WorldWideScience

Sample records for plate tectonic history

  1. 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

  2. Plate tectonic history of the Arctic

    Science.gov (United States)

    Burke, K.

    1984-01-01

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.…

  7. 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.…

  8. 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

  9. 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)

  10. 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)

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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…

  14. 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…

  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. 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.

  17. 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 ...

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. Plate tectonics on Venus

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anderson, D. L.

    1981-01-01

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

  3. Plate tectonics on Venus

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anderson, D. L.

    1981-01-01

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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Plate Tectonics: A Paradigm under Threat.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pratt, David

    2000-01-01

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

  7. Plate Tectonics: A Paradigm under Threat.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pratt, David

    2000-01-01

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

  8. 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.

  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. 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...

  11. Indonesian Landforms and Plate Tectonics

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Herman Th. Verstappen

    2014-06-01

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

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. River history and tectonics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vita-Finzi, C

    2012-05-13

    The analysis of crustal deformation by tectonic processes has gained much from the clues offered by drainage geometry and river behaviour, while the interpretation of channel patterns and sequences benefits from information on Earth movements before or during their development. The interplay between the two strands operates at many scales: themes which have already benefited from it include the possible role of mantle plumes in the breakup of Gondwana, the Cenozoic development of drainage systems in Africa and Australia, Himalayan uplift in response to erosion, alternating episodes of uplift and subsidence in the Mississippi delta, buckling of the Indian lithospheric plate, and changes in stream pattern and sinuosity along individual alluvial channels subject to localized deformation. Developments in remote sensing, isotopic dating and numerical modelling are starting to yield quantitative analyses of such effects, to the benefit of geodymamics as well as fluvial hydrology.

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. When Did Plate Tectonics Begin

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brown, M.

    2015-12-01

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

  20. Understanding seismic heterogeneities in the lower mantle beneath the Americas from seismic tomography and plate tectonic history

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Ren, Y.; Stutzmann, E.; Hilst, R.D. van der; Besse, J.

    2007-01-01

    We combine results from seismic tomography and plate motion history to investigate slabs of subducted lithosphere in the lower mantle beneath the Americas. Using broadband waveform cross correlation, we measured 37,000 differential P and S traveltimes, 2000 PcP-P and ScS-S times along a wide corrido

  1. Understanding seismic heterogeneities in the lower mantle beneath the Americas from seismic tomography and plate tectonic history

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Ren, Y.; Stutzmann, E.; Hilst, R.D. van der; Besse, J.

    2007-01-01

    We combine results from seismic tomography and plate motion history to investigate slabs of subducted lithosphere in the lower mantle beneath the Americas. Using broadband waveform cross correlation, we measured 37,000 differential P and S traveltimes, 2000 PcP-P and ScS-S times along a wide corrido

  2. 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…

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Continental tectonics in the aftermath of plate tectonics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Molnar, Peter

    1988-01-01

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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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 ...

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  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. 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

  16. 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)

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  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

    2016-05-01

    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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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'!

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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...

  14. 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).

  15. 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.

  16. 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...

  17. 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

  18. 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...

  19. This dynamic earth: the story of plate tectonics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kious, W. Jacquelyne; Tilling, Robert I.

    1996-01-01

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

  20. [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. 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.

  2. 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)

  3. 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.

  4. On the breakup of tectonic plates by polar wandering

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liu, H.-S.

    1974-01-01

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

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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...

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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…

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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...

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Rio Grande Rift: History of Tectonic Opening and Magmatism

    Science.gov (United States)

    van Wijk, J.; Axen, G. J.; Koning, D.

    2016-12-01

    We describe the mid-Miocene to present opening history of the Rio Grande rift from tectonic subsidence patterns, published Quaternary fault activity, and spatial, temporal and geochemical distributions of volcanism. Rift opening was quite fast until 8 Ma, with tectonic subsidence rates comparable to those of the pre-rupture phase of rifted continent margins, but post-8 Ma rates are slower in all studied localities. Integration of age control reveals that a rift-margin unconformity formed between 8.5 and 3.5 Ma, its exact duration varying depending on location. This partly coincides with uplift of the Ogallala formation in the western Great Plains. The widespread extent of the unconformity suggest that the unconformity records a region-wide dynamic uplift event, possibly resulting from mantle upwelling below the region. This is supported by geoid analyses. The unconformity postdates a change in relative plate motion between the North American and Pacific plates, which may account for the post-8 Ma decrease in subsidence rates. Distribution of Quaternary fault activity is concentrated on the border faults in the northern basins where the rift is in a juvenile stage, but distributed on intra-basin faults further south in the rift where the crust is thinned more. Our analyses show that volcanism in the Rio Grande rift has been of mainly basaltic composition since the Miocene; volcanism during early rifting ranged from basalt to rhyolite. Volcanism has not been evenly distributed in the rift, but concentrated in three large volcanic fields that were located outside of the main rift prior to rift opening, and along the Jemez Lineament which crosses the Rio Grande rift, with sporadic volcanic activity elsewhere. The southern portion of the rift has experienced less volcanic activity than the northern rift, perhaps because it is underlain by fast seismic wave velocity upper mantle that may be linked to colder or compositionally different (Farallon plate subduction related

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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…

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. Identifying active interplate and intraplate fault zones in the western Caribbean plate from seismic reflection data and the significance of the Pedro Bank fault zone in the tectonic history of the Nicaraguan Rise

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ott, B.; Mann, P.

    2015-12-01

    The offshore Nicaraguan Rise in the western Caribbean Sea is an approximately 500,000 km2 area of Precambrian to Late Cretaceous tectonic terranes that have been assembled during the Late Cretaceous formation of the Caribbean plate and include: 1) the Chortis block, a continental fragment; 2) the Great Arc of the Caribbean, a deformed Cretaceous arc, and 3) the Caribbean large igneous province formed in late Cretaceous time. Middle Eocene to Recent eastward motion of the Caribbean plate has been largely controlled by strike-slip faulting along the northern Caribbean plate boundary zone that bounds the northern margin of the Nicaraguan Rise. These faults reactivate older rift structures near the island of Jamaica and form the transtensional basins of the Honduran Borderlands near Honduras. Recent GPS studies suggest that small amount of intraplate motion within the current margin of error of GPS measurements (1-3 mm/yr) may occur within the center of the western Caribbean plate at the Pedro Bank fault zone and Hess Escarpment. This study uses a database of over 54,000 km of modern and vintage 2D seismic data, combined with earthquake data and results from previous GPS studies to define the active areas of inter- and intraplate fault zones in the western Caribbean. Intraplate deformation occurs along the 700-km-long Pedro Bank fault zone that traverses the center of the Nicaraguan Rise and reactivates the paleo suture zone between the Great Arc of the Caribbean and the Caribbean large igneous province. The Pedro Bank fault zone also drives active extension at the 200-km-long San Andres rift along the southwest margin of the Nicaraguan Rise. Influence of the Cocos Ridge indentor may be contributing to reactivation of faulting along the southwesternmost, active segment of the Hess Escarpment.

  14. The volcanic and tectonic history of Enceladus

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kargel, J.S.; Pozio, S.

    1996-01-01

    Enceladus has a protracted history of impact cratering, cryo-volcanism, and extensional, compressional, and probable strike-slip faulting. It is unique in having some of the outer Solar System's least and most heavily cratered surfaces. Enceladus' cratering record, tectonic features, and relief elements have been analyzed more comprehensively than done previously. Like few other icy satellites, Enceladus seems to have experienced major lateral lithospheric motions; it may be the only icy satellite with global features indicating probable lithospheric convergence and folding. Ridged plains, 500 km across, consist of a central labyrinthine ridge complex atop a broad dome surrounded by smooth plains and peripheral sinuous ridge belts. The ridged plains have few if any signs of extension, almost no craters, and an average age of just 107 to 108 years. Ridge belts have local relief ranging from 500 to 2000 m and tend to occur near the bottoms of broad regional troughs between swells. Our reanalysis of Peter Thomas' (Dermott, S. F., and P. C. Thomas, 1994, The determination of the mass and mean density of Enceladus from its observed shape, Icarus, 109, 241-257) limb profiles indicates that high peaks, probably ridge belts, also occur in unmapped areas. Sinuous ridges appear foldlike and are similar to terrestrial fold belts such as the Appalachians. If they are indeed folds, it may require that the ridged plains are mechanically (perhaps volcanically) layered. Regional topography suggests that folding may have occurred along zones of convective downwelling. The cratered plains, in contrast to the ridged plains, are heavily cratered and exhibit extensional structures but no obvious signs of compression. Cratered plains contain a possible strike-slip fault (Isbanir Fossa), along which two pairs of fractures seem to have 15 km of right-lateral offset. The oldest cratered plains might date from shortly after the formation of the saturnian system or the impact disruption and

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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 ...

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Seismostratigraphy, tectonics and geological history of the Ninetyeast Ridge

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marinova, Yulia; Levchenko, Oleg; Sborshchikov, Igor

    2016-04-01

    The Ninetyeast Ridge (NER) is a ~5000 km-long, aseismic volcanic ridge trending N-S in the Central Indian Ocean Basin. It is widely accepted that NER formed as a hotspot track created by northward migration of the Indian plate over the Kerguelen hotspot during the Late Cretaceous and Early Cenozoic. High-resolution multibeam bathymetry data and multichannel seismic profiles collected over the NER at seven sites between 5.5° N and 26.1° S during cruise KNOX06RR of RV Roger Revelle with the participation of P.P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology supplemented ideas about its seismostratigraphy and tectonics to clarify geological history [Sager et al.,2007]. High-resolution multibeam bathymetry data and 2D multichannel seismic data clearly show active faulting along the entire length of the NER. Bathymetry data collected in cruise show significant changes of NER's morphology varies with latitude - from large, individual seamounts in the north segment to smaller, linear, narrow seamounts and ridges in the central segment to high, nearly continuous, and often highly asymmetric with a steep eastern slope and low western slope ridge in the south. Three its distinct morphological segments are characterized also by different internal tectonic structure (faults geometry). The faults have different directions for each segment of NER - they trend to NW-SE less NE-SW in the northern segment, E-W in the central segment and NE-SW in the south. Large near E-W grabens mostly filled by intensively deformed sediments are widespread along the ridge. All three identified types of the faults are extension structures and no compression structures, predictable from the regional stress field, is not observed yet. Additional features were traced within the sedimentary cover of NER as a result of seismic stratigraphy analysis of the multichannel seismic data collected in proximity to DSDP and ODP drill holes (Sites 758, 216, 214, and 253) - eight reflectors: 0, 0A, 1, 1A, 2, 3, 4 and 5 and

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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...

