Islands: a profile of over 200 km NNW-SSE direction and parallel to the western flank of the Islas Marias Islands and three orthogonal thereto. These perpendicular sections sample the lithosphere from the north of Maria Madre Island with a profile of 100 km length, across Maria Magdalena and Mari Cleofas Islands, with a profile of 50 km long, till south of Maria Cleofas with a profile of 100 km long. Coincident multichannel seismic profiles with refraction ones are also surveyed, although shooting with a source of 3,540 c. i., and acquired with a digital "streamer" of 6.0 km long. Simultaneously, multibeam, parametric and potential field data were recorded during seismic acquisition A first analysis shows an anomalously thickened crust in the western flank of the Marias Islands, as indicated by relatively short pre-critical distances of 30-35 km. While the moderate dip of 7 ° of the subduction of the Pacific oceanic plate favors somehow this effect, the existence of a remnant crustal fragment is also likely. Moreover, the images provided by the parametric sounding show abundant mass wasting deposits suggesting of recent active tectonics, possibly generated by earthquakes with moderate magnitude as those reported in the Marias Islands. This set of geophysical data, not only provide valuable information for the seismogenic characterization and

  18. Reidar Løvlie and Plate Tectonic consequences of sedimentary inclination shallowing

    Science.gov (United States)

    Torsvik, Trond H.

    2014-05-01

    Reidar Løvlie was my mentor and supervisor in the early 1980s and he thought me all about laboratory experiments and palaeomagnetic methods, but also various aspects of science philosophy. My first fieldworks were together with him and I enjoyed memorable trips to the Bear Island, Spitsbergen and Scotland. Acquisition of magnetism in sediments was always a favourite topic of Reidar and in the early 1980s he was particularly interested in sedimentary inclination shallowing. From one of our fieldtrips to Spitsbergen we sampled unconsolidated flood-plain deposits of hematite-bearing Devonian red sand/siltstone from Dicksonfjorden. These were used for redeposition experiments in a coil system that could simulate different latitudes (field inclinations) and in 1994 we published a paper entitled"Magnetic remanence and fabric properties of laboratory-deposited hematite-bearing red sandstone" that demonstrated the tangent relationship between inclinations of detrital remanent magnetization and the ambient magnetic field. Inclination (I) error in sediments is latitude dependent, antisymmetric and the bias closely mimics errors produced by octupole fields of the same sign as the dipole field. Inclination shallowing is commonly predicted from tan (Observed Inclination) = f * tan (Field Inclination) where f is the degree of inclination error. In our study we calculated a f value of 0.4 and this laboratory value (and many others) is significant lower than those estimated from the E/I or the magnetic fabric methods developed in the past decade (f typically around 0.6). There is now little doubt that inclination shallowing in detrital sediments is a serious problem that affects plate reconstructions and apparent polar wander paths. As an example, a f value of 0.6 amounts to a latitude error of 1600 km at around 50 degrees N or S (comparable to the effects of octupole contributions as high as 22%) and this have led to erroneous Pangea reconstructions.

  19. Flat plate heat transfer for laminar transition and turbulent boundary layers using a shock tube

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brostmeyer, J. D.; Nagamatsu, H. T.

    1984-01-01

    Heat transfer results are presented for laminar, transition, and turbulent boundary layers for a Mach number of 0.12 with gas temperatures of 425 K and 1000 K over a flat plate at room temperature. The measurements were made in air for a Reynolds number range of 600 to 6 million. The heat transfer measurements were conducted in a 70-ft long, 4 in. diameter shock tube. Reflecting wedges were used to reflect the incident shock wave to produce a flow Mach number of 0.12 behind the reflected shock wave. Thin film platinum heat gages were mounted on the plate surface to measure the local heat flux. The laminar results for gas temperatures of 425 K to 1000 K agree well with theory. The turbulent results are also close to incompressible theory, with the 1000 K flow case being slightly higher. The transition results lie between the laminar and turbulent predictions.

  20. Plate boundary deformation and man-made subsidence around geothermal fields on the Reykjanes Peninsula, Iceland

    KAUST Repository

    Keiding, Marie

    2010-07-01

    We present Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) data from 1992-1999 and 2003-2008 as well as GPS data from 2000-2009 for the active plate boundary on the Reykjanes Peninsula, southwest Iceland. The geodetic data reveal deformation mainly due to plate spreading, anthropogenic subsidence caused by geothermal fluid extraction and, possibly, increasing pressure in a geothermal system. Subsidence of around 10. cm is observed during the first 2. years of production at the Reykjanes geothermal power plant, which started operating in May 2006. We model the surface subsidence around the new power plant using point and ellipsoidal pressure sources in an elastic halfspace. Short-lived swarms of micro-earthquakes as well as aseismic fault movement are observed near the geothermal field following the start of production, possibly triggered by the stresses induced by geothermal fluid extraction. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.

  1. Abbot Ice Shelf, structure of the Amundsen Sea continental margin and the southern boundary of the Bellingshausen Plate seaward of West Antarctica.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cochran, James R; Tinto, Kirsty J; Bell, Robin E

    2015-05-01

    Inversion of NASA Operation IceBridge airborne gravity over the Abbot Ice Shelf in West Antarctica for subice bathymetry defines an extensional terrain made up of east-west trending rift basins formed during the early stages of Antarctica/Zealandia rifting. Extension is minor, as rifting jumped north of Thurston Island early in the rifting process. The Amundsen Sea Embayment continental shelf west of the rifted terrain is underlain by a deeper, more extensive sedimentary basin also formed during rifting between Antarctica and Zealandia. A well-defined boundary zone separates the mildly extended Abbot extensional terrain from the deeper Amundsen Embayment shelf basin. The shelf basin has an extension factor, β, of 1.5-1.7 with 80-100 km of extension occurring across an area now 250 km wide. Following this extension, rifting centered north of the present shelf edge and proceeded to continental rupture. Since then, the Amundsen Embayment continental shelf appears to have been tectonically quiescent and shaped by subsidence, sedimentation, and the advance and retreat of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. The Bellingshausen Plate was located seaward of the Amundsen Sea margin prior to incorporation into the Antarctic Plate at about 62 Ma. During the latter part of its independent existence, Bellingshausen plate motion had a clockwise rotational component relative to Antarctica producing convergence across the north-south trending Bellingshausen Gravity Anomaly structure at 94°W and compressive deformation on the continental slope between 94°W and 102°W. Farther west, the relative motion was extensional along an east-west trending zone occupied by the Marie Byrd Seamounts. Abbot Ice Shelf is underlain by E-W rift basins created at ∼90 Ma Amundsen shelf shaped by subsidence, sedimentation, and passage of the ice sheet Bellingshausen plate boundary is located near the base of continental slope and rise.

