WorldWideScience

Sample records for plate tectonic evolution

  1. 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.

  2. Plate tectonics: Crustal recycling evolution

    Science.gov (United States)

    Magni, Valentina

    2017-09-01

    The processes that form and recycle continental crust have changed through time. Numerical models reveal an evolution from extensive recycling on early Earth as the lower crust peeled away, to limited recycling via slab break-off today.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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...

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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)

  15. 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)

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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…

  2. 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…

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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 ...

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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...

  19. 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.

  20. 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)

  1. 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)

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Tectonic evolution of terrestrial planets

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1981-01-01

    The tectonic style of each terrestrial planet, referring to the thickness and division of its lithosphere, can be inferred from surface features and compared to models of planetary thermal history. Factors governing planetary tectonic evolution are planet diameter, chemistry, and external and internal heat sources, all of which determine how a planet generates and rids itself of heat. The earth is distinguished by its distinct, mobile plates, which are recycled into the mantle and show large-scale lateral movements, whereas the moon, Mars, and Mercury are single spherical shells, showing no evidence of destruction and renewal of the lithospheric plates over the latter 80% of their history. Their smaller volume to surface area results in a more rapid cooling, formation, and thickening of the lithosphere. Vertical tectonics, due to lithospheric loading, is controlled by the local thickness and rheology of the lithosphere. Further studies of Venus, which displays both the craterlike surface features of the one-plate planets, and the rifts and plateaus of earth, may indicate which factors are most important in controlling the tectonic evolution of terrestrial planets.

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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...

  12. 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

  13. 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…

  14. 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.

  15. 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...

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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 ...

  4. A kinematic model for Afar Depression lithospheric thinning and its implications for hominid evolution: an exercise in plate-tectonic paleoanthropology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Redfield, T.; Often, M.; Wheeler, W. H.

    2002-12-01

    We present a detailed Nubia-Arabia-Somalia (NU-AR-SOM) kinematic reconstruction based on magnetic sea floor isochrons in the Gulf of Aden and Red Sea and piercing points along the Red Sea margins. The reconstruction is combined with digital topographic and depth-to-Moho data to constrain in 4D the Late Oligocene to present-day evolution of the Afar supra-Moho crust. Opposite end-member models for crustal evolution are described. We conclude that less than 20% of the present-day Afar supra-Moho crust was constructed by magmatic processes such as diking and underplating. The reconstructions indicate that the greater percentage of crustal thinning (extension) occurred before 6.2 Ma. We model the thinning of the effective elastic lithosphere that accompanied extension, and show that the regional-scale topographic development of the Afar depression was virtually complete by Mid Pliocene time. The plate-tectonic model has paleoanthropological implications. Prior to 6.2 Ma the proximal positions of NU-SOM, AR, and the Danakil block suggest subaerial conditions prevailed between Yemen and Ethiopia. Uninhibited Africa-Eurasia faunal exchange through Afar and Arabia (corroborated by isotopic and paleontologic data) was tectonically permissible until the time of the earliest hominids. Continued stretching caused the Afar land bridge(s) to disappear during Early to Mid Pliocene time. Primitive hominid populations living within the Afar Depression became isolated from AR sometime before ~3.2 Ma. With the plateau becoming less habitable due to long-term Late Neogene cooling, hominids that remained in the Afar Depression were required to adapt to a smaller range that was effectively bounded by the already well-developed NU-SOM escarpments and the newly opened Straits of Bab el Mandeb. The combination of high quality habitat,topographic confinement, and a gradual (tectonic) reduction in range, exacerbated by potentially severe fluctuations in local climate (well documented by land

  5. 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...

  6. 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.

  7. Galapagos Tectonics and Evolution (Invited)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hey, R. N.

    2010-12-01

    Galapagos is now considered one of the type-examples of hotspot-ridge interaction, although in the early years of plate tectonics it was generally thought that this interpretation was demonstrably wrong, with two influential groups insisting that non-hotspot models were required for this area. The key to understanding Galapagos tectonic evolution was the recognition that small ridge axis jumps toward the hotspot had occurred, producing complicated magnetic anomalies and asymmetric lithospheric accretion. My dissertation work, guided by Jason Morgan, showed that this simple modification to plate tectonic theory could resolve the seemingly compelling geometric arguments against the Cocos and Carnegie aseismic ridges being Galapagos hotspot tracks, and further that if Galapagos were a hotspot near Fernandina, fixed with respect to the Hawaii hotspot, there should be aseismic ridges on the Cocos and Nazca plates with the observed Cocos and Carnegie ridge geometry, both aseismic ridges forming when the hotspot was ridge-centered, but only the Carnegie ridge since the plate boundary migrated north of the hotspot. A great deal of subsequent research has shown that some areas are considerably more complicated than originally thought, but the following basic model still appears to hold. The Farallon plate split apart along the Grijalva scarp, possibly a preexisting Pacific-Farallon FZ that intersected the hotspot at this time (although alternative interpretations exist), probably in response to tensional stress caused by slab pull in different directions at the Mid-America and Peru-Chile trenches. This break-up allowed more orthogonal subduction of independent Cocos and Nazca plates beginning shortly after 25 Ma. The original Cocos-Nazca ridge trended E-NE, but soon reorganized into N-S spreading segments. The subsequent evolution involved substantial northward ridge migration and ridge jumps, mostly toward the Galapagos hotspot. Recent ridge jumps have occurred in

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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...

  15. 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)

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  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. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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).

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Evolution of the North China Craton and Early Plate Tectonics%华北克拉通的形成以及早期板块构造

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    翟明国

    2012-01-01

    The oldset rock discovered on the Earth is the TTG gneiss but whether there was oldest oceanic crust and how continental crust formed deal with all aspects of continental dynamics. Among them is when the plate tectonics started , "which has been a front scientific question for decades. The popular answer is from Neoproterozoic, others suggest Paleoproterozoic or Neoarchean, or even some believe the plate tectonics started from the occurrence of water. In various marks identifying the plate tectonics, ophiolite and high-pressure metamorphic belt are no doubt the most important issues. The former implies that the old oceanic crust slab was involved in orogenic belt, and the latter probably indicates that supracrustal rock unit was subducted under deep crust or mantle and can be lithological evidence of subduction, denudation and collision. Based on the discussion and comparison between Archean greenstone belt and ophiolite and between UH-HP/UT-UHT granulites and Phanerozoic HP metamorphic belt, authors come to a primitive conclusion that these two can not be used as the convincing evidence to support plate tectonics. The paper also discussed Archean continental formation and rift-subdution-collision tectonic process of Paleoproterozoic mobile belts of the NCC. It is proposed that the Neoarchean tectonic pattern of greenstone belt-high grade region in the NCC probably indicates a dominant heat tectonic regime (mantle plume) with limited transverse movement. The micro-blocks were welded by greenstone belts, followed by metamorphism and granitization, completing craton process of stable continent. The tectonic regime is likely controlled by frequent moderate-scale mantle plumbs, accompanied by small-scale horizontal tectonic movement. The Paleoproterozoic supracrustal rocks in the NCC occur as a linear mobile belt with middle-grade metamorphism, multi-stage deformation, intruded by nearly synchronous or little later granitic intrusion and associated by Cu

  17. Plate-tectonic evolution of the deep ocean basins adjoining the western continental margin of India - A proposed model for the early opening scenario

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Bhattacharya, G.C.; Yatheesh, V.

    -ADOB region. It may be mentioned here that some of these aspects have not been holistically considered in any such model for the region so far. 2 Relevant tectonic elements and geological events Since the evolution of the WCMI-ADOB region began... along the Aravalli trend and was aborted in Late Cretaceous. The Cambay rift basin opened in the Early Cretaceous along the Dharwar trend and was aborted in Late Cretaceous. The Narmada rift basin opened in the Late Cretaceous time along the Satpura...

  18. Morphology and Tectonic Evolution of Endeavor Deep

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pockalny, R. A.; Larson, R. L.; Popham, C. T.; Natland, J. H.; Abrams, L. J.; Sonder, L. J.

    2004-12-01

    Endeavor Deep is located on the Nazca/Juan Fernandez plate boundary near the triple junction of the Pacific, Nazca and Antarctic plates. The deep is the tip of the northward propagating East Ridge, which defines the eastern side of the microplate and is presently exposing ~3 Myr old oceanic crust created at the ultra-fast spreading (~150 km/myr) East Pacific Rise. Recently collected high-resolution EM300 bathymetry, deep-tow DSL120 sidescan, surface-towed magnetics, and near-bottom JASON II observations provide important details about the tectonic character and origin of Endeavor Deep. These data define a 70 km-long, 40 km-wide, and 3 km-deep rift which shoals and narrows toward the rift tip to the NW and is deeper and wider away from the rift tip toward the SE. The southern wall of the rift is uplifted and has a characteristic flexural profile. The northern wall is also uplifted, however, the classic flexural profile is complicated by the presence of a large EW-trending massif, which appears to be a rift-truncated compressional ridge emplaced during a phase of NS-oriented compression. Along both rift walls, a series of terraces suggest a series of down-dropped blocks associated with ongoing extension. Along the rift floor, a relatively flat, featureless bottom in the NW evolves into hummocky terrane in the central part of the basin that is characterized by volcanic features reminiscent of 1-2 km diameter pancakes in plan-view. Farther to the SE, tectonic lineations and pillow ridges oriented parallel to the trend of the rift valley dominate the basin floor. Magnetic profiles across this portion of the survey area indicate a well-formed central magnetic anomaly with a width equivalent to a spreading rate of 20 km/Myr, which is predicted by tectonic reconstructions of the plate boundary. Overall, these observations define a four-phase evolution of Endeavor Deep: 1) initial crustal formation at the ultra-fast spreading East Pacific Rise ~3 Ma, 2) regional compression

  19. 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...

  20. [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.

  1. 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.

  2. The distribution and composition characteristics of siliceous rocks from Qinzhou Bay-Hangzhou Bay joint belt, South China: constraint on the tectonic evolution of plates in South China.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Hongzhong; Zhai, Mingguo; Zhang, Lianchang; Zhou, Yongzhang; Yang, Zhijun; He, Junguo; Liang, Jin; Zhou, Liuyu

    2013-01-01

    The Qinzhou Bay-Hangzhou Bay joint belt is a significant tectonic zone between the Yangtze and Cathaysian plates, where plentiful hydrothermal siliceous rocks are generated. Here, the authors studied the distribution of the siliceous rocks in the whole tectonic zone, which indicated that the tensional setting was facilitating the development of siliceous rocks of hydrothermal genesis. According to the geochemical characteristics, the Neopalaeozoic siliceous rocks in the north segment of the Qinzhou Bay-Hangzhou Bay joint belt denoted its limited width. In comparison, the Neopalaeozoic Qinzhou Bay-Hangzhou Bay joint belt was diverse for its ocean basin in the different segments and possibly had subduction only in the south segment. The ocean basin of the north and middle segments was limited in its width without subduction and possibly existed as a rift trough that was unable to resist the terrigenous input. In the north segment of the Qinzhou Bay-Hangzhou Bay joint belt, the strata of hydrothermal siliceous rocks in Dongxiang copper-polymetallic ore deposit exhibited alternative cycles with the marine volcanic rocks, volcanic tuff, and metal sulphide. These sedimentary systems were formed in different circumstances, whose alternative cycles indicated the release of internal energy in several cycles gradually from strong to weak.

  3. The Distribution and Composition Characteristics of Siliceous Rocks from Qinzhou Bay-Hangzhou Bay Joint Belt, South China: Constraint on the Tectonic Evolution of Plates in South China

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Hongzhong Li

    2013-01-01

    Full Text Available The Qinzhou Bay-Hangzhou Bay joint belt is a significant tectonic zone between the Yangtze and Cathaysian plates, where plentiful hydrothermal siliceous rocks are generated. Here, the authors studied the distribution of the siliceous rocks in the whole tectonic zone, which indicated that the tensional setting was facilitating the development of siliceous rocks of hydrothermal genesis. According to the geochemical characteristics, the Neopalaeozoic siliceous rocks in the north segment of the Qinzhou Bay-Hangzhou Bay joint belt denoted its limited width. In comparison, the Neopalaeozoic Qinzhou Bay-Hangzhou Bay joint belt was diverse for its ocean basin in the different segments and possibly had subduction only in the south segment. The ocean basin of the north and middle segments was limited in its width without subduction and possibly existed as a rift trough that was unable to resist the terrigenous input. In the north segment of the Qinzhou Bay-Hangzhou Bay joint belt, the strata of hydrothermal siliceous rocks in Dongxiang copper-polymetallic ore deposit exhibited alternative cycles with the marine volcanic rocks, volcanic tuff, and metal sulphide. These sedimentary systems were formed in different circumstances, whose alternative cycles indicated the release of internal energy in several cycles gradually from strong to weak.

  4. 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.

  5. 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)

  6. Rapid biological speciation driven by tectonic evolution in New Zealand

    Science.gov (United States)

    Craw, Dave; Upton, Phaedra; Burridge, Christopher P.; Wallis, Graham P.; Waters, Jonathan M.

    2016-02-01

    Collisions between tectonic plates lead to the rise of new mountain ranges that can separate biological populations and ultimately result in new species. However, the identification of links between tectonic mountain-building and biological speciation is confounded by environmental and ecological factors. Thus, there are surprisingly few well-documented examples of direct tectonic controls on terrestrial biological speciation. Here we present examples from New Zealand, where the rapid evolution of 18 species of freshwater fishes has resulted from parallel tectonic landscape evolution. We use numerical models to reconstruct changes in the deep crustal structure and surface drainage catchments of the southern island of New Zealand over the past 25 million years. We show that the island and mountain topography evolved in six principal tectonic zones, which have distinct drainage catchments that separated fish populations. We use new and existing phylogenetic analyses of freshwater fish populations, based on over 1,000 specimens from more than 400 localities, to show that fish genomes can retain evidence of this tectonic landscape development, with a clear correlation between geologic age and extent of DNA sequence divergence. We conclude that landscape evolution has controlled on-going biological diversification over the past 25 million years.

  7. 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).

  8. 4D Arctic: A Glimpse into the Structure and Evolution of the Arctic in the Light of New Geophysical Maps, Plate Tectonics and Tomographic Models.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gaina, Carmen; Medvedev, Sergei; Torsvik, Trond H; Koulakov, Ivan; Werner, Stephanie C

    Knowledge about the Arctic tectonic structure has changed in the last decade as a large number of new datasets have been collected and systematized. Here, we review the most updated, publicly available Circum-Arctic digital compilations of magnetic and gravity data together with new models of the Arctic's crust. Available tomographic models have also been scrutinized and evaluated for their potential to reveal the deeper structure of the Arctic region. Although the age and opening mechanisms of the Amerasia Basin are still difficult to establish in detail, interpreted subducted slabs that reside in the High Arctic's lower mantle point to one or two episodes of subduction that consumed crust of possibly Late Cretaceous-Jurassic age. The origin of major igneous activity during the Cretaceous in the central Arctic (the Alpha-Mendeleev Ridge) and in the proximity of rifted margins (the so-called High Arctic Large Igneous Province-HALIP) is still debated. Models of global plate circuits and the connection with the deep mantle are used here to re-evaluate a possible link between Arctic volcanism and mantle plumes.

  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. Coupling dynamic mechanisms between plate tectonics evolution and mantle convection of south and north Tianshan%天山南北地块构造演化与地幔对流耦合动力机制

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    刘玉虎; 刘兴旺; 郑建京; 赵丹丹; 杨鑫; 王亚东

    2011-01-01

    inquiry of the five kinds of mantle convection patterns, based on whole-mantle convection and small-scale upper mantle convection model, we propose that the dynamic mechanism of plate tectonic evolution coupled with the mantle convection in the Tianshan region totally presented as "Start-Sync-Transcendence-Subtractive" mode, and the middle course of the dynamic model with micro-oscillation cycle forward. This model can be compared with the classic Wilsoncycle while the current traces of the plate tectonic evolution in the deep crust and the numerical simulation of themantle convection also supports this niode to sone extent. In short of a unified dynamic model combing the history and evolution of plate teconies and mantle convection,it will be of great significance for future stuty of coupling andintcraction between all the subsystems of the Earth.

  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. 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.

  13. Tectonic evolution of Tethyan tectonic field, formation of Northern Margin basin and explorative perspective of natural gas in Tarim Basin

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2002-01-01

    Analyzing the characteristics of the Tethyan tectonic field, the authors think that the Tethyan tectonic field underwent three evolutional stages: closing of Paleo-Tethys and rifting of Neo-Tethys from early Permian to late Triassic, subduction of Neo-Tethys and collision between the Indian plate and the Eurasia plate from Jurassic to early of low Tertiary, and collision between the Arab plate and the Eurasia plate and the A-type subduction of Indian plate from late of low Tertiary to the present. Combining the evolution of the Tethyan orogenic belt with the characteristics of the Northern Margin basin, it is suggested that the sedimentary and tectonic characteristics and types of the Northern Mar-gin basin are controlled by the formation and evolution of the Tethyan orogenic belt and the ingression of Tethys. The evolution of Northern Margin basin can be divided into three development stages: back-arc foreland basin from late Permian to Triassic, the back-arc fault subsidence and depression from Jurassic to the early of low Tertiary, and the reactive foreland basin from the late of low Tertiary to the present. The Northern Margin basin in the Tethyan tectonic field is an important region for natural gas accumulation, and the Tarim Basin is a part of this region.

  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. Linking serpentinite geochemistry with tectonic evolution at the subduction plate-interface: The Voltri Massif case study (Ligurian Western Alps, Italy)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cannaò, E.; Scambelluri, M.; Agostini, S.; Tonarini, S.; Godard, M.

    2016-10-01

    , whereas mylonitic serpentinite is reset in its concentrations of FME and its B, Sr and Pb isotope compositions, due to interaction with sediment- and crust-derived fluids. The environment of this interaction is either compatible with (i) an outer-rise zone setting, with percolation of seawater-derived fluids enriched in sedimentary components into bending-related fault structures, or with (ii) subduction channel domains, where ascending sediment-derived slab fluids infiltrate slices of former oceanic serpentinite accreted to the plate interface domain. Influx of sediment-derived subduction fluids along major deformation zones in serpentinite modifies the element budget of the rocks, with important implications for element recycling and the tectonic history of serpentinite. The B, Sr and Pb isotopic systematics, coupled with FME concentration in serpentinites are particularly helpful geochemical tracers of interaction between different reservoirs in subduction-interface environments, and are more sensitive than the traditionally applied stable oxygen and hydrogen isotope compositions.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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…

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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...

  6. The large-wavelength deformations of the lithosphere: materials for a history of the evolution of thought from the earliest times to plate tectonics

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    A.M.C.Sengor; DavidOldroyd

    2004-01-01

    The notable authority on tectonics and the history of geosciences, Professor Celal Sengor from Istanbul, has produced another remarkable book-which, as he tells the reader, grew rapidly from an initial paper into a massive tome. Just as Georges Cuvier liked the idea of ‘bursting the limits of time', so Professor Sengor has again ‘burst the limits of a paper'!

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  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. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. Phanerozoic tectonic evolution of the Circum-North Pacific

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nokleberg, Warren J.; Parfenov, Leonid M.; Monger, James W.H.; Norton, Ian O.; Khanchuk, Alexander I.; Stone, David B.; Scotese, Christopher R.; Scholl, David W.; Fujita, Kazuya

    2000-01-01

    The Phanerozoic tectonic evolution of the Circum-North Pacific is recorded mainly in the orogenic collages of the Circum-North Pacific mountain belts that separate the North Pacific from the eastern part of the North Asian Craton and the western part of the North American Craton. These collages consist of tectonostratigraphic terranes that are composed of fragments of igneous arcs, accretionary-wedge and subduction-zone complexes, passive continental margins, and cratons; they are overlapped by continental-margin-arc and sedimentary-basin assemblages. The geologic history of the terranes and overlap assemblages is highly complex because of postaccretionary dismemberment and translation during strike-slip faulting that occurred subparallel to continental margins.We analyze the complex tectonics of this region by the following steps. (1) We assign tectonic environments for the orogenic collages from regional compilation and synthesis of stratigraphic and faunal data. The types of tectonic environments include cratonal, passive continental margin, metamorphosed continental margin, continental-margin arc, island arc, oceanic crust, seamount, ophiolite, accretionary wedge, subduction zone, turbidite basin, and metamorphic. (2) We make correlations between terranes. (3) We group coeval terranes into a single tectonic origin, for example, a single island arc or subduction zone. (4) We group igneous-arc and subduction- zone terranes, which are interpreted as being tectonically linked, into coeval, curvilinear arc/subduction-zone complexes. (5) We interpret the original positions of terranes, using geologic, faunal, and paleomagnetic data. (6) We construct the paths of tectonic migration. Six processes overlapping in time were responsible for most of the complexities of the collage of terranes and overlap assemblages around the Circum-North Pacific, as follows. (1) During the Late Proterozoic, Late Devonian, and Early Carboniferous, major periods of rifting occurred along

  1. Role of the offshore Pedro Banks left-lateral strike-slip fault zone in the plate tectonic evolution of the northern Caribbean

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ott, B.; Mann, P.; Saunders, M.

    2013-12-01

    Previous workers, mainly mapping onland active faults on Caribbean islands, defined the northern Caribbean plate boundary zone as a 200-km-wide bounded by two active and parallel strike-slip faults: the Oriente fault along the northern edge of the Cayman trough with a GPS rate of 14 mm/yr, and and the Enriquillo-Plaintain Garden fault zone (EPGFZ) with a rate of 5-7 mm/yr. In this study we use 5,000 km of industry and academic data from the Nicaraguan Rise south and southwest of the EPGFZ in the maritime areas of Jamaica, Honduras, and Colombia to define an offshore, 700-km-long, active, left-lateral strike-slip fault in what has previously been considered the stable interior of the Caribbean plate as determined from plate-wide GPS studies. The fault was named by previous workers as the Pedro Banks fault zone because a 100-km-long segment of the fault forms an escarpment along the Pedro carbonate bank of the Nicaraguan Rise. Two fault segments of the PBFZ are defined: the 400-km-long eastern segment that exhibits large negative flower structures 10-50 km in width, with faults segments rupturing the sea floor as defined by high resolution 2D seismic data, and a 300-km-long western segment that is defined by a narrow zone of anomalous seismicity first observed by previous workers. The western end of the PBFZ terminates on a Quaternary rift structure, the San Andres rift, associated with Plio-Pleistocene volcanism and thickening trends indicating initial rifting in the Late Miocene. The southern end of the San Andreas rift terminates on the western Hess fault which also exhibits active strands consistent with left-lateral, strike-slip faults. The total length of the PBFZ-San Andres rift-Southern Hess escarpment fault is 1,200 km and traverses the entire western end of the Caribbean plate. Our interpretation is similar to previous models that have proposed the "stable" western Caribbean plate is broken by this fault whose rate of displacement is less than the threshold

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. The Floral Response to the Permian Tectonic Evolution in Tarim Plate%塔里木板块二叠纪构造演化的古植物群(大植物、孢粉)响应

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    朱怀诚

    2001-01-01

    The Tarim plate drifted constantly northward and collided with the Kazakhstan Plate during Permo-Carboniferous. In Carboniferous, the Tarim Plate was pieced together with the Yili Terrane of the Kazakhstan Plate. Then the Tarim-Yili Plate collided with the Kazakhstan Plate, and the Junggar Ocean finished subduction during Late Carboniferous and Early Permian. At last, the two plates were united into the southern part of the Angaran Land of the Pangea. The plate drifting resulted in the disappearance of the ocean between the Tarim Plate, the Kazakhstan Plate and the Junggar Plate. The plant distribution is mainly controlled by the climatic condition, and the geographic barriers also have an effect on the plant migration. The northward drift of the Tarim Plate led to the elevation of the plate and the cooling of climate there. As a result, the Euramerican flora of the plate was replaced by the exotic flora during the Permian. The northward drift of theTarim Plate is thought to be the principal impetus to the floral provincial succession of the plate. The Permian dry climate inthe northern hemisphere and the plant migration might have played positive roles in this succession. The whole floral succession of the Tarim Plate from the Euramerican stage to the Angara stage as described in this paper was recorded in the Permian deposits. The Permian floral succession of the Tarim Plate was controlled by the tectonic setting then and reflected the corresponding history of the plate drift. Three developing stages of the floral succession of the Tarim Plate have been recognized, viz.,①the Euramerican flora stage (Asselian-Roadian);②the Euramerican and Angara mixed flora stage (Wordian-Early Wuchiapingian);③the Angara flora stage (Middle-Late Wuchiapingian-Changhsingian).%塔里木板块二叠纪的构造演化导致板块古地理位置、古地貌和古环境的演变(包括气候条件的改变),相应地塔里木板块的植物群在区系性质方面发

  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. 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.

  7. 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…

  8. A review of the tectonic evolution of the Northern Pacific and adjacent Cordilleran Orogen

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jakob, Johannes; Gaina, Carmen; Johnston, Stephen T.

    2014-05-01

    Numerous plate kinematic models for the North Pacific realm have been developed since the advent of plate tectonics in the early seventies (e.g Atwater (1970), Mammerickx and Sharman (1988)). Although published kinematic models are consistent with the broad scale features of the North Pacific, the link between plate motions and the evolution of the North American Cordillera remains poorly understood. Part of the problem lies in conflicting interpretations of geological versus paleomagnetic data sets, with the result being a lack of consensus regarding: the paleolocation of key geological units; the paleogeography of terrane formation and amalgamation; the motion, boundaries and even existence of oceanic plates; and the character (e.g. trend of subduction) and position of plate boundaries within the northern Pacific basin. Remnants of the Farallon and Kula plates, and some short-lived microplates, demonstrate the complicated tectonic evolution of the oceanic realm west of the North American margin (e.g. Rea and Dixon (1983); McCrory and Wilson (2013); Shephard et al. (2013)). The creation and destruction of major tectonic plates and microplates has presumably left a record in the Cordilleran orogen of western North America. However, working backward from the geological relationships to plate reconstructions remains difficult. Here we investigate the relationship between the plate motions of the Pacific Ocean and the terrane movements in the North American Cordillera by revising the marine magnetic and gravity anomalies of the northern Pacific. In particular, we reevaluate plate boundaries at times of major changes in plate geometry of the Pacific, Kula, Chinook and Farallon plates from C34n onward. Our focus is also on the plate geometries of the Resurrection, Eshamy and Siletz-Crescent plates during the time between anomaly C26 and C12, and the links between plate interactions and on-shore tectonic events recorded in the geological record of Vancouver Island

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. Volcanism and Tectonic Evolution in the North Qilian Mountains during Ordovician Period

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    1998-01-01

    The Ordovician marine volcanic rocks in the north Qilian mountains are discussed in this paper. According to geology, petrotectonic assemblage and geochemistry, a new model about plate tectonic evolution of the north Qilian mountains is set up. The Ordovician marine volcanic rocks in the north Qilian mountains which characterized by the geological features of tectonic melange of continent to continent collision underwent complicated tectonic movement, and can be classified into three main kinds of petrotectonic assemblages. During Ordovician period, north Qilian area was a polyisland ocean which consisted of three ocean basins separated by the middle microcontinental blocks.

  14. Tectonic Evolution of the Northern Continental Margin of North China Platform in Middle Proterozoic

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Xu Zhongyuan; Liu Zhenghong

    2000-01-01

    An orogenic belt developed in late middle Proterozoic in the northern margin of North China Plate extends from Inner Mongolia to Western Liaoning Province and Eastern Jilin Province. It is over 2000km long. The orogenic belt was formed by collision between North China Platform and Siberia Platform during the Rodinian Super- Continent period. From sedimentary formation, magmatic activity and crustal tectonic deformation, it is suggested that along the tectonic belt the paleocontinental margin experienced four stages of tectonic evolution in middle Proterozoic, they are: continental margin rift,passive continental margin, active continental margin and collisional orogenic stages.

  15. 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.

  16. Time constraints on the tectonic evolution of the eastern Sierras Pampeanas (Central Argentina)

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Siegesmund, Siegfried; Steenken, A; Martino, R D

    2010-01-01

    cycle in the neighbouring Sierra de San Luis and has not affected the titanite ages. The PTt evolution can be correlated with the plate tectonic processes responsible for the formation of the Pampean orogene, i.e., the accretion of the Pampean basement to the Río de La Plata craton (M2) and the later...

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.…

  20. 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.…

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. Relief Evolution in Tectonically Active Mountain Ranges

    Science.gov (United States)

    Whipple, Kelin X.