  13. 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)

  14. 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)

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. Tectonic history of the southeastern North America

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Hatcher, R.D. Jr. (Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States). Dept. of Geological Sciences Oak Ridge National Lab., TN (United States))

    1993-03-01

    The present-day configuration of the crust of southeastern North America (SENA) is the product of a lengthy history traceable through more than 1 billion yr. of geologic time. The Appalachians (AP) record complete Wilson cycles of opening and closing of several oceans from ca. 690 Ma to 245 M. The final event forming the AP was the collision of SENA with Gondwana to form the supercontinent Pangaea. The Ouachitas (OA) had a somewhat different history culminating with island-arc collision during the Pennsylvanian--before the final collision began in the AP. SENA faced the open lapetos ocean no earlier than the Early Cambrian. The AP and OA were built on an earlier margin formed by rifting of the Rodonia super-continent formed by construction of the 1.2 to 1.0 Ga Grenville orogen, and farther west, a crust formed by still earlier (1.3 and 1.8 Ga) events. Recent suggestions that part of the AP platform is in Argentina raises the possibility that a fragment was rifted from between the AP and OA during the early Paleozoic. The crust beneath the Mississippi Embayment is atypical of continental crust, and would have been rifted during the Neoproterozoic and early Paleozoic. The Argentine fragment may have been removed along a transform that was reactivated several times since. Northern Pangaea was rifted during the Late Triassic and Early Jurassic and SENA once again faced open ocean-the nascent present Atlantic (AT) when spreading began. The Gulf of Mexico (GOM) also opened then forming extensive salt deposits. The AT opened partly along the old suture, but produced a failed rift in GA and FL leaving a piece of Africa forming the crust beneath the Coastal Plain as far south as central FL. The overlying sediments record recurrent uplift and decay of the AP and OA, cooling of new AT oceanic crust, eustatic sea-level changes during the Mesozoic and Cenozoic, and uplift of the Rockies providing a new source of voluminous detritus that is still being deposited in the GOM.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-12-01

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

  7. 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...

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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...

  12. Mantle structure and tectonic history of SE Asia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hall, Robert; Spakman, Wim

    2015-09-01

    Seismic travel-time tomography of the mantle under SE Asia reveals patterns of subduction-related seismic P-wave velocity anomalies that are of great value in helping to understand the region's tectonic development. We discuss tomography and tectonic interpretations of an area centred on Indonesia and including Malaysia, parts of the Philippines, New Guinea and northern Australia. We begin with an explanation of seismic tomography and causes of velocity anomalies in the mantle, and discuss assessment of model quality for tomographic models created from P-wave travel times. We then introduce the global P-wave velocity anomaly model UU-P07 and the tectonic model used in this paper and give an overview of previous interpretations of mantle structure. The slab-related velocity anomalies we identify in the upper and lower mantle based on the UU-P07 model are interpreted in terms of the tectonic model and illustrated with figures and movies. Finally, we discuss where tomographic and tectonic models for SE Asia converge or diverge, and identify the most important conclusions concerning the history of the region. The tomographic images of the mantle record subduction beneath the SE Asian region to depths of approximately 1600 km. In the upper mantle anomalies mainly record subduction during the last 10 to 25 Ma, depending on the region considered. We interpret a vertical slab tear crossing the entire upper mantle north of west Sumatra where there is a strong lateral kink in slab morphology, slab holes between c.200-400 km below East Java and Sumbawa, and offer a new three-slab explanation for subduction in the North Sulawesi region. There is a different structure in the lower mantle compared to the upper mantle and the deep structure changes from west to east. What was imaged in earlier models as a broad and deep anomaly below SE Asia has a clear internal structure and we argue that many features can be identified as older subduction zones. We identify remnants of slabs

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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...

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Christian Vérard

    2015-04-01

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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cuff, Kevin

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Glenn, William Harold

    1992-01-01

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

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cuff, Kevin

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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anderson, D. L.

    2001-12-01

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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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).

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. Late stage thermal history of the Songliao Basin and its tectonic implications: Evidence from apatite fission track (AFT) analyses

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2007-01-01

    Apatite Fission Track (AFT) data from the Songliao Basin indicates that the late stage tectonic movements in the Songliao Basin have zoning in space and episodes in time. The late stage tectonic movements started from the east part of the basin and migrated westward. AFT ages in the east part of the basin are older than those in the west part of the basin, suggesting that the uplift occurred earlier in the east than in the west. The denudation thickness in the east part of the basin is significantly greater than that in the centre and west. The thermal history evolved two episodes of rapid cooling and subsequent slow cooling processes. Age-depth relationship derived from the AFT data indicates a four-episode denudation history. Further Monte Carlo random simulation of the AFT data reveals the four changing points of the thermal evolution at 65 Ma, 43.5 Ma, 28 Ma and 15 Ma, respectively. The uplifting and denudation rates from different episodes of evolution are proportional to the plate convergence rate. Based on the above analyses and the regional geologic background, it is concluded that the late stage thermal events in the Songliao Basin are the far field response to the subduction of the Pacific Plate under the Eurasian Plate. The first episode of the rapid cooling probably started at the end of the Nenjiang Formation, climaxed at the end of the Cretaceous and ceased at the Late Eocene. The subsequent slow cooling lasts another 15 Ma. The first episode of the evolution is the far field response to the major episode of the Yanshan Movement and subsequent series of the tectonic reorganization, especially the directional change of the Pacific Movement and also the subduction of the Indian Plate underneath the Eurasian Plate. While the second episode of the evolution is the far field response to the extension and closure of the Sea of Japan. Extension led to the migration and converging of the mantle heat flow to the Sea of Japan and resulted in the rapid cooling

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. Mantle structure and tectonic history of SE Asia

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Hall, Robert; Spakman, Wim|info:eu-repo/dai/nl/074103164

    2015-01-01

    Seismic travel-time tomography of the mantle under SE Asia reveals patterns of subduction-related seismic P-wave velocity anomalies that are of great value in helping to understand the region's tectonic development. We discuss tomography and tectonic interpretations of an area centred on Indonesia

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  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. 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

  15. 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...

  16. 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

  17. Tectonic History and Metallogeny of the Chukchi Terrane

    Science.gov (United States)

    Byalobzhesky, S.; Goryachev, N. A.

    2004-12-01

    The Chukchi Terrane consists of the Anyui, Wrangel, Chaun and Bering Sub-Terranes; at present, it is the northern part of the Pacific Folded Belt. Its basement is composed of folded rocks of Proterozoic and Paleozoic, which crop out on Wrangel Island, the Kuul and Alyarmaut Uplifts, Chukotka and Seward Peninsulas. Early Precambrian blocks may be also present in it. The above-mentioned sub-terranes have a similar development history and are featured by the same type of Mesozoic metamorphism, magmatism and metallogeny. Its tectonic history has been as follows: 1. Late Proterozoic and Early Paleozoic (pre-Visean) magmatism, thrusting, isoclinal folding. Scarce occurrences of gold and stibnite mineralization. 2. An unconformity at the base of Visean - Mid Carboniferous section with basal conglomerates contain granite pebbles and boulders. 3. Permian uplifting (continental), reduced sedimentation. 4. Maximum sedimentation in Triassic time accompanied by Early Triassic rifting and dominating turbidite rocks. The problem is the provenance areas for large amounts of terrigenous rocks. 5. Lack of sediments characterisitc of the greatest part of early Jurassic (post-Sinemurian), middle Jurassic and late Jurassic (pre-Volgian) time periods. Uplifting is correlative with the extension stage in the South-Anyui Ocean. 6. Late Jurassic - Neocomian. Intense uplifting processes occured at the end of late Jurassic and in early Cretaceous and associated with intrusion of subduction- and collision-related granitoids (147-140 Ma). The Nutesyn marginal continental arc was forming over the southern periphery of terrane and flysch processes occurred there through Neocomian. Fault-related depressions were developing in the north of the area under consideration. Since late Jurassic, as a result of an approach (with a right-side fault shifting) of the Novosibirsk-Chukchi Super-Terrane and the northeastern edge of the Asiatic Craton, the Yuzhno-Anyui Ocean began to close from west to east

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. Structural and stratigraphic controls on the origin and tectonic history of a subducted continental margin, Oman

    Science.gov (United States)

    Warren, C. J.; Miller, J. McL.

    2007-03-01

    Eclogites and blueschists exposed in Saih Hatat, Oman, record the subduction and exhumation of continental crustal material beneath the Cretaceous Semail Ophiolite during ophiolite obduction. The eclogite-bearing lower plate, originally part of Oman's distal continental margin, is exposed in two tectonic windows through the less metamorphosed upper plate by a previously mapped low angle, high strain, décollement structure. A major tectonic break, currently poorly exposed, records the juxtaposition of the highest pressure eclogites and garnet blueschists against lower pressure epidote-blueschists. The subsequent exhumation of the entire lower plate to mid crustal levels is marked by a pervasive shearing event associated with a regional greenschist facies overprint. The décollement truncates structures and the metamorphic field gradient in the lower plate, but does not significantly truncate structures or stratigraphy in the upper plate. It is not responsible for the exhumation of the high pressure rocks to mid-crustal levels. Most of the displacement across this structure was accommodated during continuing convergence after the subduction system had ceased to be active, and post ophiolite emplacement onto the platform carbonate sequences. A revised tectonic model is presented which accounts for the structural, geochronological and metamorphic observations.