  2. Relation of Isotope Geochemical Steep Zones with Geophysical Fields and Tectonics in the Junction Area of the Cathaysian, Yangtze and Indochina Plates

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2000-01-01

    Through lead isotope geochemical mapping in the Yunnan-Guizhou area geochemical steep zones (GSZ) have been established, which clearly reveal the junction relationship of the Cathaysian, Yangtze and Indo-China plates. GSZ are closey related to gravity Moho gradient zones and lithospheric thickness. The GSZ between the Yangtze and Cathaysian plates is consistent with the Shizong-Mile tectonic belt, where island arc basalts are well developed. The Yangtze-Indo-China GSZ is parallel to the Jingdong-Mojiang volcanic belt in rift-island arc environments. The evidence of geology, geophysics and geochemistry all indicates that Cathaysia was subducted towards the Yangtze plate and that the Yangtze plate was underthrust beneath the Indo-China, which took place from the Early Carboniferous to the Early Triassic.

  3. Plate Tectonic Setting and Eruptive Characteristics of the K—rich Volcanic Belt in HeilingJiang Province,Northeast China

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    邱家骧; 吴志勤; 等

    1990-01-01

    Various lines of geological,geophysical and geochemical evidence indicate that the K-rich volcanic belt in Northeast China as represented by the volcanic groups at Wudalianchi,Erkeshan and Kelo was developed,in terms of plate tectonics,in a rift valley system within the continental plate,The volcanic material includes effusive lavas and explosive pyroclastics whose characteristics and flowing/accumulation mechanisms were studied in detail,The distribution of pyroclastics shows that the eruption is of Strombolian type with increasing intensity towards the late stages.

  4. The boundary point method for Reissner′s plates%Reissner型板边界点法

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    吴约; 王左辉

    2001-01-01

    In this paper, a series of particular solutions are formed by utilizing correspondent Reissher′s plate fundamental solutions. Thus all elements in the coefficient matrix of boundary element equations for plates to be solved will be determined by boundary point method. In the process of solving, interpolation and numerical integration are not needed and numerical treatment for singular integration is avoided, meanwhile, the calculation of physical characteristics of any point does not depend on boundary unknowns to be solved, therefore, the accuracy is excellent. The method presented may be applied to solving the problems of all kinds of plates and shells no matter if the problem is isotropic or anisotropic. But it should be noticed that the matrix of all particular solution field should conform with the fundamental solution of the specific problem.%文章采用Reissner型板基本解来构建一系列特解,再通过边界点法确定边界元方程系效矩阵的全部元素。解算中不涉及具体插值,不用数值积分,避免了奇性处理,而任意点物理量的计算不依赖于待解的边界未知量,算效高,精度好。该法还可用来分析其它各类板壳问题,无论是各向同性还是各向异性的,不同的只是应按各自的基本解来构造全特解场矩阵。

  5. The Teisseyre-Tornquist Zone - early Palaeozoic strike-slip plate boundary or Ediacaran rifted margin of Baltica?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mazur, Stanislaw; Krzywiec, Piotr; Malinowski, Michal; Lewandowski, Marek; Buffenmeyer, Vinton; Green, Christopher

    2016-04-01

    area is dominated by high density lower crustal bodies similar to those that are found along present-day passive continental margins. Moreover, an extensive succession of the uppermost Neoproterozoic sediments is emplaced outboard of the southeastern section of the TTZ. These results obtained do not support the occurrence of a Palaeozoic terrane boundary along the TTZ. Instead, it is suggested that the crystalline basement of the EEC extends westward beyond the TTZ and continues in the substratum of the Permo-Mesozoic basin of central and western Poland. If the crustal keel underneath the TTZ indeed represents a fossil plate boundary, it must have formed in the Precambrian during the amalgamation of the Rodinia supercontinent. However, the contrast of crustal thickness across the TTZ between the EEC and the adjacent Palaeozoic Platform may have formed later during the Ediacaran rifting and subsequent break-up of the Tornquist Ocean. The Caledonian collisional suture must be located farther southwest in western Poland or NE Germany and deeply concealed beneath a thick cover of Palaeozoic and younger sediments.

  6. Isla Guadalupe, a Plate Boundary Observatory Remote GPS System: What's Next in PBO-Mexico?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gonzalez Garcia, J.

    2003-12-01

    As a join project between scientific and technical personnel from Southern California Integrated GPS Network, the University NAVSTAR Consortium, Nanometrics Inc, and CICESE, we installed a VSAT remote communications on Isla Guadalupe in support of data telemetry from a cluster of GPS, meteorological and seismic instrumentation. This Mexican island located between 28\\deg53' and 29\\deg 11'N and 118\\deg 13' to 118\\deg 22'W, lies too far from the main land to allow regular radio link. The station now in operation (GUAX) is near of the early GEOMEX site (GUAD), which recent GPS survey mode result show, is fully located on the Pacific plate within the prediction (1 mm/yr N and 2 mm/yr E) of both the geophysical (NNR-NUVEL1-A) and geodetic (ITRF2000) Plate Tectonic models. Thus, GUAX serve as an important clue to accurately monitor the plate's motion, as well as a reference for studies of California Borderland deformation. During the last 5 years we have built two more sites in northern Baja California: SPMX (1998) and CORX (2000); these together with the IGS station in Ensenada (CICE established in 1995 and replaced by CIC1 in 1999), became part of SCIGN-SOPAC (http://sopac.ucsd.edu, www.scign.org). In Mexico the major organizations working with GPS are INEGI (15 sites) and UNAM (different groups: 20-25 sites). Other State Universities and agencies are increasingly using permanent GPS stations for diverse purposes. It seems that in order to achieve our commitment for PBO-Mexico we must to follow the PGGA/SCIGN/CSRC waybill.