    2004-01-01

    The overall aims of this 3-yr project, as originally proposed were to: (1) investigate quantitatively the roles of fluvial and glacial erosion in the evolution of relief in mountainous regions, and (2) test rigorously the quality and accuracy of SRTM topographic data in areas of rugged relief - both the most challenging and of greatest interest to geomorphic, neotectonic, and hazards applications. Natural laboratories in both the western US and the Southern Alps of New Zealand were identified as most promising. The project has been both successful and productive, despite the fact that no SRTM data for our primary field sites in New Zealand were released on the time frame of the work effort. Given the delayed release of SRTM data, we pursued the scientific questions of the roles of fluvial and, especially, glacial erosion in the evolution of relief in mountainous regions using available digital elevation models (DEMs) for the Southern Alps of New Zealand (available at both 25m and 50m pixel sizes), and USGS 10m and 30m DEMs within the Western US. As emphasized in the original proposal, we chose the emphasis on the role of glacial modification of topographic relief because there has been little quantitative investigation of glacial erosion processes at landscape scale. This is particularly surprising considering the dramatic sculpting of most mid- and high-latitude mountain ranges, the prodigious quantities of glacially-derived sediment in terrestrial and marine basins, and the current cross-disciplinary interest in the role of denudational processes in orogenesis and the evolution of topography in general. Moreover, the evolution of glaciated landscapes is not only a fundamental problem in geomorphology in its own right, but also is at the heart of the debate over Late Cenozoic linkages between climate and tectonics.

  4. Tectonic Characteristics and Evolution of Bohai Bay Basin, China

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    LIU Pengju; ZHANG Meisheng; SUN Xiaomeng; YANG Baojun

    2002-01-01

    Synthetical analyzing the deep geophysical data within Bohai bay basin the authors detect the deep crustal structure presenting high geothermal flux, thinned crust and arched Moho discontinuity, and the basin basement belongs to rigid continental crust. The development of the basin was controlled by two - dimensional faults in NNE and NWW directions. The tectonic units of the basin can be subdivided into three structural divisions: the east, middle and west division. The basin is considered as a continental rift. The tectonic background and regional right - lateral stress field during the late Cretaceous and Paleogene were a compound result of the Kula Plate W - directional subducting under Eurasia Continental Plate in 80 ~ 74Ma and the Philippine sea Plate W -directional subducting under the Eurasia Continental Plate since 60Ma, the long-rang effect of the India Continental Plate wedging into the Eurasia Continental Plate and of the Siberia Plate SE - directional relatively moving.

  5. 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.

  6. Post-Jurassic tectonic evolution of Southeast Asia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zahirovic, Sabin; Seton, Maria; Dietmar Müller, R.; Flament, Nicolas

    2014-05-01

    The accretionary growth of Asia, linked to long-term convergence between Eurasia, Gondwana-derived blocks and the Pacific, resulted in a mosaic of terranes for which conflicting tectonic interpretations exist. Here, we propose solutions to a number of controversies related to the evolution of Sundaland through a synthesis of published geological data and plate reconstructions that reconcile both geological and geophysical constraints with plate driving forces. We propose that West Sulawesi, East Java and easternmost Borneo rifted from northern Gondwana in the latest Jurassic, collided with an intra-oceanic arc at ~115 Ma and subsequently sutured to Sundaland by 80 Ma. Although recent models argue that the Southwest Borneo core accreted to Sundaland at this time, we use volcanic and biogeographic constraints to show that the core of Borneo was on the Asian margin since at least the mid Jurassic. This northward transfer of Gondwana-derived continental fragments required a convergent plate boundary in the easternmost Tethys that we propose gave rise to the Philippine Archipelago based on the formation of latest Jurassic-Early Cretaceous supra-subduction zone ophiolites on Halmahera, Obi Island and Luzon. The Late Cretaceous marks the shift from Andean-style subduction to back-arc opening on the east Asian margin. Arc volcanism along South China ceased by ~60 Ma due to the rollback of the Izanagi slab, leading to the oceanward migration of the volcanic arc and the opening of the Proto South China Sea (PSCS). We use the Apennines-Tyrrhenian system in the Mediterranean as an analogue to model this back-arc. Continued rollback detaches South Palawan, Mindoro and the Semitau continental blocks from the stable east Asian margin and transfers them onto Sundaland in the Eocene to produce the Sarawak Orogeny. The extrusion of Indochina and subduction polarity reversal along northern Borneo opens the South China Sea and transfers the Dangerous Grounds-Reed Bank southward to

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. The Pattern and Evolution of the Permian Palaeobiogeography and Tectonic Palaeogeography in Jilin and Heilongjiang Orogenic Belt

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Peng Xiangdong; Li Xiaomin; Liu Pengju

    2000-01-01

    The orogenic belt locates between the North China plate and Siberia plate. The Permian palaeobiogeography and tectonic palaeogeography changed quickly and clearly. The line from Changchun to Yanji is an important palaeobiogeographic provincing line, which may be the collission suture belt of the North China plate and north middle massifs. The orogenic belt has been divided into 2 regions: the North middle massif region and the North Margin of North China plate, the pattern and evolution of Permian palaeobiogeography in the present area were discussed and the Permian biota mixture and its significants were analysed. Then, Based on the above, the Permian tectonic palaeogeography of the orogenic belt is reconstructed.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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 ...

  16. Alpine tectonics and rotation pole evolution of Iberia

    Science.gov (United States)

    de Jong, Koen

    1990-12-01

    The geological evolution of the Betic Cordilleras and Pyrenees reflects the Cretaceous and Tertiary rotation pole and kinematic evolution of the Iberian and African plates. New constraints on the Alpine tectonic evolution of the Iberian plate are provided by P- T- t data and regionally consistent stretching lineations from the metamorphic parts of the Betic Cordilleras. High-pressure low-temperature metamorphism in the Betic Cordilleras resulted from continent-continent collision which caused subduction to a maximum depth of 37 km. A preliminary 116 ± 10 Ma radiometric age for this event corresponds to the initiation of seafloor spreading to the west of Iberia which lasted until about 80 Ma. Intracontinental thrusting in the Betics between 99 Ma and 83 Ma took place after subduction ended. E-W to ESE-WNW trending stretching lineations indicate the direction of thrusting, which resulted in extensional strains of 200-600%. The timing of thrusting in the Betics coincides with a 95-80 Ma tectonic phase in northern Africa, during which E-W stretching lineations were formed. The stretching lineations are coincident with the 110-80 Ma motion vector of Africa-Iberia with respect to Eurasia. Thrusting in the Betics and deformation in northern Africa was driven by convergence of Africa-Iberia and Eurasia. Cretaceous deformation is further recorded by terrigeneous sedimentation in the Mauritanian Flysch and by the tectosedimentary evolution of the Malaguide Complex. Crustal thinning, magmatism and metamorphism in the Pyrenees during the 110-85 Ma period is governed by a left-lateral strike-slip of Africa-Iberia with respect to Eurasia around the same rotation pole as thrusting in the Betics. During the 80-54 Ma period the rotation pole was situated west of Gibraltar, near the previous active collision zone. This inhibited large-scale overthrusting and related penetrative deformation in northern Africa and the Betic Cordilleras. Deformation was instead transferred to the

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. The Records of the Tectonic Evolution From the Volcanics in Qiangtang Basin, Tibet

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    He Zhonghua; Yang Deming; Li Cai; Pu Zhongyu

    2000-01-01

    The volcanism in Qiangtang Basin is very frequent due to the divergence and subduction of the various plates. The study indicates that these volcanics are formed in different tectonic settings: 1 )Hercynian volcanics are mainly basalts and are formed in the intraplate and intercontinental rift. 2 ) Indosinian volcanics markedly vary in the distribution and composition and reflect transitional MORB and island are environments respectively. 3) Yanshanian volcanics consist predominantly of basalts, andesites, dacites and rhyolites and are characterized by calc- alkaline volcanic suite, indicating island arc setting. 4)Himalayan volcanics are complicated and associated with intraplate orogency. The volcanism provides important tectonic information for recognizing the evolution of Qiangtang Basin.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. How do Early Impacts Modulate the Tectonic, Magnetic and Climatic Evolutions of Terrestrial Planets?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jellinek, M.; Jackson, M. G.; Lenardic, A.; Weller, M. B.

    2015-12-01

    The landmark discovery showing that the 142Nd/144Nd ratio of the accessible modern terrestrial mantle is greater than ordinary-chondrites has remarkable implications for the formation, as well as the geodynamic, magnetic and climatic histories of Earth. If Earth is derived from ordinary chondrite precursors, mass balance requires that a missing reservoir with 142Nd/144Nd lower than ordinary chondrites was isolated from the accessible mantle within 20-30 Myr following accretion. Critically for Earth evolution, this reservoir hosts the equivalent of the modern continents' budget of radioactive heat-producing elements (U, Th and K). If this reservoir was lost to space through mechanical erosion by early impactors, the planet's radiogenic heat generation is 18-45% lower than chondrite-based compositional estimates. Recent geodynamic calculations suggest that this reduced heat production will favor the emergence of Earth-like plate tectonics. However, parameterized thermal history calculations favor a relatively recent transition from mostly Atlantic-sized plates to the current plate tectonic mode characterized predominantly by the subduction of Pacific-sized plates. Such a transition in the style of Earth's plate tectonics is also consistent with a delayed dynamo and an evolving rate of volcanic outgassing that ultimately favors Earth's long-term clement climate. By contrast, relatively enhanced radiogenic heat production related to a less early impact erosion reduces the likelihood of present day plate tectonics: A chondritic Earth has a stronger likelihood to evolve as a Venus-like planet characterized by potentially wild swings in tectonic and climatic regime. Indeed, differences in internal heat production related to varying extents of impact erosion may exert strong control over Earth's climate and explain aspects of the differences among the current climatic regimes of Earth, Venus and Mars.

  4. 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)

  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. 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.

  7. 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...

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. Surge-tectonic evolution of southeastern Asia: a geohydrodynamics approach

    Science.gov (United States)

    Meyerhoff, Arthur A.

    The repeated need for ad hoc modifications in plate-tectonic models to explain the evolution of southeastern Asia reveals their inability to fully explain the complex features and dynamics of this region. As one example, the hypothesis does not provide a mechanism to explain the 180° turns and twists along the strike of several foldbelts and island arcs in the region (e.g. Banda arc). Convection-cell configuration renders such 180° contortions and Rayleigh-Bénard-type convection impossible. However, during the last 10 years, new data bearing on the convection-cell problem have become available in the form of seismotomographic images of the earth's interior. These images show that (i) mantle diapirs as proposed by traditional plate-tectonic models do not exist; (ii) there is no discernible pattern of upper or lower mantle convection, and thus no longer an adequate mechanism to move plates; and (iii) the lithosphere above a depth of about 80 km is permeated by an interconnected network of low-velocity channels. Seismic-reflection studies of the low-velocity channels discovered on the seismotomographic images reveal that these channels have walls with a 7.1-7.8 km s -1 P-wave velocity. Commonly, the interiors of the channels are acoustically transparent, with much slower P-wave velocities, in places as low as 5.4 km s -1. The author and co-workers have interpreted the low velocities as evidence for the presence of partial melt in the channels, and they postulated that this melt moves preferentially eastward as a result of the earth's rotation. They named these channels "surge channels" and their new hypothesis for earth dynamics "surge tectonics". Surge channels underlie every type of tectonic belt, which includes mid-ocean ridges, aseismic ridges, continental rifts, strike-slip fracture zones, and foldbelts. In southeastern Asia, surge channels—mainly foldbelts—lie between all platform and cratonic massifs. These massifs, platforms, and tectonics belts

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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...

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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...

  20. 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.

  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. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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...

  6. 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.

  7. Syn-kinematic palaeogeographic evolution of the West European Platform: correlation with Alpine plate collision and foreland deformation

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Sissingh, W.

    Sequence stratigraphic correlations indicate that intermittent changes of the kinematic far-field stress-field regimes, and the associated geodynamic re-organisations at the plate-tectonic contacts of the African, Apulian, Iberian and European plates, affected the Tertiary palaeogeographic evolution

  8. Evolution of the Mariana Convergent Plate Margin System

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fryer, Patricia

    1996-02-01

    The Mariana convergent plate margin system of the western Pacific provides opportunities for studying the tectonic and geochemical processes of intraoceanic plate subduction without the added complexities of continental geology. The system's relative geologic simplicity and the well-exposed sections of lithosphere in each of its tectonic provinces permit in situ examination of processes critical to understanding subduction tectonics. Its general history provides analogs to ancient convergent margin terranes exposed on land and helps to explain the chemical mass balance in convergent plate margins. The Mariana convergent margin's long history of sequential formation of volcanic arcs and extensional back arc basins has created a series of volcanic arcs at the eastern edge of the Philippine Sea plate. The trenchward edge of the overriding plate has a relatively sparse sediment cover. Rocks outcropping on the trench's inner slope are typical of the early formed suprasubduction zone's lithosphere and have been subjected to various processes related to its tectonic history. Pervasive forearc faulting has exposed crust and upper mantle lithosphere. Many large serpentinized peridotite seamounts are within 100 km of the trench axis. From these we can learn the history of regional metamorphism and observe and sample active venting of slab fluids. Ocean drilling recovered suprasubduction zone lava sequences erupted since the Eocene that suggest that the forearc region remains volcanologically dynamic. Seismic studies and seafloor mapping show evidence of deformation throughout forearc evolution. Large portions of uplifted southern forearc are exposed at the larger islands. Active volcanoes at the base of the eastern boundary fault of the Mariana Trough vary in size and composition along strike and record regional differences in source composition. Their locations along strike of the arc are controlled in part by cross-arc structures that also facilitate formation of submarine

  9. Tertiary tectonic and sedimentological evolution of the South Carpathians foredeep: tectonic vs eustatic control

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Rabagia, T. [Prospectiuni S.A., Hydrocarbon Div., Bucharest (Romania); Matenco, L. [Bucharest Univ., Faculty of Geology and Geophysics, Bucharest (Romania)

    1999-11-01

    A detailed seismic sequence stratigraphy study based on the dense network of seismic profiles is integrated with structural observations from interpreted geological sections to derive a tectonic and sedimentological model for the Miocene-Pliocene evolution of the South Carpathians foredeep (Getic Depression). Following Paleogene and older orogenic phases, the first tectonic event which affected the studied areas was characterised by Early Miocene large scale extension to transtension which is responsible for the opening of the Getic Depression as a dextral pull-apart basin. Further Middle Miocene contraction caused WNW-ESE oriented thrusts and associated piggy-back basins. The last tectonic episode recognised in the studied areas relates to general transpressive deformations during the Late Miocene-Early Pliocene interval, a first NW-SE oriented dextral episode is followed by second N-S sinistral deformations. The detailed sequence stratigraphy study allows for the definition of the dominant tectonic control of the sedimentary sequences in foreland basins. A eustatic control may be associated, but has a clear subordinated character. (Author)

  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. 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.

  12. The tectonic evolution of the eastern Himalaya syntaxis since the collision of the Indian and Eurasian plates%印度与欧亚板块碰撞以来东喜马拉雅构造结的演化

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    丁林; 钟大赉

    2013-01-01

    Based on the field mapping, structures measuring and pre-studies reviewing in these areas, this paper identify and describe the major thrust faults, normal faults and strike-slip faults, anticlines ( antiforms ) and synclines ( synforms) , then discuss the relationship of their structural positions with the dentation of the Indian plate and rotation of the Indochina block, and how these structures accommodated for the Indian plate, which continued to push northward into the eastern Himalayan syntaxis. The eastern Himalayan syntaxis is composed of three syntaxises which gradually changed younger from north to south, such as the NE direction Namjag-Barwa anticline, the NW trending Siang syntaxis in the middle and the NE Asam syncline. These three tectonics result from the dentation of the NE Indian plate, the extension of the Himalayan arc and the rotation of the Indochina block. The Namjag-Barwa pop-up structure was formed in the center of the Namja-Barwa syntaxis with the dentation of the High Himalayan crystalline rock basement into the Gangdes Arc under the coordination of the Pai and Aniqiao strike-slip faults. In the NW side of Namjag-Barwa within Gangdese Arc, because of the tilting uplift and gravity sliding, the Gangdese cover was decoupled with the crystalline basement along Dongjiu detachment fault,and the hingwall of the fault slide to the NW direction. In the NE side of the Namjag-Barwa syntaxis within the Eurasian continent, due to the extrusion and rotation of the Indochina block, a series of NW trending strike-slip faults was formatted, such as Sagaing fault, Jiali-Gaoligpng fault,Lanchang river fault and Red river fault.%在野外填图,构造观察及前人研究的基础上,本文识别并描述了东喜马拉雅构造结中的推覆断裂、正断裂及走滑断裂、背斜(形)和向斜(形)等构造类型,讨论了这些构造位置及与印度板块挤入,印支地块旋转的关系,还探讨了东喜马拉雅构造结对印度板块持续向

  13. 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...

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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…

  20. 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…

  1. 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

  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. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  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. Mesozoic and Cenozoic tectonic evolution of the Longmenshan fault belt

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    WANG; ErChie

    2009-01-01

    The giant earthquake(Ms=8.0) in Wenchuan on May 12,2008 was triggered by oblique convergence between the Tibetan Plateau and the South China along the Longmenshan fault belt.The Longmenshan fault belt marks an important component of the tectonic and geomorphological boundary between the eastern and western part of China and has a protracted tectonic history.It was first formed as an intracontinental transfer fault,patitioning the differential deformation between the Pacific and Tethys tectonic domains,initiated in late Paleozoic-early Mesozoic time,then served as the eastern boundary of the Tibetan Plateau to accommodate the growth of the plateau in Cenozoic.Its current geological and geomorphological frameworks are the result of superimposition of these two tectonic events.In Late Triassic,the Longmenshan underwent left-slip oblique NW-SE shortening due to the clockwise rotation of the Yangtze Block,which led to the flexural subsidence of the Sichuan foreland basin,but after that,the subsidence of the Sichuan Basin seems no longer controlled by the tectonic activity of the Longmenshan fault belt.The Meosozoic tectonic evolution of the Songpan-Ganzi fold belt differs significantly compared with that of the Yangtze Platform,featured by intensive northeast and southwest shortening and resulted in the close of the Paleo-Tethys.Aerial photos taken immediately after main shock of the giant May 12,2008 earthquake have documented extensive rock fall and landslides that represent one of the most destructive aspects of the earthquake.Both rock avalanches and landslides delivered a huge volume of debris into the middle part of the Minjiang River,and formed many dammed lakes.Breaching of these natural dams can be catastrophic,as occurred in the Diexi area along the upstream of the Minjiang River in the year of 1933 that led to devastating floodings.The resultant flood following the breaching of these dams flowed through and out of the Longmenshan belt into the Chengdu Plain

  11. Mesozoic and Cenozoic tectonic evolution of the Longmenshan fault belt

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    WANG ErChie; MENG QingRen

    2009-01-01

    The giant earthquake (MS=8.0) in Wenchuan on May 12, 2008 was triggered by oblique convergence between the Tibetan Plateau and the South China along the Longmenshan fault belt. The Longmenshan fault belt marks an important component of the tectonic and geomorphological boundary between the eastern and western part of China and has a protracted tectonic history. It was first formed as an intracontinental transfer fault, patitioning the differential deformation between the Pacific and Tethys tectonic domains, initiated in late Paleozoic-early Mesozoic time, then served as the eastern boundary of the Tibetan Plateau to accommodate the growth of the plateau in Cenozoic. Its current geological and geomorphological frameworks are the result of superimposition of these two tectonic events. In Late Triassic, the Longmenshan underwent left-slip oblique NW-SE shortening due to the clockwise rotation of the Yangtze Block, which led to the flexural subsidence of the Sichuan foreland basin, but after that, the subsidence of the Sichuan Basin seems no longer controlled by the tectonic activity of the Longmenshan fault belt. The Meosozoic tectonic evolution of the Songpan-Ganzi fold belt differs significantly compared with that of the Yangtze Platform, featured by intensive northeast and southwest shortening and resulted in the close of the Paleo-Tethys. Aerial photos taken immediately after main shock of the giant May 12, 2008 earthquake have documented extensive rock fall and landslides that represent one of the most destructive aspects of the earthquake. Both rock avalanches and landslides delivered a huge volume of debris into the middle part of the Minjiang River, and formed many dammed lakes. Breaching of these natural dams can be catastrophic, as occurred in the Diexi area along the upstream of the Minjiang River in the year of 1933 that led to devastating floodings. The resultant flood following the breaching of these dams flowed through and out of the Longmenshan belt

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. Andean subduction orogeny: feedbacks between tectonics, relief evolution and global climate

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lacassin, Robin; Armijo, Rolando; Coudurier-Curveur, Aurélie; Carrizo, Daniel

    2016-04-01

    The Andean subduction margin, largest tectonic relief on the Earth (13 km vertically from the trench to the Altiplano) has a stepped morphology, which results of the evolution over the past 50 Myr of two parallel flat-ramp thrust systems, at the - previously unidentified - West Andean Thrust (WAT), and at the subduction interface. The evolution of those thrusts appears concomitant with increasing aridity in the Atacama Desert, which keeps a large-scale record of interplaying tectonics and Cenozoic climate change. The coastal morphology is dominated by the Atacama Bench, a giant uplifted terrace at 1-2km asl. Geomorphic and climatic data, numerical experiments of drainage formation are consistent with the development of a flat Atacama morphology close to sea level, interrupted at ≤10 Ma by tectonic uplift prevailing to the present. This suggests recent trench-ward relief growth by incorporation of the coastal Atacama Bench to the Andes reliefs. Thrust splay structures and other complexities above the subduction interface may explain this relief growth, as well as the distribution of asperities under the oceanward forearc, and the down-dip segmentation of coupling and seismicity on the megathrust. Combining those results with geological knowledge at the scale of the whole Central Andes, we show that the Andean orogeny results from protracted processes of bivergent crustal shortening in a wide region squeezed between the rigid Marginal Block and the S America Plate. The overall growth curve of Andean orogeny over the past 50 Myr appears synchronous with the onset of the "ramp-shaped" temperature decrease since the Early Eocene climatic optimum. Andean growth and global cooling may have operated under the same forcing mechanism at plate-scale, involving viscous flow in the mantle. But Andean growth appears modulated by climatic feedbacks causative of stepwise reductions of erosive power over the Andean margin. The first of such events is coeval with Late Eocene

  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. 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

  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. Multi-phase structural and tectonic evolution of the Andaman Sea Region

    Science.gov (United States)

    Masterton, Sheona; Hill, Catherine; Sagi, David Adam; Webb, Peter; Sevastjanova, Inga

    2017-04-01

    opening of the South China Sea to the east. Consequently, the obliquity of plate convergence along this margin increased, ultimately resulting in a change from minor strain partitioning to hyper oblique convergence and full strain partitioning by the mid-Miocene. Investigation into the effects of slab-steepening and dynamic subsidence in the Indochina region could be used as further tests of our proposed tectonic evolution of the Andaman Sea.

  20. Tectonic and stratigraphic evolution in South Alboran Sea (Morocco)

    Science.gov (United States)

    D'Acremont, E.; Gorini, C.; El Abbassi, M.; Farran, M.; Leroy, S.; Mercier De Lepinay, B. F.; Migeon, S.; Poort, J.; Ammar, A.; Smit, J.; Ercilla, G.; Alonso, B.; Scientific Team of the Marlboro project

    2011-12-01

    The Alboran Basin, in western Mediterranean, concentrates on a relatively small surface and densely-populated, a large structural complexity linked to seismic activity with recurrent mass-transport deposits that may trigger tsunamis. It was formed by Oligo-Miocene extension while tectonic inversion occurred since the Late Miocene (Tortonian) due to the African-European collision. This North-South compression produces a conjugated fault system located in the central area from Al Hoceima to Andalusia. Numerous instabilities are linked to the recent and present-day seismic activity and show the link between seismicity and erosion-sedimentation processes. On the Andalusia margin the active structures have been identified and recently mapped in detail by using MBES data (including backscatter), and high-resolution seismic data. Such detailed studies have not yet been carried out on the Moroccan margin. The Marlboro-1 oceanographic cruise (R/V Côtes de la Manche, July 2011) has imaged and constrained active structures and associated sedimentary systems through seismic reflection data (MCS). The Xauen/Tofino banks (growth folds), the Alboran Ridge, and the Al Hoceima basin offshore Morocco have been selected because they constitute key-study areas that record a complete deformation history since the Tortonian. Active features including faults, growth folds, channels, mass transport deposits, contourites and volcanoes has provided first order tectonic and sedimentary markers of the basin's evolution. A high chrono-stratigraphical resolution will constitute the basis for reconstructing the evolution of this tectonically active area marked by strong seismic activity. The Marlboro-1 cruise will allow determining key-study area of the Marlboro-2 cruise scheduled for 2012 (R/V Téthys-II, CNFC Call). These cruises should allow for the acquisition of data necessary to characterize basin morphology, active tectonic and sedimentary structures and also make the link with existing

  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. Tectonic escape in the evolution of the continental crust

    Science.gov (United States)

    Burke, K.; Sengor, C.

    1986-01-01

    The continental crust originated by processes similar to those operating today and continents consist of material most of which originated long ago in arc-systems that have later been modified, especially at Andean margins and in continental collisions where crustal thickening is common. Collision-related strike-slip motion is a general process in continental evolution. Because buoyant continental (or arc) material generally moves during collision toward a nearby oceanic margin where less buoyant lithosphere crops out, the process of major strike-slip dominated motion toward a 'free-face' is called 'tectonic escape'. Tectonic escape is and has been an element in continental evolution throughout recorded earth-history. It promotes: (1) rifting and the formation of rift-basins with thinning of thickened crust; (2) pervasive strike-slip faulting late in orogenic history which breaks up mountain belts across strike and may juxtapose unrelated sectors in cross-section; (3) localized compressional mountains and related foreland-trough basins.

  5. 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.

  6. ERTS-1, earthquakes, and tectonic evolution in Alaska

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gedney, L.; Vanwormer, J.

    1974-01-01

    In comparing seismicity patterns in Alaska with ERTS-1 imagery, it is striking to see the frequency with which earthquake epicenters fall on, or near, lineaments visible on the imagery. Often these lineaments prove to be tectonics faults which have been mapped in the field. But equally as often, existing geologic and tectonic maps show no evidence of these features. The remoteness and inaccessibility of most of Alaska is responsible, in large part, for the inadequacy of the mapping. ERTS-1 imagery is filling a vital need in providing much of the missing information, and is pointing out many areas of potential earthquake hazard. Earthquakes in central and south-central Alaska result when the northeastern corner of the north Pacific lithospheric plate underthrusts the continent. North of Mt. McKinley, the seismicity is continental in nature and of shallow origin, with earthquakes occurring on lineaments, and frequently at intersections of lineaments. The shallower events tend to align themselves with lineaments visible on the imagery.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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

    (Dziewonski and Anderson, 1981). We found the unfolded length of the Nazca slab is 7000km at 5°N and gradually decreases to 4700 km at 30°S, with total area of ~24×10e6 km2. Finally, we imported our unfolded Nazca slab into Gplates software to reconstruct its tectonic evolution, using the Seton et al. (2012) and Gibbons et al. (2015) global plate model. We find that our unfolded base of the Nazca slab fits tightly against South America at ~80 Ma if the pre-deformed South America margin of McQuarrie (2002) is used. This close fit implies a plate reorganization at the South American margin, marking the beginning of Nazca subduction at ~80 Ma. This observation is in agreement with a beginning of Andian magmatism ~80 Ma, following a 80-100 Ma hiatus in magmatism (Haschke et al., 2002). This result illustrates the importance of subducted-slab constraints in convergent plate-tectonic reconstruction. Our study also provides tracers for mantle flow yielding Nazca slab sinking rates between 1.2 cm/yr and 1.6 cm/yr, which are similar to other global results.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. Tectonic evolution of the East Junggar terrane, CAOB

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xu, Xing-Wang

    2016-04-01

    Taheir tectonic window and its host, the Yemaquan magmatic arc, changed from Andean-type continental arc to continental island arc after the intra-arc rifting that began at 432 Ma. Moreover, we found mafic layered intrusions, a syn-collisional quartz diorite, andesitic tuffs overlying the ophiolitic melange, a late-collisional granodiorite and a post-collisional granitic porphyry in the Zhifang ophiolite belt between the East Junggar terrane and Junggar block. Our new SIMS zircon U-Pb data suggest that the West Hill ophiolitic melange in the Zhifang area contains segments of the 371 Ma MORB-type layered rocks and 363 Ma oceanic islands, which were intruded by the 348 Ma syn-collisional quartz diorites. The ophiolitic melange and 348 Ma syn-collisional quartz diorites are overlain by the 342 Ma andesitic tuffs. The 342 Ma andesitic tuffs and successive 332 Ma granodiorites-gabbro were formed at late-collisional setting, whereas the 314 Ma granitic porphyry at post-collisional setting. We suggest that the Junggar Ocean in the Zhifang area was opened before 371 Ma and 363 Ma, and possibly closed before 348 Ma. Collision between the East Junggar terrane and Junggar block occurred at 343-348 Ma in the Kalamaili-Zhifang area, the 344 Ma Hongliuxia ductile shear zone (Wu et al., 2012) was formed at syn-collisional process. On the basis of the new evidence, the tectonic regime of the East Junggar terrane is redefined and a new model is proposed. It is suggested that the East Junggar terrane is related to the southward subduction of the Paleo-Asian ocean plate beneath the Junggar continent in the early Paleozoic and later shift to intra-oceanic subduction. Collision between the East Junggar terrane and Junggar block occurred at 343-348 Ma.