  12. Reconstructing the tectonic history of Fennoscandia from its margins: The past 100 million years

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Muir Wood, R. [EQE International Ltd (United Kingdom)

    1995-12-01

    In the absence of onland late Mesozoic and Cenozoic geological formations the tectonic history of the Baltic Shield over the past 100 million years can be reconstructed from the thick sedimentary basins that surround Fennoscandia on three sides. Tectonic activity around Fennoscandia through this period has been diverse but can be divided into four main periods: a. pre North Atlantic spreading ridge (100-60 Ma) when transpressional deformation on the southern margins of Fennoscandia and transtensional activity to the west was associated with a NNE-SSW maximum compressive stress direction; b. the creation of the spreading ridge (60-45 Ma) when there was rifting along the western margin; c. the re-arrangement of spreading axes (45-25 Ma) when there was a radial compression around Fennoscandia, and d. the re-emergence of the Iceland hot-spot (25-0 Ma) when the stress-field has come to accord with ridge or plume `push`. Since 60 Ma the Alpine plate boundary has had little influence on Fennoscandia. The highest levels of deformation on the margins of Fennoscandia were achieved around 85 Ma, 60-55 Ma, with strain-rates around 10{sup -9}/year. Within the Baltic Shield long term strain rates have been around 10{sup -1}1/year, with little evidence for significant deformations passing into the shield from the margins. Fennoscandian Border Zone activity, which was prominent from 90-60 Ma, was largely abandoned following the creation of the Norwegian Sea spreading ridge, and with the exception of the Lofoten margin, there is subsequently little evidence for deformation passing into Fennoscandia. Renewal of modest compressional deformation in the Voering Basin suggest that the `Current Tectonic Regime` is of Quaternary age although the orientation of the major stress axis has remained consistent since around 10 Ma. The past pattern of changes suggest that in the geological near-future variations are to be anticipated in the magnitude rather than the orientation of stresses.

  13. Dredged Rock Samples from the Alpha Ridge, Arctic Ocean: Implications for the Tectonic History and Origin of the Amerasian Basin

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brumley, K.; Mayer, L.; Miller, E. L.; Coakley, B.

    2008-12-01

    The Amerasian Basin of the Arctic Ocean conceals one of the few unresolved plate tectonic puzzles on Earth, with important implications for the geologic history of the vast adjoining shelfal regions. Until we are able to scientifically drill the most controversial parts of the Amerasian Basin seafloor, many questions about its age and origin will remain unanswered. To address the plate tectonic origin of the Amerasian Basin, we dredged steep escarpments along the Alpha Ridge, a bathymetric ridge that extends across the Amerasian Basin. The Alpha Ridge is dissected by structures that have been characterized by seismic reflection and which appear to be normal fault-bound linear ridges and basins. The Alpha Ridge has been described as a hot spot track, an oceanic plateau, and a possible spreading center. Dredged samples taken in 1985 from the central Alpha Ridge were determined to be highly altered fragmental basalt and yielded a Late Cretaceous 40Ar/39Ar whole rock age which agreed with the conventional models for a purely volcanic/oceanic origin of the Alpha Ridge (Forsythe and others, 1986; Lawver et al., 2002). Dredged rock samples were taken by the icebreaker USCGC Healy (HLY0805, Mayer and Armstrong, 2008) and included samples from a steep slope of a subsidiary ridge in the south central Alpha/Mendeleev Ridge complex. The fresh broken surfaces of large blocks of rock and the lithologic similarity of the rocks recovered suggest an outcrop was sampled. The recovered rocks included interbedded red sandstones and ochre mudstones with well-defined bedding and sedimentary structures. Preliminary shipboard analysis suggests they may be tuffaceous and/or derived from volcanic sources, and may possibly be continental in origin. Further analysis and descriptions will be carried out in the coming months to determine their age and depositional environment. The results of this analysis and their possible implications for the origin of the Alpha Ridge and tectonic history of

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. Late Cretaceous fluvial systems and inferred tectonic history, central Utah

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Lawton, T.F.

    1983-08-01

    Upper Campanian nonmarine sedimentary rocks exposed between the Wasatch Plateau and the Green River in central Utah record a tectonic transition from thin-skinned deformation in the thrust belt to basement-cored uplift in the foreland region. Sandstones within the section consist of two distinct compositional suites, a lower quartzose petrofacies and an upper lithic petrofacies. The volcanic lithic grains of the Farrer and Tuscher Formations were derived from more distal arc sources to the southwest, and transported through the thrust belt somewhere west of the Kaiparowits region, where time-equivalent sedimentary rocks are also rich in volcanic lithic fragments. Disappearance of volcanic lithics and appearance of pebbles at the top of the Tuscher Formation is interpreted to reflect a latest Campanian reorganization of drainage patterns that marked initial growth of the San Rafael swell and similar basement uplifts to the south of the swell. Contemporaneous fluvial systems that deposited the uppermost part of the Price River Formation in the Wasatch Plateau were apparently unaffected by the uplift and continued to flow northeast. Depositional patterns thus indicate that initial growth of the San Rafael swell was probably concurrent with late deformation in the thrust belt. Depositional onlap across the Mesaverde Group by a largely post-tectonic assemblage of fluvial and lacustrine strata (North Horn Formation) indicates a minimum late Paleocene age for growth of the San Rafael swell and deformation within the thrust belt.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. Late Pleistocene and Holocene uplift history of Cyprus: implications for active tectonics along the southern margin of the Anatolian microplate

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harrison, R.W.; Tsiolakis, E.; Stone, B.D.; Lord, A.; McGeehin, J.P.; Mahan, S.A.; Chirico, P.

    2013-01-01

    The nature of the southern margin of the Anatolian microplate during the Neogene is complex, controversial and fundamental in understanding active plate-margin tectonics and natural hazards in the Eastern Mediterranean region. Our investigation provides new insights into the Late Pleistocene uplift history of Cyprus and the Troodos Ophiolite. We provide isotopic (14C) and radiogenic (luminescence) dates of outcropping marine sediments in eastern Cyprus that identify periods of deposition during marine isotope stages (MIS) 3, 4, 5 and 6. Past sea-levels indicated by these deposits are c. 95±25 m higher in elevation than estimates of worldwide eustatic sea-level. An uplift rate of c. 1.8 mm/year and possibly as much as c. 4.1 mm/year in the past c. 26–40 ka is indicated. Holocene marine deposits also occur at elevations higher than those expected for past SL and suggest uplift rates of c. 1.2–2.1 mm/year. MIS-3 marine deposits that crop out in southern and western Cyprus indicate uniform island-wide uplift. We propose a model of tectonic wedging at a plate-bounding restraining bend as a mechanism for Late Pleistocene to Holocene uplift of Cyprus; uplift is accommodated by deformation and seismicity along the margins of the Troodos Ophiolite and re-activation of its low-angle, basal shear zone.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Earthquakes in India and the Himalaya: tectonics, geodesy and history

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    R. Bilham

    2004-06-01

    Full Text Available The record of earthquakes in India is patchy prior to 1800 and its improvement is much impeded by its dispersal in a dozen local languages, and several colonial archives. Although geological studies will necessarily complement the historical record, only two earthquakes of the dozens of known historical events have resulted in surface ruptures, and it is likely that geological data in the form of liquefaction features will be needed to extend the historical record beyond the most recent few centuries. Damage from large Himalayan earthquakes recorded in Tibet and in Northern India suggests that earthquakes may attain M = 8.2. Seismic gaps along two-thirds of the Himalaya that have developed in the past five centuries, when combined with geodetic convergence rates of approximately 1.8 m/cy, suggests that one or more M = 8 earthquakes may be overdue. The mechanisms of recent earthquakes in Peninsular India are consistent with stresses induced in the Indian plate flexed by its collision with Tibet. A region of abnormally high seismicity in western India appears to be caused by local convergence across the Rann of Kachchh and possibly other rift zones of India. Since the plate itself deforms little, this deformation may be related to incipient plate fragmentation in Sindh or over a larger region of NW India.

  11. Subsidence history and forming mechanism of anomalous tectonic subsidence in the Bozhong depression, Bohaiwan basin

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    XIE; XiNong

    2007-01-01

    [1]Li D S.Tectonic framework of the Bohai Gulf and coastal basins.Mar Sci,1982,1:82-93[2]Li S T.Basin geodynamics background of formation of huge petroleum systems (in Chinese).Earth Sci-J China Univ Geosci,2004,29(5):505-512[3]Allen M B,Macdonald D I M,Zhao X,et al.Early Cenozoic two-phase extension and late Cenozoic thermal subsidence and inversion of the Bohai basin,northern China.Mar Petrol Geol,1997,14(7/8):951-972[4]Gong Z S,Wang G C.Neotectonism and late hydrocarbon accumulation in Bohai Sea.Acta Pet Sin (in Chinese),2001,22(2):1-8[5]Hu S B,O'Sullivan P B,Raza A,et al.Thermal history and tectonic subsidence of the Bohai Basin,northern China:a Cenozoic rifted and local pull-apart basin.Phys Earth Planet Int,2001,126:221-235[6]Ren J Y,Tamaki K,Li S T,et al.Late Mesozoic and Cenozoic rifting and its dynamic setting in Eastern China and adjacent areas.Tectonophysics,2002,344:175-205[7]Li D S.Tectonics of Petroliferous Basins in China (in Chinese).Beijing:Petroleum Industry Press,2002.674[8]Xu J,Ma Z J,Deng Q D,et al.Regional tectonic conditions for intensive subsidence of the middle Bohai Sea since Oligocene.Acta Pet Sin (in Chinese),2004,25(5):11-16[9]Sclater J G,Christie P A F.Continental stretching:an explanation of the post Mid-Cretaceous subsidence of the central North Sea basin.J Geophys Res,1980,85:3711-3739[10]Xie X N,Müller R D,Li S T,et al.Origin of anomalous tectonic subsidence along the northern South China Sea Margin and its relationship to dynamic topography.Mar Pet Geol,2006,23(7):745-765[11]White N.Recovery of strain-rate variation from inversion of subsidence data.Nature,1993,366(6454):449-452[12]White N.An inverse method for determining lithosphere strain rate variation on geological time scales.Earth Planet Sci Lett,1994,122:351-371[13]Xie X N,Bethke C M,Li S T,et al.Overpressure and Petroleum generation and accumulation in the Dongying Depression of the Bohaiwan Basin,China.Geofluids,2001,1(4):257-271[14]Hall R.Reconstructing Cenozoic SE

  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. 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.

  15. Late Cenozoic sedimentary and tectonic history of south Buton, Indonesia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fortuin, A. R.; De Smet, M. E. M.; Hadiwasastra, S.; Van Marle, L. J.; Troelstra, S. R.; Tjokrosapoetro, S.