  7. Architectural Blueprint for Plate Boundary Observatories based on interoperable Data Management Platforms

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kerschke, D. I.; Häner, R.; Schurr, B.; Oncken, O.; Wächter, J.

    2014-12-01

    Interoperable data management platforms play an increasing role in the advancement of knowledge and technology in many scientific disciplines. Through high quality services they support the establishment of efficient and innovative research environments. Well-designed research environments can facilitate the sustainable utilization, exchange, and re-use of scientific data and functionality by using standardized community models. Together with innovative 3D/4D visualization, these concepts provide added value in improving scientific knowledge-gain, even across the boundaries of disciplines. A project benefiting from the added value is the Integrated Plate boundary Observatory in Chile (IPOC). IPOC is a European-South American network to study earthquakes and deformation at the Chilean continental margin and to monitor the plate boundary system for capturing an anticipated great earthquake in a seismic gap. In contrast to conventional observatories that monitor individual signals only, IPOC captures a large range of different processes through various observation methods (e.g., seismographs, GPS, magneto-telluric sensors, creep-meter, accelerometer, InSAR). For IPOC a conceptual design has been devised that comprises an architectural blueprint for a data management platform based on common and standardized data models, protocols, and encodings as well as on an exclusive use of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) including visualization components. Following the principles of event-driven service-oriented architectures, the design enables novel processes by sharing and re-using functionality and information on the basis of innovative data mining and data fusion technologies. This platform can help to improve the understanding of the physical processes underlying plate deformations as well as the natural hazards induced by them. Through the use of standards, this blueprint can not only be facilitated for other plate observing systems (e.g., the European Plate

  8. Triangular Differential Quadrature for Bending Analysis of Reissner Plates with Curved Boundaries

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    华永霞; 钟宏志

    2003-01-01

    The recently proposed concept of the triangular differential quadrature method (TDQM) is applied to the bending analysis of Reissner plates with various curvilinear geometries subjected to various combinations of boundary conditions. A unit isosceles right triangle is used as the standard triangle for all the derivatives expressed using the triangular differential quadrature rule. Geometric transformations are introduced using basis functions to determine the weighting coefficients for the triangular differential quadrature to map an arbitrary curvilinear triangle into the standard triangle. The triangular differential quadrature method provides good accuracy and rapid convergence relative to other available exact and numerical results.

  9. A harbinger of plate tectonics: a commentary on Bullard, Everett and Smith (1965) 'The fit of the continents around the Atlantic'.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dewey, John F

    2015-04-13

    In the 1960s, geology was transformed by the paradigm of plate tectonics. The 1965 paper of Bullard, Everett and Smith was a linking transition between the theories of continental drift and plate tectonics. They showed, conclusively, that the continents around the Atlantic were once contiguous and that the Atlantic Ocean had grown at rates of a few centimetres per year since the Early Jurassic, about 160 Ma. They achieved fits of the continental margins at the 500 fathom line (approx. 900 m), not the shorelines, by minimizing misfits between conjugate margins and finding axes, poles and angles of rotation, using Euler's theorem, that defined the unique single finite difference rotation that carried congruent continents from contiguity to their present positions, recognizing that the real motion may have been more complex around a number of finite motion poles. Critically, they were concerned only with kinematic reality and were not restricted by considerations of the mechanism by which continents split and oceans grow. Many of the defining features of plate tectonics were explicit or implicit in their reconstructions, such as the torsional rigidity of continents, Euler's theorem, closure of the Tethyan ocean(s), major continental margin shear zones, the rapid rotation of small continental blocks (Iberia) around nearby poles, the consequent opening of small wedge-shaped oceans (Bay of Biscay), and misfit overlaps (deltas and volcanic piles) and underlaps (stretched continental edges). This commentary was written to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society.

  10. A Review of the Isotopic and Trace Element Evidence for Mantle and Crustal Processes in the Hadean and Archean: implications for the Onset of Plate Tectonic Subduction

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smart, Katie A.; Tappe, Sebastian; Stern, Richard A.; Webb, Susan J.; Ashwal, Lewis D.

    2016-03-01

    Plate tectonics plays a vital role in the evolution of our planet. Geochemical analysis of Earth’s oldest continental crust suggests that subduction may have begun episodically about 3.8 to 3.2 billion years ago, during the early Archaean or perhaps more than 3.8 billion years ago, during the Hadean. Yet, mantle rocks record evidence for modern-style plate tectonics beginning only in the late Archaean, about 3 billion years ago. Here we analyse the nitrogen abundance, as well as the nitrogen and carbon isotopic signatures of Archaean placer diamonds from the Kaapvaal craton, South Africa, which formed in the upper mantle 3.1 to 3.5 billion years ago. We find that the diamonds have enriched nitrogen contents and isotopic compositions compared with typical mantle values. This nitrogen geochemical fingerprint could have been caused by contamination of the mantle by nitrogen-rich Archaean sediments. Furthermore, the carbon isotopic signature suggests that the diamonds formed by reduction of an oxidized fluid or melt. Assuming that the Archaean mantle was more reduced than the modern mantle, we argue that the oxidized components were introduced to the mantle by crustal recycling at subduction zones. We conclude, on the basis of evidence from mantle-derived diamonds, that modern-style plate tectonics operated as early as 3.5 billion years ago.