  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. Tectonic and sedimentary evolution of Bransfield Basin, Antarctica

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Jeffers, J.D.; Thomas, M.A.; Anderson, J.B.

    1988-01-01

    The Bransfield basin is the youngest and best developed of a series of extensional marginal basins on the Pacific margin of the Antarctic Peninsular. Marine geophysical data collected over five seasons show that the back arc is segmented laterally into three subbasins separated by transform zones. These subbasins differ in width, depth, structural style, and seisimicity and are correlated with three different age segments of subducted sea floor. The distribution of principal sedimentary environments, identified from high-resolution seismic reflection data, and their associated lithofacies, seen in piston cores and surface sediment samples, is controlled largely by the tectonic segmentation of the basins. Terrigenous sediments prograde into the basin from the continent side, whereas sediment gravity-flow processes deliver volcaniclastic material from the arc to slope-base aprons and to fan lobes at the outlets of fiords. Organic-rich muds fill the deep basin; their proximity to submarine volcanic centers produces thermogenic hydrocarbons. Understanding the recent tectonic and sedimentary evolution of the Bransfield basin may help refine interpretations of the older deformed marginal basin sequences of southern South America, the Scotia Arc, and the Antarctic Peninsula.

  19. 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.

  20. Earthquake-related Tectonic Deformation of Soft-sediments and Its Constraints on Basin Tectonic Evolution

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    LU Hongbo; ZHANG Yuxu; ZHANG Qiling; XIAO Jiafei

    2006-01-01

    The authors introduced two kinds of newly found soft-sediment deformation-syn-sedimentary extension structure and syn-sedimentary compression structure, and discuss their origins and constraints on basin tectonic evolution. One representative of the syn-sedimentary extension structure is syn-sedimentary boudinage structure, while the typical example of the syn-sedimentary compression structure is compression sand pillows or compression wrinkles. The former shows NW-SE-trending contemporaneous extension events related to earthquakes in the rift basin near a famous Fe-Nb-REE deposit in northern China during the Early Paleozoic (or Mesoproterozoic as proposed by some researches), while the latter indicates NE-SW-trending contemporaneous compression activities related to earthquakes in the Middle Triassic in the Nanpanjiang remnant basin covering south Guizhou, northwestern Guangxi and eastern Yunnan in southwestern China. The syn-sedimentary boudinage structure was found in an earthquake slump block in the lower part of the Early Paleozoic Sailinhudong Group, 20 km to the southeast of Bayan Obo, Inner Mongolia, north of China. The slump block is composed of two kinds of very thin layers-pale-gray micrite (microcrystalline limestone) of 1-2 cm thick interbedded with gray muddy micrite layers with the similar thickness. Almost every thin muddy micrite layer was cut into imbricate blocks or boudins by abundant tiny contemporaneous faults, while the interbedded micrite remain in continuity. Boudins form as a response to layer-parallel extension (and/or layer-perpendicular flattening) of stiff layers enveloped top and bottom by mechanically soft layers. In this case, the imbricate blocks cut by the tiny contemporaneous faults are the result of abrupt horizontal extension of the crust in the SE-NW direction accompanied with earthquakes. Thus, the rock block is, in fact, a kind of seismites. The syn-sedimentary boudins indicate that there was at least a strong earthquake

  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. Tectonic geomorphological characteristics for evolution of the Manas Lake

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2010-01-01

    Owing to global climatic changes and human activities,the lakes have changed dramatically in the Junggar Basin of Xinjiang in recent 50 years. Based on the remote sensing images from Beijing Satellite No.1 in 2006 together with the measured topographical data in 1999 and other data since the 1950s,this paper analyzes mainly the features of landforms around the Manas Lake and the changes of feeding sources of the lake. The results are as follows:(1) Tectonic movement brought about the fundamental geomorphological basis for lacustrine evolution,and the Manas Lake is one of small lakes broken up from the Old Manas Lake due to tectonic movement and drought climate; the Manas Lake had existed before the Manas River flowed into it in 1915. The geomorphologic evidences for evolution of the Manas Lake include:(a) Diluvial fans and old channels at the north of the lake indicate that the rivers originating from the north mountains of the Junggar Basin had fed the Old Manas Lake and now still feed the lake as seasonal rivers; (b) The Old Manas Lake was fed by many rivers originating from the mountains,except for the Manas River,from the evidence of small lakes around the Manas Lake,old channels,alluvial fans,etc.; (c) The elevations of the alluvial and diluvial fans are near to the 280 m a.s.l. and all of the small lakes and lacustrine plains are within the range of the 280 m a.s.l.,which may prove that the elevation of the Old Manas Lake was about 280 m a.s.l.; (d) Core analysis of the Manas Lake area also indicates that the Manas Lake has existed since Late Pleistocene epoch. (2) Analysis on the feeding relations between the lakes and the lacustrine evolution shows that human activities are one of main driving forces of the lacustrine evolution in recent 50 years,and it is the precondition of restoring and maintaining the lacutrine wetlands in the study area to satisfy the feeding of the Baiyang and Manas rivers to the Manas Lake.

  3. 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...

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Tectonic, magmatic, and metallogenic evolution of the Late Cretaceous arc in the Carpathian-Balkan orogen

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gallhofer, Daniela; Quadt, Albrecht von; Peytcheva, Irena; Schmid, Stefan M.; Heinrich, Christoph A.

    2015-09-01

    The Apuseni-Banat-Timok-Srednogorie Late Cretaceous magmatic arc in the Carpathian-Balkan orogen formed on the European margin during closure of the Neotethys Ocean. It was subsequently deformed into a complex orocline by continental collisions. The Cu-Au mineralized arc consists of geologically distinct segments: the Apuseni, Banat, Timok, Panagyurishte, and Eastern Srednogorie segments. New U-Pb zircon ages and geochemical whole rock data for the Banat and Apuseni segments are combined with previously published data to reconstruct the original arc geometry and better constrain its tectonic evolution. Trace element and isotopic signatures of the arc magmas indicate a subduction-enriched source in all segments and variable contamination by continental crust. The magmatic arc was active for 25 Myr (~92-67 Ma). Across-arc age trends of progressively younger ages toward the inferred paleo-trench indicate gradual steepening of the subducting slab away from the upper plate European margin. This leads to asthenospheric corner flow in the overriding plate, which is recorded by decreasing 87Sr/86Sr (0.70577 to 0.70373) and increasing 143Nd/144Nd (0.51234 to 0.51264) ratios over time in some segments. The close spatial relationship between arc magmatism, large-scale shear zones, and related strike-slip sedimentary basins in the Timok and Pangyurishte segments indicates mild transtension in these central segments of the restored arc. In contrast, the Eastern Srednogorie segment underwent strong orthogonal intraarc extension. Segmental distribution of tectonic stress may account for the concentration of rich porphyry Cu deposits in the transtensional segments, where lower crustal magma storage and fractionation favored the evolution of volatile-rich magmas.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Evolution characteristics of Quaternary tectonic stress field in the north and east margin of Qinghai-Xizang plateau

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    1999-01-01

    By inversion of fault slip data for Quaternary tectonic stress field and the analysis of crustal deformation after late Teriary, we explained the evolution of crustal dynamic about the north and east margin of Qinghai-Xizang (Tibet) plateau since Miocene. From middle or late Miocene to early Pleistocene, the tectonic stress field was featured by a maximum principal compression which was coming from the collision of India Plate perpendicular to the boundary of the plateau, and was basically of reverse faulting type. Since the late period of early Pleistocene, India Plate continued to push northward and the compressional deformation of the plateau interior increased continuously, meanwhile, NW-SE extension appeared on the east side of the plateau. This formed a favorable condition for the interior block of the plateau to slide towards east and southeast, causing the faults surrounding the plateau to change from thrust to strike-slip. The contemporary tectonic stress field was formed from the late period of early Pleistocene and continued to present. The direction of maximum principal compressional stress rotated clockwise with respect to the previous tectonic stress field, the stress field was mainly of strike-slip type.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  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. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. The deformation and tectonic evolution of the Huahui Basin, northeast China, during the Cretaceous-Early Cenozoic

    Science.gov (United States)

    Huang, Shiqi; Dong, Shuwen; Zhang, Yueqiao; Zhang, Fuqin; Huang, Dezhi; Wei, Shi; Li, Zhenhong; Miao, Laicheng; Zhu, Mingshuai

    2015-12-01

    The Cretaceous Huahui basin lies along the Dunhua-Mishan fault (Dun-Mi fault), which is one of the northern branches of Tan-Lu fault in northeastern China. The study of the formation and the tectonic movements that took place in the basin can provide very important information for deciphering the tectonic evolution of northeastern China during Cretaceous-Early Cenozoic. The field analysis of fault-slip data collected from different units in the basin, demonstrates changes in the paleo-stress state that reveals a three-stage tectonic movement during the Cretaceous-Early Cenozoic. The earliest tectonic movement was NW-SE extension, which was responsible for the formation of the basin and sedimentary infilling during the Early Cretaceous. Dating of the andesite in the fill indicates it began during about 119.17 ± 0.80 Ma. The extensional structures formed in the Latest Early Cretaceous imply that this tectonic movement lasted until the beginning of the Late Cretaceous. The second stage began during the Late Cretaceous when the tectonic stress state changed and was dominated by NW-SE compression and NE-SW extension, which caused the inversion of the extensional basin. This compression folded the Early Cretaceous deposits and reactivated pre-existing faults and uplifted pre-existing granite in the basin. The strata and the unconformity in the basin shows that this compressive phase probably took place during the Late Cretaceous and ended in the Early Paleogene by a compressional regime with NE-SW compression and NW-SE extension that constitutes the third stage. The tectonic stress fields documented in the Huahui basin provide insight into the influences of plate tectonics on the crustal evolution of northeastern China during the Cretaceous to Early Cenozoic. These results show that the development of Huahui basin was controlled by the northwestward subduction of the paleo-Pacific plate during the Cretaceous, and later by the far-field effects of India-Asia collision in

  18. Tectonic Evolution of Mozambique Ridge in East African continental margin

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tang, Yong

    2017-04-01

    Tectonic Evolution of Mozambique Ridge in East African continental margin Yong Tang He Li ES.Mahanjane Second Institute of Oceanography,SOA,Hangzhou The East Africa passive continental margin is a depression area, with widely distributed sedimentary wedges from southern Mozambique to northern Somali (>6500km in length, and about 6km in thickness). It was resulted from the separation of East Gondwana, and was developed by three stages: (1) rifting in Early-Middle Jurassic; (2) spreading from Late Jurassic to Early Cretaceous; (3) drifting since the Cretaceous period. Tectonic evolution of the Mozambique continental margin is distinguished by two main settings separated by a fossil transform, the Davie Fracture Zone; (i) rifting and transform setting in the northern margin related to opening of the Somali and Rovuma basins, and (ii) rifting and volcanism setting during the opening of the Mozambique basin in the southern margin. 2D reflection seismic investigation of the crustal structure in the Zambezi Delta Depression, provided key piece of evidence for two rifting phases between Africa and Antarctica. The magma-rich Rift I phase evolved from rift-rift-rift style with remarkable emplacement of dyke swarms (between 182 and 170 Ma). Related onshore outcrops are extensively studied, the Karoo volcanics in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and South Africa, all part of the Karoo "triple-junction". These igneous bodies flow and thicken eastwards and are now covered by up to 5 km of Cretaceous and Tertiary sediments and recorded by seismic and oil exploration wells. Geophysical and geological data recorded during oceanographic cruises provide very controversial results regarding the nature of the Mozambique Ridge. Two conflicting opinions remains open, since the early expeditions to the Indian Ocean, postulating that its character is either magmatic (oceanic) or continental origin. We have carried out an China-Mozambique Joint Cruise(CMJC) on southern Mozambique Basin on 1st June to

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. Fault zone evolution in a Cenozoic inversion tectonic setting, SE Korea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kim, Young-Seog; Lee, Minjoo; Han, Seung-Rok

    2010-05-01

    The Korean peninsula has been considered as a tectonically safe region from earthquakes, because it is located in a stable margin of the Eurasian plate. However, more than 30 Quaternary faults have recently been reported from the southeastern part of the Korean peninsula. The studied fault zone is an N-S trending fault located in the northern extent of the Quaternary Eupcheon Fault, which composed of several fault gouges indicating multiple deformations. The fault zone (fault core) is exposed over 1 km long and the thickness is up to 2m. The fault gouge zone is composed of several different colored gouge bands. Well-exposed vertical and horizontal sections are analyzed so as to understand the characteristics of the fault and fault zone evolution. The analyzed kinematic indicators such as cleavages, lineations and slickenlines suggest that the fault underwent early normal slip under SE extension and was later reactivated under NNW compression resulting in inversion tectonics. Major fault zones do not cross-cut each other; instead, the fault gouges within the fault zone split and merge into other fault zones. Fault rocks developed in this fault zone show asymmetrical features including lens-shaped breccias blocks in gouge zones, and asymmetric distributions of grain size and fracture density, indicating mature fault system and asymmetric fault zone evolution. The hanging wall block of the fault shows relatively highly damaged fracture patterns indicating that the hanging wall is weaker than footwall. Therefore, detailed analysis of fault and fracture patterns, and characteristics of fault zones must be very useful in evaluation of fault zone evolution and characteristics of foundation.

  2. Tectonic Evolution and Petroleum Systems in the Junggar Basin

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    WANG Weifeng; CHEN Yequan

    2004-01-01

    The Junggar basin is located in the northern part of Xinjiang of China. It is part of the Kazakstan plate,surrounded by the Paleozoic folded mountains: the Halaart, Zayier and Chepaizi Mountains in the northwest, the Qingelidi and Karamaili Mountains in the northeast, and the Tianshan Mountains in the south. In different evolution stages, the basin's types are different, and the stratigraphy and deposition are also different. From the Carboniferous to Tertiary the basin has in turn gone through rift basin, collision foreland basin, intraplate depression basin and regenerated foreland basin. Based on an analysis of thermal evolution history and buried history of the source rocks, three major periods of oil generation are found in the basin. According to the characteristics of source rock distribution, evolution, oil-source correlation, structure and multi-phase and mixed pools, the Junggar basin could be divided into 4 composite petroleum systems. Due to the variation in sedimentary facies, difference in structural patterns and development histories, the petroleum pool-forming conditions in different areas and horizons are greatly different, so are the petroleum pool types,the accumulation mechanisms in different areas and horizons.

  3. 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.

  4. Constraints on the coupling between tectonics and landform evolution from numerical modelling, thermochronology and ensemble inference

    Science.gov (United States)

    Braun, J.

    2003-04-01

    In recent years much work has been devoted to improving our understanding of the coupling between surface processes, climate and tectonics. Thanks to improved computer power and state-of-the-art computational methods, numerical models of crustal deformation have been developed that allow for a fully-dynamical study of the coupling between tectonic processes and surface erosion in active mountain belts. These models have demonstrated that the large-scale morphology of orogenic belts may be strongly influenced by the nature and intensity of erosional processes which, in turn, are related to local climatic conditions. To properly understand this important feed back that arises from the large gravitational stresses generated by vertical movement of the Earth surface, we must obtain constraints on (a) the rate at which surface processes operate and (b) how rapidly tectonics processes adjust to temporal variations in erosion rates. I propose that numerical models are necessary tools to derive useful, quantitative information on the rate of Earth processes from a wide range of geological and geophysical observations. For example, thermochronological data can be used to determine the rate at which rocks are exhumed towards the surface. I will show how, by combining a landscape evolution model to a numerical model of heat transfer in the crust, one can use thermochronological datasets to derive direct information on the rate of landform evolution through geological times, as well as the rate of mean rock exhumation in a variety of tectonic settings. I will also demonstrate how numerical models can be used as spatial and temporal integrators to extract from spatially sparse datasets important information on Earth system behaviour. This point will be illustrated by showing how one can derive estimates of the relative importance of a variety of soil transport mechanisms from field measurements of soil thickness, surface curvature and rate of soil production at a small number

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. New insights into the tectonic evolution of the Andaman basin, northeast Indian Ocean

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    KameshRaju, K.A.; Ramprasad, T.; Rao, P.S.; Rao, B.R.; Varghese, J.

    Multibeam swath bathymetry data acquired over an area of about 30 000 km 2 ,together with magnetic and single channel seismic data, have been analyzed to understand the tectonic evolution of the Andaman basin,northeast Indian Ocean. Swath bathymetry...

  8. Consequences of Chixculub Impact for the Tectonic and Geodynamic Evolution of the Gulf of Mexico North Carribean Region

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-05-01

    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

  9. 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.

  10. Tectonic evolution of Tarim basin in Cambrian–Ordovician and its implication for reservoir development, NW China

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    Yu Bingsong; Ruan Zhuang; Zhang Cong; Pan Yinglu; Lin Changsong; Wang Lidong

    2016-03-01

    In order to find the impact of regional tectonic evolution of Tarim basin on the inside distribution of sedimentary facies and reservoir development, this paper, based on the research of plate-tectonic evolution of Tarim basin, conducts an in-depth analysis on the basin’s inside sedimentary response to the Eopaleozoicregional geodynamic reversion from extension to convergence around Tarim plate, and concludes that the regional geodynamic environment of surrounding areas closely contributes to the formation and evolution of paleo-uplifts, differentiation of sedimentary facies in platform, distribution of high-energyreef and bank facies belts, conversion of sedimentary base level from fall to rise, obvious change of lithology from dolomite to limestone, and formation of several unconformity surfaces in Ordovician system in the basin. A series of sedimentary responses in the basin are controlled by regional dynamic setting, which not only controls the distribution of reservoirs in reef and bank facies but also restricts the development and distribution of karst reservoirs controlled by the unconformity surfaces. This offers the macro geological evidences for us to further analyze and evaluate the distribution of favorable reservoirs.

  11. Tectonic evolution of Tarim basin in Cambrian-Ordovician and its implication for reservoir development, NW China

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bingsong, Yu; Zhuang, Ruan; Cong, Zhang; Yinglu, Pan; Changsong, Lin; Lidong, Wang

    2016-03-01

    In order to find the impact of regional tectonic evolution of Tarim basin on the inside distribution of sedimentary facies and reservoir development, this paper, based on the research of plate-tectonic evolution of Tarim basin, conducts an in-depth analysis on the basin's inside sedimentary response to the Eopaleozoic regional geodynamic reversion from extension to convergence around Tarim plate, and concludes that the regional geodynamic environment of surrounding areas closely contributes to the formation and evolution of paleo-uplifts, differentiation of sedimentary facies in platform, distribution of high-energy reef and bank facies belts, conversion of sedimentary base level from fall to rise, obvious change of lithology from dolomite to limestone, and formation of several unconformity surfaces in Ordovician system in the basin. A series of sedimentary responses in the basin are controlled by regional dynamic setting, which not only controls the distribution of reservoirs in reef and bank facies but also restricts the development and distribution of karst reservoirs controlled by the unconformity surfaces. This offers the macro geological evidences for us to further analyze and evaluate the distribution of favorable reservoirs.

  12. Cenozoic structures and the tectonic evolution of the eastern North Sea

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Clausen, O.R.; Nielsen, S.B.; Egholm, D.L.

    2011-01-01

    Abundant seismic sections and well data from the Cenozoic succession in the eastern North Sea area generally reveal normal faulting, salt tectonics and localized tectonic inversion. However, inferences on the Cenozoic dynamic evolution of the region require thorough analysis of interactions between...... or cover tectonism took place. Our objectives are thus 1) to analyze the interaction between basement and cover structures, and if possible 2) to relate the structures to the regional tectonic evolution. The Zechstein evaporites pinch out onto the Ringkøbing-Fyn High, which in the eastern North Sea...... influencede.g. Miocene deposition and controlled the generation of second order faults. The latter detached along the top Chalk Group due to the topography generated during faulting, i.e. they are second order detachment surfaces. We conclude that the regional tectonic significance of the Cenozoic structures...

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. Tectonic and sedimentary evolution of the Luna field area, Italy

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Roveri, M. (AGIP S.A., Milan (Italy))

    1990-05-01

    The Luna gas field is located near Crotone (Calabria region, southern Italy) in a shallow-water/onshore area. It was discovered and put into production during the early 1970s. Up to now it has produced 19 {times} 10{sup 9} sm{sup 3} of gas; its productivity (50 {times} 10{sup 6} sm{sup 3}/y) has remained virtually unaltered since the beginning. The field is located on the axial culmination of a thrust-related anticline of the Apennine postcollisional thrust belt; it can be roughly subdivided into two areas characterized by different stratigraphic contexts. In the northern and central parts of the field is a structural trap. Reservoir rocks are Serravallian to Tortonian deep marine resedimented conglomerates and sandstones. These deposits represent part of the infill of a middle-upper Miocene foredeep. Reservoir rocks are now thrusted, eroded, and unconformably overlain by lower Pliocene shales, which are the most important seal in this part of the field. In the southern part of the field is a combination trap. Reservoir rocks are upper Tortonian shallow-water sandstones. They lap onto a Tortonian unconformity related to a tectonic phase which split the previous foredeep into minor piggyback basins. The upper Tortonian sandstones are overlain and sealed by Messinian shales and evaporites. Tectonosedimentary evolution of the area and, consequently, areal distribution and geometry of sedimentary bodies - both potential reservoirs and seals - have been reconstructed using a sequence stratigraphy approach. The sedimentary record has been informally subdivided into five main depositional sequences bounded by unconformities or their correlative conformities; classic facies analysis and petrophysical, seismic, and biostratigraphic data have been utilized to define the internal characteristics of each sequence.

  18. Mixing in mantle convection models with self-consistent plate tectonics and melting and crustal production: Application to mixing in the early Earth

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tackley, Paul

    2016-04-01

    It is generally thought that the early Earth's mantle was hotter than today, which using conventional convective scalings should have led to vigorous convection and mixing. Geochemical observations, however, suggest that mixing was not as rapid as would be expected, leading to the suggestion that early Earth had stagnant lid convection (Debaille et al., EPSL 2013). Additionally, the mantle's thermal evolution is difficult to explain using conventional scalings because early heat loss would have been too rapid, which has led to the hypothesis that plate tectonics convection does not follow the conventional convective scalings (Korenaga, GRL 2003). One physical process that could be important in this context is partial melting leading to crustal production, which has been shown to have the major effects of buffering mantle temperature and carrying a significant fraction of the heat from hot mantle (Nakagawa and Tackley, EPSL 2012), making plate tectonics easier (Lourenco et al., submitted), and causing compositional differentiation of the mantle that can buffer core heat loss (Nakagawa and Tackley, GCubed 2010). Here, the influence of this process on mantle mixing is examined, using secular thermo-chemical models that simulate Earth's evolution over 4.5 billion years. Mixing is quantified both in terms of how rapidly stretching occurs, and in terms of dispersion: how rapidly initially close heterogeneities are dispersed horizontally and vertically through the mantle. These measures are quantified as a function of time through Earth's evolution. The results will then be related to geochemically-inferred mixing rates.

  19. Impact of Cenozoic strike-slip tectonics on the evolution of the northern Levant Basin (offshore Lebanon)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ghalayini, Ramadan; Daniel, Jean-Marc; Homberg, Catherine; Nader, Fadi H.; Comstock, John E.

    2014-11-01

    Sedimentary basins adjacent to plate boundaries contain key tectonic and stratigraphic elements to understand how stress is transmitted through plates. The Levant Basin is a place of choice to study such elements because it flanks the Levant Fracture System and the Africa/Anatolia boundary. This paper uses new high-quality 3-D seismic reflection data to unravel the tectonic evolution of the margin of this basin during the Cenozoic, the period corresponding to the formation of the Levant Fracture System, part of the Africa/Arabia plate boundary. Four major groups of structures are identified in the interpreted Cenozoic units: NW-SE striking normal faults, NNE-SSW striking thrust-faults, ENE-WSW striking dextral strike-slip faults, and NNE trending anticlines. We demonstrate that all structures, apart of the NW-SE striking normal faults, are inherited from Mesozoic faults. Their reactivation and associated folding started during the late Miocene prior to the Messinian salinity crisis due to a NW-SE compressional stress field. No clear evidence of shortening at present-day offshore Lebanon and no large NNE-SSW strike-slip faults parallel to the restraining bend are found indicating that the Levant Fracture System is mainly contained onshore at present day. The intermittent activity of the interpreted structures correlates with the two stages of Levant Fracture System movement during late Miocene and Pliocene. This paper provides a good example of the impact of the evolution of plate boundaries on adjacent basins and indicates that any changes in the stress field, as controlled by the plate boundary, will affect immediately the preexisting structures in adjacent basins.

  20. 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.