    A description and interpretation are given of the Upper Cenozoic sedimentary record of south Buton. Various sections and outcrops were studied and sampled for their microfossil content, to provide age and paleobathymetrical data. Together with information from the literature, these data from the base for a geohistory analysis to evaluate the vertical motions. Deposition started some 11 Ma ago, after the main deformation of the island, which was related to the collision of a microplate carrying Buton, with the southeast arm of Sulawesi. Coarse and fine terrigenous debris accumulated in a rapidly subsiding foreland basin; subsidence may have exceeded 100 cm/ka. When the rate of subsidence decreased a late Miocene-early Pliocene period of quiet pelagic sedimentation followed. From the late Pliocene onwards (around 3.5 Ma BP) an overall uplift took place, with rates between 30-120 cm/ka. This drastic change is explained by the collision of Buton with a submerged microcontinent that presently forms the Tukang Besi platform, situated southeast of Buton, which interaction resulted in wrench type tectonics and a clockwise rotation of over 60° for south Buton.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. The tectonic history of Drake Passage and its possible impacts on global climate

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lagabrielle, Yves; Goddéris, Yves; Donnadieu, Yannick; Malavieille, Jacques; Suarez, Manuel

    2009-03-01

    This study provides an integrated review of plate tectonic models of the evolution of the Antarctica-Patagonia connection compared to geological records collected on land in Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego, and offshore along the northern edge of the Scotia Sea. A temporal framework for the sedimentary and tectonic events of the North Scotia Ridge and Tierra del Fuego is constructed with additional data compiled from entire Patagonia and the Austral Basin. This review provides robust correlations of seaways and tectonic events along the Scotia and South America plates and indicates that the opening of the Drake Passage was not steady state since ca. 30 Ma. Rather the regions forming the present-day northern limit of this gateway experienced important paleogeographic changes, from deep marine basins to shallow ridges and emerged regions during the late Oligocene and early-middle Miocene time. Our compilation of geological data shows that emergence along the North Scotia Ridge and Tierra del Fuego was achieved at 23-22 Ma, and has been followed by elimination of the Patagoniano Sea in Patagonia, starting at 22-23 Ma and achieved at 20 Ma. This transition towards more continental sedimentation in southern South America is correlated with more shallow marine conditions in the Austral Basin. This succession of events had a strong influence on the general geometry of the Drake Passage, corresponding to a constriction of its northern limit, starting in the window 29-22 Ma and achieved at 21 Ma. This period of active deformation in southern South America also corresponds to a period of the global climate having two anomalies well known from the isotopic records: the Late Oligocene Warming, around 26 Ma and the Mid-Miocene Climatic Optimum which ended between 15 and 14 Ma. The possible effects of the post-Oligocene tectonic evolution of the Drake Passage region on general oceanic circulation are discussed. Causes for the synchronicity between tectonic events and these global

  2. 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.

  3. Proterozoic Tectonic History of Borborema Province, NE Brazil: Implications For Assembly of West Gondwana

    Science.gov (United States)

    van Schmus, W. R.; Brito Neves, B. B.

    The Borborema Province of NE Brazil comprises the west-central part of a wide Pan- African - Brasiliano continental collision belt that formed during ca. 600 Ma assembly of West Gondwana. Our studies over the past decade, in collaboration with many other workers, demonstrate a complex Proterozoic history that created or modified crustal domains at 2.1, 1.7, 1.0, 0.8, and 0.6 Ga. Although NE Brazil contains a few small Archean domains included within early Paleoproterozoic orogens, the first major event was formation of extensive continental crust about 2.35 to 2.1 Ga, before and during the so-called Transamazonian orogeny. We believe that this occurred in conjunction with formation of a larger Paleoproterozoic continent about 2.05 Ga that included present-day West African, Amazonian, Congo, and São Francisco cratons. Incipient extension within this continent occurred in Brazil about 1.8 to 1.7 Ga, resulting in intracratonic sedimentation and bimodal volcanism, but equivalent rocks are less well known in Africa. A successful breakup occurred before or about 1.1 Ga, resulting in separation of parts of this continent into two major stable masses containing (a) the Amazon-West African craton, and (b) the São Francisco-Congo (SF/C) craton. The break-up also created many smaller fragments between these two large masses, particularly in the east (present-day NE Brazil and Saharan Africa) and including the Ceará-Rio Grande do Norte (CE/RN) craton in NE Brazil. About 1.0 Ga a magmatic arc more than 700 km long (Cariris Velhos orogen) developed in NE Brazil, possibly as a result of convergence between the CE/RN and SF/C cratons; eastward extension of the 1.0 Ga Cariris Velhos orogen into West Africa is presently unknown. About 850 to 700 Ma several extensional basins developed in NE Brazil, with intraplate bimodal volcanism and clastic sedimentation; coeval basins may have formed in west-central Africa. From 700 to 600 Ma plate convergence among the CE/RN craton, SF

  4. The benefits of extended plate motion history in mantle circulation models

    Science.gov (United States)

    Webb, Peter; Davies, Huw; Davies, Rhodri; Hochard, Cyril; Stampfli, Gerard

    2010-05-01

    Mantle Circulation Models (MCMs) are mantle convection simulations conditioned with plate motion history. Due to difficulties in reconstructing plate motions beyond ≈ 120 Ma, MCMs often only incorporate the most recent 120 Myr of plate tectonic evolution. We find that such models are strongly influenced by initial conditions. The development of a new series of tectonic reconstructions extending back to the Triassic (230 Ma) and including careful reconstruction of the oceanic parts of the plates (modified from Stampfli and Borel, 2004, Stampfli et al. 2008 and references therein) should prove to be of huge importance to MCMs. In this study we present a comparison between the traditionally used 120 Myr and the latest 230 Myr plate motion histories. We use the three-dimensional spherical mantle convection code TERRA (Bunge et al., 2003) to simulate convection at Earth like vigour. Here we apply the plate motion history as a surface velocity boundary condition to drive the internal convection of an already well-mixed system. The forward models from a chosen starting point to present day yield information on mantle temperature (as well as pressure, velocity and material properties) throughout the volume. One of the ways to validate our results is to compare these with tomographic models. Seismic tomography provides us with a snapshot of Earth's mantle at present day. Assuming that the mantle is driven largely by thermal convection, we can assume that the seismically fast regions are associated with cooler, denser material. The most significant of these can be interpreted as remnants of subducted slabs (Hafkenscheid et al 2006, van der Meer et al. 2010). We convert the temperatures predicted by the MCM to seismic velocities using the latest techniques (e.g. Cobden et al., 2008) and compare the calculated velocities to a range of seismic tomography models (both P and S wave). This way we can examine the validity of the surface velocity boundary condition and identify

  5. 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...

  6. 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.

  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. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. Unraveling tectonics and climate forcing in the late-Neogene exhumation history of South Alaska

    Science.gov (United States)

    Valla, Pierre; Champagnac, Jean-Daniel; Shuster, David; Herman, Frédéric; Giuditta Fellin, Maria

    2015-04-01

    The southern Alaska range presents an ideal setting to study the complex interactions between tectonics, climate and surface processes in landscape evolution. It exhibits active tectonics with the ongoing subduction/collision between Pacific and North America, and major active seismogenic reverse and strike-slip faults. The alpine landscape, rugged topography and the important ice-coverage at present reveal a strong glacial imprint associated with high erosion and sediment transport rates. Therefore, the relative importance of climatically-driven glacial erosion and tectonics for the observed late-exhumation history appears to be quite complex to decipher. Here, we first perform a formal inversion of an extensive bedrock thermochronological dataset from the literature to quantify the large-scale 20-Myr exhumation history over the entire southern Alaska. We show that almost half of the variability within the thermochronological record can be explained by modern annual precipitations spatial distribution, the residuals clearly evidencing localized exhumation along major tectonic structures of the frontal fold and thrust belt. Our results confirm high exhumation rates in the St Elias "syntaxis" and frontal zones for the last 0-2 Myr, where major ice fields and high precipitation rates likely sustained high exhumation rates; however the impact of late Cenozoic glaciations is difficult to constrain because of the low resolution on the exhumation history older than ~2 Myr. On the contrary, our inversion outcomes highlight that north of the Bagley Icefield the long-term exhumation has remained quite slow and continuous over the last ~20 Myr, with no late-stage signal of exhumation change since the onset of glaciations despite a clear glacial imprint on the landscape. We thus focus on the Granite Range (Wrangell-St Elias National Park, Alaska), an area presenting a strong glacial imprint but minor tectonic activity with only localized brittle deformation. We sampled four

  15. 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.

  16. The Contraction/Expansion History of Charon with implication for its Planetary Scale Tectonic Belt

    CERN Document Server

    Malamud, Uri; Schubert, Gerald

    2016-01-01

    The New-Horizons mission to the Kuiper Belt has recently revealed intriguing features on the surface of Charon, including a network of chasmata, cutting across or around a series of high topography features, conjoining to form a belt. It is proposed that this tectonic belt is a consequence of contraction/expansion episodes in the moon's evolution associated particularly with compaction, differentiation and geophysical reactions of the interior. The proposed scenario involves no need for solidification of a vast subsurface ocean and/or a warm initial state. This scenario is based on a new, detailed thermo-physical evolution model of Charon that includes multiple processes. According to the model, Charon experiences two contraction/expansion episodes in its history that may provide the proper environment for the formation of the tectonic belt. This outcome remains qualitatively the same even if we assume a different initial composition and mass. Two alternative explanations for the precise localization and orie...

  17. Role of structural inheritances and major transfer fault-zones in the tectonic history of the Alboran Basin (Western Mediterranean)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Comas, Menchu; Crespo-Blanc, Ana; Balanya, Juan Carlos

    2014-05-01

    The geodynamic evolution of the Gibraltar Arc System (GAS), which involves the origin and development of the Alboran back-arc basin, occurred during the Neogene related to the westward moving of the Alboran Domain (the Betic-Rifean hinterland) within a context of NNW-SSE plate-tectonic convergence. In this contribution we document shallow-crustal structures, deformation partitioning, and the different structural domains from the tectonic framework beneath the Alboran Sea. Furthermore, we focus the critical role of inherited crustal structures and major transfer faults within a coherent sequence of Miocene to Recent deformation phases. Early Miocene extensional processes conditioned substantial thinning and the exhumation of the metamorphic Alboran Domain before the opening of the Alboran Basin. Beneath the Alboran Sea, an ENE-SSW directed back-arc extension (from about 16 to 8.5 Ma, late Burdigalian to late Tortonian) affected both the metamorphic basement (the crustal Alboran Domain) and the overlying Miocene sedimentary units. This extension resulted in major low-angle normal faults, and NNW-SSE trending grabens connected by ENE-SSW transtensional transfer-faults, both happening in concomitance with the westward migration (around 200 km) of the Alboran Domain. The geometry of the extensional structures constrains the manner, timing and amount of the coeval crustal thinning. In the late Tortonian (about 8.5 Ma) a dominant N-S directed compressional phase caused inversions of former extensional faults, discrete folding, and strike-slip faulting. This compressional event triggered the spectacular West Alboran shale-diapirism from over-pressured basal units. At the South and Eastern Alboran and at the transition to the Algeria basins, a pervasive period of NW-SE directed compressional deformation (from about 7 Ma onwards) that affected the whole basin is patent. Long lasting compressional conditions since the late Tortonian resulted in a dramatic structural

  18. 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.