  11. UNAVCO Enhanced data products for the EarthScope Plate Boundary Observatory, COCONet, and other regional networks

    Science.gov (United States)

    Puskas, C. M.; Phillips, D. A.; Mattioli, G. S.; Meertens, C. M.; Herring, T.; Murray, M. H.; Melbourne, T. I.; Boler, F. M.; Blewitt, G.; Larson, K. M.; Feaux, K.; Braun, J. J.; Small, E. E.

    2012-12-01

    As part of an initiative to improve data services and support new research in the geodetic community, UNAVCO and its partners are expanding our supported data products and releasing new visualization tools. The enhanced data products, primarily associated with the UNAVCO-managed EarthScope Plate Boundary Observatory (PBO) and COCONet project, have open access and are archived at UNAVCO. UNAVCO manages community data services for a range of geodetic systems: GPS, borehole strainmeters, laser strainmeters, tiltmeters, pore pressure sensors, and geodetic imaging (InSAR, LIDAR, and terrestrial laser scanning). As part of the expansion, UNAVCO will incorporate data products submitted or downloaded from outside agencies. We focus here on the GPS products, which will include improved geodetic coverage in the western U.S. and expanded coverage in North America, access to new station quality parameters, information on site hydrologic conditions, and hydrologic loading models. Existing, open-access GPS stations from other networks are being incorporated into current 1112-station PBO processing stream to obtain station position time series and velocities for an additional 500+ stations. The primary data sources will be the Southern California Integrated GPS Network (SCIGN), the Scripps Orbit and Permanent Array Center (SOPAC), and the National Geodetic Survey's Continuously Operating Reference (NGS CORS) network. These additional stations will comprise a backbone network across continental North America to better resolve the surface velocity field in central and eastern U.S. and Canada, regions not presently covered by PBO. The expanded geographic coverage will address possible tectonic signals on a continental scale and will improve resolution of intraplate seismic zones and glacial-isostatic adjustments. The large data set will also have non-tectonic applications such as hydrologic studies, reference frame determination, and atmospheric studies. Station quality parameters

  12. Stability and coherent structures of the asymptotic suction boundary layer over a heated plate

    CERN Document Server

    Zammert, Stefan; Eckhardt, Bruno

    2016-01-01

    The asymptotic suction boundary layer (ASBL) is a parallel shear flow that becomes turbulent in a bypass transition in parameter regions where the laminar profile is stable. We here add a temperature gradient perpendicular to the plate and explore the interaction between convection and shear in determining the transition. We find that the laminar state becomes unstable in a subcritical bifurcation and that the critical Rayleigh number and wave number depend strongly on the Prandtl number. We also track several secondary bifurcations and identify states that are localized in two directions, showing different symmetries. In the subcritical regime, transient turbulent states which are connected to exact coherent states and follow the same transition scenario as found in linearly stable shear flows are identified and analyzed. The study extends the bypass transition scenario from shear flows to thermal boundary layers and shows the intricate interactions between thermal and shear forces in determining critical po...

  13. Boundary Layer Flow and Heat Transfer of FMWCNT/Water Nanofluids over a Flat Plate

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mohammad Reza Safaei

    2016-09-01

    Full Text Available In the present study, the heat transfer and flow of water/FMWCNT (functionalized multi-walled carbon nanotube nanofluids over a flat plate was investigated using a finite volume method. Simulations were performed for velocity ranging from 0.17 mm/s to 1.7 mm/s under laminar regime and nanotube concentrations up to 0.2%. The 2-D governing equations were solved using an in-house FORTRAN code. For a specific free stream velocity, the presented results showed that increasing the weight percentage of nanotubes increased the Nusselt number. However, an increase in the solid weight percentage had a negligible effect on the wall shear stress. The results also indicated that increasing the free stream velocity for all cases leads to thinner boundary layer thickness, while increasing the FMWCNT concentration causes an increase in the boundary layer thickness.

  14. Coherent Structures in Transition of a Flat-Plate Boundary Layer at Ma=0.7

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    ZHOU Ying; LI Xin-Liang; FU De-Xun; MA Yan-Wen

    2007-01-01

    @@ Direct numerical simulation (DNS) of a spatially evolving flat-plate boundary layer transition process at free stream Mach number 0.7 is performed. Tollmien-Schlichting (T-S) waves are added on the inlet boundary as the disturbances before transition. Typical coherent structures in the transition process are investigated based on the second invariant of velocity gradient tensor. The instantaneous shear stress and the mean velocity profile in the transition region are studied. In our view, the fact that the peak value of shear stress in the stress concentration area increases and exceeds a threshold value during the later stage of the transition process plays an important role in the laminar breakdown process.

  15. Fluid-mechanical Representation of Plate Boundaries - Trench-Ridge System -

    Science.gov (United States)

    Takaku, M.; Fukao, Y.

    2005-12-01

    Seismic tomography models have been used extensively to simulate mantle convection driven by density heterogeneity. Such simulation to date has been unsuccessful to reconcile itself with the most obvious convection-related phenomenon of plate motions. Here we present a theoretical framework for tomography-based convection modeling to include the plates as an integral part of the mantle convection. We model the lithosphere as a highly viscous, incompressible, Newtonian fluid layer and plate boundaries as faults across which tangential velocities are discontinuous. Fluid-mechanical expressions of such faults have their exact analogies in the seismic source representation theory and can be derived by referring to it. We test this idea against the simplest two-dimensional case with only trench and ridge as plate boundaries, and with only subducting slab as mass anomaly. We model ridge (trench) as the horizontal (vertical) tensile fault that comprises of a conjugate pair of 45-degree dip normal (reverse) faults extending over the entire thickness of the surface layer. The system comprises of three elementary convections, slab mass-driven convection, trench fault-driven convection and ridge fault-driven convection. Flow due to the slab excess mass imposes vertical tensile stress on trench, which is released by flow driven by trench faulting. This faulting converts efficiently the vertical tensile stress to the horizontal tensile stress, which can transmit to extreme distances through the surface viscous layer. This horizontal tensile stress is relieved by flow driven by ridge faulting. The three elementary convections are thus coupled through the stress minimum conditions at ridge and trench. The resultant coupled flow is very plate-like in the surface viscous layer. In this system the horizontal surface velocity depends little on the relative distance between the ridge and trench and depends mostly on the excess weight of the subducting slab. The horizontal speed can be

  16. Effect of strain-weakening on Oligocene-Miocene self-organization of the Australian-Pacific plate boundary fault in southern New Zealand: Insights from numerical modelling

    Science.gov (United States)

    Feng, Xiaojun; Jessell, Mark Walter; Amponsah, Prince Ofori; Martin, Roland; Ganne, Jérôme; Liu, Daqing; Batt, Geoffrey E.