  1. Tectonic evolution of the El Salvador Fault Zone. Insights from analogue experiments.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alonso-Henar, Jorge; Schreurs, Guido; Jesús Martínez-Díaz, José; Álvarez-Gómez, José Antonio

    2014-05-01

    The El Salvador Fault Zone (ESFZ) is an active, c. 150 km long and 20 km wide segmented, dextral strike-slip fault zone within the El Salvador Volcanic Arc striking N90°-100°E. Although several studies have investigated the surface expression of the ESFZ, little is known about its structure at depth and its kinematic evolution. Our analysis of structural field data, remote sensing images and morphometric indices reveals a trenchward migration of the volcanic arc and furthermore suggests that not all structures within the ESFZ can be explained within the current tectonic context, but require a phase of extension or an extensional component of deformation at some stage in the evolution of the ESFZ. Such an extension and trenchward migration of the volcanic arc could be related to subduction roll-back of the Cocos Plate beneath the Chortis Block in Mio-Pliocene times. Such a possible evolution leads to open questions that we address in our research: Is the ESFZ a neo-formed fault zone, i.e. did it form during one phase of strike-slip or transtensional deformation, or do the structures in the ESFZ reflect a two-phase evolution, i.e. an early phase of extension overprinted by a later phase of strike-slip or transtension? Did subduction roll-back occur beneath El Salvador? We carried out analogue model experiments to test whether or not an early phase of extension is required to form the present-day fault pattern in the ESFZ. Analogue modeling is an effective tool in testing various hypotheses, as it allows the experimenter to control specific parameters and to test their influence on the resulting structures. Our experiments suggest that a two-phase tectonic evolution best explains the ESFZ: an early pure extensional phase linked to a segmented volcanic arc is necessary to form the main structures of the ESFZ and can explain the shallow geometry of the fault zone. This extensional phase is followed by a strike-slip dominated regime, which results in inter

  2. The tectonic evolution of the Arctic since Pangea breakup: Integrating constraints from surface geology and geophysics with mantle structure

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shephard, Grace E.; Müller, R. Dietmar; Seton, Maria

    2013-09-01

    The tectonic evolution of the circum-Arctic, including the northern Pacific, Siberian and North American margins, since the Jurassic has been punctuated by the opening and closing of ocean basins, the accretion of autochthonous and allochthonous terranes and associated deformation. This complexity is expressed in the uncertainty of plate tectonic models of the region, with the time-dependent configurations and kinematic history remaining poorly understood. The age, location, geometry and convergence rates of the subduction zones associated with these ancient ocean basins have implications for mantle structure, which can be used as an additional constraint for refining and evaluating plate boundary models. Here we integrate surface geology and geophysics with mantle tomography models to generate a digital set of tectonic blocks and plates as well as topologically closed plate boundaries with time-dependent rotational histories for the circum-Arctic. We find that subducted slabs inferred from seismic velocity anomalies from global P and S wave tomography models can be linked to various episodes of Arctic subduction since the Jurassic, in particular to the destruction of the South Anuyi Ocean. We present a refined model for the opening of the Amerasia Basin incorporating seafloor spreading between at least 142.5 and 120 Ma, a "windshield" rotation for the Canada Basin, and opening orthogonal to the Lomonosov Ridge for the northern Makarov and Podvodnikov basins. We also present a refined pre-accretionary model for the Wrangellia Superterrane, imposing a subduction polarity reversal in the early Jurassic before accretion to North America at 140 Ma. Our model accounts for the late Palaeozoic to early Mesozoic opening and closure of the Cache Creek Ocean, reconstructed between the Wrangellia Superterrane and Yukon-Tanana Terrane. We suggest that a triple junction may also explain the Mid-Palaeozoic opening of the Slide Mountain, Oimyakon and South Anuyi oceans. Our

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 滇西哀牢山构造带:结构与演化%The Ailaoshan Belt in Western Yunnan:Tectonic Framework and Tectonic Evolution

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    刘俊来; 唐渊; 宋志杰; Tran My Dung; 翟云峰; 吴文彬; 陈文

    2011-01-01

    The Ailaoshan tectonic zone is the most significant lineament in the eastern Tibet (Southeast Asia) , which separates the Yangtze-South China and the Indochina blocks. Information on multi-stage complex tectonic evolution is preserved in the rocks in the tectonic zone. Late Archean Neoproterozoic high grade metamorphic rock series, Cenozoic tectono-magmatic assemblages (shearing deformation structures) , Late Permian - Early Triassic Jinping-Song Da rifting rock sequences and Early Carboniferous-Early Triassic Ailaoshan tectonic melange were well developed from east to west along the Ailaoshan tectonic zone. The various tectonic units of different characteristics are separated by fault structures mainly developed in Cenozoic. Granitic intrusions of various stages which were formed due to allochthonous emplacement or mingmatization are widespread along the tectonic belt. The Ailaoshan tectonic belt has multiple tectonic natures during different geologic history stages. On the whole, it has experienced three important tectonic stages, I. E. Pre-tethys, Tethys, and Cenozoic intracontinental stages. During the Pre-tethys evolution until Early Paleozoic, the major part of the belt (especially along the eastern zone) had affinity to the Yangtze block, and preserved records of Late Archean Neoproterozoic crustal evolution. Since the Late Paleozoic-Early Mesozoic the tectonic belt became a part of the Tethyan domain with the opening of Paleotethys. The belt was evolved into a tectonic domain with different nature from that of the South China-Yangtze plate. Subsequent closure of the Ailaoshan Ocean in from Early Carboniferous and the Jinping-Song Da Ocean since Early Permian resulted in the formation of the paleo-Ailaoshan orogenic belt. The closure of the Tethyan oceans made Yangtze-South China block and Indochina block to become a unified continent. Interaction between the Indian and the Eurasian plates had a sound influence on the Ailaoshan belt. There are Early Cenozoic

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Tectonic evolution of the Perth Abyssal Plain's Quiet Zone, Southeast Indian Ocean

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ehrlich, Zohar Louis; Granot, Roi; Williams, Simon E.

    2013-04-01

    During the Late Jurassic period, the Greater-Indian plate was torn away from Australia, dissociating East Gondwanaland. The Perth Abyssal Plain (PAP) is the southernmost rift segment along the western Australian margin, and has an onset age of ~136 Ma. New marine magnetic and swath bathymetry data, crossing the entire PAP, were acquired recently on geophysical cruise ss2011v06 aboard the R/V Southern Surveyor. These have lead to the outline of conjugate Indian and Australian M-series isochrons in the east and west PAP, respectively [1]. Yet, most of the PAP was created during the Cretaceous Normal Superchron (CNS, 121-83 Ma), a period of no geomagnetic field reversals, hence no comprehensive tectonic model for the PAP exists . Here we present preliminary findings of an analytic bathymetric and magnetic investigation aimed at elucidating the PAP's quiet zone. Recent discoveries regarding the evolution of the geomagnetic field during the CNS [2] provide new time markers that can be utilized to date the oceanic crust. The magnetic anomaly data exhibit the Q2 anomaly marker (~108 Ma), further constraining the spreading history of the PAP. Together with the ridgelet transform method [3] for automated abyssal hill delineation, we present new constraints on the development of crustal construction processes (spreading location, direction and rates) that took place along the PAP spreading center. References: [1] S.E. Williams, J.M. Whittaker, R. Granot, R.D. Muller (in preparation), New constraints on the seafloor spreading history in the Perth Abyssal Plain. [2] Granot, R., J. Dyment, and Y. Gallet (2012), Geomagnetic field variability during the Cretaceous Normal Superchron, Nature Geoscience, 5(3), 220-223. [3] Downey, N. J. and R. W. Clayton (2007), A ridgelet transform method for constraining tectonic models via abyssal-hill morphology, Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems, 8, Q03004, doi: 10.1029/2006GC001440.

  15. A review of the tectonic evolution of the Sunsás belt, SW Amazonian Craton

    Science.gov (United States)

    Teixeira, Wilson; Geraldes, Mauro Cesar; Matos, Ramiro; Ruiz, Amarildo Salina; Saes, Gerson; Vargas-Mattos, Gabriela

    2010-01-01

    The Sunsás-Aguapeí province (1.20-0.95 Ga), SW Amazonian Craton, is a key area to study the heterogeneous effects of collisional events with Laurentia, which shows evidence of the Grenvillian and Sunsás orogens. The Sunsás orogen, characterized by an allochthonous collisional-type belt (1.11-1.00 Ga), is the youngest and southwesternmost of the events recorded along the cratonic fringe. Its evolution occurred after a period of long quiescence and erosion of the already cratonized provinces (>1.30 Ga), that led to sedimentation of the Sunsás and Vibosi groups in a passive margin setting. The passive margin stage was roughly contemporary with intraplate tectonics that produced the Nova Brasilândia proto-oceanic basin (aborted rifts that evolved to the Huanchaca-Aguapeí basin (1.17-1.15 Ga). The Sunsás belt is comprised by the metamorphosed Sunsás and Vibosi sequences, the Rincón del Tigre mafic-ultramafic sill and granitic intrusive suites. The latter rocks yield ɛNd(t) signatures (-0.5 to -4.5) and geochemistry (S, I, A-types) suggesting their origin associated with a continental arc setting. The Sunsás belt evolution is marked by "tectonic fronts" with sinistral offsets that was active from c. 1.08 to 1.05 Ga, along the southern edge of the Paraguá microcontinent where K/Ar ages (1.27-1.34 Ga) and the Huanchaca-Aguapeí flat-lying cover attest to the earliest tectonic stability at the time of the orogen. The Sunsás dynamics is coeval with inboard crustal shortening, transpression and magmatism in the Nova Brasilândia belt (1.13-1.00 Ga). Conversely, the Aguapeí aulacogen (0.96-0.91 Ga) and nearby shear zones (0.93-0.91 Ga) are the late tectonic offshoots over the cratonic margin. The post-tectonic to anorogenic stages took place after ca. 1.00 Ga, evidenced by the occurrences of intra-plate A-type granites, pegmatites, mafic dikes and sills, as well as of graben basins. Integrated interpretation of the available data related to the Sunsás orogen

  16. 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

  17. Cenozoic structures and the tectonic evolution of the eastern North Sea

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Clausen, O.R.; Nielsen, S.B.; Egholm, D.L.

    2011-01-01

    Abundant seismic sections and well data from the Cenozoic succession in the eastern North Sea area generally reveal normal faulting, salt tectonics and localized tectonic inversion. However, inferences on the Cenozoic dynamic evolution of the region require thorough analysis of interactions between....... These structures have in the last decades been an integrated part of the discussions about subsidence and uplift of not only the interior of the basin but also of the basin margin. Abundant 2D and 3D seismic data and new depositional models enable detailed analysis and reinterpretation of where and when basement...... or cover tectonism took place. Our objectives are thus 1) to analyze the interaction between basement and cover structures, and if possible 2) to relate the structures to the regional tectonic evolution. The Zechstein evaporites pinch out onto the Ringkøbing-Fyn High, which in the eastern North Sea...

  18. The Tectonic and Climatic Evolution of High Plateaux

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bershaw, John

    High topography significantly affects climate and atmospheric circulation, often separating areas of intense precipitation from relatively arid rainshadows inland. Temporal variations in climate on high plateaux have been inferred from both rocks and ice and may be related to changes in global climate, local atmospheric circulation, and/or changes in surface elevation. Constraints on how and when surface topography was generated not only provide insight into the relationship between high plateaux and climate, but help us distinguish between different geodynamic mechanisms responsible for their formation. The following research employs multiple techniques across the Andean Plateau, the Pamir, and Tibetan Plateau, to better understand both the tectonic evolution of high plateaux and how they affect climate and atmospheric circulation, particularly in continental settings. The Andean Plateau in South America is the second highest and most extensive topographic feature on Earth. Paleoelevation constraints from fossil leaf physiognomy and stable isotopes of sedimentary carbonate suggest that significant surface uplift of the northern Andean plateau, on the order of 2.5 +/- 1 km, occurred between ˜10.3 and 6.4 million years ago (Ma). South American teeth from modem and extinct mammal taxa spanning from the Oligocene (˜29 Ma) to present were collected as they preserve a record of surface water isotopes and the type of plants that animals ingested. Previous studies have shown that the isotopic composition of oxygen (delta18O) in modern precipitation and surface waters decreases systematically with increasing elevations across the central Andes. Results from high elevation sites show substantially more positive delta18O values for late Oligocene tooth samples compared to mammals, suggesting that by ˜8 Ma in the northern Altiplano and by ˜3.6 Ma in the southern Altiplano, both regions had reached high elevation and established a latitudinal rainfall gradient similar to

  19. 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.

  20. Paleogene Tectonic Evolution Controls on Sequence Stratigraphic Patterns in the Fushan Sag, Northern South China Sea

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Guanhong Wang; Hua Wang; Huajun Gan; Entao Liu; Cunyin Xia; Yingdong Zhao; Shanbin Chen; Chengcheng Zhang

    2016-01-01

    Tectonism is of extreme importance to sequence stratigraphic patterns in continental sedimentary basins, affecting both the architectures and internal makeup of sequences. Sequence stratigraphic framework of the Paleogene system in the Fushan sag, northern South China Sea, was built using 3D and 2D seismic data, complemented by drilling cores and well logs data. One first-order, three second-order and seven third-order sequences were identified. Analysis of paleotectonic stress field, unconformities and subsidence history showed that the Paleogene tectonic evolution presented significant characteristics of multistage and episode, and can be divided into three stages: rifting stage I (initial rifting period), rifting stage II (rapid subsidence period), rifting stage III (fault-depressed diver-sionary period). Partition of the west and east in tectonic activity was obvious. The west area showed relatively stronger tectonic activity than the east area, especially during the rifting stage II. Episodic rifting and lateral variations in tectonic activity resulted in a wide variety of structural slope break belts, which controlled both the sequence architectures and interval makeup, and strongly constrained the development of special facies zones or sand bodies that tended to form hydrocarbon accumulation. This paper classifies the genetic types of slope break belts and their relevant sequence stratigraphic patterns within the Fushan sag, and further discusses the tectonic evolution controls on sequence stratigraphic patterns, which suggests that vertical evolution paths of structural slope break belts and relevant sequence stratigraphic patterns as a response to the Paleogene tectonic evolution were strongly controlled by sag margin types and lateral variations of tectonic activity.

  1. The tectonic evolution of the Irtysh tectonic belt: New zircon U-Pb ages of arc-related and collisional granitoids in the Kalaxiangar tectonic belt, NW China

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hong, Tao; Klemd, Reiner; Gao, Jun; Xiang, Peng; Xu, Xing-Wang; You, Jun; Wang, Xin-Shui; Wu, Chu; Li, Hao; Ke, Qiang

    2017-02-01

    Precise geochronological constraints of the Irtysh tectonic belt situated between the Saur Island Arc and the Altay Terrane are crucial to a better understanding of the tectonic evolution of the Central Asian Orogenic Belt (CAOB). Recently, we discovered repeatedly deformed arc-related and collisional granitoids in the Kalaxiangar tectonic belt (KTB), which is located in the eastern part of the Irtysh tectonic belt. In this study, we report new whole-rock geochemical, zircon U-Pb and Hf isotopic data of the arc-related and collisional granitoids. Our data reveal that 1) arc-related granodioritic porphyries formed at ca. 382-374 Ma. Recrystallized zircon grains from a (ultra-)mylonitic granodiorite of the Laoshankou zone in the southern KTB display a U-Pb age of ca. 360 Ma; 2) syn-collisional granodioritic porphyries, which distribute along faults and parallel to the cleavage, were emplaced at ca. 367-356 Ma, with εHf(t) values varying from + 7.8 to + 14.2 and Hf model ages from 873 to 459 Ma; 3) a post-collisional A-type granodioritic porphyry, which crosscuts the NW-NNW trending schistosity of the metasedimentary country rocks at a low angle, has an age of ca. 324-320 Ma, while the εHf(t) values range from + 7.6 to + 14.4 with Hf model ages from 850 to 416 Ma; 4) post-collisional strike-slip A-type granite dykes, exposed along strike-slip faults, gave ages between 287 and 279 Ma, whereas the εHf(t) values range from + 4.9 to + 12.7 and the Hf model ages from 995 to 500 Ma; and 5) A-type biotite granite dykes, which intruded along conjugate tension joints, have ages of 274-271 Ma, and εHf(t) values from + 1.5 to + 13.2 with Hf model ages from 1196 to 454 Ma. Consequently, we propose that the collision between the Saur Island Arc and the Altay Terrane occurred in the Early Carboniferous (ca. 367-356 Ma) and the subsequent post-collisional tectonic process continued to the Late Carboniferous (ca. 324-320 Ma). It is further suggested that the Irtysh tectonic belt

  2. Tectonic evolution and mantle structure of the Caribbean

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    van Benthem, S.; Govers, R.; Spakman, W.; Wortel, R.

    2013-01-01

    We investigate whether predictions of mantle structure from tectonic reconstructions are in agreement with a detailed tomographic image of seismic P wave velocity structure under the Caribbean region. In the upper mantle, positive seismic anomalies are imaged under the Lesser Antilles and Puerto Ric

  3. Tectonics and subsidence evolution of the Sirt Basin, Libya

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Abadi, A.M.; Wees, J.D. van; Dijk, P.M. van; Cloetingh, S.A.P.L.

    2005-01-01

    Backstripping analysis of 225 wells located within the Sirt Basin (Fig. 1) provide new constraints on the Sirt Basin development. Four coherent tectonic phases from Late Jurassic to present. The presentation of contour maps of subsidence and crustal stretching allows to visualize spatial and tempora

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Neogene sedimentary evolution of Baja California in relation to regional tectonics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Helenes, J.; Carreño, A. L.

    1999-11-01

    During the Neogene, the tectonic and sedimentary evolution of the Baja California Peninsula followed four stages: (1) during the early Miocene (22 Ma), the initiation of transform motion between Pacific and North American plates, caused a rapid subsidence in the Continental Borderland Province and in some adjacent areas.This subsidence coincided in time with with a global rise in sea level. At this time, the eastern and southern parts of the peninsula did not show any evidence of subsidence. (2) During the middle Miocene (12 Ma), normal and strike slip faulting migrated eastward, causing subsidence in the northern part of the Gulf of California, where the oldest Tertiary marine sedimentary rocks were deposited. The areas in central Baja California Sur and the central part of the Gulf itself received abundant volcanic deposits related to continental extension. (3) During the late Miocene (8 Ma), the western margin of the Peninsula changed to a slightly compressive regime, while the northern part of the Gulf contained a marine basin with upper bathyal environments. The central area of the Gulf continued receiving abundant volcanic deposits, while the Los Cabos block received marine sedimentation, correlatable with sedimentary units reported from the continental margins in Nayarit, Jalisco and Michoacán. (4) Beginning in the early Pliocene (5 Ma), the present configuration of the Gulf of California developed through right-lateral strike slip and extension in the Gulf itself. Since Pliocene times, the Gulf presents widespread marine sedimentation with deep basins reaching lower bathyal depths.

  7. 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

    In order to understand Earth’s plate tectonics we must interpret the most direct probes for mantle composition and temperature distribution i.e. the primitive basaltic magmas and peridotites representing partial melts and mantle residues. An evidence-based approach to identification of parental magmas and determination of their temperatures requires glass and phenocryst compositions and experimentally calibrated Fe/Mg partitioning between olivine and melt. We have compared magmatic crystallization temperatures between ‘hot-spot’(proposed to be plume-related) and normal mid-ocean ridge basalt (MORB) parental liquids, by examining three representative magmatic suites from both ocean island (Hawaii, Iceland, and Réunion) and mid-ocean ridge settings (Cocos-Nazca, East Pacific Rise, and Mid-Atlantic Ridge). We have glass and olivine phenocryst compositions, including volatile (H2O) contents, and have calculated parental liquid compositions at 0.2GPa by incrementally adding olivine back into the glass compositions until a liquid in equilibrium with the most-magnesian olivine phenocryst composition is obtained. The results of these calculations demonstrate that there is very little difference (maximum of ~20°C) between the ranges of crystallization temperatures of the parental liquids (MORB:1243-1351°C versus OIB:1286-1372°C) when volatile contents are taken into account. However while lacking temperature contrast, the source regions for ‘hot-spot’ parental magmas contain geochemical signatures of old subducted crust/lithosphere. The mantle depths of origin determined for both the MORB and OIB suites are similar (MORB:1-2 GPa; OIB:1-2.5 GPa). Calculations of mantle potential temperatures (Tp) are model dependent, particularly to melt fraction from an inferred source. Assuming similar fertile lherzolite sources, the differences in Tp values between the hottest MORB and the hottest ocean island tholeiite sources are ~80°C. These differences disappear if the

  8. Teaching about the Early Earth: Evolution of Tectonics, Life, and the Early Atmosphere

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mogk, D. W.; Manduca, C. A.; Kirk, K.; Williams, M. L.

    2007-12-01

    The early history of the Earth is the subject of some of the most exciting and innovative research in the geosciences, drawing evidence from virtually all fields of geoscience and using a variety of approaches that include field, analytical, experimental, and modeling studies. At the same time, the early Earth presents unique opportunities and challenges in geoscience education: how can we best teach "uncertain science" where the evidence is either incomplete or ambiguous? Teaching about early Earth provides a great opportunity to help students understand the nature of scientific evidence, testing, and understanding. To explore the intersection of research and teaching about this enigmatic period of Earth history, a national workshop was convened for experts in early Earth research and undergraduate geoscience education. The workshop was held in April, 2007 at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst as part of the On the Cutting Edge faculty professional development program. The workshop was organized around three scientific themes: evolution of global tectonics, life, and the early atmosphere. The "big scientific questions" at the forefront of current research about the early Earth were explored by keynote speakers and follow-up discussion groups: How did plate tectonics as we know it today evolve? Were there plates in the Hadean Eon? Was the early Earth molten? How rapidly did it cool? When and how did the atmosphere and hydrosphere evolve? How did life originate and evolve? How did all these components interact at the beginning of Earth's history and evolve toward the Earth system we know today? Similar "big questions" in geoscience education were addressed: how to best teach about "deep time;" how to help students make appropriate inferences when geologic evidence is incomplete; how to engage systems thinking and integrate multiple lines of evidence, across many scales of observation (temporal and spatial), and among many disciplines. Workshop participants

  9. Lithospheric structure of the Gorringe Bank: Insights into its origin and tectonic evolution

    Science.gov (United States)

    JiméNez-Munt, I.; Fernã Ndez, M.; VergéS, J.; Afonso, J. C.; Garcia-Castellanos, D.; Fullea, J.

    2010-10-01

    The Gorringe Bank is a 5000 m high seamount near the Atlantic coast of Iberia characterized by a 9 m high geoid anomaly and a ˜120 mGal Bouguer anomaly relative to the surrounding abyssal plains. It has been linked to a NW directed thrust carrying exhumed upper mantle rocks and transitional crust on top of flexed-down Eurasian oceanic crust along the Tagus Abyssal Plain. However, estimations of crustal shortening have yielded dissimilar results, and the deep structure of the ridge remains highly unknown. We present a restored cross section and a new model of the lithospheric structure based on gravity, geoid, elevation, and the presence of serpentinized peridotites. At least 20 km of shortening took place along a flat-ramp-flat thrust fault, and the density structure of the lithosphere is consistent with mantle serpentinization varying from 70% at the surface to 20% at 14 km depth and 0% at 40 km. The topographic relief and gravity anomalies are explained by assuming a flexural isostatic model with an elastic thickness Te of ˜30 km. The evolution of the Gorringe Bank since the Late Jurassic is interpreted in relation to Eurasia-Africa-North America plate motion in four stages: (1) transtension between Newfoundland-Iberia and Africa, which generated small oceanic basins and mantle exhumation; (2) opening of the North Atlantic and seafloor spreading at the NW side of the exhumed Gorringe, which produced gabbro intrusions and serpentinization; (3) a quiescent tectonic period dominated by subsidence and sediment accumulation; and (4) a transpressional plate boundary between Eurasia and Africa with NW directed subcrustal thrusting and generation of the present Gorringe relief.

  10. 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.

  11. Effect of plate bending on the Urey ratio and the thermal evolution of the mantle

    Science.gov (United States)

    Davies, Geoffrey F.

    2009-10-01

    The bending of tectonic plates as they subduct causes resistance to plate motions and mantle convection. It has been proposed that this effect could keep plate velocities relatively constant with time, and it would imply relatively high mantle temperatures through much of Earth history and relatively rapid cooling at present. It also implies a low Urey ratio, compatible with that inferred from cosmochemistry. Here it is confirmed that bending resistance only plays a significant role if plate thickness is determined mainly by dehydration stiffening accompanying melting, rather than by conductive cooling. Even then the bending resistance is quite sensitive to the radius of curvature of the subducting plate. Observed radii are generally larger than the 200 km assumed in some studies, ranging up to 600 km or more. Furthermore radii of curvature tend to adjust so as to prevent bending resistance from becoming large. When these factors are accounted for, calculations show that bending resistance is unlikely to have been a large factor through Earth history, and the thermal evolution of the mantle is unlikely to have been affected very much. The resolution of the Urey ratio problem should then be sought elsewhere.

  12. Reverse Evolution of Armor Plates in the Threespine Stickleback

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kitano, J.; Bolnick, D.I.; Beauchamp, D.A.; Mazur, M.M.; Mori, S.; Nakano, T.; Peichel, C.L.

    2008-01-01

    Faced with sudden environmental changes, animals must either adapt to novel environments or go extinct. Thus, study of the mechanisms underlying rapid adaptation is crucial not??only for the understanding of natural evolutionary processes but also for the understanding of human-induced evolutionary change, which is an increasingly important problem [1-8]. In the present study, we demonstrate that the frequency of completely plated threespine stickleback fish (Gasterosteus aculeatus) has increased in an urban freshwater lake (Lake Washington, Seattle, Washington) within the last 40 years. This is a dramatic example of "reverse evolution," [9] because the general evolutionary trajectory is toward armor-plate reduction in freshwater sticklebacks [10]. On the basis of our genetic studies and simulations, we propose that the most likely cause of reverse evolution is increased selection for the completely plated morph, which we suggest could result from higher levels of trout predation after a sudden increase in water transparency during the early 1970s. Rapid evolution was facilitated by the existence of standing allelic variation in Ectodysplasin (Eda), the gene that underlies the major plate-morph locus [11]. The Lake Washington stickleback thus provides a novel example of reverse evolution, which is probably caused by a change in allele frequency at the major plate locus in response to a changing predation regime. ?? 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  13. The tectonic stress field evolution of India since the Oligocene

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Müller, R.D.; Yatheesh, V.; Shuhail, M.

    on instantaneous deformation of the ocean crust. Our relatively simple models are not designed to compete with these more sophisticated plate deformation models for the present day. Instead our models are deliberately simplified in oceanic realms to allow us... earthquakes. Proceedings of Indian Academy of Science (Earth and Planetary Science) 112, 315-329. Bird, P., 2003. An updated digital model of plate boundaries. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems 4, 1027, doi:1010.1029/2001GC000252. Biswas, S., 1982. Rift...

  14. Morphometric analysis of El Salvador Fault Zone. Implications to the tectonic evolution. Central America.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alonso-Henar, Jorge; Jesús Martínez-Díaz, José; Álvarez-Gómez, José Antonio

    2013-04-01

    It is considered that the study of the recent topography development, and the use of geomorphological indexes are good tools for the quantification of the active tectonics. We have used quantitative geomorphology in order to improve our understanding of the recent activity and tectonic evolution of the El Salvador Fault Zone (ESFZ); an E-W oriented strike-slip fault zone that extends 150 km through El Salvador (Martínez-Díaz et al. 2004). Previous studies propose a transtensive tectonic regime at the Central America Volcanic Arc in El Salvador, which induces relative vertical motions on the faults within El Salvador Fault Zone (i.e. Álvarez-Gómez et al., 2008, Cáceres et al. 2005,). This relative vertical displacement can be quantified with the use of hypsometry as a geomorphological character. The morphometric analysis done contributes to a better understanding of the ESFZ. We have defined km scale tectonic block relative displacements that may be useful to constrain the strain distribution along the ESFZ, length of segments with homogeneous vertical movements and lateral relay of active structures. This study supports the hypothesis of a recent migration in the maximum shortening direction, and the accomodation of the current deformation through the reactivation of pre-existing structures inherited from a previous tectonic frame. A similar tectonic evolution as described Weinberg (1992) in Nicaragua, is interpreted from the results of this study.

  15. Tectonic Evolution of Bell Regio, Venus: Regional Stress, Lithospheric Flexure, and Edifice Stresses

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rogers, P. G.; Zuber, M. T.

    1996-03-01

    Analyses of the tectonic features associated with large volcanoes provide important insight into the relationship between volcanic and tectonic processes and the stress state of a planet's crust over time, and provide constraints on the local and regional geologic evolution. This investigation focuses on the tectonism and volcanism of Bell Regio, a major highland uplift n Venus. The stress environments and resulting tectonic features associated with the major volcanic edifices in this region are examined using Magellan ynthetic aperture radar (SAR) images and altimeter measurements of topography. The major volcanoes of Bell Regio, Tepev Mons and the "Eastern Volcanic Center" (EVC), exhibit tectonic characteristics that are unique relative to other volcanic edifices on Venus. The most prominent distinctions are the lack of large rift zones within the overall highland uplift and the presence of radial tectonic and concentric fractures associated with the major edifices. This study examines the regional stress field in Bell Regio through analysis of structural features believed to be a consequence of lithospheric flexure due to volcanic loading and tectonic features that likely resulted from edifice stresses associated with magma chamber inflation.

  16. 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.

  17. Three-phase tectonic evolution of the Andaman backarc basin

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    KameshRaju, K.A.

    . Lett ., 2001, 185 , 253 ? 264. 13. Parson, L. M. and Hawkin s, J. W., Two - stage ridge propagation and the geological history of the Lau backarc basin. In Proc. Ocean Drill. Pr o gramme Sci. Results , 1995, vol. 135, pp. 819 ? 828. 14...: a new seismotectonic i nsight. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett ., 2005, 229 , 259 ? 271. 18. Curray, J. R., Tectonics and history of the Andaman Sea region. J. Asian Earth Sci. , 2005, 25 , 187 ? 232. 19. Smith, W. H. F. and Sandwell, D. T...

  18. Crustal architecture and tectonic evolution of the Cauvery Suture Zone, southern India

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chetty, T. R. K.; Yellappa, T.; Santosh, M.

    2016-11-01

    The Cauvery suture zone (CSZ) in southern India has witnessed multiple deformations associated with multiple subduction-collision history, with incorporation of the related accretionary belts sequentially into the southern continental margin of the Archaean Dharwar craton since Neoarchean to Neoproterozoic. The accreted tectonic elements include suprasubduction complexes of arc magmatic sequences, high-grade supracrustals, thrust duplexes, ophiolites, and younger intrusions that are dispersed along the suture. The intra-oceanic Neoarchean-Neoproterozoic arc assemblages are well exposed in the form of tectonic mélanges dominantly towards the eastern sector of the CSZ and are typically subjected to complex and multiple deformation events. Multi-scale analysis of structural elements with detailed geological mapping of the sub-regions and their structural cross sections, geochemical and geochronological data and integrated geophysical observations suggest that the CSZ is an important zone that preserves the imprints of multiple cycles of Precambrian plate tectonic regimes.

  19. 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.