  19. 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?

  20. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-04-01

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

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. Estimating tectonic history through basin simulation-enhanced seismic inversion: geoinfomatics for sedimentary basins

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tandon, Kush; Tuncay, Kagan; Hubbard, Kyle; Comer, John; Ortoleva, Peter

    2004-01-01

    A data assimilation approach is demonstrated whereby seismic inversion is both automated and enhanced using a comprehensive numerical sedimentary basin simulator to study the physics and chemistry of sedimentary basin processes in response to geothermal gradient in much greater detail than previously attempted. The approach not only reduces costs by integrating the basin analysis and seismic inversion activities to understand the sedimentary basin evolution with respect to geodynamic parameters-but the technique also has the potential for serving as a geoinfomatics platform for understanding various physical and chemical processes operating at different scales within a sedimentary basin. Tectonic history has a first-order effect on the physical and chemical processes that govern the evolution of sedimentary basins. We demonstrate how such tectonic parameters may be estimated by minimizing the difference between observed seismic reflection data and synthetic ones constructed from the output of a reaction, transport, mechanical (RTM) basin model. We demonstrate the method by reconstructing the geothermal gradient. As thermal history strongly affects the rate of RTM processes operating in a sedimentary basin, variations in geothermal gradient history alter the present-day fluid pressure, effective stress, porosity, fracture statistics and hydrocarbon distribution. All these properties, in turn, affect the mechanical wave velocity and sediment density profiles for a sedimentary basin. The present-day state of the sedimentary basin is imaged by reflection seismology data to a high degree of resolution, but it does not give any indication of the processes that contributed to the evolution of the basin or causes for heterogeneities within the basin that are being imaged. Using texture and fluid properties predicted by our Basin RTM simulator, we generate synthetic seismograms. Linear correlation using power spectra as an error measure and an efficient quadratic

  11. 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

  12. Plate Kinematic model of the NW Indian Ocean and derived regional stress history of the East African Margin

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tuck-Martin, Amy; Adam, Jürgen; Eagles, Graeme

    2015-04-01

    Starting with the break up of Gondwana, the northwest Indian Ocean and its continental margins in Madagascar, East Africa and western India formed by divergence of the African and Indian plates and were shaped by a complicated sequence of plate boundary relocations, ridge propagation events, and the independent movement of the Seychelles microplate. As a result, attempts to reconcile the different plate-tectonic components and processes into a coherent kinematic model have so far been unsatisfactory. A new high-resolution plate kinematic model has been produced in an attempt to solve these problems, using seafloor spreading data and rotation parameters generated by a mixture of visual fitting of magnetic isochron data and iterative joint inversion of magnetic isochron and fracture zone data. Using plate motion vectors and plate boundary geometries derived from this model, the first-order regional stress pattern was modelled for distinct phases of margin formation. The stress pattern is correlated with the tectono-stratigraphic history of related sedimentary basins. The plate kinematic model identifies three phases of spreading, from the Jurassic to the Paleogene, which resulted in the formation of three main oceanic basins. Prior to these phases, intracontinental 'Karoo' rifting episodes in the late Carboniferous to late Triassic had failed to break up Gondwana, but initiated the formation of sedimentary basins along the East African and West Madagascan margins. At the start of the first phase of spreading (183 to 133 Ma) predominantly NW - SE extension caused continental rifting that separated Madagascar/India/Antarctica from Africa. Maximum horizontal stresses trended perpendicular to the local plate-kinematic vector, and parallel to the rift axes. During and after continental break-up and subsequent spreading, the regional stress regime changed drastically. The extensional stress regime became restricted to the active spreading ridges that in turn adopted trends

  13. 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...

  14. Geochronological and sedimentological evidences of Panyangshan foreland basin for tectonic control on the Late Paleozoic plate marginal orogenic belt along the northern margin of the North China Craton

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Jialiang; Zhou, Zhiguang; He, Yingfu; Wang, Guosheng; Wu, Chen; Liu, Changfeng; Yao, Guang; Xu, Wentao; Zhao, Xiaoqi; Dai, Pengfei

    2017-08-01

    There is a wide support that the Inner Mongolia Palaeo-uplift on the northern margin of the North China Craton has undergone an uplifting history. However, when and how did the uplift occurred keeps controversial. Extensive field-based structural, metamorphic, geochemical, geochronological and geophysical investigations on the Inner Mongolia Palaeo-uplift, which suggested that the Inner Mongolia Palaeo-uplift was an uplifted region since the Early Precambrian or range from Late Carboniferous-Early Jurassic. The geochemical characteristics of the Late Paleozoic to Early Mesozoic intrusive rocks indicated that the Inner Mongolia Palaeo-uplift was an Andean-type continental margin that is the extensional tectonic setting. To address the spatial and temporal development of the Inner Mongolia Palaeo-uplift, we have carried out provenance analysis of Permian sedimentary rocks which collected from the Panyangshan basin along the northern margin of the North China Craton. The QFL diagram revealed a dissected arc-recycled orogenic tectonic setting. Moreover, the framework grains are abundant with feldspar (36-50%), indicating the short transport distance and unstable tectonic setting. Detrital zircon U-Pb analysis ascertained possible provenance information: the Precambrian basement ( 2490 and 1840 Ma) and continental arc magmatic action ( 279 and 295 Ma) along the northern margin of the North China Craton. The projection in rose diagrams of the mean palaeocurrent direction, revealing the SSW and SSE palaeoflow direction, also shows the provenance of the Panyangshan basin sources mainly from the Inner Mongolia Palaeo-uplift. The andesite overlying the Naobaogou Formation has yielded U-Pb age of 277.3 ± 1.4 Ma. The additional dioritic porphyry dike intruded the Naobaogou and Laowopu Formations, which has an emplacement age of 236 ± 1 Ma. The above data identify that the basin formed ranges from Early Permian to Middle Triassic (277-236 Ma). Accordingly, the Inner Mongolia

  15. 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).

  16. Tectonic history of the Ordos Block and Qinling Orogen inferred from crustal thickness

    Science.gov (United States)

    Feng, Mei; An, Meijian; Dong, Shuwen

    2017-07-01

    The Ordos Block and the Qinling Orogen in central China are key regions that have been affected by Indo-Eurasian collision, convergence of the North China, South China and Siberian cratons, and subduction of the Pacific oceanic plate during the Phanerozoic. Investigation of the crustal structure in this area can therefore provide significant insights into the interactions among these tectonic blocks and plates. The Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences deployed ca. 249 portable broad-band seismic stations in this area from 2011 to 2016, and we retrieved P-wave receiver functions (RFs) from these new stations, and also from all other available permanent and portable seismic stations in China. Crustal thicknesses beneath the stations were retrieved using 1-D S-wave velocity models, which were obtained by linearized inversion of the RFs with initial reference models from regionalized S-wave velocities of surface wave inversions. We demonstrate with synthetic tests that this inversion scheme is superior to a jointly linearized inversion of RFs and surface waves. The results show that crustal thicknesses generally correlate with tectonic domains in the study region. Thus, thick crust is present beneath the Daba Shan region and the area close to the northeastern Tibetan Plateau, intermediate-thickness crust is present beneath the Ordos Block and the central North China Craton, and thin crust exists beneath the North China Plain. However, some notable exceptions exist. The crust beneath the central Qinling is thinner than that beneath the neighbouring Daba Shan region and even the Weihe Basin, implying that subduction and collision of the North China and South China cratons in the Palaeozoic did not produce a thick crust beneath the suture. The relatively thin crust beneath the eastern and central Qinling must be denser than that beneath neighbouring areas. All the basins around the Ordos Block have been considered to be graben. However, our results show that the crust

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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…

  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 bou

  3. 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. ...

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Sissingh, W.

    2008-01-01

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

  5. 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…

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. Quantifying melt production and degassing rate at mid-ocean ridges from global mantle convection models with plate motion history

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Mingming; Black, Benjamin; Zhong, Shijie; Manga, Michael; Rudolph, Maxwell L.; Olson, Peter

    2016-07-01

    The Earth's surface volcanism exerts first-order controls on the composition of the atmosphere and the climate. On Earth, the majority of surface volcanism occurs at mid-ocean ridges. In this study, based on the dependence of melt fraction on temperature, pressure, and composition, we compute melt production and degassing rate at mid-ocean ridges from three-dimensional global mantle convection models with plate motion history as the surface velocity boundary condition. By incorporating melting in global mantle convection models, we connect deep mantle convection to surface volcanism, with deep and shallow mantle processes internally consistent. We compare two methods to compute melt production: a tracer method and an Eulerian method. Our results show that melt production at mid-ocean ridges is mainly controlled by surface plate motion history, and that changes in plate tectonic motion, including plate reorganizations, may lead to significant deviation of melt production from the expected scaling with seafloor production rate. We also find a good correlation between melt production and degassing rate beneath mid-ocean ridges. The calculated global melt production and CO2 degassing rate at mid-ocean ridges varies by as much as a factor of 3 over the past 200 Myr. We show that mid-ocean ridge melt production and degassing rate would be much larger in the Cretaceous, and reached maximum values at ˜150-120 Ma. Our results raise the possibility that warmer climate in the Cretaceous could be due in part to high magmatic productivity and correspondingly high outgassing rates at mid-ocean ridges during that time.

  10. 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...