    2016-10-01

    Tectonic inheritance acquired from past geological events can control the formation of new plate boundaries. The aim of this paper is to explore the role of inherited NE and NW trending fabrics and their rheological influence on the propagation of Oligocene-Miocene strike-slip faulting that matured to become the Australian-Pacific plate boundary fault in southern New Zealand. Strain weakening plays a significant role in controlling the formation, growth and evolution of strain localization. In this study, three-dimensional thermo-mechanical models have been used to explore the effect of strain weakening on the Oligocene-Miocene self-organization of strain localization. Strain weakening is simulated through decreasing either the coefficient of friction of upper crust, its cohesion, or the rheological viscosity contrast between the inherited structures and their surrounding wall rocks. Viscosity contrast is obtained by varying the viscosity of inherited structures. Softening coefficient (α) is a measure of strain weakening. Our experiments robustly demonstrate that a primary boundary shear zone becomes mature quicker when softening coefficients are increased. Deformation is focused along narrow high-strain shear zones in the centre of the model when the softening coefficients are high, whereas the strain is more diffuse with many shear zones spread over the model and possibly some high-strain shear zones focused near one border at lower softening coefficients. Varying the viscosity contrast has less effect on the distribution of maximum finite strain. Under simple-shear boundary conditions, NW trending inherited structures make a major contribution to forming early zones of highly focused strain, up to a shear strain of about γ = 3.7. During this process, most NE-trending structures move and rotate passively, accommodate less strain, or even be abandoned through time.

  17. Flowfield measurements in a separated and reattached flat plate turbulent boundary layer

    Science.gov (United States)

    Patrick, William P.

    1987-03-01

    The separation and reattachment of a large-scale, two-dimensional turbulent boundary layer at low subsonic speed on a flat plate has been studied experimentally. The separation bubble was 55 cm long and had a maximum bubble thickness, measured to the height of the mean dividing streamline, of 17 cm, which was twice the thickness of the inlet boundary layer. A combination of laser velocimetry, hot-wire anemometry, pneumatic probing techniques, and flow visualization were used as diagnostics. Principal findings were that an outer inviscid rotational flow was defined which essentially convected over the blockage associated with the inner, viscously dominated bubble recirculation region. A strong backflow region in which the flow moved upstream 100 percent of the time was measured near the test surface over the central 35 percent of the bubble. A laminar backflow boundary layer having pseudo-turbulent characteristics including a log-linear velocity profile was generated under the highly turbulent backflow. Velocity profile shapes in the reversed flow region matched a previously developed universal backflow profile at the upstream edge of the separation region but not in the steady backflow region downstream. A smoke flow visualization movie and hot-film measurements revealed low frequency nonperiodic flapping at reattachment. However, forward flow fraction data at reattachment and mean velocity profiles in the redeveloping boundary layer downstream of reattachment correlated with backward-facing step data when the axial dimension was scaled by the distance from the maximum bubble thickness to reattachment.

  18. An application of Global Positioning System data from the Plate Boundary Observatory for deformation monitoring purposes (Invited)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Murray-Moraleda, J. R.; Liu, Z.; Segall, P.

    2009-12-01

    The Plate Boundary Observatory (PBO) represents a major step forward in Global Positioning System (GPS) coverage for the western United States by increasing the spatial density of stations, generating daily position estimates, and providing the infrastructure for high-rate and real-time positioning. In addition to producing vital input for a wide range of crustal deformation studies, PBO significantly expands opportunities for monitoring and event response. This presentation will focus on one such effort. Data from large continuous GPS networks like PBO should be monitored for temporal changes, be they tectonic, volcanic, hydrologic, anthropogenic, or instrumental in origin. Since it is not feasible to review time series by eye on a daily basis, automated approaches are required. Here we apply a Kalman filtering based method, termed the Network Inversion Filter (Segall and Matthews, 1997; McGuire and Segall, 2003), to monitor daily GPS data for deformation-related transient signals. This approach relies on the spatial coherence of signals due to transient sources such as fault slip in order to separate them from spatially-localized time-dependent noise. The dense GPS coverage provided by PBO has augmented pre-existing continuous GPS networks making it now feasible to test this method in California. Results from synthetic tests using the >400 station southern California continuous GPS network configuration demonstrate this approach can extract fault slip signals from data contaminated by plausible noise processes. We will present results using real data from the San Francisco Bay Area and discuss the role and limitations of this methodology in hazard monitoring.

  19. RESEARCH ON THE COMPANION SOLUTION FOR A THIN PLATE IN THE MESHLESS LOCAL BOUNDARY INTEGRAL EQUATION METHOD

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    龙述尧; 熊渊博

    2004-01-01

    The meshless local boundary integral equation method is a currently developed numerical method, which combines the advantageous features of Galerkin finite element method(GFEM), boundary element method(BEM) and element free Galerkin method(EFGM), and is a truly meshless method possessing wide prospects in engineering applications.The companion solution and all the other formulas required in the meshless local boundary integral equation for a thin plate were presented, in order to make this method apply to solve the thin plate problem.

  20. The role of near-trench extension at convergent plate boundaries

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vannucchi, P.