  20. Evolution of fuel plate parameters during deformation in rolling

    Science.gov (United States)

    Durazzo, M.; Vieira, E.; Urano de Carvalho, E. F.; Riella, H. G.

    2017-07-01

    The Nuclear and Energy Research Institute - IPEN/CNEN-SP routinely produces the nuclear fuel necessary for operating its research reactor, IEA-R1. This fuel consists of fuel plates containing U3Si2-Al composites as the meat, which are fabricated by rolling. The rolling process currently deployed was developed based on information obtained from literature, which was used as a premise for defining the current manufacturing procedures, according to a methodology with an essentially empirical character. Despite the current rolling process being perfectly stable and highly reproducible, it is not well characterized and is therefore not fully known. The objective of this work is to characterize the rolling process for producing dispersion fuel plates. Results regarding the evolution of the main parameters of technological interest, after each rolling pass, are presented. Some defects that originated along the fuel plate deformation during the rolling process were characterized and discussed. The fabrication procedures for manufacturing the fuel plates are also presented.

  1. Seismo-stratigraphic evolution of the northern Austral Basin and its possible relation to the Andean tectonics, onshore Argentina.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sachse, Victoria; Anka, Zahie; Pagan, Facundo; Kohler, Guillermina; Cagnolatti, Marcelo; di Primio, Rolando; Rodriguez, Jorge

    2013-04-01

    The Austral Basin is situated in a formerly and recently high active tectonic zone in southern Argentina. The opening of the South Atlantic to the east, the opening of the Drake Passage in the south, and the subduction related to the rise of the Andes to the west, had major influence on the study area. To identify the impact of the tectonic events on basin geometry, sediment thickness and depocenter migration through time, 2D seismic interpretation was performed for an area of approx. 180.000 km² covering the onshore northern Austral Basin. A total of 10 seismic horizons were mapped and tied to the stratigraphy from well reports, representing 9 syn- and post- rift sequences. The main units are: Basement (U1), Jurassic Tobifera Formation (U2), Early Cretaceous (U3), Late Cretaceous (U4), sub-unit Campanian (U4A), Paleocene (U5), Eocene (U6), Oligocene (U7), Miocene (U8), and Plio-Pleistocene (U9). Main tectonic events are identified representing the break-up phase forming graben systems and the evolution from the ancient backarc Rocas Verdes Basin to the foreland Austral Basin. Inversion and changes in the tectonic regime are concomitant with onlapping and thinning of the base of the Upper Cretaceous to Campanian sediments, while the Top of the Upper Cretaceous represents a Maastrichtian unconformity. Units depth maps show a triangular geometry since the Jurassic, tracing the north-eastern basement high and deepening to the south. Since the Campanian the former geometry of basin fill changed and deepening to the south stopped. Beginning of the foreland phase is assigned to this time as well as changes in the stress regime. Paleogene times are marked by a relatively high sedimentation rate coupled with enduring thermal subsidence, on-going rise of the Andes and changes in the convergence rates of the Nazca relative to the South American plate. Onset of sediment supply from the Andes (Incaic phase) resulted in enhanced sedimentation rates during the Paleocene

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. Late Carboniferous tectonic subsidence in South Wales: implications for Variscan basin evolution and tectonic history in SW Britain

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Burgess, P.M.; Gayer, R.A. [University of Cardiff, Cardiff (United Kingdom). Dept. of Earth Sciences

    2000-01-01

    Detailed stratigraphic data were used to backstrip seven sections from the Carboniferous South Wales coal basin. Resulting tectonic subsidence curves for the interval 319-305 Ma (Namurian-Westphalian D) are convex-up, indicating increasing subsidence rate with time, with rates between 130 and 250 m Ma{sup -1} suggesting a foreland basin setting. Forward modelling of subsidence due to flexural loading in front of a propagating orogenic wedge shows that an orogenic load migrating in a north-northeasterly direction across SW England between 319 and 305 Ma could have generated the backstripped subsidence patterns. Sensitivity tests show that while many of the forward model parameters are poorly constrained, and the model results non-unique, backstripped subsidence patterns allow reasonable constraint on the different model cases, so that model predictions can be treated as one possibility in a limited range. The predicted load evolution is consistent with current knowledge of tectonic and stratigraphic features of SW England. These results suggest that subsidence in other Late Carboniferous UK basins may also have been influenced by flexure due to a propagating orogenic load.

  5. Chronology of Miocene Pliocene deposits at Split Mountain Gorge, Southern California: A record of regional tectonics and Colorado River evolution

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dorsey, Rebecca J.; Fluette, Amy; McDougall, Kristin; Housen, Bernard A.; Janecke, Susanne U.; Axen, Gary J.; Shirvell, Catherine R.

    2007-01-01

    Late Miocene to early Pliocene deposits at Split Mountain Gorge, California, preserve a record of basinal response to changes in regional tectonics, paleogeography, and evolution of the Colorado River. The base of the Elephant Trees Formation, magnetostratigraphically dated as 8.1 ± 0.4 Ma, provides the earliest well-dated record of extension in the southwestern Salton Trough. The oldest marine sediments are ca. 6.3 Ma. The nearly synchronous timing of marine incursion in the Salton Trough and northern Gulf of California region supports a model for localization of Pacific North America plate motion in the Gulf ca. 6 Ma. The first appearance of Colorado River sand at the Miocene-Pliocene boundary (5.33 Ma) suggests rapid propagation of the river to the Salton Trough, and supports a lake-spillover hypothesis for initiation of the lower Colorado River.

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. Neodymium isotope constraints on the tectonic evolution of East Gondwana

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harris, N. B. W.; Bartlett, J. M.; Santosh, M.

    East Gondwana incorporates a collage of polymetamorphic terrains with long-lived tectonic histories from the Early Archaean to the Neoproterozoic. The oldest cratonic areas have been identified in South India (north of the Palghat-Cauvery shear zone) and East Antarctica (the Napier Complex). These terrains are remnants of an East Gondwana craton that underwent initial crustal growth during the Early Archaean and granulite-facies metamorphism at ˜2.5 Ga. Both were virtually unaffected by the Pan-African orogeny (1.1-0.5 Ga). In contrast, Proterozoic terrains were subject to high-grade metamorphism during the Pan-African event. On the basis of published Nd model ages, a direct correlation can be made between southern Madagascar (south of the Ranotsara shear zone), southern India (the Madurai Block and Kerala Khondalite Belt) and the Highland/Southwestern Complex of Sri Lanka, which comprise a Later Archaean-Palaeoproterozoic (3.2-2.0 Ga) mobile belt that may extend eastwards into East Antarctica. The youngest period of crustal growth in East Gondwana has been recognised at 1.5-0.8 Ga from isotopic studies of the Mozambique Belt of East Africa, the Vijayan Complex of Sri Lanka and the Yamato-Belgica Complex/Sør Rondane Mountains of East Antarctica. Small slivers of terrain of intermediate age (1.9-1.2 Ga) have been recognised in South India (Achankovil metasediments) and Sri Lanka (Wanni Complex) that may represent mixed-age contributions to clastic sedimentary basins.

  9. Longitudinal evolution of the tectonic style along the Cyprus Arc, northern margin of the Levant and Herodotus Basins

    Science.gov (United States)

    Symeou, Vasilis; Homberg, Catherine; Nader, Fadi; Darnault, Romain; Lecomte, Jean-Claude

    2016-04-01

    The Levant Basin is bounded to the north by the Cyprus Arc zone which was created by the northward movement of the African plate with respect to the Eurasian plate since Late Cretaceous time. The westward movement of the Anatolian micro-plate since Late Miocene created an additional strike-slip component along the plate boundary. The main objective of this contribution is to portray the structural architecture and features offshore Cyprus by analyzing available 2D seismic data in order to investigate the transition in tectonic style from compression to strike slip along the Cyprus Arc zone. We identified three different crustal domains offshore Cyprus that are from east to west: the eastern domain which belongs to the Levant Basin, the South-central domain which includes the Eratosthenes Seamount, and the South-West domain of Cyprus which corresponds to the Herodotus Basin. In the Levant Basin, the sequences identified are from Base Pliocene extending until the Senonian unconformity. The same sequences in the Cyprus Basin are offset and less thick due to the movement of the Latakia Ridge, which is identified as a steeply dipping sub-vertical fault on our data. In the central domain, the horizons identified on the Eratosthenes Seamount indicate that the Seamount is a Mesozoic carbonate platform covered by thin Miocene/Plio-Pleistocene sediments. A subdivision of the sedimentary sequence in the Herodotus Basin is proposed down to the Paleocene-Eocene basis. A major change in the structural style of the deformation is observed form west to east. Whereas the Levant Basin is almost undeformed south of the Latakia Ridge, several structures were mapped in the central domain, like flexural basin, pop-up structures and back-thrusts. South-verging thrusts were also, identified in the Cyprus Basin. All these structures show a Pliocene activity. Our data suggest that the heterogeneity of the crustal structure played a major role in the longitudinal evolution of the plate

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. Stratigraphic assessment of the Arcelia Teloloapan area, southern Mexico: implications for southern Mexico's post-Neocomian tectonic evolution

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cabral-Cano, E.; Lang, H. R.; Harrison, C. G. A.

    2000-10-01

    Stratigraphic assessment of the "Tierra Caliente Metamorphic Complex" (TCMC) between Arcelia and Teloloapan in southern Mexico, based on photo interpretation of Landsat Thematic Mapper images and field mapping at the 1:100,000 scale, tests different tectonic evolution scenarios that bear directly on the evolution of the southern North American plate margin. The regional geology, emphasizing the stratigraphy of a portion of the TCMC within the area between Arcelia and Teloloapan is presented. Stratigraphic relationships with units in adjacent areas are also described. The base of the stratigraphic section is a chlorite grade metamorphic sequence that includes the Taxco Schist, the Roca Verde Taxco Viejo Formation, and the Almoloya Phyllite Formation. These metamorphic units, as thick as 2.7 km, are covered disconformably by a sedimentary sequence, 2.9 km thick, composed of the Cretaceous marine Pochote, Morelos, and Mexcala Formations, as well as undifferentiated Tertiary continental red beds and volcanic rocks. The geology may be explained as the evolution of Mesozoic volcanic and sedimentary environments developed upon attenuated continental crust. Our results do not support accretion of the Guerrero terrane during Laramide (Late Cretaceous-Paleogene) time.

  15. 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?

  16. Overview of geology and tectonic evolution of the Baikal-Tuva area.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gladkochub, Dmitry; Donskaya, Tatiana

    2009-01-01

    This chapter provides the results of geological investigations of the main tectonic units of the Baikal-Tuva region (southwestern part of Siberia) during the last decades: the ancient Siberian craton and adjacent areas of the Central Asian Orogenic belt. In the framework of these main units we describe small-scale blocks (terranes) with focus on details of their inner structure and evolution through time. As well as describing the geology and tectonics of the area studied, we give an overview of underwater sediments, neotectonics, and some phenomena of history and development of the Baikal, Khubsugul, Chargytai, and Tore-Chol Lakes basins of the Baikal-Tuva region. It is suggested that these lakes' evolution was controlled by neotectonic processes, modern seismic activity, and global climate changes.

  17. Geochronology and Tectonic Evolution of the Lincang Batholith in Southwestern Yunnan, China

    OpenAIRE

    Hongyuan Zhang; Junlai Liu; Wenbin Wu

    2012-01-01

    Geochronological research of the Lincang Batholith is one key scientific problem to discuss the tectonic evolution of the Tethys. Two granitic specimens were selected from the Mengku-Douge area in the Lincang Batholith to perform the LA-ICPMS Zircon U-Pb dating based on thorough review of petrological, geochemical, and geochronological data by the former scientists. Rock-forming age data of biotite granite specimen from Kunsai is about 220 Ma, the Norian age. However, the west sample from Men...

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. Tectonic activity and the evolution of submarine canyons: The Cook Strait Canyon system, New Zealand

    Science.gov (United States)

    Micallef, Aaron; Mountjoy, Joshu; Barnes, Philip; Canals, Miquel; Lastras, Galderic

    2016-04-01

    Submarine canyons are Earth's most dramatic erosional features, comprising steep-walled valleys that originate in the continental shelf and slope. They play a key role in the evolution of continental margins by transferring sediments into deep water settings and are considered important biodiversity hotspots, pathways for nutrients and pollutants, and analogues of hydrocarbon reservoirs. Although comprising only one third of continental margins worldwide, active margins host more than half of global submarine canyons. We still lack of thorough understanding of the coupling between active tectonics and submarine canyon processes, which is necessary to improve the modelling of canyon evolution in active margins and derive tectonic information from canyon morphology. The objectives of this study are to: (i) understand how tectonic activity influences submarine canyon morphology, processes, and evolution in an active margin, and (2) formulate a generalised model of canyon development in response to tectonic forcing based on morphometric parameters. We fulfil these objectives by analysing high resolution geophysical data and imagery from Cook Strait Canyon system, offshore New Zealand. Using these data, we demonstrate that tectonic activity, in the form of major faults and structurally-generated tectonic ridges, leaves a clear topographic signature on submarine canyon location and morphology, in particular their dendritic and sinuous planform shapes, steep and linear longitudinal profiles, and cross-sectional asymmetry and width. We also report breaks/changes in canyon longitudinal slope gradient, relief and slope-area regression models at the intersection with faults. Tectonic activity gives rise to two types of knickpoints in the Cook Strait Canyon. The first type consists of low slope gradient, rounded and diffusive knickpoints forming as a result of short wavelength folds or fault break outs and being restored to an equilibrium profile by upstream erosion and

  1. Distinct phases of eustatic and tectonic forcing for late Quaternary landscape evolution in southwest Crete, Greece

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    V. Mouslopoulou

    2017-09-01

    Full Text Available The extent to which climate, eustasy and tectonics interact to shape the late Quaternary landscape is poorly known. Alluvial fans often provide useful indexes that allow the decoding of information recorded on complex coastal landscapes, such as those of the eastern Mediterranean. In this paper we analyse and date (using infrared stimulated luminescence (IRSL dating a double alluvial fan system on southwest Crete, an island straddling the forearc of the Hellenic subduction margin, in order to constrain the timing and magnitude of its vertical deformation and discuss the factors contributing to its landscape evolution. The studied alluvial system is exceptional because each of its two juxtaposed fans records individual phases of alluvial and marine incision, thus providing unprecedented resolution in the formation and evolution of its landscape. Specifically, our analysis shows that the fan sequence at Domata developed during Marine Isotope Stage (MIS 3 due to five distinct stages of marine transgressions and regressions and associated river incision, in response to sea-level fluctuations and tectonic uplift at averaged rates of  ∼ 2.2 mm yr−1. Interestingly, comparison of our results with published tectonic uplift rates from western Crete shows that uplift during 20–50 kyr BP was minimal (or even negative. Thus, most of the uplift recorded at Domata must have occurred in the last 20 kyr. This implies that eustasy and tectonism impacted the landscape at Domata over mainly distinct time intervals (e.g. sequentially and not synchronously, with eustasy forming and tectonism preserving the coastal landforms.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Geomorphology and Neogene tectonic evolution of the Palomares continental margin (Western Mediterranean)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gómez de la Peña, Laura; Gràcia, Eulàlia; Muñoz, Araceli; Acosta, Juan; Gómez-Ballesteros, María; R. Ranero, César; Uchupi, Elazar

    2016-10-01

    The Palomares continental margin is located in the southeastern part of Spain. The margin main structure was formed during Miocene times, and it is currently part of the wide deformation zone characterizing the region between the Iberian and African plates, where no well-defined plate boundary occurs. The convergence between these two plates is here accommodated by several structures, including the left lateral strike-slip Palomares Fault. The region is characterized by sparse, low to moderate magnitude (Mw tectonic history of the margin we analyze new high-resolution multibeam bathymetry data and re-processed three multichannel seismic reflection profiles crossing the main structures. The analysis of seafloor morphology and associated subsurface structure provides new insights of the active tectonic features of the area. In contrast to other segments of the southeastern Iberian margin, the Palomares margin contains numerous large and comparatively closely spaced canyons with heads that reach near the coast. The margin relief is also characterized by the presence of three prominent igneous submarine ridges that include the Aguilas, Abubacer and Maimonides highs. Erosive processes evidenced by a number of scars, slope failures, gullies and canyon incisions shape the present-day relief of the Palomares margin. Seismic images reveal the deep structure distinguishing between Miocene structures related to the formation of the margin and currently active features, some of which may reactivate inherited structures. The structure of the margin started with an extensional phase accompanied by volcanic accretion during the Serravallian, followed by a compressional pulse that started during the Latemost Tortonian. Nowadays, tectonic activity offshore is subdued and limited to few, minor faults, in comparison with the activity recorded onshore. The deep Algero-Balearic Basin is affected by surficial processes, associated to halokinesis of Messinian evaporites.

  5. 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

  6. Cyclic Sequences, Events and Evolution of the Sino-Korean Plate,with a Discussion on the Evolution of Molar-tooth Carbonates,Phosphorites and Source Rocks

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    MENG Xianghua; GE Ming

    2003-01-01

    This paper gives an account of the research that the authors conducted on the cyclic sequences, events and evolutionary history from Proterozoic to Meso-Cenozoic in the Sino-Korean plate based on the principle of the Cosmos-Earth System. The authors divided this plate into 20 super-cyclic or super-mega-cyclic periods and more than 100 Oort periods. The research focused on important sea flooding events, uplift interruption events, tilting movement events, molar-tooth carbonate events, thermal events, polarity reversal events, karst events, volcanic explosion events and storm events, as well as types of resource areas and paleotectonic evolution. By means of the isochronous theory of the Cosmos-Earth System periodicity and based on long-excentricity and periodicity, the authors elaborately studied the paleogeographic evolution of the aulacogen of the Sino-Korean plate, the oolitic beach platform formation, the development of foreland basin and continental rift valley basin, and reconstructed the evolution of tectonic paleogeography and stratigraphic framework in the Sino-Korean plate in terms of evolutionary maps. Finally, the authors gave a profound discussion on the formation and development of molar-tooth carbonates, phosphorites and source rocks.

  7. Aspects of sedimentary basin evolution assessed through tectonic subsidence analysis. Example: northern Gulf of Thailand

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pigott, John D.; Sattayarak, Nares

    Tectonic subsidence and subsidence rate analyses were conducted using a forward burial technique for the Cenozoic sediments of the northern Gulf of Thailand, a region presently bounded and intersected by major strike-slip fault systems. Basins represented by the seven wells studied are the Thon Buri, Hua Hin, Chumphon, Kra, and Pattani basins. The total observed subsidence was stratigraphically calibrated using well biostratigraphy and/or regional seismic stratigraphy. Tectonic subsidence was subsequently determined assuming local Airy isostasy by correcting decompacted sediments for sediment loading and variations in paleowater depths. Statistical comparison of the observed tectonic subsidence profile versus the theoretical thermal subsidence profile reveals zero-intercept times of incipient thermal-rifting and furthermore helps differentiate times of thermal subsidence from episodes of fault-controlled mechanical subsidence. Differences in tectonic subsidence, tectonic subsidence rates, and in the zero-intercept times of thermal rifting imply the Paleogene thermal associated rifting of the northern Gulf of Thailand was neither restricted spatially nor universally synchronous among the basins, but instead both spatially and time transgressive. Although coupled thermal-mechanical subsidence played a major role in the evolution for most of these basins, in some basins, e.g. the Thon Buri and northern Kra basins, subsidence was not thermally initiated. Instead, these basins experienced relatively slow-paced sediment loaded subsidence until a sudden fault-associated acceleration commenced in the Pliocene. Additional evidence for temporal and spatial changes in local strain is demonstrated by observed asynchronous episodes of "see-saw" subsidence-uplift of the basin floors. For example, while the northern Hua Hin Basin experienced Miocene-Pliocene alternations of subsidence and uplift, portions of the Pattani Basin to the southeast underwent periods of subsidence and

  8. 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

  9. Evolution of Tidal Influence During the ETS Seismic Cycle Reveals Competition Between Tectonic Loading and Fault Healing

    Science.gov (United States)

    Houston, H.

    2015-12-01

    Following the discovery of the evolution of tremor response to tidal stress over the duration of ETS slip at a spot (Houston 2015; Royer et al 2015;Yabe et al 2015), we investigate whether and how it may evolve between major large ETSs, which occur quasi-periodically in several subduction zones. Preliminary results show that tidal response does evolve over the average interETS period in northern Cascadia - decaying over the first quarter of the cycle to lowest values then climbing back up in the second half of the cycle part of the way toward the strong response seen late during major ETSs. Thus far, we have ignored the possible role of transient stresses during interETS tremor because tremor bursts are mostly small. We explore a strength-threshold model where tidal influence is stronger when stress is close to strength and weaker when they are farther apart. Shortly after a major ETS, both stress and strength are presumed to have fallen over the large region where slow slip occurred. Then, however, stress rebuilds quasi-linearly by plate tectonic loading, whereas strength rebuilds as the logarithm of time (e.g., Vidale et al 1994). Thus, model stress and strength diverge the most midway through the interETS cycle, the period of weakest tidal sensitivity. Tidal stresses become more effective in triggering tremor later in the cycle as the linearly-growing stress approaches the logarithmically-growing strength. This model broadly fits our observed evolution of tidal response. However, the tendency of ETSs to initiate downdip may require an additional process that varies along dip. This approach illuminates the competition between healing on the plate interface and reloading with tectonic stress, and can help constrain and perhaps even monitor physical conditions on the deep subduction interface. The figure shows the evolution of two measures of tidal influence on tremor, consistency and sensitivity (right), and the data on which they are based - probability

  10. Petrologic perspectives on tectonic evolution of a nascent basin (Okinawa Trough) behind Ryukyu Arc:A review

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    YAN Quanshu; SHI Xuefa

    2014-01-01

    Okinawa Trough is a back-arc, initial marginal sea basin, located behind the Ryukyu Arc-Trench System. The formation and evolution of the Okinawa Trough is intimately related to the subduction process of the Philippine Sea Plate beneath the Eurasian Plate since the late Miocene. The tectonic evolution of the trough is similar to other active back-arcs, such as the Mariana Trough and southern Lau Basin, all of which are experiencing the initial rifting and subsequent spreading process. This study reviews all petrologic and geochemical data of mafic volcanic lavas from the Okinawa Trough, Ryukyu Arc, and Philippine Sea Plate, combined with geophysical data to indicate the relationship between the subduction sources (input) and arc or back-arc magmas (output) in the Philippine Sea Plate-Ryukyu Arc-Okinawa Trough system (PROS). The results obtained showed that several components were variably involved in the petrogenesis of the Oki-nawa Trough lavas:sub-continental lithospheric mantle underlying the Eurasian Plate, Indian mid-oceanic ridge basalt (MORB)-type mantle, and Pacific MORB-type mantle. The addition of shallow aqueous fluids and deep hydrous melts from subducted components with the characteristics of Indian MORB-type mantle into the mantle source of lavas variably modifies the primitive mantle wedge beneath the Ryukyu and sub-continental lithospheric mantle (SCLM) beneath the Okinawa Trough. In the northeastern end of the trough and arc, instead of Indian MORB-type mantle, Pacific MORB-type mantle dominates the magma source. Along the strike of the Ryukyu Arc and Okinawa Trough, the systematic variations in trace element ratios and isotopic compositions reflect the first-order effect of variable subduction input on the magma source. In general, petrologic data, combined with geophysical data, imply that the Okinawa Trough is experiencing the“seafloor spreading”process in the southwest segment,“rift propagation”process in the middle seg-ment, and

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. Geology of the Santa Elena Peninsula, Costa Rica and its implications for the tectonic evolution of the Central America-Caribbean region

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Lew, L.R.

    1985-01-01

    The Santa Elena Peninsula of Costa Rice represents an Aptian to Middle Eocene intraoceanic volcanic arc formed on a basement of serpentinized periodotite. This peridotite was probably part of the oceanic lithosphere formed at a spreading ridge which began to separate South America from North America in pre-Jurassic time. The arc resulted from northward subduction of oceanic crust along one ENE-trending trench about 70 km south of Santa Elena. The first phase of tectonism, arc volcanism, and sedimentation occurred in the area from Aptian to Campanian time. Carbonate bank limestone were deposited on the peridotite, which had been tilted and uplifted along E-W-trending high angle faults. A second volcanic arc developed above the limestone and was active until the Middle Eocene. From the Campanian to the Middle Eocene a forearc basin evolved south of the arc and a backarc basin north of it. A major Middle Eocene tectonic episode was associated with termination of activity of the Santa Elena subduction zone. This involved both thin-skinned deformation and reactivation of the steep basement faults to juxtapose peridotite and Campanian to Middle Eocene sediments. Existing models of the early plate tectonic evolution of the region, postulating initiation of spreading in the Jurassic, and development of a major transform in the Santa Elena area in the Cretaceous, are incompatible with the geology of the Santa Elena area. New models have been formulated genetically relating the structures in the Santa Elena tectonic province to northward subduction.

  14. 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

    Various studies of seismic anisotropy clearly demonstrate the Archean mantle lithosphere consists of domains with different fabrics reflecting fossil anisotropic structures. We detect anisotropic signal both in the P-wave travel-time deviations and shear-wave splitting recorded by the LAPNET array (2007-2009) in the Archean craton of Fennoscandia (Plomerova et al., 2011). The anisotropic parameters change across the array and stations with similar characteristics form groups. The geographical variations of seismic-wave anisotropy delimit individual sharply bounded domains of the mantle lithosphere, each of them having a consistent fabric. The domains can be modelled in 3D by peridotite aggregates with dipping lineation a, or foliation (a,c). Also radial anisotropy of the Archean lithosphere derived from surface waves indicates inclined structure of all the cratonic regions of the continents, though with less detailed lateral resolution in comparison with body-wave anisotropy. These findings allow us to interpret the domains as micro-plate fragments retaining fossil fabrics in the mantle lithosphere, reflecting thus an olivine LPO created before the micro-plates assembled. Successive subductions of oceanic lithosphere is a mechanism which can work in modern-style plate tectonics as we know it now, being considered as widespread since 2.7 Ga. Though the modern plate tectonics is the most distinct tectonic style acting up to now, we have to consider a mechanism creating oriented structures (fabrics) in a pre-plate-tectonic style. The early lithosphere formed in dynamic conditions far from simple cooling which would result in sub-horizontal layered structure of the lithosphere. Earlier tectonic modes in a hotter and more dynamic Earth might be similar in some respects to those of the modern-plate tectonics. Basaltic "rockbergs" on convecting magma ocean in the Hadean Earth are supposed to turn to either proto-plate tectonics with platelets and supercratonal, or, to

  15. The Alpine tectonic evolution of the Danube Basin and its northern periphery (southwestern Slovakia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Hók Jozef

    2016-10-01

    Full Text Available The tectonic evolution of the pre-Cenozoic basement, as well as the Cenozoic structures within the Danube Basin (DB and its northern periphery are presented. The lowermost portion of the pre-Cenozoic basement is formed by the Tatricum Unit which was tectonically affected by the subduction of the Vahicum / Penninicum distal continental crust during the Turonian. Tectonically disintegrated Tatricum overlaid the post-Turonian to Lower Eocene sediments that are considered a part of the Vahicum wedge-top basin. These sediments are overthrust with the Fatricum and Hronicum cover nappes. The Danube Basin Transversal Fault (DBTF oriented along a NW–SE course divided the pre-Neogene basement of the DB into two parts. The southwestern part of the DB pre-Neogene basement is eroded to the crystalline complexes while the Palaeogene and Mesozoic sediments are overlaid by the Neogene deposits on the northeastern side of the DBTF. The DBTF was activated as a dextral fault during the Late Oligocene – Earliest Miocene. During the Early Miocene (Karpatian – Early Badenian it was active as a normal fault. In the Middle – Late Miocene the dominant tectonic regime with NW – SE oriented extension led to the disintegration of the elevated pre-Neogene basement under the simple and pure shear mechanisms into several NE – SW oriented horst and graben structures with successive subsidence generally from west to east. The extensional tectonics with the perpendicular NE – SW orientation of the Shmin persists in the Danube Basin from the ?Middle Pleistocene to the present.