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. Crustal structure and tectonic history of the Kermadec arc inferred from MANGO seismic refraction profiles

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bassett, D.; Kopp, H.; Sutherland, R.; Henrys, S.; Watts, A. B.; Timm, C.; Scherwath, M.; Grevemeyer, I.; de Ronde, C. E. J.

    2016-12-01

    We have analyzed three wide-angle seismic reflection and refraction profiles and applied spectral averaging techniques to regional grids of bathymetry and free-air gravity anomaly to place the first regional constraints on the crustal structure of the Kermadec arc. These observations are used to test contrasting tectonic models for an along-strike transition in margin structure, across which, 1) the remnant Lau-Colville and active Kermadec arc ridges narrow by >50%; 2) the backarc and forearc deepen by 1 km, and 3) the active volcanic arc is deflected west into the deepest known backarc basin. We use residual bathymetric anomalies to constrain the geometry of this boundary and propose the name Central Kermadec Discontinuity (CKD). North of the CKD, the buried Tonga Ridge occupies the forearc with VP 6.5-7.3 km s-1 and residual free-air gravity anomalies constrain its latitudinal extent (north of 30.5°S), width (110±20 km) and strike ( 005° south of 25°S). South of the CKD the forearc is structurally homogeneous down-dip with VP 5.7-7.3 km s-1. Lower crustal velocities are similar to the northern Kermadec forearc, but there is no seismic or gravimetric evidence for an extinct arc ridge within the forearc. In the Havre Trough backarc, crustal thickness south of the CKD is 8-9 km, which is up-to 4 km thinner than the northern Havre Trough and at least 1 km thinner than the southern Havre Trough. The northern Kermadec/Tonga arc preserves a substrate of the Eocene arc, the southern Kermadec forearc preserves Mesozoic forearc rocks accreted at the Gondwana margin, and the central Kermadec arc may have fomed in the Kupe Abyssal Plain. The oldest arc related rocks recovered north and south of the CKD are 52 Ma and 16.7 Ma respectively, and plate tectonic reconstruction suggest the Eocene arc was originally conjoined with the Three Kings Ridge. The separation of these ridges during the early Oligocene likely formed the CKD. In contrast to previous interpretations, we

  16. 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.

  17. The evidence of fission-track data for the study of tectonic thermal history in Qinshui Basin

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    REN Zhanli; XIAO Hui; LIU Li; ZHANG Sheng; QIN Yong; WEI Chongtao

    2005-01-01

    The thermal history of the Qinshui Basin has been studied by using the fission-track analysis of apatite and zircon, integrated analysis of tectonic evolution, magmatic activity and other palaeogeothermal analysis data. Results indicate that the palaeogeothermal gradient between the latePaleozoic era and the medium-Mesozoic era is relatively low and the palaeogeothermal gradient in the late-Mesozoic is up to 5.56℃/100 m in the middle, and the values are relatively higher in the north and south margins of the basin, reaching over 8.00℃/100 m, which indicates that there was an anomalous tectonic thermal event in the thermal history of Qinshui Basin. This event happened in 110- 140 Ma, and the main peak value was between 120 and 140 Ma. This anomalous tectonic thermal event is controlled by the strengthening thermal mobility of the lithosphere and magmatic intrusion.The maturity of the Permo-Carboniferous coal series mainly was controlled by this anomalous thermal field. The apatite fission track date of samples across the basin shows that a rapid tectonic uplifting with cooling existed 26.2-11.5 Ma ago and the upliftings in the north and south of the basin happened earlier than that in the middle. The Permo-Carboniferous strata had been completely annealed in the early 50 Ma, palaeotemperature over 125℃. Since then, especially from Oligocene-Miocene epoch, the strata which experienced large-scale tectonic upliftings with rapid cooling have been kept out of the annealing belt (70-125℃) in a relative low temperature environment. The late Mesozoic tectonic thermal event control hydrocarbon production peak (late Jurassic to early Cretaceous period) of Permo-Carboniferous strata in Qinshui Basin. When the strata experienced upliftings with rapid cooling since Oligocene-Miocene epoch, the hydrocarbon generation of coal series had stopped.

  18. Multi-method geo- and thermochronology of glacially transported cobbles reveals the tectonic and exhumation history of the St. Elias Mountains (Alaska/Yukon)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Falkowski, Sarah; Enkelmann, Eva; Drost, Kerstin; Pfänder, Jörg; Stübner, Konstanze; Ehlers, Todd

    2016-04-01

    Multi-method dating is a powerful tool to understand tectonic processes and mountain building. In the case of inaccessible mountain regions, e.g., due to extensive glaciation, the dating of detrital material and bedrock samples from rare outcrops with geo- and thermochronologic methods is often the only applicable approach to study the timing and rates of tectonic processes. The St. Elias Mountains of southeast Alaska and southwest Yukon are an example of a heavily glaciated orogen. With the help of detrital thermochronology of sand-sized material, exhumation patterns could be mapped, though with a low spatial resolution. In contrast, geo- and thermochronology applied to glacially derived cobbles yields provenance information from cobble lithology, zircon U-Pb dating, and the entire cooling history from multiple mineral phases. Multi-grain and multi-aliquot analyses yield high-precision crystallization and cooling ages, while sand-sized detritus requires analysis of single minerals particularly resistant to weathering. We present a reconstruction of the Cenozoic tectonic and exhumation history of the St. Elias Mountains that was obtained from the analysis of 27 carefully selected and prepared cobble samples taken from two of the largest glacial catchments of the St. Elias Mountains. A total of 21 zircon U-Pb data sets as well as eight amphibole and seven biotite 40Ar/39Ar ages constrain the (maximum) formation and cooling ages, respectively, of the rocks in the source area. In addition, four zircon and six apatite (U-Th)/He ages as well as four apatite fission-track ages reveal the exhumation history of these source rocks. Integration of the cobble results with an additional three bedrock biotite 40Ar/39Ar ages and published geo- and thermochronologic data from along the St. Elias Mountains reveals details on the timing and rates of the Cenozoic tectonic evolution of the North American margin in southeast Alaska. Documented are the earliest Eocene spreading

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. CASE HISTORY REPORT ON MILWAUKEE CERAMIC PLATE AERATION FACILITIES

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ceramic plate diffusers were among the earliest forms of fine pore diffusers used in activated sludge treatment. They have successfully used for over 60 years in the Jones Island West Plant of the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) and since 1935 and 1974, respective...

  5. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2007-12-01

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

  7. 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....

  8. The Effect of Plate Motion History on the Longevity of Deep Mantle Heterogeneities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bull, Abigail; Domeier, Mathew; Torsvik, Trond

    2014-05-01

    Numerical studies of mantle convection have attempted to explain tomographic observations that reveal a lower mantle dominated by broad regional areas of lower-than-average shear-wave speeds beneath Africa and the Central Pacific. The anomalous regions, termed LLSVPs ("large low shear velocity provinces"), are inferred to be thermochemical structures encircled by regions of higher-than-average shear-wave speeds associated with Mesozoic and Cenozoic subduction zones. The origin and long-term evolution of the LLSVPs remains enigmatic. It has been proposed that the LLSVP beneath Africa was not present before 240 Ma, prior to which time the lower mantle was dominated by a degree-1 convection pattern with a major upwelling centred close to the present-day Pacific LLSVP and subduction concentrated mainly in the antipodal hemisphere. The African LLSVP would thus have formed during the time-frame of the supercontinent Pangea as a result of return flow in the mantle due to circum-Pacific subduction. An opposing hypothesis, which propounds a more long-term stability for both the African and Pacific LLSVPs, is suggested by recent palaeomagnetic plate motion models that propose a geographic correlation between the surface eruption sites of Phanerozoic kimberlites, major hotspots and Large Igneous Provinces to deep regions of the mantle termed "Plume Generation Zones" (PGZs), which lie at the margins of the LLSVPs. If the surface volcanism was sourced from the PGZs, such a link would suggest that both LLSVPs may have remained stationary for at least the age of the volcanics. i.e., 540 Myr. To investigate these competing hypotheses for the evolution of LLSVPs in Earth's mantle, we integrate plate tectonic histories and numerical models of mantle dynamics and perform a series of 3D spherical thermochemical convection calculations with Earth-like boundary conditions. We improve upon previous studies by employing a new, TPW-corrected global plate motion model to impose surface

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. Plate tectonics and biogeographical patterns of the Pseudophoxinus (Pisces: Cypriniformes) species complex of central Anatolia, Turkey.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hrbek, Tomas; Stölting, Kai N; Bardakci, Fevzi; Küçük, Fahrettin; Wildekamp, Rudolf H; Meyer, Axel

    2004-07-01

    We investigated the phylogenetic relationships of Pseudophoxinus (Cyprinidae: Leuciscinae) species from central Anatolia, Turkey to test the hypothesis of geographic speciation driven by early Pliocene orogenic events. We analyzed 1141 aligned base pairs of the complete cytochrome b mitochondrial gene. Phylogenetic relationships reconstructed by maximum likelihood, Bayesian likelihood, and maximum parsimony methods are identical, and generally well supported. Species and clades are restricted to geologically well-defined units, and are deeply divergent from each other. The basal diversification of central Anatolian Pseudophoxinus is estimated to have occurred approximately 15 million years ago. Our results are in agreement with a previous study of the Anatolian fish genus Aphanius that also shows a diversification pattern driven by the Pliocene orogenic events. The distribution of clades of Aphanius and Pseudophoxinus overlap, and areas of distribution comprise the same geological units. The geological history of Anatolia is likely to have had a major impact on the diversification history of many taxa occupying central Anatolia; many of these taxa are likely to be still unrecognized as distinct. Copyright 2004 Elsevier Inc.