    2009-04-01

    Knowledge of how convergent plate boundary coupling in the seismogenic zone controls the nucleation of subduction zone earthquakes is fundamental to assess seismic risks. Increased data at convergent margins has revealed the complexity of the earthquake cycle through the detection of strain-release processes like episodic tremors and slip events, low frequency earthquakes, afterslip, slip heterogeneity along the fault plane. The processes controlling the earthquake cycle and their interactions are still far from being understood; improved understanding will require better characterization of the fault zone. Here we compare in-situ observations from two major subduction zones drilled by ODP and IODP (Costa Rica Trench and Nankai Trough) with a well-preserved fossil convergent plate boundary zone in the Northern Apennines of Italy. At all three sites, deformation in the region above and at the updip limit of the seismogenic zone is dominated by extension and normal faulting (i.e. maximum principal stress is oriented sub-vertically). Episodes of reverse shearing are also present, but occur with less intensity, alternating with extension. Ocean Drilling Program Legs 170 and 205 offshore Costa Rica provide structural observations of the frontal part of the upper plate and décollement at about 2 km from the trench. Analysis of drilled cores reveals the presence of normal faults cutting the frontal part of the upper plate. Normal faults are also seen from seismic reflection to develop along all the forearc (about 60 km from the trench). The décollement damage zone is a few tens of meters in width; it develops mainly within frontal prism material. A clear cm-thick fault core is observed 1.6 km from the trench. Both the upper plate and the décollement damage zone show the co-existence of two distinct fracturing processes in which extension fracturing is frequent in the upper part of the damage zone farthest from the fault core, while both extension and shear fracturing

  1. Relaminarization of the boundary layer over a flat plate in shock tube experiments

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hinckel, J. N.; Nagamatsu, H. T.

    1986-01-01

    The relaminarization of the boundary layer over a flat plate in the shock tube was investigated by using the partially reflected shock wave technique. The flow Mach number was approximately 0.14, which corresponds to the inleft flow Mach number for the first row of vanes in a gas turbine. The thin film platinum heat gauges were used to measure the heat transfer rate and the Stanton number was calculated from the oscilloscope voltage traces. The Reynolds number was varied by changing the operation pressure of the shock tube and the values varied from 2.3 x 10 to the 4th to 5.3 x 10 to the 5th. For a Reynolds number range of 7 x 10 to the 4th to 3.5 x 10 to the 5th, the relaminarization of the boundary layer was observed. This phenomenon is due to the decay of the turbulence level in the flow as the reflected shock wave moves upstream from the flat plate. As the Reynolds number increased, the relaminarization was delayed and the delay was related to the turbulence generated by the reflected shock wave.

  2. Student Misconceptions: A Qualitative Study of Conceptual Barriers in Plate Tectonics and in the Solar System among Upper Elementary Students

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brodsky, L. M.; Corrigan, S.

    2010-12-01

    Constructivist theory points to the importance of recognizing student conceptions and the need to address them if students are going to move from their first conceptions to scientifically accepted understandings. Research into students’ conceptions has therefore been conducted in the disciplines of physics, biology and chemistry, but so far has been limited in the earth sciences. In addition to this gap in the literature, there is a growing interest in making such research more accessible and useful to practitioners. Helpful to both of these needs are recent efforts to describe a particular class of students’ geoscience misconceptions termed “conceptual barriers”. Conceptual barriers are foundational or fundamental misconceptions in the sense that they bare relationships with many other concepts in a domain and stand to seriously impede students’ conceptual understanding. Rather than investigating discrete misconceptions, studies of conceptual barriers investigate the ramifications of such fundamental misconceptions for students’ understanding and reasoning throughout a topic. Where examples of students’ ill- or misconceived patterns of reasoning can be generated, they stand to aid practitioners in not only diagnosing students misconceptions but also in responding to them. We have conducted interviews with over twenty upper elementary and middle school students in order to investigate and describe conceptual barriers to student understanding in the earth sciences - specifically plate tectonics and gravity in the solar system. Student interviews were analyzed using a constant comparative method. Through this work we have been able to identify several possible conceptual barriers in students’ understandings and to describe the ways these barriers impact students’ understanding of related phenomena.

  3. A Natural Model of Active Transpressional Tectonics the en Échelon Structures of the Oriente Deep, Along the Northern Caribbean Transcurrent Plate Boundary (Southern Cuban Margin Un modèle naturel de tectonique transpressive active Les structures en échelon de la fosse de l'Oriente le long de la limite de plaques décrochante Nord-Caraïbe

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Calais E.

    2006-11-01

    Full Text Available A seabearn and seismic reflection structural study of the Oriente Deep, located along the northern Caribbean transcurrent plate boundary, allows us to image in three dimensions active transpressional structures (cruise SEA-CARIB II, R/V Jean Charcot. These structures are folds and reverse faults. The folds display an en échelon arrangement and are set within three E-W trending alignments. The folds appear with an axis trending 30° to 40° to the shear direction. Their axes have undergone a rotation which gives them in plan a sigmoidal Zshape. The reverse faults formed after the folds and are located at the bases of the anticlines. The folding occurs outside the main strike-slip fault, above inactive burried faults affecting the basement of the Oriente Deep. The Oriente Deep is a exceptional natural model for the study of active transpressional deformation along a major strike-slip fault. La campagne océanographique SEACARIB II du N/O Jean Charcot a permis l'étude structurale du bassin de l'Oriente, situé le long de la limite de plaques décrochante nord caraïbe au sud de Cuba. Cette étude, par Seabeam et sismique réflexion, y a révélé des structures transpressives actives (plis et failles inverses et a permis de les illustrer en trois dimensions. Au sein de ce bassin, les plis sont disposés en échelon en trois alignements E-W. La direction de l'axe des plis naissant fait un angle de 30° à 40° avec la direction du décrochement principal. Les axes des plis subissent ensuite une rotation qui leur donne, en carte, une forme sigmoïdale en Z . Des failles inverses se forment après les plis à la base des anticlinaux. Le plissement est localisé en avant du décrochement principal, au-dessus de failles inactives enfouies affectant le substratum du bassin de l'Oriente. Le bassin de l'Oriente est un modèle naturel exceptionnel pour l'étude de déformations transpressives actives le long d'un décrochement actif majeur.