  16. 水星构造特征及演化%Tectonic Features and Evolution of Mercury

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    闫丹; 曾佐勋; 胡才志; 徐大良; 胡烨

    2009-01-01

    Mercury, the innermost terrestrial planet of the solar system, has the similar surface to the Moon and the similar interior to the Earth. It exhibits five important tectonic features: (1)pervasive impact craters, (2)a global grid system, (3)lobate scarps, only found on Mercury, (4)structures associated with the Caloris Basin and (5)local extensional feature. Most of the structural features of terrestrial planet except the Earth is formed in the early-middle history of the planets. The tectonic evolution of small planetary bodies is usually interpreted as the result of their thermal evolution with external perturbations such as large impacts or tidal effects. On this basis this paper discusses the tectonic history of Mercury by summaring and analysing its tectonic features.%水星是离太阳最近的类地行星,它有着类似月球的外表和类似地球的内部,其重要的构造特征主要表现在以下方面:广泛分布的撞击坑;全球线性构造(格子构造)体系;叶片状悬崖;与Caloris盆地相关的构造;局部的拉张构造,其中叶片状悬崖是仅存在于水星的独特构造.类地行星(除地球以外)的构造形迹主要形成于星球历史的早、中期,同时小行星体的构造演化通常被认为是行星热演化以及外部作用(如强烈撞击或者潮汐)共同作用的结果.

  17. Impact of tectonic and volcanism on the Neogene evolution of isolated carbonate platforms (SW Indian Ocean)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Courgeon, S.; Jorry, S. J.; Jouet, G.; Camoin, G.; BouDagher-Fadel, M. K.; Bachèlery, P.; Caline, B.; Boichard, R.; Révillon, S.; Thomas, Y.; Thereau, E.; Guérin, C.

    2017-06-01

    Understanding the impact of tectonic activity and volcanism on long-term (i.e. millions years) evolution of shallow-water carbonate platforms represents a major issue for both industrial and academic perspectives. The southern central Mozambique Channel is characterized by a 100 km-long volcanic ridge hosting two guyots (the Hall and Jaguar banks) and a modern atoll (Bassas da India) fringed by a large terrace. Dredge sampling, geophysical acquisitions and submarines videos carried out during recent oceanographic cruises revealed that submarine flat-top seamounts correspond to karstified and drowned shallow-water carbonate platforms largely covered by volcanic material and structured by a dense network of normal faults. Microfacies and well-constrained stratigraphic data indicate that these carbonate platforms developed in shallow-water tropical environments during Miocene times and were characterized by biological assemblages dominated by corals, larger benthic foraminifera, red and green algae. The drowning of these isolated carbonate platforms is revealed by the deposition of outer shelf sediments during the Early Pliocene and seems closely linked to (1) volcanic activity typified by the establishment of wide lava flow complexes, and (2) to extensional tectonic deformation associated with high-offset normal faults dividing the flat-top seamounts into distinctive structural blocks. Explosive volcanic activity also affected platform carbonates and was responsible for the formation of crater(s) and the deposition of tuff layers including carbonate fragments. Shallow-water carbonate sedimentation resumed during Late Neogene time with the colonization of topographic highs inherited from tectonic deformation and volcanic accretion. Latest carbonate developments ultimately led to the formation of the Bassas da India modern atoll. The geological history of isolated carbonate platforms from the southern Mozambique Channel represents a new case illustrating the major

  18. Usbnd Pb detrital zircon ages from some Neoproterozoic successions of Uruguay: Provenance, stratigraphy and tectonic evolution

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pecoits, Ernesto; Aubet, Natalie R.; Heaman, Larry M.; Philippot, Pascal; Rosière, Carlos A.; Veroslavsky, Gerardo; Konhauser, Kurt O.

    2016-11-01

    The Neoproterozoic volcano-sedimentary successions of Uruguay have been the subject of several sedimentologic, chrono-stratigraphic and tectonic interpretation studies. Recent studies have shown, however, that the stratigraphy, age and tectonic evolution of these units remain uncertain. Here we use new Usbnd Pb detrital zircon ages, combined with previously published geochronologic and stratigraphic data in order to provide more precise temporal constraints on their depositional age and to establish a more solid framework for the stratigraphic and tectonic evolution of these units. The sequence of events begins with a period of tectonic quiescence and deposition of extensive mixed siliciclastic-carbonate sedimentary successions. This is followed by the development of small fault-bounded siliciclastic and volcaniclastic basins and the emplacement of voluminous granites associated with episodic terrane accretion. According to our model, the Arroyo del Soldado Group and the Piedras de Afilar Formation were deposited sometime between ∼1000 and 650 Ma, and represent passive continental margin deposits of the Nico Pérez and Piedra Alta terranes, respectively. In contrast, the Ediacaran San Carlos (Dionisio terranes, and the herein defined Edén Terrane. The Edén and the Nico Pérez terranes likely accreted at ∼650-620 Ma (Edén Accretionary Event), followed by their accretion to the Piedra Alta Terrane at ∼620-600 Ma (Piedra Alta Accretionary Event), and culminating with the accretion of the Cuchilla Dionisio Terrane at ∼600-560 Ma (Cuchilla Dionisio Accretionary Event). Although existing models consider all the Ediacaran granites as a result of a single orogenic event, recently published age constraints point to the existence of at least two distinct stages of granite generation, which are spatially and temporally associated with the Edén and Cuchilla Dionisio accretionary events.

  19. The polyphased tectonic evolution of the Anegada Passage in the northern Lesser Antilles subduction zone

    Science.gov (United States)

    Laurencin, M.; Marcaillou, B.; Graindorge, D.; Klingelhoefer, F.; Lallemand, S.; Laigle, M.; Lebrun, J.-F.

    2017-05-01

    The influence of the highly oblique plate convergence at the northern Lesser Antilles onto the margin strain partitioning and deformation pattern, although frequently invoked, has never been clearly imaged. The Anegada Passage is a set of basins and deep valleys, regularly related to the southern boundary of the Puerto Rico-Virgin Islands (PRVI) microplate. Despite the publications of various tectonic models mostly based on bathymetric data, the tectonic origin and deformation of this Passage remains unconstrained in the absence of deep structure imaging. During cruises Antithesis 1 and 3 (2013-2016), we recorded the first deep multichannel seismic images and new multibeam data in the northern Lesser Antilles margin segment in order to shed a new light on the structure and tectonic pattern of the Anegada Passage. We image the northeastern extent of the Anegada Passage, from the Sombrero Basin to the Lesser Antilles margin front. Our results reveal that this northeastern segment is an EW trending left-stepping en échelon strike-slip system that consists of the Sombrero and Malliwana pull-apart basins, the Malliwana and Anguilla left-lateral faults, and the NE-SW compressional restraining bend at the Malliwana Hill. Reviewing the structure of the Anegada Passage, from the south of Puerto Rico to the Lesser Antilles margin front, reveals a polyphased tectonic history. The Anegada Passage is formed by a NW-SE extension, possibly related to the rotation or escape of PRVI block due to collision of the Bahamas Bank. Currently, it is deformed by an active WNW-ESE strike-slip deformation associated to the shear component of the strain partitioning resulting from the subduction obliquity.

  20. Formation and tectonic evolution of the Cretaceous Jurassic Muslim Bagh ophiolitic complex, Pakistan: Implications for the composite tectonic setting of ophiolites

    Science.gov (United States)

    Khan, Mehrab; Kerr, Andrew C.; Mahmood, Khalid

    2007-10-01

    The Muslim Bagh ophiolitic complex Balochistan, Pakistan is comprised of an upper and lower nappe and represents one of a number of ophiolites in this region which mark the boundary between the Indian and Eurasian plates. These ophiolites were obducted onto the Indian continental margin around the Late Cretaceous, prior to the main collision between the Indian and Eurasian plates. The upper nappe contains mantle sequence rocks with numerous isolated gabbro plutons which we show are fed by dolerite dykes. Each pluton has a transitional dunite-rich zone at its base, and new geochemical data suggest a similar mantle source region for both the plutons and dykes. In contrast, the lower nappe consists of pillow basalts, deep-marine sediments and a mélange of ophiolitic rocks. The rocks of the upper nappe have a geochemical signature consistent with formation in an island arc environment whereas the basalts of the lower nappe contain no subduction component and are most likely to have formed at a mid-ocean ridge. The basalts and sediments of the lower nappe have been intruded by oceanic alkaline igneous rocks during the northward drift of the Indian plate. The two nappes of the Muslim Bagh ophiolitic complex are thus distinctively different in terms of their age, lithology and tectonic setting. The recognition of composite ophiolites such as this has an important bearing on the identification and interpretation of ophiolites where the plate tectonic setting is less well resolved.

  1. 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...

  2. Sill genesis in the Paleoproterozoic tectonic evolution of the Onega Trough, Baltic shield

    Science.gov (United States)

    Poleshchuk, A. V.

    2011-07-01

    This study considers the role of sill genesis in the tectonic evolution of the Onega Trough during the Middle to Late Paleoproterozoic (Jatulian-Vepsian). The evolution of the Onega Trough is divided into three stages: pre-sill, or preparatory, subsynchronous, and post-sill. Sill magmatism manifested itself most completely at the subsynchronous stage of the evolution of the Onega Trough within the initial, principal, and final phases of sill genesis. Sill formation followed the stage of regional downwarping of the area reaching its maximum during the Early Ludicovian. Paragenesis of sills and high carbon shungite rocks was accompanied by the formation of peperites, while sills influenced the structure of the host rocks. A model reflecting the regular patterns of manifestations of sill genesis identified in the Onega Trough has been proposed.

  3. 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).

  4. Tectonic Evolution of the North Depression of the South Yellow Sea Basin Since Late Cretaceous

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    LI Nan; LI Weiran; LONG Haiyan

    2016-01-01

    On the basis of subsidence history analysis and balanced cross-section analysis, the vertical uplift/subsidence history and horizontal extension/compression history of the north depression of the south Yellow Sea basin are quantitatively studied. The results show that the tectonic evolution of the north depression of the south Yellow Sea basin since late Cretaceous can be divided into a rifting phase (late Cretaceous to Paleogene) and a post-rifting phase (Neogene to Quaternary). The rifting phase can be further subdivided into an initial rifting stage (late Cretaceous), an intensive rifting stage (Paleocene), a rifting termination stage (Eocene), and an inversion-uplifting stage (Oligocene). Together, this division shows the characteristics of an episodic-evolved intracontinental rift-depression basin. The deformation of the north depression of the south Yellow Sea basin since late Cretaceous was mainly fault-related. The horizontal extension and tectonic subsidence were controlled by the activity of faults. The differential evolution of faults also caused variations in local uplift/subsidence movements and the regional heterogeneity in extension. The late Cretaceous initial rifting of the north depression of the south Yellow Sea basin is related to the Pacific-Eurasia convergence. From the Paleocene intensive rifting stage to present, the Pacific-Eurasia convergence and India-Eurasia convergence have played important roles in the evolution of this region.

  5. Tectonic evolution of the north depression of the south Yellow Sea basin since late Cretaceous

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Nan; Li, Weiran; Long, Haiyan

    2016-12-01

    On the basis of subsidence history analysis and balanced cross-section analysis, the vertical uplift/subsidence history and horizontal extension/compression history of the north depression of the south Yellow Sea basin are quantitatively studied. The results show that the tectonic evolution of the north depression of the south Yellow Sea basin since late Cretaceous can be divided into a rifting phase (late Cretaceous to Paleogene) and a post-rifting phase (Neogene to Quaternary). The rifting phase can be further subdivided into an initial rifting stage (late Cretaceous), an intensive rifting stage (Paleocene), a rifting termination stage (Eocene), and an inversion-uplifting stage (Oligocene). Together, this division shows the characteristics of an episodic-evolved intracontinental rift-depression basin. The deformation of the north depression of the south Yellow Sea basin since late Cretaceous was mainly fault-related. The horizontal extension and tectonic subsidence were controlled by the activity of faults. The differential evolution of faults also caused variations in local uplift/subsidence movements and the regional heterogeneity in extension. The late Cretaceous initial rifting of the north depression of the south Yellow Sea basin is related to the Pacific-Eurasia convergence. From the Paleocene intensive rifting stage to present, the Pacific-Eurasia convergence and India-Eurasia convergence have played important roles in the evolution of this region.

  6. Landscapes of human evolution: models and methods of tectonic geomorphology and the reconstruction of hominin landscapes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bailey, Geoffrey N; Reynolds, Sally C; King, Geoffrey C P

    2011-03-01

    This paper examines the relationship between complex and tectonically active landscapes and patterns of human evolution. We show how active tectonics can produce dynamic landscapes with geomorphological and topographic features that may be critical to long-term patterns of hominin land use, but which are not typically addressed in landscape reconstructions based on existing geological and paleoenvironmental principles. We describe methods of representing topography at a range of scales using measures of roughness based on digital elevation data, and combine the resulting maps with satellite imagery and ground observations to reconstruct features of the wider landscape as they existed at the time of hominin occupation and activity. We apply these methods to sites in South Africa, where relatively stable topography facilitates reconstruction. We demonstrate the presence of previously unrecognized tectonic effects and their implications for the interpretation of hominin habitats and land use. In parts of the East African Rift, reconstruction is more difficult because of dramatic changes since the time of hominin occupation, while fossils are often found in places where activity has now almost ceased. However, we show that original, dynamic landscape features can be assessed by analogy with parts of the Rift that are currently active and indicate how this approach can complement other sources of information to add new insights and pose new questions for future investigation of hominin land use and habitats.

  7. 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.

  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. 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.

  10. 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

  11. Interaction of tectonic and depositional processes that control the evolution of the Iberian Gulf of Cadiz margin

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maldonado, A.; Nelson, C.H.

    1999-01-01

    This study provides an integrated view of the growth patterns and factors that controlled the evolution of the Gulf of Cadiz continental margin based on studies of the tectonic, sedimentologic and oceanographic history of the area. Seven sedimentary regimes are identified, but there are more extensive descriptions of the late Cenozoic regimes because of the larger data base. The regimes of the Mesozoic passive margin include carbonate platforms, which become mixed calcareous-terrigenous deposits during the Late Cretaceous-early Tertiary. The Oligocene and Early Miocene terrigenous regimes developed, in contrast, over the active and transcurrent margins near the African-Iberian plate boundary. The top of the Gulf of Cadiz olistostrome, emplaced in the Late Miocene, is used as a key horizon to define the 'post-orogenic' depositional regimes. The Late Miocene progradational margin regime is characterized by a large terrigenous sediment supply to the margin and coincides with the closing of the Miocene Atlantic-Mediterranean gateways. The terrigenous drift depositional regime of the Early Pliocene resulted from the occurrence of high eustatic sea level and the characteristics of the Mediterranean outflow currents that developed after the opening of the Strait of Gibraltar. The Late Pliocene and Quaternary regimes are dominated by sequences of deposits related to cycles of high and low sea levels. Deposition of shelf-margin deltas and slope wedges correlate with regressive and low sea level regimes caused by eustasy and subsidence. During the highstand regimes of the Holocene, inner shelf prograding deltas and deep-water sediment drifts were developed under the influence of the Atlantic inflow and Mediterranean outflow currents, respectively. A modern human cultural regime began 2000 years ago with the Roman occupation of Iberia; human cultural effects on sedimentary regimes may have equalled natural factors such as climate change. Interplay of tectonic and

  12. 华北板块北缘东段二叠纪的构造属性:来自火山岩锆石U-Pb年代学与地球化学的制约%Permian tectonic evolution of the eastern section of the northern margin of the North China Plate: Constraints from zircon U-Pb geochronology and geochemistry of the volcanic rocks

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    曹花花; 许文良; 裴福萍; 郭鹏远; 王枫

    2012-01-01

    -eastern parts of Jilin Province, with the aim of constraining the tectonic nature of the eastern section of the northern margin of the North China Plate in Late Paleozoic. Zircons from the volcanic rocks in the Daheshen and Guanmenzuizi formations are euhedral-subhedral in shape and display fine-scale oscillatory zoning and striped absorption ( basaltic andesite) as well as high Th/U ratios (0. 31 ~ 1. 56) , implying their magmatic origin. LA-ICP-MS zircon U-Pb age data indicate that the dacite and rhyolites from the Daheshen Formation in Huadian County formed in the Early Permian (279 ± 3 Ma ~ 293 ±2Ma) , whereas the basaltic andesite and basalt from the Guanmenzuizi Formation in the Hunchun and Tumen areas formed in the Early Permian (275 ±7Ma) and Late Permian (250 ±5Ma) , respectively. The volcanic rocks from the Daheshen Formation have SiO2 = 64. 9% -75. 4% , Mg#=0. 21 ~0. 57, belonging chemically to medium- to high-K calc-alkaline series, and display an enrichment in LREEs and LILEs and depletion in HFSEs (such as Nb, Ta, and Ti) and P, similar chemically to those from an active continental margin setting. Their initial Hf isotopic ratios and Hf two-stage model ages range from +0. 9 to + 10. 37 and from 785Ma to 1240Ma, respectively, suggesting that their primary magmas could be mainly derived from partial melting of the Meso-Neoproterozoic accretted lower crust. The Early Permian basaltic andesites from the Guanmenzuizi Formation in Hunchun area, belonging chemically to medium-K calc-alkaline series, are poor in SiO2 (53. 4% ~ 53. 7% ) and HFSEs, rich in A12O3 (16. 4% ~ 16. 8% ) and LILEs, and display low REE abundances and flat REE pattern, similar to those from an island arc setting. The primary magma of the basaltic andesites could be mainly derived from partial melting of the depleted mantle wedge metasomatized by the subducted slab-derived fluid. The Late Permian basalts from the Guanmenzuizi Formation in Tumen area have SiO2 = 48. 7% ~ 49. 6% , Mg# = 0. 64 ~ 0

  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. 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

  15. 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. ...

  16. 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

  17. 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…

  18. Wave characteristics and tectonic-sedimentation evolution of foreland thrust fault of Micang Mountain

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2008-01-01

    In this paper,the technology of wave process method for sedimentation is first adopted in the research of the foreland thrust fault of Micang Mountain with respect of oil and reservoir’s formation and tectonic and sedimentary evolution. From the fluctuation characteristics,we could make conclusions in the foreland thrust belt of Micang Mountain that,there existed 2 first-order sedimentary cycles (220 Ma),corresponding to Caledonian-Hercynian and Indo-Chinese-Yanshan-Himalayan tectonic cycles respec-tively; there existed 4 second-order sedimentary cycles (10 Ma),corresponding to two sedimentation peak period and two denudation peak periods in research zone; there existed 12 third-order sedimen-tary cycles (35 Ma) and 21 fourth-sedimentary cycles (20 Ma). These 33 cycles in the research zone corresponded to the sedimentation-denudation process in different periods,furthermore,their fluctua-tion characteristics bore the genetic relationship with the development law of source,reservoir and cap rocks: the source rock had the tendency to develop at the turning part between wave crest and wave trough,or at the superposition of wave turning part in different periods,presenting like "X"; most res-ervoir rocks developed at the place of wave peak; the development of cap rock was located in the wave trough on the right of sedimentation-denudation datum line. As a result,through the application of wave process method for sedimentation,we could rediscover the understanding of the tectonic and sedimentary evolution from another prospective,meanwhile,it enables to make prediction about the development rule of source,reservoir and cap rocks,which means a significant importance to the re-search of oil and reservoir’s forming condition.

  19. Past Plate Motions and The Evolution of Earth's Lower Mantle: Relating LLSVPs and Plume Distribution

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bull, A. L.; Torsvik, T. H.; Shephard, G. E.

    2015-12-01

    Seismic tomography elucidates broad, low shear-wave velocity structures in the lower mantle beneath Africa and the central Pacific with uncertain physical and compositional origins. The anomalously slow areas, which cover nearly 50% of the core-mantle boundary, are often referred to as Large Low Shear Velocity Provinces (LLSVPs) due to the reduced velocity of seismic waves passing through them. Several hypotheses have arisen to explain the LLSVPs in the context of large-scale mantle convection. One end-member scenario infers a spatial correlation between LLSVP margins at depth and the reconstructed surface eruption sites of hotspots, kimberlites, and Large Igneous Provinces. Such a correlation has been explained by the preferential triggering of plumes at LLSVP margins by impingement of the subducting lithosphere upon the lower thermal boundary layer at the interface between ambient mantle and the higher density structures. This scenario propounds that Earth's plate motion history plays a controlling role in plume development, and that the location, geometry and morphology of plumes may be influenced by the movement of subducting slabs. Here, we investigate what is necessary to create such a pattern of plume distribution in relation to LLSVPs. We consider what effect past plate motions may have had on the evolution of Earth's lower mantle, and discuss the development of mantle plumes in terms of subduction dynamics. We integrate plate tectonic histories and numerical models of mantle convection to investigate the role that subduction history plays in the development and evolution of plumes in the presence of LLSVPs. To test whether an interaction exists between the surface location of subduction and plume eruption sites, and if so, to what degree over time, we apply varying shifts to the absolute reference frame of the plate reconstruction. With this method, we are able to change the location of subduction at the surface and thus the global flow field. This in turn

  20. 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.

  1. Thermal Evolution of Terrestrial Planets: Earth, Mars, Size, Temperature, Tectonics, and Deep Volatile Cycling

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lenardic, A.; Hero, J.; McGovern, P. J., Jr.

    2014-12-01

    Recent efforts to constrain the thermal evolution of the Martian lithosphere suggest that the ratio of mantle heat production to heat loss, termed the Urey ratio, on Mars may be greater than unity at present (or in Mars' recent past). For comparison, the present day Earth value is 0.33. These estimates fly in the face of conventional wisdom that a smaller planet like Mars should have cooled faster than the Earth - and certainly should not be heating up at present. We perform a sensitivity analysis, using a thermal history modeling approach, to asses the relative effects of changing planetary size, mode of tectonics, and nature of deep volatile cycling (focussing on water). Our results indicate that differences in the nature of volatile cycling (degassing vs regassing over time) can outweigh the effects of size and tectonic mode in determining the thermal state of a planet. Mars models in which degassing dominates can give Urey ratios that exceed unity. Earth models in which regassing dominates over degassing in the later geologic stages of evolution lead to lower Urey ratio values.

  2. Northwest margin of California continental borderland: marine geology and tectonic evolution.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Crouch, J.K.

    1981-01-01

    The NW margin of the California continental border land consists of 2 NW-trending pre-Neogene lithologic belts blanketed by Miocene and younger strata. These represent facies corresponding to the subduction complex and forearc-basin deposits of a late Mesozoic and Paleogene continental-margin arc-trench system. The outer belt, which forms the acoustic basement is characterized by: 1) moderately high compressional velocities; 2) discordant and discontinuous seismic reflectors; and 3) nonfossiliferous and diverse rock types. Landward, the inner Great Valley sequence belt is characterized by: 1) intermediate compressional velocities; 2) concordant and relatively continuous reflectors, and 3) a thick turbidite sequence. Well-developed wrench-fault structures in overlying Miocene strata record a transition from Paleogene subduction to Neogene transform faulting. The timing of volcanism and uplift, and of the younger wrenching event, closely matches the plate-tectonic model of Atwater and Molnar.-from Author

  3. Implications for the tectonic transition zone of active orogeny in Hoping drainage basin, by landscape evolution at the multi-temporal timescale

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chang, Q.; Chen, R. F.; Lin, W.; Hsieh, P. S.

    2015-12-01

    In an actively orogeny the landscape are transient state of disequilibrium in response to climatic and tectonic inputs. At the catchment scale, sensitivity of river systems plays an important role in landscape evolution. Hoping drainage basin is located at the tectonic transition zone in the north-eastern Taiwan, where the behavior of Philippine Sea plate switches from overriding above the east-dipping Eurasian Continental plate to northward subducting under the Ryukyu arc. However, extensive deep-seated landslides, debris flow, and numerous large alluvial terraces can be observed, suggesting strong surface processes in this watershed. This effect on regional climate fundamentally changed the landscape by reconfiguring drainage patterns and creating a vast influx of sediments into the basin. In this study we review the morphological evidence from multi-temporal timescale, including in-situ cosmogenic nuclides denudation rate and suspension load data, coupled with the analysis of the longitudinal profiles. The main goal of this study is to compare Holocene erosion rates with thermochronology and radiometric dating of river terraces to investigate the erosion history of Hoping area. The result shows that short-term erosion rate is around twice as large as the long-term denudation rate, which might due to the climate-driven erosion events such as typhoon-induced landslide. We've also mapped detail morphological features by using the high-resolution LiDAR image, which help us to identify not only the landslide but also tectonic features such as lineation, fault scarps, and fracture zones. The tectonic surface features and field investigation results show that the drainage basin is highly fractured, suggesting that even though the vertical tectonic activity rate is small, the horizontal shortening influenced by both southward opening of the back-arc Okinawa trough and the north-western collision in this area is significant. This might cause the reducing in rock strength

  4. 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...

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. The Neogene tectonic evolution and climatic change of the Tianshui Basin, NE Tibetan Plateau

    Science.gov (United States)

    Peng, T.; Li, J.; Song, C.; Zhao, Z.; Zhang, J.; Wang, X.; Hui, Z.

    2013-12-01

    The Tianshui Basin, located at the conjunction of NE Tibetan Plateau and Chinese Loess Plateau, has received intensive attention recently. Fine-grained Miocene sediment was identified as loess in its north part and this pushes the onset of Asian aridification into 22 Ma. However, our sedimentological, biomarker, pollen, diatom and mammalian fossils evidence propose that these sediments were suggested to be mudflat/distal fan and floodplain deposit instead of eolian deposit. So detailed tectonic background and climate reconstruction may illustrate the controversy and shed light on the tectonic, climate and ecology interactions. Here we report our integrated studies on the tectonic evolution, climate change and paleoecology reconstruction in the Tianshui basin. Based on the magnetostratigraphy and fossil mammal ages, sedimentological and detrital fission-track thermochronologic (DFT) analysis reveals four episodic tectonic uplift events occurred at ~20 Ma, ~14 Ma, ~9.2-7.4 Ma and ~3.6 Ma along the basin and its adjacent mountains. The timing of these activities at Western Qinling have been documented at many segments of the Tibetan Plateau, so most likely they were the remote response to the ongoing India-Asia collision. Pollen, mammalian fossils and biomarker data permit us to illustrate the paleoenvironment in the Tianshui Basin. During the period of ~17-10 Ma, the climate was generally warm-humid revealed by the broad-leaved forest and low Average Chain Length (ACL) values, when the Paltybelodon and Gomphotherium were roaming near an extensive aquatic setting. In addition, the observed Middle Miocene Climatic Optimum and Middle Miocene Climatic Transition events may be a terrestrial response to global climate changes. During the interval of ~10-6 Ma, the climate was relatively arid characterized by the rapid development of steppe and appearance of the Hipparion fauna, consistent with the biomarker proxy. Although the NE Tibetan Plateau experienced a phase of

  8. 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

  9. Cenozoic tectonic evolution leading to the Choco-South America collision (Panama-Colombia), from seismic profiles interpretations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barat, F.; Maurin, T.; Auxietre, J.; Mercier de Lépinay, B.; Salmon, P.; Sosson, M. M.

    2012-12-01

    The Choco Block is located in eastern Panama and western Colombia, at the western boundary of the Caribbean Plate (CP), and is mainly characterized by a Late Cretaceous-Paleogene volcanic arc overlying the Caribbean Large Igneous Province (CLIP). This block was accreted to South American plate (SAP) during Middle to Late Miocene. Geological, chronological and structural data are scarce in the Choco Block. Our study aims at reconstructing the evolution at a local scale, to provide new constraints to the regional scale tectonic processes that have occurred since the Paleogene. In that perspective, we have interpreted offshore seismic reflection profiles. This interpretation was supported by biostratigraphic data from two wells. We focused our studies in the Uraba Gulf area, a triple junction between the Choco Block, the SAP and the Caribbean oceanic plateau. This poorly understood zone offers rare observation of two accretionary wedges, the North Panama Deformed Belt (NPDB), and the Sinu Belt, located at the margins of the Choco Block and the SAP, respectively. They are the results of two opposite convergent zones, and collide along the active Uramita strike-slip Fault Zone (UFZ), a suture zone between the Choco Block and the SAP. This area may provide information on the ages of both accretionary wedges, on the tectonic processes responsible for the disappearance of the CP, and on the late formation of the Choco Block. Our results evidence a northward propagating deformation along the Choco Block, miocene or older in the South of the Uraba Gulf, pliocene in the North of the Uraba Gulf, and active along the northern margin of Panama. This deformation is the result of the progressive accretion of Choco Block along the SAP. At the Uraba triple junction, a thick sedimentary sequence was deposited since late Miocene. North verging progradations suggest that sediments came from the drainage of the western cordillera of Colombia by a Paleo-Sinu river and actual Atrato river

  10. 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.

  11. Importance of the Small-Scale Processes Melting, Plate Boundary Formation and Mineralogy on the Large-Scale, Long-Term Thermo-Chemical Evolution of Earth's Mantle-Plate System

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tackley, P.