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. Paleostress field reconstruction and revised tectonic history of the Donbas fold and thrust belt (Ukraine and Russia)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Saintot, Aline; Stephenson, Randell; Brem, Arjan; Stovba, Sergiy; Privalov, Vitaliy

    2003-10-01

    In the WNW-ESE Donbas fold belt (DF), inversion of 3500 microtectonic data collected at 135 sites, in Proterozoic, Devonian, Carboniferous, and Cretaceous competent rocks allowed reconstruction of 123 local stress states. Accordingly, four successive paleostress fields reveal the tectonic evolution of the DF. At the numerous sites that have been affected by polyphase tectonics, the chronology between local paleostress states (also paleostress fields) was established using classical criteria (crosscutting striae, pre- or post-folding stress states, stratigraphic control). The oldest event is an extensional stress field with NNE-SSW σ3. It corresponds to the rifting phases that generated the basin in Devonian times and its early Visean reactivation. Later, the DF was affected by a transtension, with NW-SE σ3 characterizing Early Permian tectonism, including the development of the "Main Anticline" of the DF and the pronounced uplift of its southern margin and Ukrainian Shield. Two paleostress fields characterize the Cretaceous/Paleocene inversion of the DF, which was accompanied by folding and thrusting. Both are compressional in type but differ by the trend of σ1, which was first NW-SE and subsequently N-S. The discrete paleostress history of the DF allows a revised interpretation of its tectonic evolution with significant implications for understanding the geodynamic evolution of the southern margin of the East European Craton.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. Plate tectonics, seaways and climate in the historical biogeography of mammals

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    C Barry Cox

    2000-08-01

    Full Text Available The marsupial and placental mammals originated at a time when the pattern of geographical barriers (oceans, shallow seas and mountains was very different from that of today, and climates were warmer. The sequence of changes in these barriers, and their effects on the dispersal of the mammal families and on the faunas of mammals in the different continents, are reviewed. The mammal fauna of South America changed greatly in the Pliocene/Pleistocene, when the newly-complete Panama Isthmus allowed the North American fauna to enter the continent and replace most of the former South American mammal families. Marsupial, but not placental, mammals reached Australia via Antarctica before Australia became isolated, while rats and bats are the only placentals that dispersed naturally from Asia to Australia in the late Cenozoic. Little is known of the early history of the mammal fauna of India. A few mammal families reached Madagascar from Africa in the early Cenozoic over a chain of islands. Africa was isolated for much of the early Cenozoic, though some groups did succeed in entering from Europe. Before the climate cooled in the mid-Cenozoic, the mammal faunas of the Northern Hemisphere were much richer than those of today.

  5. Plate tectonics, seaways and climate in the historical biogeography of mammals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cox, C B

    2000-01-01

    The marsupial and placental mammals originated at a time when the pattern of geographical barriers (oceans, shallow seas and mountains) was very different from that of today, and climates were warmer. The sequence of changes in these barriers, and their effects on the dispersal of the mammal families and on the faunas of mammals in the different continents, are reviewed. The mammal fauna of South America changed greatly in the Pliocene/Pleistocene, when the newly-complete Panama Isthmus allowed the North American fauna to enter the continent and replace most of the former South American mammal families. Marsupial, but not placental, mammals reached Australia via Antarctica before Australia became isolated, while rats and bats are the only placentals that dispersed naturally from Asia to Australia in the late Cenozoic. Little is known of the early history of the mammal fauna of India. A few mammal families reached Madagascar from Africa in the early Cenozoic over a chain of islands. Africa was isolated for much of the early Cenozoic, though some groups did succeed in entering from Europe. Before the climate cooled in the mid-Cenozoic, the mammal faunas of the Northern Hemisphere were much richer than those of today.

  6. 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

  7. 论菲律宾海板块大地构造分区%Discussion on the tectonic division of the Philippine Sea Plate

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    吴时国; 范建柯; 董冬冬

    2013-01-01

    菲律宾海板块是毗邻中国大陆的一个独特的小型板块.除南端表现十分复杂外,它的构造边界多以海沟为界,比较清楚,然而次级大地构造单元划分则比较复杂.本文根据近年来的研究成果,按照块体构造理论注重统一的地球物理场、相似的地壳结构、有机的成因联系等3个基本原则,将菲律宾海板块划分为3个具有不同构造演化特征的单元,即西菲律宾海块体、四国—帕里西维拉块体和伊豆—博宁—马里亚纳块体.西菲律宾海块体包括两部分:一个是西菲律宾海盆,始新世以来受太平洋板块和印澳板块近南北向的相对俯冲作用影响,并顺时针旋转形成了现今的构造样式,于30 Ma左右停止扩张.另一个包括大东盆岭、花东盆地、帕劳海盆和吕宋岛弧蛇绿岩等洋壳在内的白垩纪洋盆.根据形成年代和形成时的扩张方向可将四国—帕里西维拉块体分为两部分:四国海盆和帕里西维拉海盆,两者以索夫干断裂为界.伊豆—博宁—马里亚纳块体沿博宁高原南缘分为南北两部分,两者表现出不同的地质特征.%Philippine Sea Plate(PSP) is a unique minor plate close to China mainland.Except for the complicated southern part,the tectonic boundaries of the PSP are clear,most of which consist of trenches.However,it is hard to divide the plate into the secondary even three-level units.Based on the research in the recent years and referring to block tectonic theory with the principals of unitary geophysical field,similar crustal structure and organic genesis,the PSP is partitioned into three units with different evolutionary history,i.e.West Philippine Sea Block (WPSB),Shikoku-Parece Vela Block (SPB)and Izu-Bonin-Mariana Block (IBMB).The WPSB consists of two major parts,Cenozoic oceanic basin (west Philippine Basin)which was opened between two opposed subduction zones,rotated clockwise to the present place and culminated at ca.30 Ma

  8. Spiral tectonics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hassan Asadiyan, Mohammad

    2014-05-01

    Spiral Tectonics (ST) is a new window to global tectonics introduced as alternative model for Plate Tectonics (PT). ST based upon Dahw(rolling) and Tahw(spreading) dynamics. Analogues to electric and magnetic components in the electromagnetic theory we could consider Dahw and Tahw as components of geodynamics, when one component increases the other decreases and vice versa. They are changed to each other during geological history. D-component represents continental crust and T-component represents oceanic crust. D and T are two arm of spiral-cell. T-arm 180 degree lags behind D-arm so named Retard-arm with respect to D or Forward-arm. It seems primary cell injected several billions years ago from Earth's center therefore the Earth's core was built up first then mantel and finally the crust was build up. Crust building initiate from Arabia (Mecca). As the universe extended gravitation wave swirled the earth fractaly along cycloid path from big to small scale. In global scale (order-0) ST collect continents in one side and abandoned Pacific Ocean in the other side. Recent researches also show two mantels upwelling in opposite side of the Earth: one under Africa (tectonic pose) and the other under Pacific Ocean (tectonic tail). In higher order (order-1) ST build up Africa in one side and S.America in the other side therefore left Atlantic Ocean meandered in between. In order-n e.g. Khoor Musa and Bandar-Deylam bay are seen meandered easterly in the Iranian part but Khoor Abdullah and Kuwait bay meandered westerly in the Arabian part, they are distributed symmetrically with respect to axis of Persian Gulf(PG), these two are fractal components of easterly Caspian-wing and westerly Black Sea-wing which split up from Anatoly. Caspian Sea and Black Sea make two legs of Y-like structure, this shape completely fitted with GPS-velocity map which start from PG and split up in the Catastrophic Point(Anatoly). We could consider PG as remnants of Ancient Ocean which spent up

  9. 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

  10. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brodsky, L. M.; Corrigan, S.

    2010-12-01

    Constructivist theory points to the importance of recognizing student conceptions and the need to address them if students are going to move from their first conceptions to scientifically accepted understandings. Research into students’ conceptions has therefore been conducted in the disciplines of physics, biology and chemistry, but so far has been limited in the earth sciences. In addition to this gap in the literature, there is a growing interest in making such research more accessible and useful to practitioners. Helpful to both of these needs are recent efforts to describe a particular class of students’ geoscience misconceptions termed “conceptual barriers”. Conceptual barriers are foundational or fundamental misconceptions in the sense that they bare relationships with many other concepts in a domain and stand to seriously impede students’ conceptual understanding. Rather than investigating discrete misconceptions, studies of conceptual barriers investigate the ramifications of such fundamental misconceptions for students’ understanding and reasoning throughout a topic. Where examples of students’ ill- or misconceived patterns of reasoning can be generated, they stand to aid practitioners in not only diagnosing students misconceptions but also in responding to them. We have conducted interviews with over twenty upper elementary and middle school students in order to investigate and describe conceptual barriers to student understanding in the earth sciences - specifically plate tectonics and gravity in the solar system. Student interviews were analyzed using a constant comparative method. Through this work we have been able to identify several possible conceptual barriers in students’ understandings and to describe the ways these barriers impact students’ understanding of related phenomena.

  12. Constraining the Late Mesozoic and Early Tertiary Tectonic Evolution of Southern Mexico: Structure and Deformation History of the Tierra Caliente Region.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cabral-Cano; Draper; Lang; Harrison

    2000-07-01

    We analyze the structure and assess the deformation history of the Tierra Caliente Metamorphic Complex (TCMC) of southern Mexico, where Laramide accretion of exotic terranes is in debate. The TCMC consists of a south-plunging antiform fault that is bounded on both its eastern and western flanks. Tierra Caliente Metamorphic Complex rocks show at least two phases of compressional deformation. The first and most prominent records a mean tectonic transport direction of 068 degrees. This phase is responsible for east-verging asymmetrical folding and thrusting of both metamorphic and superjacent sedimentary rocks. The second phase has an average transport direction of 232 degrees and is restricted to the western portion of the TCMC. A third phase is responsible for normal faulting. Lack of discernible deformation before Late Cretaceous time indicates that the main deformation phase is coincident with Laramide orogenesis elsewhere in the North American Cordillera. The stratigraphy, structure, and deformational history of the TCMC do not require accretion of exotic terranes. We explain the Mesozoic tectonostratigraphic evolution of the TCMC in terms of deposition and deformation of Mesozoic volcanic and sedimentary strata over the attenuated continental crust of the North American plate.