  4. Magnetotelluric characterization through the Ambargasta-Sumampa Range: The connection between the northern and southern trace of the Río de La Plata Craton - Pampean Terrane tectonic boundary

    Science.gov (United States)

    Peri, V. Gisel; Barcelona, Hernan; Pomposiello, M. Cristina; Favetto, Alicia

    2015-04-01

    The South American Platform was part of the Western Gondwana, a collage of plates of different ages assembled in late Neoproterozoic to Cambrian times. The Transbrasiliano Lineament, a continental shear belt that transversely intersects this platform from NE to SW, has its southern expression in the tectonic boundary between the Río de La Plata Craton and the Pampean Terrane. Magnetotelluric long-period data in a W-E profile (29°30‧ S) that crosses the Ambargasta-Sumampa Range and the Chaco-Pampean Plain were obtained to connect information of this mostly inferred tectonic boundary. A 2-D inversion model shows the Chacoparanense basin, Río Dulce lineament, Ambargasta-Sumampa Range and Salina de Ambargasta in the upper crust. At mid-to-lower crust and 40 km to the east of the Ambargasta-Sumampa Range, a discontinuity (500-2000 Ω m) of 20-km-wide separates two highly resistive blocks, the Río de La Plata Craton (6000-20,000 Ω m) in the east, and the Pampean Terrane (5000-20,000 Ω m) in the west. This discontinuity represents the tectonic boundary between both cratons and could be explained by the presence of graphite. The geometry of the Pampean Terrane suggests an east-dipping paleo-subduction. Our results are consistent with gravimetric and seismicity data of the study area. A more conductive feature beneath the range and the tectonic boundary was associated with the NE-SW dextral transpressive system evidenced by the mylonitic belts exposed in the Eastern Pampean Ranges. This belt represents a conjugate of the mega-shear Transbrasiliano Lineament and could be explained by fluid-rock interaction by shearing during hundreds of years. The eastern border of the Ambargasta-Sumampa Range extends the trace of the Transbrasiliano Lineament. The electrical Moho depth (40 km to the west and 35 km to the east) was identified by a high electrical contrast between the crust and upper mantle. The upper mantle shows a resistive structure beneath the Río de La Plata

  5. Coefficient of Variation Estimates for the Plate Boundary Fault System of California

    Science.gov (United States)

    Biasi, G. P.; Scharer, K. M.

    2015-12-01

    The number of high-quality paleoseismic records on major strike-slip faults of California has increased in recent years to the point that patterns in earthquake recurrence are emerging. The degree of predictability in time intervals between ground-rupturing earthquakes can be measured by the CoV (coefficient of variation). The CoV approximately normalizes for mean recurrence, and is thus useful to isolate the temporal variability of earthquake records. CoV estimates are themselves uncertain because input dates are actually probability distributions and because paleoseismic records are short and not necessarily representative samples from the underlying recurrence distribution. Radiocarbon dating uncertainty can be incorporated by sampling from event PDFs and compiling sample CoV estimates. Uncertainty due to the brevity of the site event record is larger, and neglect of it can lead to improbable estimates. Long records are now available on the San Andreas and San Jacinto faults in Southern California, and the San Andreas and Hayward faults in northern California. These faults accommodate most of the Pacific-North American relative plate motion in their respective regions. CoV estimates from sites with 8 or more events cluster around 0.63, but are as low as 0.4 for the southern Hayward fault. Sites with fewer events give similar estimates, though with lower resolution. The one prominent outlier, Burro Flats, with a CoV near 1.0, is in a region of severe fault complexity and rapid fault-normal compression. Quasi-periodic recurrence is emerging as a general property for these plate boundary faults. Some individual site records allow that, at low probabilities, recurrence could be random in time. When the ensemble is considered together, however, it is improbable that we would see the observed degree of agreement among boundary fault paleoseismic records; the more likely explanation is that quasi-periodic recurrence is a real property of the boundary fault system.

  6. Interior Baja B.C. : Continuing Rotation on a Diffuse Plate Boundary

    Science.gov (United States)

    Symons, D. T.; Harris, M. J.; McCausland, P. J.; Blackburn, W. H.; Hart, C. J.

    2004-12-01

    Interior Baja B.C. - the Intermontane Belt (IMB) and Yukon-Tanana (YT) terranes of northwestern North America - provide a geological record of the complex interactions between the northeastern Pacific basin plates and craton. Geophysical evidence from earthquake seismology, gravity, global positioning system and heat flow data indicate motion of the IMB terranes toward the craton today. Paleomagnetic data show the YT terrane to be parautochthonous and part of the craton's ramp onto which the IMB terranes were obducted. Conversely the IMB terranes behaved as an allochthonous reasonably-coherent microplate with its own apparent polar wander path. Relative to the craton, the path dictates that: 1) from 0-54 Ma the IMB rotated steadily on the craton's ramp at 0.29±±0.11° /Ma or 16±6° clockwise (CW), consistent with Lithoprobe SNORCLE deep crustal seismic evidence for thin skinned tectonics; 2) from 54 to 102±14 Ma the IMB was offshore and was further rotated by 35±14° CW and translated northward by 8.3±7.0° (915±75 km), consistent with geological estimates for total dextral fault displacement and seafloor plate vectors; and 3) more speculatively, from Early Cretaceous to Early Jurassic, the IMB moved in concert with the craton off the western USA seaboard. This history fits with major geologic events such as extensive Eocene extension in southern British Columbia, development of the 1000 km-long Selwyn-Mackenzie orogenic arc in Yukon, YT terrane exposure on either side of the IMB, etc. Further it requires continuing crust-mantle interactions that extend some hundreds of kilometers into the craton today.