    2015-12-01

    Seismic observations of the deep Earth reveal the presence of two large low shear velocity provinces (LLSVPs) that are typically inferred to be dense chemically-distinct material, as well as discontinuities that are typically linked to the post-perovskite (pPv) phase transition. Several possible origins of chemically-dense material have been proposed, including recycling of mid-ocean ridge basalt (MORB), primordial differentiation events, crystallisation of a basal magma ocean, or some combination of these creating a basal melange (BAM; Tackley 2012 Earth Sci. Rev.). Each of these possibilities would result in a different composition hence different mineralogy. In order to constrain this we have been running calculations of thermo-chemical mantle evolution over 4.5 billion years that include melting-induced differentiation, plate tectonics induced by strongly temperature-dependent viscosity and plastic yielding, core cooling and compressibility with reasonable assumptions about the pressure-dependence of other material properties. Some of our simulations start from a magma ocean state so initial layering is developed self-consistently. Already-published results (Nakagawa et al., 2009 GCubed, 2010 PEPI, 2012 GCubed) already indicate the importance of exact MORB composition on the amount of MORB segregating above the CMB, which in turn influences mantle thermal structure and the evolution of the core and geodynamo. In more recent results we have been additionally including primordial material. We find that melting-induced differentiation has several first-order effects on the dynamics, including (i) making plate tectonics easier (through stresses associated with lateral variations in crustal thickness) and (ii) reducing heat flux through the CMB (due to the build-up of dense material above the CMB); also (iii) tectonic mode (continuous plate tectonics, episodic lid or stagnant lid) also makes a first-order difference to mantle structure and dynamics. This emphasises

  12. SHRIMP U-Pb in zircon geochronology of granitoids from Myanmar: temporal constraints on the tectonic evolution of Southeast Asia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barley, M. E.; Zaw, Khin

    2009-04-01

    southern Myanmar (Shan-Thai terrane) have magmatic ages of 82  1.4 Ma (Kawthoung), 62  1.2 Ma (Hermyngi) and 50  0.5 Ma (Auk Bok). Xenocryst zircons in these granitoids are either Proterozoic or derived from older members of the suite. This suite which extends into adjacent peninsular Thailand and was emplaced into thickened continental crust well inboard of the subduction zone during rapid convergence and subduction of the India-Australia plate. The primitive I-type Shangalon granodiorite in the Wuntho Batholith of west Myanmar has a magmatic age of 38.5  0.6 Ma indicating subduction continued until ~40 Ma. Metamorphic overgrowths to zircons in the MMB orthogneiss near Mandalay date a period of Eocene (~43 Ma) high-grade metamorphism possibly during crustal thickening related to the initial collision between India and Eurasia (65 to 55 Ma). This was followed by emplacement of syn-tectonic hornblende syenites and leucogranites between 35 and 23 Ma. Comparison of the geochronology of Myanmar granitoids with the Hymalayas, Tibet and other parts of Southeast Asia indicates that Myanmar played a key role linking the Hymalayan Orogen to the tectonic evolution of Southeast Asia.

  13. Active tectonics and Quaternary landscape evolution across the western Panama block, Costa Rica, Central America

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marshall, Jeffrey Scott

    Three aspects of active tectonism are examined across central Costa Rica: (1) fault kinematics; (2) volcanic arc retreat; and (3) spatially variable coastal uplift. Diffuse faulting along the Central Costa Rica Deformed Belt (CCRDB) defines the western margin of the Panama block and aligns with the rough-smooth boundary (RSB) on the subducting Cocos plate. Sub-horizontal subduction of rough, hotspot thickened crust (Cocos Ridge and seamounts) shifts active shortening into the volcanic arc along the CCRDB. Mesoscale faults express variable kinematics across three domains: transtension in the forearc, transcurrent motion across the volcanic arc, and transpression in the back arc. Fault kinematics agree with seismicity and GPS data, and isotopic ages confirm that faulting postdates the late Neogene onset of shallow subduction. Stratigraphic correlation augmented by 40Ar/39Ar dating constrain the timing of Quaternary arc migration from the Neogene Aguacate range to the modern Cordillera Central. The Valle Central basin, between the cordilleras, filled with thick sequences of lavas, pyroclastic flows, and lahars. Middle Pleistocene drainage capture across the Aguacate arc linked the Valle Central with the Pacific slope and ash flows descended onto the coastal Orotina debris fan. Arc retreat reflects slab shallowing and enhanced tectonic erosion as rough crust entered the subduction zone. Differing subduction parameters across the RSB (crustal age, slab dip, roughness) produce marked contrasts in coastal tectonism. Varying uplift rates across coastal faults reflect sub-horizontal subduction of seamount roughness. Three groups (I--III) of fluvial terraces are correlated along the coast by isotopic ages and geomorphic characteristics. Base level fluctuations and terrace genesis reflect interaction between eustatic sea level and spatially variable rock uplift. Low uplift rates (north of RSB), yield one surface per terrace group, whereas moderate rates (south of RSB

  14. 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.

  15. Geology of the Eoarchean, > 3.95 Ga, Nulliak supracrustal rocks in the Saglek Block, northern Labrador, Canada: The oldest geological evidence for plate tectonics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Komiya, Tsuyoshi; Yamamoto, Shinji; Aoki, Shogo; Sawaki, Yusuke; Ishikawa, Akira; Tashiro, Takayuki; Koshida, Keiko; Shimojo, Masanori; Aoki, Kazumasa; Collerson, Kenneth D.

    2015-11-01

    The Earth is a unique planet, which has been highly evolved, diversified and complicated through geologic time, and underwent many key events, including giant impact, magma ocean, core formation, large-scale mantle differentiation and late heavy bombardment, especially in its dawn. But, our knowledge of early Earth is limited due to the lack of the Hadean supracrustal rocks. The supracrustal rocks with the Eoarchean ages provide key evidence for the Earth's early evolution, but few supracrustal rocks have been comprehensively investigated. Therefore, we mapped in seven areas of the Saglek Block, northern Labrador, where ancient supracrustal sequences are interleaved with a diverse assemblage of orthogneisses. Early studies suggested that some of them have the Mesoarchean ages because of the lack of the Mesoarchean Saglek dyke, but we found the Saglek dykes in the areas to recognize the Eoarchean Nulliak supracrustal rocks and Uivak Gneiss in all the areas. Recent reassessment of U-Pb dating and cathodoluminescence observation of zircons from the oldest suites of the Uivak Gneiss showed that the Uivak Gneiss has the Eoarchean age, > 3.95 Ga, and forms the Iqaluk-Uivak Gneiss series. Because our geological survey clearly showed that the Iqaluk-Uivak Gneisses were intruded into the Nulliak supracrustal belts, the Nulliak supracrustal rocks are the oldest supracrustal rock in the world. The supracrustal belts consist of piles of fault-bounded blocks, which are composed of the ultramafic rocks, mafic rocks and sedimentary rocks in ascending order, similar to modern ocean plate stratigraphy (OPS). In addition, small-scale duplex structures are found over the areas. The presence of duplex structure and OPS indicates that the > 3.95 Ga Nulliak supracrustal belts originate from an accretionary complex. The presence of the accretionary complex, ophiolite and granitic continental crust provides the oldest evidence for the plate tectonics on the early Earth.

  16. Structure and tectonic evolution of the Fuegian Andes (southernmost South America) in the framework of the Scotia Arc development

    Science.gov (United States)

    Torres Carbonell, Pablo J.; Dimieri, Luis V.; Olivero, Eduardo B.; Bohoyo, Fernando; Galindo-Zaldívar, Jesús

    2014-12-01

    The major structural and tectonic features of the Fuegian Andes provide an outstanding onshore geological framework that aids in the understanding of the tectonic evolution of the Scotia Arc, mainly known from offshore studies. The orogenic history of the Fuegian Andes (Late Cretaceous-Miocene) is thus compared and integrated with the tectonic history of the Scotia Sea. Late Cretaceous-Paleocene structures in the Fuegian Andes suggest a N-directed contraction consistent with an oroclinal bending of the southernmost South America-Antarctic Peninsula continental bridge. This N-directed contraction in the Fuegian Andes continued during the spreading of the West Scotia Ridge, between 40-50 and 10 Ma ago. The onset of major strike-slip faulting in Tierra del Fuego is considered here to be not older than the late Miocene, consistent with the recent history of the North Scotia Ridge; thus forming part of a tectonic regime superposed to the prior contraction in the Fuegian Andes.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. Evolution of tectonic compaction in the Barbados accretionary prism: Estimates from logging-while-drilling

    Science.gov (United States)

    Saito, Saneatsu; Goldberg, David

    1997-05-01

    Resistivity and bulk-density logs acquired while drilling are used to document the evolution of porosity, volumetric loss, and effective stress in the upper 300 m of the Barbados accretionary prism. The computed profiles across a thrust fault enable the separation of pre-, syn-, and post-accretion components; total volume loss is divided into normal consolidation (pre-accretion), tectonic volume loss (syn-accretion), and thrust fault loading (post-accretion) in the footwall. Quantitatively, the tectonic volume loss in the Barbados accretionary prism, estimated from the normal consolidation in a reference section, is as large as the pre-accretion volume loss. The compaction history of the accretionary prism is essentially controlled by the vertical displacement of the thrust and the predicted maximum volume loss throughout the prism may be extrapolated from the volume loss trend in the hanging wall. The porosity and effective stress profile at the present time is consistently larger than its corresponding syn-accretion trend and less than the extrapolated maximum from the hanging wall. The present profile is approximately equal to the average of the two curves. The remaining difference in the accretionary prism above the inferred syn-accretion trend is due to post-accretion compaction. The post-accretion volume loss is a physical feedback process due to the superposition of thrust sheets in an accretionary prism. In the case of multiple thrusts developing in a prism, the porosity and effective stress profiles are saw-toothed and approach the maximum tectonic volume loss gradient with depth. The cumulative post-accretion compaction increases with depth and becomes increasingly greater than the pre- and syn-accretion compaction with thickening of the accretionary prism. Post-accretionary loading is the dominant mechanism of volume loss and dewatering in an accretionary prism during its early stages of growth.

  20. 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.

  1. Tectonic Evolution of the Tianhuan Depression and the Western Margin of the Late Triassic Ordos

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    LI Xiangbo; LIU Huaqing; WANYAN Rong; WEI Lihua; LIAO Jianbo; FENG Ming; MA Yuhu; BAI Yunlai

    2009-01-01

    The Ordos Basin is one of the most important oil and gas basins in China. Based on surface outcrop, key exploratory wells and seismic reflection data and by using the technology of "prototype basin recovery", seismic profile "layer flattening" and "restoration of balanced section", and other methods, the sedimentary boundary, structure and the evolution history of the Tianhuan depression on the western margin of the Ordos Basin are reestablished. The following results have been obtained. (1) The west boundary of the Late Triassic Ordos Basin was far beyond the scope of the current basin. The basin is connected with the Late Triassic Hexi Corridor Basin, and its western margin did not have tectonic characteristics of a foreland basin. (2) The Tianhuan depression was first formed in the Late Jurassic. At the late stage it was impacted by the late Yanshanian and Himalayan tectonic movement and the depression axis gradually moved eastwards to the present location with a cumulative migration distance of ~30 kin. (3) Eastward migration of the depression axis caused adjustment and even destruction of the originally formed oil and gas reservoirs, so that oil and gas remigrated and aggregated, resulting in secondary structural reservoirs formed at high positions on the western flank of the depression.

  2. Tectonic and stratigraphic evolution of the Western Alboran Sea Basin in the last 25 Myrs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Do Couto, Damien; Gorini, Christian; Jolivet, Laurent; Lebret, Noëmie; Augier, Romain; Gumiaux, Charles; d'Acremont, Elia; Ammar, Abdellah; Jabour, Haddou; Auxietre, Jean-Luc

    2016-05-01

    The Western Alboran Basin (WAB) formation has always been the subject of debate and considered either as a back-arc or a forearc basin. Stratigraphic analyses of high-resolution 2D seismic profiles mostly located offshore Morocco, enabled us to clarify the tectonic and stratigraphic history of the WAB. The thick pre-rift sequence located beneath the Miocene basin is interpreted as the topmost Malaguide/Ghomaride complex composing the Alboran domain. The structural position of this unit compared with the HP-LT exhumed Alpujarride/Sebtide metamorphic basement, leads us to link the Early Miocene subsidence of the basin with an extensional detachment. Above the Early Miocene, a thick Serravallian sequence marked by siliciclastic deposits is nearly devoid of extensional structures. Its overall landward to basinward onlap geometry indicates that the WAB has behaved as a sag basin during most of its evolution from the Serravallian to the late Tortonian. Tectonic reconstructions in map view and in cross section further suggest that the basin has always represented a strongly subsiding topographic low without internal deformation that migrated westward together with the retreating slab. We propose that the subsidence of the WAB was controlled by the pull of the dipping subducting lithosphere hence explaining the considerable thickness (10 km) of the mostly undeformed sedimentary infill.

  3. Seismic Interpretation of the Nam Con Son Basin and its Implication for the Tectonic Evolution

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nguyen Quang Tuan

    2016-08-01

    Full Text Available The Nam Con Son Basin covering an area of circa 110,000 km2 is characterized by complex tectonic settings of the basin which has not fully been understood. Multiple faults allowed favourable migration passageways for hydrocarbons to go in and out of traps. Despite a large amount of newly acquired seismic and well data there is no significant update on the tectonic evolution and history of the basin development. In this study, the vast amount of seismic and well data were integrated and reinterpreted to define the key structural events in the Nam Con Son Basin. The results show that the basin has undergone two extentional phases. The first N - S extensional phase terminated at around 30 M.a. forming E - W trending grabens which are complicated by multiple half grabens filled by Lower Oligocene sediments. These grabens were reactivated during the second NW - SE extension (Middle Miocene, that resulted from the progressive propagation of NE-SW listric fault from the middle part of the grabens to the margins, and the large scale building up of roll-over structure. Further to the SW, the faults of the second extentional phase turn to NNE-SSW and ultimately N - S in the SW edge of the basin. Most of the fault systems were inactive by Upper Miocene except for the N - S fault system which is still active until recent time.

  4. Seismic Interpretation of the Nam Con Son Basin and its Implication for the Tectonic Evolution

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nguyen Quang Tuan

    2016-06-01

    Full Text Available DOI:10.17014/ijog.3.2.127-137The Nam Con Son Basin covering an area of circa 110,000 km2 is characterized by complex tectonic settings of the basin which has not fully been understood. Multiple faults allowed favourable migration passageways for hydrocarbons to go in and out of traps. Despite a large amount of newly acquired seismic and well data there is no significant update on the tectonic evolution and history of the basin development. In this study, the vast amount of seismic and well data were integrated and reinterpreted to define the key structural events in the Nam Con Son Basin. The results show that the basin has undergone two extentional phases. The first N - S extensional phase terminated at around 30 M.a. forming E - W trending grabens which are complicated by multiple half grabens filled by Lower Oligocene sediments. These grabens were reactivated during the second NW - SE extension (Middle Miocene, that resulted from the progressive propagation of NE-SW listric fault from the middle part of the grabens to the margins, and the large scale building up of roll-over structure. Further to the SW, the faults of the second extentional phase turn to NNE-SSW and ultimately N - S in the SW edge of the basin. Most of the fault systems were inactive by Upper Miocene except for the N - S fault system which is still active until recent time.

  5. Magmatic and tectonic evolution of the Ladakh Block from field studies

    Science.gov (United States)

    Raz, U.; Honegger, K.

    1989-04-01

    The Ladakh Block is in an intermediate position between the Indian plate in the south and the Karakorum-Tibetan plate in the north. To the west it is separated from the Kohistan Arc by the Nanga Parbat Syntaxis, to the east it is cut off from the Lhasa Block by the Gartok-Nubra Fault. Present data, together with previously published results, show, that the Ladakh Block consists of an island arc in the south and a calc-alkaline batholith in the north with remnants of a continental crust. Migmatitic gneisses and metasedimentary sequences, such as quartzites and metapelites, interbedded with basaltic volcanics and overlain by thick platform carbonates were found as evidence of a continental crust. Remnants of megafossils ( Megalodon and Lithiotis) within the high-grade metamorphic marbles indicate a probable age of Late Triassic to Early Jurassic. These sediments were intruded by a faintly layered hornblende-gabbro, which preceded the calc-alkaline magmatic episode. Gabbro and gabbronorites are found as roof pendants and large inclusions within diorites and granodiorites. The major part of the batholith consists of granodiorite and biotite-granite plutons, ranging from Late Cretaceous to Tertiary. Associated with the intrusives are volcanic rocks with trachyandesite to alkalibasalt and basalt-andesite to rhyolite compositions. Garnet-bearing leucogranites succeeded the emplacement of the major plutons. The magmatic stage ended, finally, by intense fracturing and injections of NE-SW striking andesitic dykes. The southernmost unit of the Ladakh Block is formed by oceanic crust with serpentinized peridotite and hornblende-gabbro and is covered by volcanics of an island-arc type (Dras volcanics). These units are intruded by gabbronorite, as well as Middle and Upper Cretaceous granodiorite and coarse-grained biotite-granite. In a plate tectonic view the Ladakh Block represents a transitional sector between the pure island arc of Kohistan in the west and the Andean type

  6. The tectonic evolution of Southeast Asia through accretionary and extensional episodes since the Cretaceous

    Science.gov (United States)

    Seton, M.; Zahirovic, S.; Müller, R.

    2012-12-01

    Although a number of tectonic reconstructions exist that document the development of the present-day complex assemblage of exotic terranes in Southeast Asia, very few describe the continuously evolving plate boundaries and the geodynamic driving forces in the region. We propose a plate motion model that attempts to reconcile evidence from both surface geology and the subsurface mantle structure, and implement continuously closing plate polygons using our open-source plate reconstruction software, GPlates, for the eastern Asian margin and eastern Tethyan domain since the Cretaceous. We link the change from a compressional to an extensional regime along eastern Asia in the Late Cretaceous as the likely opening of the Proto South China Sea in a back-arc setting to account for obducted ophiolite sections on Palawan that are Cretaceous in age, with a likely Miocene emplacement resulting from subduction of the Proto South China Sea crust. Such an interpretation is also consistent with the timing of accretionary episodes along northern Borneo and the upper mantle slab visible in P-wave seismic tomography models. The development of Sundaland is also intricately linked to the opening of the Proto South China Sea and the accretion of Gondwana-derived micro-continental blocks, including East Java and West Sulawesi, in the Cretaceous. Whether Sundaland behaved as a rigid cohesive block, or whether Borneo rotated and moved relative to Sundaland has been a matter of debate due to inconsistencies between paleomagnetic and structural data. Paleomagnetic results indicate significant rotations of Borneo that are accommodated by oroclinal bending without the need for bounding transform faults, which are not obvious in both seismic and potential field data. In the absence of preserved seafloor, we use geological evidence such as ophiolite emplacements, magmatic episodes, paleomagnetic constraints, structural reactivation and deformation as proxies to build a self-consistent plate

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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....

  10. Neogene marine isotopic evolution and the erosion of Lesser Himalayan strata: Implications for Cenozoic tectonic history

    Science.gov (United States)

    Myrow, Paul M.; Hughes, Nigel C.; Derry, Louis A.; Ryan McKenzie, N.; Jiang, Ganqing; Webb, A. Alexander G.; Banerjee, Dhiraj M.; Paulsen, Timothy S.; Singh, Birendra P.

    2015-05-01

    An extensive, northward deepening blanket of Neoproterozoic and Cambrian sedimentary rocks once extended from the Himalayan margin far onto the Indian craton. Cambrian deposits of this "upper Lesser Himalayan" succession, which include deposits of the "outer" Lesser Himalaya tectonic unit, are enriched in radiogenic 187Os. They make up part of a proximal marine facies belt that extends onto the craton and along strike from India to Pakistan. By contrast, age-equivalent facies in the Tethyan Himalaya are more distal in nature. Neoproterozoic to Cambrian strata of the upper Lesser Himalayan succession are now missing in much of the Lesser Himalaya, with their erosion exposing older Precambrian Lesser Himalayan strata. We suggest that exhumation and weathering of the upper Lesser Himalaya and related strata caused dramatic changes in the 187Os/188Os and 87Sr/86Sr Neogene record of seawater starting at ∼ 16 Ma. First-order estimates for the volume of upper Himalayan strata, as well as the volume of all LH rock eroded since this time, and geochemical box modeling, support this idea. Exhumation at 16 Ma is a fundamental event in the evolution of the Himalayan orogeny and the geochemical evolution of the oceans, and will be a critical part of the construction of future models of Himalayan thrust belt evolution.

  11. Tectonic Evolution of Chinese Petroleum Basins Évolution tectonique des bassins pétroliers chinois

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Zhu X.

    2006-10-01

    Full Text Available Petroleum basins in China are closely related to the tectonic regimes in different stages of geological evolution. The Mesozoic and Cenozoic basins were controlled by the deformation of the lithosphere of the Chinese plate in the course of subductions y neighboring plates situated in opposite directions. The crustal position may be a decisive factor for the different styles of basin development. Paleozoic (including Sinian and parts of Triassic basins, on the other hand, might have been related to the fragmentation and reunification as well as the accretion of the ancient platform. The superposition of basins of different regimes or different generations brought about a complex set of depositional and structural characteristics influencing both constructively and destructivelythe mode of distribution of oil and gas. Les bassins pétroliers de la Chine ont une liaison étroite avec les régimes tectoniques des différents étages de l'évolution géologique. Les bassins mésozoiques et cénozoïques ont été affectés par la déformation de la lithosphère de la plaque chinoise au cours de subduction des plaques voisines situées en directions opposées. La position de la croûte est peut-être un facteur déterminant pour les styles différents du développement du bassin. Les bassins paléozoïques (y compris le Sinien et une partie du Trias sont d'autre part liés à la fragmentation et la réunification, de même que l'accrétion des plates-formes anciennes. La superposition des bassins à régimes différents ou à générations différentes a créé une série sédimentaire et influence constructivement et destructivement le mode de distribution et de redistribution du pétrole et du gaz.

  12. Stainless Steel Microstructural Evolution of Hot-Rolled Clad Plate

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Hai-Bin LI

    2016-11-01

    Full Text Available The stainless steel microstructure evolution of carbon–stainless-clad steel plate was investigated during vacuum hot-rolling bonding under different deformation conditions. The results show that carbide M2C precipitates in the interior of stainless steel (SS and carbon content increases with rising reduction ratio (ε. The dislocation density of the SS surface (ρI is lower than that of the midst (ρM, and ρI decreases with the rising ε. However, ρM increases first and then decreases with rising ε. The dislocation density of bonding interface decreases due to the increasing size of austenite grain. Furthermore, the dislocation density of the midst is high where the high energy of carbide M2C is concentrated for single-pass rolling, and the quantity of M2C increases with reduction ratio. Moreover, carbide almost disappeared while being transformed into austenite, and only minimal granular carbides were formed after two-pass rolling. Bonding strength increases evidently with rising ε and is inversely proportional to ρI.DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5755/j01.ms.22.4.12828

  13. Mantle convection, tectonics and the evolution of the Tethyan subduction zone

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jolivet, Laurent; Sternai, Pietro; Menant, Armel; Faccenna, Claudio; Becker, Thorsten; Burov, Evguenii

    2014-05-01

    Mantle convection drives plate tectonics and the size, number and thermotectonic age of plates codetermines the convection pattern. However, the degree of coupling of surface deformation and mantle flow is unclear. Most numerical models of lithospheric deformation are designed such that strain is a consequence of kinematic boundary conditions, and rarely account for basal stresses due to mantle flow. On the other hand, convection models often treat the lithosphere as a single-layer stagnant lid with vertically undeformable surface. There is thus a gap between convection models and lithospheric-scale geodynamic models. The transmission of stresses from the flowing mantle to the crust is a complex process. The presence of a ductile lower crust inhibits the upward transmission of stresses but a highly extended crust in a hot environment such as a backarc domain, with no lithospheric mantle and a ductile lower crust in direct contact with asthenosphere, will be more prone to follow the mantle flow than a thick and stratified lithosphere. We review geological observations and present reconstructions of the Aegean and Middle East and discuss the possible role played by basal drag in governing lithospheric deformation. In Mediterranean backarc regions, lithosphere-mantle coupling is effective on geological time scale as shown by the consistency of SKS fast orientations in the mantle with stretching directions in the crust. The long-term geological history of the Tethyan convergent zone suggests that asthenospheric flow has been an important player. The case of Himalaya and Tibet strongly supports a major contribution of a northward asthenospheric push, with no persistent slab that could drive India after collision, large thrust planes being then decoupling zones between deep convection and surface tectonics. The African plate repeatedly fragmented during its northward migration with the separation of Apulia and Arabia. Indeed, extension has been active on the northern

  14. Tectonic evolution of the Resolution Ridge System, New Zealand: insights gained through UNCLOS surveying for natural prolongation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wood, R.; Barker, D.

    2005-12-01

    For coastal States, demonstration of submerged natural prolongation of the land mass is a key element in delimiting the extent of the continental margin under the terms of UNCLOS article 76. Straddling an active plate boundary and with continental margins encompassing most major tectonic settings, the New Zealand (NZ) continent presents numerous, varied examples of natural prolongation of the land mass. The mostly submerged NZ continent covers over 5,000,000 km2. The continent grew by the accretion of basement terranes and the Hikurangi Plateau, a large igneous province, along the eastern margin of Gondwana during the Paleozoic and Mesozoic. Fragmentation of Gondwana initially involved thinning and extension of the continental rocks of New Zealand, and ultimately resulted in the separation of the New Zealand continent from Australia and Antarctica. Renewed tectonic activity in the Cenozoic resulted in the formation of the Resolution Ridge System (RRS) southwest of NZ and several volcanic arcs north of NZ. These volcanic arcs extend onto NZ and are a submerged natural prolongation of the land mass. Geological and geophysical surveys undertaken for the NZ Continental Shelf Project established that most of the RRS was not a prolongation of the NZ land mass, and advanced understanding of NZ's tectonic evolution. The RRS is a series of bathymetric highs extending southwest of Fiordland, NZ, from Resolution Ridge itself, adjacent to the northern limit of the Puysegur Trench, to the southeast termination of the fossil spreading centre in the Tasman Sea (TS; 158°40'E, 48°10'S). A 40° bend at 162°E, 46°30'S divides the ridge system into a northeastern segment, comprising large, en echelon, northeast-southwest-trending basement ridges and basins, and a southwest segment composed of longer, more continuous ridges trending northeast-southwest. The ridge system was formed by rapid reorientation of seafloor spreading directions (through c. 90°) in the TS at ~50 Ma. The

  15. Tectonic evolution of the Malay Peninsula inferred from Jurassic to Cretaceous paleomagnetic results

    Science.gov (United States)

    Otofuji, Yo-ichiro; Moriyama, Yuji T.; Arita, Maiko P.; Miyazaki, Masanari; Tsumura, Kosuke; Yoshimura, Yutaka; Shuib, Mustaffa Kamal; Sone, Masatoshi; Miki, Masako; Uno, Koji; Wada, Yutaka; Zaman, Haider

    2017-02-01

    A primary remanent magnetization is identified in the Jurassic-Cretaceous red bed sandstones of the Tembeling Group in Peninsular Malaysia. This high-temperature magnetic component is unblocked at 680-690 °C, revealing a clockwise deflected direction of Ds = 56.8°, Is = 31.6° (where ks = 8.5, α95 = 11.3° and N = 22) in stratigraphic coordinates. The primary origin of this component is ascertained by a positive fold test and a geomagnetic polarity reversal in the Kuala Wau section. Secondary remanent magnetizations are identified in the rocks of the Tembeling and Bertangga basins, which indicate a counter-clockwise deflection in the geographic coordinates (Dg = 349.1°, Ig = 15.3° where kg = 11.8, α95 = 5.1°, N = 72). The comparison with the expected paleomagnetic directions from the 130 Ma and 40 Ma Eurasian poles indicates two-stages of tectonic movement in the southern Malay Peninsula: (1) a clockwise rotation of 61.1° ± 11.9° accompanied by a 13.3° ± 8.1° southward displacement after the Cretaceous; and (2) a subsequent counter-clockwise rotation of 18.5° ± 5.0° to the present day position. The first stage of rotation is ascribed to tectonic deformation caused by the indentation of India into Asia after 55 Ma, while the second stage is attributed to the collision of the Australian Plate with SE Asia after 30-20 Ma. The present paleomagnetic results from the Jurassic-Cretaceous Tembeling Group thus reveal impacts of both of these collisions on SE Asia in general and on Peninsular Malaysia in particular.

  16. Analyses on the tectonic thermal evolution and influence factors in the deep-water Qiongdongnan Basin

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    WANG Zhenfeng; SHI Xiaobin; YANG Jun; HUANG Baojia; SUN Zhen; WANG Yahui; JIANG Haiyan; YU Chuanhai; YANG Xiaoqiu

    2014-01-01

    To reveal the tectonic thermal evolution and influence factors on the present heat flow distribution, based on 154 heat flow data, the present heat flow distribution features of the main tectonic units are first analyzed in detail, then the tectonic thermal evolution histories of 20 profiles are reestablished crossing the main deep-water sags with a structural, thermal and sedimentary coupled numerical model. On the basis of the present geothermal features, the Qiongdongnan Basin could be divided into three regions: the northern shelf and upper slope region with a heat flow of 50–70 mW/m2, most of the central depression zone of 70–85 mW/m2, and a NE trending high heat flow zone of 85–105 mW/m2 lying in the eastern basin. Numerical modeling shows that during the syn-rift phase, the heat flow increases generally with time, and is higher in basement high area than in its adjacent sags. At the end of the syn-rift phase, the heat flow in the deep-water sags was in a range of 60–85 mW/m2, while in the basement high area, it was in a range of 75–100 mW/m2. During the post-rift phase, the heat flow decreased gradually, and tended to be more uniform in the basement highs and sags. However, an extensive magmatism, which equivalently happened at around 5 Ma, has greatly increased the heat flow values, and the relict heat still contributes about 10–25 mW/m2to the present surface heat flow in the central depression zone and the southern uplift zone. Further analyses suggested that the present high heat flow in the deep-water Qiongdongnan Basin is a combined result of the thermal anomaly in the upper mantle, highly thinning of the lithosphere, and the recent extensive magma-tism. Other secondary factors might have affected the heat flow distribution features in some local regions. These factors include basement and seafloor topography, sediment heat generation, thermal blanketing, local magmatic injecting and hydrothermal activities related to faulting and

  17. Progress in Understanding the Cenozoic Tectonic Evolution of the Western United States

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wernicke, B.

    2008-12-01

    During Cenozoic time the North American plate underwent two fundamental changes in its mode of interaction with oceanic plates to its west. The first was decoupling of the relatively cold Laramide slab from its base beginning near 45 Ma. The pattern of foundering is inferred primarily by intense intraplate magmatism that migrated more-or-less symmetrically northward from Mexico and southward from the Pacific Northwest through Oligocene and early Miocene time, eventually reaching the latitude of Las Vegas near 15 Ma. The magmatism was accompanied by lithospheric extension, expressed as a system of highly localized core complexes within much broader magmatic belts that were oriented at a high angle to the plate boundary at any given time. The deep crust was clearly weak enough to flow in complementary fashion to upper crustal strain. The second change was the gradual transition from a convergent margin with the Farallon plate to a transtensional one with the Pacific plate. The extensional component of Pacific-North America relative motion was especially strong from 20 to 10 Ma, giving rise to more broadly distributed intraplate extension, tearing the Sierra Nevada-Great Valley block off of North America at 15 Ma. As relative plate motion became more parallel to the margin, extension in the Basin and Range slowed and intraplate deformation became concentrated in the eastern California shear zone and Walker Lane fault system along the western side of the province. To the south, at 6 Ma North America ceded the Baja Peninsula to the Pacific plate opening up the Gulf of California. Two areas of recent observational progress in understanding the relationship between these two major changes and the evolution of the North American lithosphere include paleoaltimetry studies and large-scale continuous GPS studies, both of which powerfully limit the range of physical models applicable to the plate boundary deformation zone. For example, paleoaltimetry studies suggest that the

  18. Metamorphic and tectonic evolution of Ceuta peninsula (Internal Rif): new interpretation in the framework of arc and back arc evolution

    Science.gov (United States)

    Homonnay, Emmanuelle; Lardeaux, Jean-Marc; Corsini, Michel; Cenki-Tok, Bénédicte; Bosch, Delphine; Munch, Philippe; Romagny, Adrien; Ouazzani-Touhami, Mohamed

    2016-04-01

    In the last twenty years, various geophysical investigations have established that the Western Mediterranean opened in a subduction context as a back arc domain. In the Alboran basin the dip of the subduction plane is eastwards or southeastwards depending of considered models. If the geological records of back-arc opening are well-known, the arc-related tectonic and petrologic evolutions are still poorly documented. In order to decipher these markers, we focalised structural, petrological and thermo-chronological studies on the Ceuta peninsula located in the Rif belt, on the western part of the Gibraltar arc to the North of Morocco. The present-day tectonic pile is constituted by: (1) the upper Ceuta unit, composed of High Pressure and High Temperature metapelites retromorphosed under Amphibolite-facies condition, with Ultra-High Pressure relicts, and pyrigarnite and spinel bearing peridotites boudins at its base, (2) the lower Monte Hacho unit, with orthogneisses metamorphosed under Amphibolite-facies conditions. Structural analysis indicates a polyphase tectonic evolution: (1) an earlier deformation phase only observed in the UHP metapelites and characterized by a steep S1 foliation plane, (2) a main deformation phase associated to a pervasive gently dipping S2 foliation plane bearing a L2 stretching lineation and synschistose folds whose axes are parallel to L2 and (3) a late deformation phase which developed S3 foliation plane and L3 stretching lineation coeval with development of narrow normal ductile shear zones. A zone of increasing deformation, several dozen meters wide, is identified as a major ductile shear zone involving the peridotitic lenses at the base of the metapelites of the Ceuta unit and overlaying this upper unit on top of the orthogneisses of the Monte Hacho lower unit. The attitude of mylonitic foliation and stretching and mineral lineations as well as the numerous shear sense indicators observed in the shear zone are consistent with a

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. Chronology of Miocene-Pliocene deposits at Split Mountain Gorge, Southern California: A record of regional tectonics and Colorado River evolution

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dorsey, R.J.; Fluette, A.; McDougall, K.; Housen, B.A.; Janecke, S.U.; Axen, G.J.; Shirvell, C.R.

    2007-01-01

    Late Miocene to early Pliocene deposit at Split Mountain Gorge, California, preserve a record of basinal response to changes in regional tectonics, paleogeography, and evolution of the Colorado River. The base of the Elephant Trees Formation, magnetostratigraphically dated as 8.1 ?? 0.4 Ma, provides the earliest well-dated record of extension in the southwestern Salton Trough. The oldest marine sediments are ca. 6.3 Ma. The nearly synchronous timing of marine incursion in the Salton Trough and northern Gulf of California region supports a model for localization of Pacific-North America plate motion in the Gulf ca. 6 Ma. The first appearance of Colorado River sand at the Miocene-Pliocene boundary (5.33 Ma) suggests rapid propagation of the river to the Salton Trough, and supports a lake-spillover hypothesis for initiation of the lower Colorado River. ?? 2007 Geological Society of America.

  3. Postcrystallization thermal evolution history of Gangdese batholithic zone and its tectonic implication

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    陈文寄; 李齐; 郝杰; 周新华; 万京林; 孙敏

    1999-01-01

    Using cooling curves of K-feldspars obtained by using specific 40Ar/39Ar stepe heating procedure and multiple diffusion domain modeling (MDD model), together with results of dating hornblends, biotite, and apatite, further work has been done to examine the characteristics of the postcrystallization thermal evolution history of Gangdese batholithic zone, to compare the starting times of rapid cooling events with the variation regularities of apatite fission track (FT) ages in the eastern and western parts of Gangdese batholithic zone, and to provide the evidence for mass transport and energy transfers in the lithosphere after the collision between Indian and Eurasian plates.

  4. Structure of Palaeogene sediments in east Ellesmere Island: Constraints on Eurekan tectonic evolution and implications for the Nares Strait problem

    Science.gov (United States)

    Saalmann, K.; Tessensohn, F.; Piepjohn, K.; von Gosen, W.; Mayr, U.

    2005-08-01

    The "Nares Strait problem" represents a debate about the existence and magnitude of left-lateral movements along the proposed Wegener Fault within this seaway. Study of Palaeogene Eurekan tectonics at its shorelines could shed light on the kinematics of this fault. Palaeogene (Late Paleocene to Early Eocene) sediments are exposed at the northeastern coast of Ellesmere Island in the Judge Daly Promontory. They are preserved as elongate SW-NE striking fault-bounded basins cutting folded Early Paleozoic strata. The structures of the Palaeogene exposures are characterized by broad open synclines cut and displaced by steeply dipping strike-slip faults. Their fold axes strike NE-SW at an acute angle to the border faults indicating left-lateral transpression. Weak deformation in the interior of the outliers contrasts with intense shearing and fracturing adjacent to border faults. The degree of deformation of the Palaeogene strata varies markedly between the northwestern and southeastern border faults with the first being more intense. Structural geometry, orientation of subordinate folds and faults, the kinematics of faults, and fault-slip data suggest a multiple stage structural evolution during the Palaeogene Eurekan deformation: (1) The fault pattern on Judge Daly Promontory is result of left-lateral strike-slip faulting starting in Mid to Late Paleocene times. The Palaeogene Judge Daly basin formed in transtensional segments by pull-apart mechanism. Transpression during progressive strike-slip shearing gave rise to open folding of the Palaeogene deposits. (2) The faults were reactivated during SE-directed thrust tectonics in Mid Eocene times (chron 21). A strike-slip component during thrusting on the reactivated faults depends on the steepness of the fault segments and on their obliquity to the regional stress axes. Strike-slip displacement was partitioned to a number of sub-parallel faults on-shore and off-shore. Hence, large-scale lateral movements in the sum of 80

  5. CHARACTERISTICS OF PLATE TECTONICS AND DIVISION OF GEOTECTONIC UNITS IN IJAONING REGION%辽宁板块构造特征及大地构造单元划分

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    赵光慧; 关玉波; 赵建军

    2011-01-01

    利用板块构造理论,依据近年来1:5万区域地质调查及相关科研成果,对辽宁地壳发展演化进行了分析研究,提出辽宁地壳发展可暂划分为早前寒武纪大陆增生构造体制和中元古宙以来的板块构造体制.中太古代-古元古代发现了绿岩地体和古元古宙裂谷,因此将早前寒武纪视作原始板块,中元古代-古生代视作古板块,中生代以来视作现代板块.在此基础上对辽宁大地构造单元进行了划分.辽宁Ⅰ级构造单元为塔里木-华北板块.Ⅱ级构造单元为天山-赤峰陆缘活动带和华北陆块.Ⅲ级构造单元5个,分别为建平-西丰华力西陆缘造山带、冀辽地块、铁岭-清原微地块、辽吉地块及下辽河-辽东湾新生代裂谷.Ⅳ级构造单元16个.为清楚地了解辽宁地壳发展演化特点,对5个Ⅲ级构造单元地质特征进行简要阐述.%Based on the theory of plate tectonics and the results of the 1:50000 regional geological survey in recent years and related achievements, the crustal evolution and development of Liaoning region are analyzed. It is suggested that the crustal development in the region should be divided into Early Precambrian continental accretion tectonic system and Mesoproterozoic plate tectonic system. Because of the discovery of the Mesoarchean-Paleoproterozoic greenstone terrane and Paleoproterozoic rift, the Early Precambrian era can be regarded as primitive plate period; while the Mesoproterozoic to Paleozoic as ancient plate period; and since Mesozoic, modern plate. On this basis, the tectonic units of Liaoning region are divided. The Grade I unit is Tarim-North China plate. Grade Ⅱ involves Tianshan-Chifeng continental margin active belt and North China landmass. The Grade III units include Jianping-Xifeng Variscan continental margin orogeny, HebeiLiaoning massif, Tieling-Qingyuan micro-massif, Liaoning-Jilin massif and Lower Liaohe-Liaodong Bay Cenozoic rift.There are 16 tectonic

  6. Carboniferous Bimodal Volcanic Rocks and Their Plate Tectonic Setting,Hainan Island

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    夏邦栋; 施光宇; 等

    1992-01-01

    The Carboniferous volcanic rocks in western Hainan Island consist of a series of oceanic tholeite and rhyoporphyrite,showing bimodal nature.Similar geochemical characters,in terms of abun-daces and relative rations of incompatible elements and REE and the REE patterns,between the basalt and continental rift-associated tholeiite indicate the occurrence of Late Paleozoic rifting in the area.The basaltic magma,with a low degree of evolution,was originated from deep mantle,show-ing contamination by low crustal material.The rhyolite is thought to be formed from partial melting of the continental crust by higher thermal flow in a rift environment rather than from fractional crystallization of a basaltic magma.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. Ocean Basin Evolution and Global-Scale Plate Reorganization Events Since Pangea Breakup

    Science.gov (United States)

    Müller, R. Dietmar; Seton, Maria; Zahirovic, Sabin; Williams, Simon E.; Matthews, Kara J.; Wright, Nicky M.; Shephard, Grace E.; Maloney, Kayla T.; Barnett-Moore, Nicholas; Hosseinpour, Maral; Bower, Dan J.; Cannon, John

    2016-06-01

    We present a revised global plate motion model with continuously closing plate boundaries ranging from the Triassic at 230 Ma to the present day, assess differences among alternative absolute plate motion models, and review global tectonic events. Relatively high mean absolute plate motion rates of approximately 9-10 cm yr-1 between 140 and 120 Ma may be related to transient plate motion accelerations driven by the successive emplacement of a sequence of large igneous provinces during that time. An event at ˜100 Ma is most clearly expressed in the Indian Ocean and may reflect the initiation of Andean-style subduction along southern continental Eurasia, whereas an acceleration at ˜80 Ma of mean rates from 6 to 8 cm yr-1 reflects the initial northward acceleration of India and simultaneous speedups of plates in the Pacific. An event at ˜50 Ma expressed in relative, and some absolute, plate motion changes around the globe and in a reduction of global mean plate speeds from about 6 to 4-5 cm yr-1 indicates that an increase in collisional forces (such as the India-Eurasia collision) and ridge subduction events in the Pacific (such as the Izanagi-Pacific Ridge) play a significant role in modulating plate velocities.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Formation and evolution of yardangs activated by Late Pleistocene tectonic movement in Dunhuang, Gansu Province of China

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Yanjie; Wu, Fadong; Zhang, Xujiao; Zeng, Peng; Ma, Pengfei; Song, Yuping; Chu, Hao

    2016-12-01

    Developed in the Anxi-Dunhuang basin, the yardangs of Dunhuang (western China) are clearly affected by tectonic movement. Based on fieldwork, this study ascertained three levels of river terrace in the area for the first time. Through the analysis of river terraces formation and regional tectonic movement, the study ascertained that the river terraces were formed mainly by Late Pleistocene tectonic uplift, which had activated the evolution of yardangs in the study area. By electron spin resonance (ESR) dating and optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating, the starting time and periodicity of the evolution of the yardangs were determined. The river terraces designated T3, T2 and T1 began to evolve at 109.0 ˜98.5, 72.9 ˜66.84 and 53.2 ˜38.0 kaBP, respectively, which is the evidence of regional neotectonic movement. And, the formation of the yardangs was dominated by tectonic uplift during the prenatal stage and mainly by wind erosion in the following evolution, with relatively short stationary phases. This research focused on the determination of endogenic processes of yardangs formation, which would contribute to further understanding of yardangs formation from a geological perspective and promote further study of yardang landform.

  13. Formation and evolution of yardangs activated by Late Pleistocene tectonic movement in Dunhuang, Gansu Province of China

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    Yanjie Wang; Fadong Wu; Xujiao Zhang; Peng Zeng; Pengfei Ma; Yuping Song; Hao Chu

    2016-12-01

    Developed in the Anxi-Dunhuang basin, the yardangs of Dunhuang (western China) are clearly affected by tectonic movement. Based on fieldwork, this study ascertained three levels of river terrace in the area for the first time. Through the analysis of river terraces formation and regional tectonic movement, the study ascertained that the river terraces were formed mainly by Late Pleistocene tectonic uplift, which had activated the evolution of yardangs in the study area. By electron spin resonance (ESR) dating and optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating, the starting time and periodicity of the evolution of the yardangs were determined. The river terraces designated T3, T2 and T1 began to evolve at 109.0∼98.5, 72.9∼66.84 and 53.2∼38.0 kaBP, respectively, which is the evidence of regional neotectonic movement.And, the formation of the yardangs was dominated by tectonic uplift during the prenatal stage and mainly by wind erosion in the following evolution, with relatively short stationary phases. This research focused on the determination of endogenic processes of yardangs formation, which would contribute to further understanding of yardangs formation from a geological perspective and promote further study of yardang landform.

  14. Geological evolution of the Iraqi Mesopotamia Foredeep, inner platform and near surroundings of the Arabian Plate

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sissakian, Varoujan K.

    2013-08-01

    The Iraqi territory could be divided into four main tectonic zones; each one has its own characteristics concerning type of the rocks, their age, thickness and structural evolution. These four zones are: (1) Inner Platform (stable shelf), (2) Outer Platform (unstable shelf), (3) Shalair Zone (Terrain), and (4) Zagros Suture Zone. The first two zones of the Arabian Plate lack any kind of metamorphism and volcanism. The Iraqi territory is located in the extreme northeastern part of the Arabian Plate, which is colliding with the Eurasian (Iranian) Plate. This collision has developed a foreland basin that includes: (1) Imbricate Zone, (2) High Folded Zone, (3) Low Folded Zone and (4) Mesopotamia Foredeep. The Mesopotamia Foredeep, in Iraq includes the Mesopotamia Plain and the Jazira Plain; it is less tectonically disturbed as compared to the Imbricate, High Folded and Low Folded Zones. Quaternary alluvial sediments of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers and their tributaries as well as distributaries cover the central and southeastern parts of the Foredeep totally; it is called the Mesopotamian Flood Plain. The extension of the Mesopotamia Plain towards northwest however, is called the Jazira Plain, which is covered by Miocene rocks. The Mesopotamia Foredeep is represented by thick sedimentary sequence, which thickens northwestwards including synrift sediments; especially of Late Cretaceous age, whereas on surface the Quaternary sediments thicken southeastwards. The depth of the basement also changes from 8 km, in the west to 14 km, in the Iraqi-Iranian boarders towards southeast. The anticlinal structures have N-S trend, in the extreme southern part of the Mesopotamia Foredeep and extends northwards until the Latitude 32°N, within the Jazira Plain, there they change their trends to NW-SE, and then to E-W trend. The Mesozoic sequence is almost without any significant break, with increase in thickness from the west to the east, attaining 5 km. The sequence forms the main

  15. Tectonic evolution of the Western Eger rift: a tale of two faults

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tomasek, Jan; Kley, Jonas; Fischer, Tomáš; Štěpančíková, Petra

    2017-04-01

    The Eger Rift and Cheb basin in northwestern Bohemia are part of the European Cenozoic Rift System. They are associated with earthquake swarms, voluminous CO2 outgassing and Quaternary mantle-derived volcanism. The Eger Graben, of which the Cheb basin is traditionally considered a subbasin, contains a Cenozoic volcano-sedimentary record no thicker than 500 m. The structure of the extensional system is dominated by two large faults: (1) the ENE-striking Krušné Hory Fault (KHF), which delimits the northwestern shoulder of the Eger rift and has accommodated tilting and uplift of the Erzgebirge, creating a present day elevation difference of 700 m; (2) the NNW-striking Mariánské Lázně Fault (MLF), which is the master fault of the Cheb basin. First-order structural relationships indicate that the MLF has cross-cut the Eger rift at right angle and offset it with dominantly normal sense of motion. These relationships suggest that activity on the MLF was accentuated late in the history of the rift, around early Pliocene time, reflecting a fundamental change of the governing stress field. We aim to constrain, in conjunction with a Czech companion project focussing on tectonic geomorphology and seismology, the tectonic evolution of the two basins, and in particular the kinematics and timing of the Krušné Hory (Erzgebirge) and Mariánské Lázně bounding faults over Late Cenozoic time. This will be done by modelling the subsidence of the basins from stratigraphic and structural data. Rift shoulder uplift, exhumation and fault offsets will be constrained by low-T thermochronology, especially (U-Th)/He on apatite (AHe). 2D cross-sections and restorable structural 3D models will delimit the range of possible fault geometries and constrain the magnitude of fault displacements, their gradients and the deep architecture of the large faults. The Cheb basin forms an approximate semi-ellipse in map view, suggesting it is a half-graben bounded by a listric, WSW-dipping MLF

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. Towards a Holistic Model for the Tectonic Evolution of the North China Craton

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kusky, T. M.; Polat, A.; Windley, B. F.; Wang, J.; Deng, H.

    2016-12-01

    The North China Craton (NCC) consists of distinctly different tectonic elements assembled during the late Archean - early Proterozoic. We propose a new tectonic evolution of the NCC. The Eastern Block (EB) consists of small microblocks that resemble a collage of accreted arc-rocks from a sutured archipelago similar to the SW Pacific, accreted between 2.6 and 2.7 Ga. An Atlantic-type margin developed on the western side of the EB by 2.5 Ga, and a >1,300 km long arc/accretionary prism collided with this passive margin at 2.5 Ga, obducting ophiolites and ophiolitic mélanges, and forming a foreland basin. This was followed by arc-polarity reversal, and injection of mantle wedge-derived melts. By 2.43 Ga, the ocean behind the accreted arc closed through the collision of an oceanic plateau. Rifting of the amalgamated craton followed at 2.4-2.35 Ga, with a failed rift arm preserved in the center of the craton, and two that successfully made an ocean along the northern margin. By 2.3 Ga an arc built on older cratonic material collided with this passive margin which soon converted to an Andean-type margin. Andean margin tectonics affected much of the craton from 2.3-1.9 Ga, forming a broad E-W swath of continental margin magmas, and retro-arc sedimentary basins including a superimposed basin over the passive margin on the northern margin. From 1.88-1.79 Ga the craton experienced a craton-wide granulite facies metamorphism and basement reactivation event with high-pressure granulites and eclogites in the north, and medium-pressure granulites across the craton. Early Proterozoic granulites and anatectic melts were generated by high-grade metamorphism and partial melting at mid-crustal levels beneath a collisionally-thickened plateau. This collision of the NCC on its northern margin was with the Columbia (Nuna) Continent. The NCC broke out in the period 1753-1673 Ma, as indicated by the formation of a suite of anorthosite, mangerite, charnockite, and alkali-feldspar granites

  19. Structures, kinematics, thermochronology and tectonic evolution of the Ramba gneiss dome in the northern Himalaya

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Lei Guo; Jinjiang Zhang; Bo Zhang

    2008-01-01

    The Ramba gneiss dome, one of the north Himalayan gneiss domes, is composed of three tectono-lithologic units separated by an upper and a lower detachment fault. Low-grade metamorphic Tethyan Himalayan sedimentary sequence formed the upper unit above the brittle upper detachment fault. Mylonitic gneiss and a leucogranite pluton made up the lower unit beneath the ductile lower detach-ment fault. Mylonitic middle-grade garnet-, staurolite- and andalusite-schist constituted the middle unit between the two faults, which may be that the basal part of the upper unit experienced detachment shear. The Ramba dome underwent three episodes of deformationin its tectonic evolution. The first episode was a top-down-to-north-northwest sliding possibly related to the activity of the south Tibetan detachment system (STDS). The second episode was the dominant deformation related to a east-west extension, which resulted in a unique top-down-to-east kinematics and the major tectonic features of the dome. The third episode was a collapse sliding toward the outsides of the dome. The Ramba gneiss dome is possibly a result of the east-west extension and magmatic diapir. The lower detachment fault is probably the main detachment fault separating the sedimentary sequence from the crystalline basement during the east-west extension in the dominant deformation episode. The diapir of the leucogranite pluton formed the doming shape of the Ramba gneiss dome. This pluton intruded in the core of the dome in a late stage of the dominant deformation, and its Ar-Ar cooling ages are about 6 Myr. This indicates that the dominant deformation of the dome happened at the same time of the east-west extension represented by the north-south trending riffs throughout the northern Himalaya and southern Tibet. Therefore, the formation of the Ramba gneiss dome should be related to this east-west extension.

  20. Late Quaternary loess landscape evolution on an active tectonic margin, Charwell Basin, South Island, New Zealand

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hughes, Matthew W.; Almond, Peter C.; Roering, Joshua J.; Tonkin, Philip J.

    2010-10-01

    Loess deposits constitute an important archive of aeolian deposition reflecting wider patterns of glacial atmospheric circulation, and more localised interactions between riverine source areas, loess trapping efficiency and geomorphic controls on erosion rate. Conceptual models have been formulated to explain the coeval evolution of loess mantles and associated landscapes (loess landscape models) but none apply to areas of tectonically induced base-level lowering. This study uses an age sequence of alluvial fill terraces in the Charwell Basin, north-eastern South Island New Zealand, which straddles the transpressive Hope Fault, to investigate geomorphic controls on loess landscape evolution in an active tectonic region. We hypothesize that the more evolved drainage networks on older terraces will more effectively propagate base-level lowering by way of a greater areal proportion of steep and convex hillslopes and a smaller proportion of non-eroding interfluves. Eventually, as the proportion of interfluves diminishes and hillslope convexity increases, terraces shift from being net loess accumulators to areas of net loess erosion. We investigate the nature of erosion and the geomorphic thresholds associated with this transition. Morphometric analysis of alluvial terraces and terrace remnants of increasing age demonstrated geomorphic evolution through time, with a decrease in extent of original planar terrace tread morphology and an increase in frequency of steeper slopes and convexo-concave land elements. The number of loess sheets and the thickness of loess increased across the three youngest terraces. The next oldest (ca. 150 ka) terrace remnant had the greatest maximum number of loess sheets (3) and loess thickness (8 m) but the loess mantle was highly variable. A detailed loess stratigraphic analysis and the morphometric analysis place this terrace in a transition between dominantly planar, uniformly loess-mantled landforms and loess-free ridge and valley terrain

  1. 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

  2. Geologic Evolution of the eastern Panama Isthmus from biostratigraphic, tectonic and geophysical data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barat, F.; Mercier de Lépinay, B.; Sosson, M.; Müller, C.

    2012-04-01

    identified a magmatic episode during the Lower Miocene in Mahé and Sapo Massifs. We present a new structural map of eastern Panama and five geological transects across the isthmus, summarizing the complex history. Our study documents: (1) a southwestward compression phase (in its present-day position) between Late Campanian and Middle Eocene, along the Pacific coast, in agreement with the subduction activity; (2) a Middle Eocene extension phase (Chucunaque-Tuira forearc basin formation); (3) a Middle Miocene compression phase, inverting some of the inherited normal faults and reactivating geological structures; (4) and a Plio-quaternary transpressive tectonic regime, evidenced by several left-lateral strike-slip faults with en echelon folds in the areas of Mahé Massif, Sanson Hills, Pirre Massif and Sapo Massif. These deformations are the result of the collision of Panama Choco block with the South America Plate.

  3. 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

  4. Polyphase tectonic subsidence evolution of the Vienna Basin inferred from quantitative subsidence analysis of the northern and central parts

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lee, Eun Young; Wagreich, Michael

    2016-04-01

    The Vienna Basin is a tectonically complex Neogene basin situated at the Alpine-Carpathian transition. This study analyzes a detailed quantification of subsidence in the northern and central parts of the Vienna Basin to understand its tectonic subsidence evolution. About 200 wells were used to arrange stratigraphic setting, and wells reaching the pre-Neogene basement were analyzed for subsidence. To enhance the understanding of the regional subsidences, the wells were sorted into ten groups based on their position on major fault blocks. In the Early Miocene, subsidence was slow and along E-W to NE-SW trending axis, indicating the development of thrust-controlled piggyback basins. During the late Early Miocene data show abruptly increasing subsidence, making the initiation of the Vienna pull-apart basin system. From the Middle Miocene, the tectonic subsidence curves show regionally different patterns. The tectonic subsidence during the Middle Miocene varies laterally across the Vienna Basin, and the differential subsidence can be related to the changing tensional regime of weakening transtension and strengthening extension toward the late Middle Miocene. From the late Middle Miocene to the Late Miocene, the tectonic subsidence occurred dominantly along the regional active faults, and corresponds to the axis of E-W trending extension of the western parts of the Pannonian Basin system. In the Quaternary the Vienna Basin has been reactivated, and resulted in subsidence along the NE-SW trending Vienna Basin transfer fault system.

  5. Student Misconceptions: A Qualitative Study of Conceptual Barriers in Plate Tectonics and in the Solar System among Upper Elementary Students

    Science.gov (Unit