  7. Topography and tectonics of the central New Madrid seismic zone: Results of numerical experiements using a three-dimensional boundary element program

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gomberg, Joan; Ellis, Michael

    1994-01-01

    We present results of a series of numerical experiments designed to test hypothetical mechanisms that derive deformation in the New Madrid seismic zone. Experiments are constrained by subtle topography and the distribution of seismicity in the region. We use a new boundary element algorithm that permits calcuation of the three-dimensional deformation field. Surface displacement fields are calculated for the New Madrid zone under both far-field (plate tectonics scale) and locally derived driving strains. Results demonstrate that surface displacement fields cannot distinguish between either a far-field simple or pure shear strain field or one that involves a deep shear zone beneath the upper crustal faults. Thus, neither geomorphic nor geodetic studies alone are expected to reveal the ultimate driving mechanism behind the present-day deformation. We have also tested hypotheses about strain accommodation within the New Madrid contractional step-over by including linking faults, two southwest dipping and one vertical, recently inferred from microearthquake data. Only those models with step-over faults are able to predict the observed topography. Surface displacement fields for long-term, relaxed deformation predict the distribution of uplift and subsidence in the contractional step-over remarkably well. Generation of these displacement fields appear to require slip on both the two northeast trending vertical faults and the two dipping faults in the step-over region, with very minor displacements occurring during the interseismic period when the northeast trending vertical faults are locked. These models suggest that the gently dippling central step-over fault is a reverse fault and that the steeper fault, extending to the southeast of the step-over, acts as a normal fault over the long term.

  8. Topography and tectonics of the central New Madrid seismic zone: Results of numerical experiements using a three-dimensional boundary element program

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gomberg, Joan; Ellis, Michael

    1994-01-01

    We present results of a series of numerical experiments designed to test hypothetical mechanisms that derive deformation in the New Madrid seismic zone. Experiments are constrained by subtle topography and the distribution of seismicity in the region. We use a new boundary element algorithm that permits calcuation of the three-dimensional deformation field. Surface displacement fields are calculated for the New Madrid zone under both far-field (plate tectonics scale) and locally derived driving strains. Results demonstrate that surface displacement fields cannot distinguish between either a far-field simple or pure shear strain field or one that involves a deep shear zone beneath the upper crustal faults. Thus, neither geomorphic nor geodetic studies alone are expected to reveal the ultimate driving mechanism behind the present-day deformation. We have also tested hypotheses about strain accommodation within the New Madrid contractional step-over by including linking faults, two southwest dipping and one vertical, recently inferred from microearthquake data. Only those models with step-over faults are able to predict the observed topography. Surface displacement fields for long-term, relaxed deformation predict the distribution of uplift and subsidence in the contractional step-over remarkably well. Generation of these displacement fields appear to require slip on both the two northeast trending vertical faults and the two dipping faults in the step-over region, with very minor displacements occurring during the interseismic period when the northeast trending vertical faults are locked. These models suggest that the gently dippling central step-over fault is a reverse fault and that the steeper fault, extending to the southeast of the step-over, acts as a normal fault over the long term.

  9. Unsteady Hydromagnetic Flow past a Moving Vertical Plate with Convective Surface Boundary Condition

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gauri Shanker Seth

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available Investigation of unsteady MHD natural convection flow through a fluid-saturated porous medium of a viscous, incompressible, electrically-conducting and optically-thin radiating fluid past an impulsively moving semi-infinite vertical plate with convective surface boundary condition is carried out. With the aim to replicate practical situations, the heat transfer and thermal expansion coefficients are chosen to be constant and a new set of non-dimensional quantities and parameters are introduced to represent the governing equations along with initial and boundary conditions in dimensionless form. Solution of the initial boundary-value problem (IBVP is obtained by an efficient implicit finite-difference scheme of the Crank-Nicolson type which is one of the most popular schemes to solve IBVPs. The numerical values of fluid velocity and fluid temperature are depicted graphically whereas those of the shear stress at the wall, wall temperature and the wall heat transfer are presented in tabular form for various values of the pertinent flow parameters. A comparison with previously published papers is made for validation of the numerical code and the results are found to be in good agreement.

  10. Boundary integral equation methods and numerical solutions thin plates on an elastic foundation

    CERN Document Server

    Constanda, Christian; Hamill, William

    2016-01-01

    This book presents and explains a general, efficient, and elegant method for solving the Dirichlet, Neumann, and Robin boundary value problems for the extensional deformation of a thin plate on an elastic foundation. The solutions of these problems are obtained both analytically—by means of direct and indirect boundary integral equation methods (BIEMs)—and numerically, through the application of a boundary element technique. The text discusses the methodology for constructing a BIEM, deriving all the attending mathematical properties with full rigor. The model investigated in the book can serve as a template for the study of any linear elliptic two-dimensional problem with constant coefficients. The representation of the solution in terms of single-layer and double-layer potentials is pivotal in the development of a BIEM, which, in turn, forms the basis for the second part of the book, where approximate solutions are computed with a high degree of accuracy. The book is intended for graduate students and r...

  11. Epeirogeny and plate tectonics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Menard, H. W.

    1975-01-01

    Vertical motions of the earth crust and their causes are considered in relation to epeirogenic phenomena. Factors discussed include: external loading and unloading; bending at subduction zones; internal density changes; and dynamic effects of mantle motion. The relationship between epeirogeny and drift is briefly reviewed along with oceanic epeirogeny.

  12. Tectonic Plates of China

    Science.gov (United States)

    1977-04-01

    following two featuies are noteworthy: (i) The 4,000-5,000 m contour almost coincides with the West Kunlun- Arkin-North Chilien- Lungmen -Kantien...The 50-55 km isopack coinciden with the border of the Chinhai-Tibet highland. It coincides with the West Kunlun-Arkin-North Chilien- Lungmen range

  13. Plate Margin Deformation and Active Tectonics Along the Northern Edge of the Yakutat Terrane in the Saint Elias Orogen, Alaska and Yukon, Canada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bruhn, Ronald L.; Sauber, Jeanne; Cotton, Michele M.; Pavlis, Terry L.; Burgess, Evan; Ruppert, Natalia; Forster, Richard R.

    2012-01-01

    The northwest directed motion of the Pacific plate is accompanied by migration and collision of the Yakutat terrane into the cusp of southern Alaska. Th