  13. Cenozoic tectonic and climatic events in southern Iberian Peninsula: Implications for the evolutionary history of freshwater fish of the genus Squalius (Actinopterygii, Cyprinidae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Perea, Silvia; Cobo-Simon, Marta; Doadrio, Ignacio

    2016-04-01

    Southern Iberian freshwater ecosystems located at the border between the European and African plates represent a tectonically complex region spanning several geological ages, from the uplifting of the Betic Mountains in the Serravalian-Tortonian periods to the present. This area has also been subjected to the influence of changing climate conditions since the Middle-Upper Pliocene when seasonal weather patterns were established. Consequently, the ichthyofauna of southern Iberia is an interesting model system for analyzing the influence of Cenozoic tectonic and climatic events on its evolutionary history. The cyprinids Squalius malacitanus and Squalius pyrenaicus are allopatrically distributed in southern Iberia and their evolutionary history may have been defined by Cenozoic tectonic and climatic events. We analyzed MT-CYB (510 specimens) and RAG1 (140 specimens) genes of both species to reconstruct phylogenetic relationships and to estimate divergence times and ancestral distribution ranges of the species and their populations. We also assessed their levels of genetic structure and diversity as well as the amount of gene flow between populations. To investigate recent paleogeographical and climatic factors in southern Iberia, we modeled changes-through-time in sea level from the LGM to the present. Phylogenetic, geographic and population structure analyses revealed two well-supported species (S. malacitanus and S. pyrenaicus) in southern Iberia and two subclades (Atlantic and Mediterranean) within S. malacitanus. The origin of S. malacitanus and the separation of its Atlantic and Mediterranean populations occurred during the Serravalian-Tortonian and Miocene-Pliocene periods, respectively. These divergence events occurred in the Middle Pliocene and Pleistocene in S. pyrenaicus. In both species, Atlantic basins possessed populations with higher genetic diversity than Mediterranean, which may be explained by the Janda Lagoon. The isolation of S. malacitanus was

  14. The tectonic and stratigraphic history of the Cardaño area, Cantabrian mountains, Northwest Spain

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Veen, van J.

    1965-01-01

    The Devonian and Carboniferous rock-sequence in the Cantabrian Mountains is developed in two different facies which are separated by an E-W tectonic line, the León Line, and called the Leonide and Palentian facies, respectively to the S and N. The Leonide facies is widely exposed throughout the Cant

  15. Tectonic subsidence history and source-rock maturation in the Campos Basin, Brazil

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Beglinger, S.E.; Wees, J.D. van; Cloetingh, S.; Doust, H.

    2012-01-01

    The Campos Basin is a petroleum-productive, marginal sag basin along the Brazilian margin. It contains a stratigraphic sequence recording lithospheric extension and rift tectonics developing to a fully evolved postbreakup setting. We present a combined approach using subsidence analysis and basin hi

  16. Epeirogeny and plate tectonics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Menard, H. W.

    1975-01-01

    Vertical motions of the earth crust and their causes are considered in relation to epeirogenic phenomena. Factors discussed include: external loading and unloading; bending at subduction zones; internal density changes; and dynamic effects of mantle motion. The relationship between epeirogeny and drift is briefly reviewed along with oceanic epeirogeny.

  17. Tectonic Plates of China

    Science.gov (United States)

    1977-04-01

    following two featuies are noteworthy: (i) The 4,000-5,000 m contour almost coincides with the West Kunlun- Arkin-North Chilien- Lungmen -Kantien...The 50-55 km isopack coinciden with the border of the Chinhai-Tibet highland. It coincides with the West Kunlun-Arkin-North Chilien- Lungmen range

  18. Plate Margin Deformation and Active Tectonics Along the Northern Edge of the Yakutat Terrane in the Saint Elias Orogen, Alaska and Yukon, Canada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bruhn, Ronald L.; Sauber, Jeanne; Cotton, Michele M.; Pavlis, Terry L.; Burgess, Evan; Ruppert, Natalia; Forster, Richard R.

    2012-01-01

    The northwest directed motion of the Pacific plate is accompanied by migration and collision of the Yakutat terrane into the cusp of southern Alaska. The nature and magnitude of accretion and translation on upper crustal faults and folds is poorly constrained, however, due to pervasive glaciation. In this study we used high-resolution topography, geodetic imaging, seismic, and geologic data to advance understanding of the transition from strike-slip motion on the Fairweather fault to plate margin deformation on the Bagley fault, which cuts through the upper plate of the collisional suture above the subduction megathrust. The Fairweather fault terminates by oblique-extensional splay faulting within a structural syntaxis, allowing rapid tectonic upwelling of rocks driven by thrust faulting and crustal contraction. Plate motion is partly transferred from the Fairweather to the Bagley fault, which extends 125 km farther west as a dextral shear zone that is partly reactivated by reverse faulting. The Bagley fault dips steeply through the upper plate to intersect the subduction megathrust at depth, forming a narrow fault-bounded crustal sliver in the obliquely convergent plate margin. Since . 20 Ma the Bagley fault has accommodated more than 50 km of dextral shearing and several kilometers of reverse motion along its southern flank during terrane accretion. The fault is considered capable of generating earthquakes because it is linked to faults that generated large historic earthquakes, suitably oriented for reactivation in the contemporary stress field, and locally marked by seismicity. The fault may generate earthquakes of Mw <= 7.5.

  19. Wiring the deep ocean: planned 'observatory' covering Juan de Fuca tectonic plate generating interest in the oilpatch

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Smith, M.

    2005-03-01

    Following in the wake of the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Southeast Asia, calls for an urgent need to upgrade warning systems and improve ability to monitor, and even predict, such devastating earthquakes and killer waves are heard around the world. Calls for action are particularly urgent in the Northeast Pacific, which is not only one of the most seismically active area of the planet, but is widely considered to be due for a tremor of equal or greater magnitude in the near future. Accompanying this concern is increased curiosity about the likelihood of a bonanza of hydrocarbons awaiting discovery under the frigid waters, and if so, what are the obstacles to their removal and how these obstacles may be overcome. As if to respond to both types of concerns, the Royal Society of Canada's Expert Panel on Science Related to Oil and Gas Activities in its 2004 Annual Report warned of 'gaps in knowledge' and suggested a better network of earthquake activity recorders to be built as soon as possible. Such a network is about to become a reality with NEPTUNE, a 3,000 km network of optic/power cables encircling and crossing the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate. Between 30 and 50 experimental sites will be established at nodes along the cable and will be instrumented to interact with physical, chemical and biological phenomena that operate across multiple scales of space and time. Many of the technologies going into this project are of definite interest to the oil industry, since much of future oil and gas exploration is expected to be in deep water. Researchers believe that the offshore Hydrate Ridge is an ideal location to study gas hydrate dynamics and free gas expulsion. Data captured by means of the NEPTUNE network instruments may also have significant influence on any lifting of the drilling moratorium in the Queen Charlotte Straits. Two smaller prototype projects, VENUS (shallow water) and MARS (deep water) currently under construction off southern

  20. 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.

    2015-01-01

    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. PMID:25750142

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2008-11-01

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

  2. 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

  3. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Solomon, S. C.

    1980-01-01

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

  5. Tectonic regional subdivision of China in the light of plate theory%中国的板块构造区划

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    刘训; 游国庆

    2015-01-01

    Since the 1960’s,the plate tectonic theory has been widely Prevailing in China. Having been popularly adopted by Chinese geologists, this theory has been applied to different related fields. In the work of new“regional geology”, it has become the dominant idea. The theory of plate tectonics argues that a plate is formed by its core and its margins. Its core is a craton usually made of stable continental massif, whereas its margins include different active and passive continental margins. In the process of convergence of plates, the continental margins became different orogenic belts through their different convergences and collisions. There are different convergent zones between plates, among which the Convergent Crustal Consumption Zone is dominant. In the historical process of crustal development, huge changes of the plate tectonic framework took place. Based on the plate tectonic framework of Paleozoic, the authors discussed some problems concerning the regional subdivicion of China and suggested a tentative plan for regional subdivicion of China in this paper. According to the plan, China is divided into 7 first class units (plates), 30 second class units (cratons and orogenic belts) and 103 third class units.%提20世纪60年代板块构造学说传入中国,为广大地学工作者所接受并应用于相关的地质工作中。在新一代地质志的研究中,以板块学说为主导,已经成为共识。从板块构造来认识,板块的组成包括其核心及边缘。其核心为克拉通,由稳定的陆块组成;边缘包含了不同的活动大陆边缘和被动大陆边缘。边缘在后期板块汇聚的过程中,常由汇聚或碰撞等不同方式而成为不同的造山带。板块之间具有不同形式的汇聚带,其中主要是地壳对接消减带。在地球发展历史的过程中,不同时期的板块构造格局常有很大的变化。因此,本文以古生代的构造格架为主,

  6. Evaluation of existing knowledge of the tectonic history and lithospheric structure of South America

    Science.gov (United States)

    Keller, G. R.; Lidiak, E. G. (Principal Investigator)

    1980-01-01

    While data is available on the lithospheric and crustal structure of the Andes region of South America, there is limited knowledge of these aspects of the eastern portion of the continent. For this reason, a surface wave dispersion study of the area was initiated. Long period seismograms were obtained for a tripartite analysis of dispersion. A flow chart of the analysis to be conducted is presented along with a preliminary geologic/tectonic map that was prepared. Efforts to characterize the provinces identified in terms of their geological and geophysical parameters continue.

  7. Plate flexure and volcanism: Late Cenozoic tectonics of the Tabar-Lihir-Tanga-Feni alkalic province, New Ireland Basin, Papua New Guinea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lindley, I. D.

    2016-05-01

    Late Cenozoic Tabar-Lihir-Tanga-Feni (TLTF) alkaline volcanism, New Ireland Basin, PNG, is associated with extensional cracks along the crests of flexed ridges developed on the New Ireland Microplate (New name). The tectonic alignment of the TLTF volcanic arc is essentially perpendicular to the flexed ridges, suggesting that fractures parallel to the direction of maximum horizontal compression facilitated the rapid ascent of alkaline magmas from the mantle region, perhaps 60-70 km depth. The mainly Pliocene to Pleistocene volcanoes were localized at the intersection of ridge-parallel Kabang structures and arc-parallel Niffin structures, suggesting that the Kabang-Niffin structural intersections underlying each of the TLTF island groups provided a well developed, clustered network of open conduits which tapped the mantle source region. Periodic post-Miocene locking and unlocking along the strike-slip Kilinailau Fault (New name) are thought to have functioned as a valve, turning on (Pliocene) and then turning off (Pleistocene) volcanic activity, respectively. Partial locking of the Kilinailau Fault during the Pliocene resulted in the accumulation of intraplate stresses within the New Ireland Microplate, and caused plate flexure and ridge development, plate-cracking along ridge crests and the development of arc-parallel regional fractures parallel to the direction of maximum compression. Unlocking of the Kilinailau Fault in the Pleistocene resulted in the release of intraplate stresses in the New Ireland Microplate and a cessation of volcanic activity across most of the TLTF arc. The style and scale of plate flexure and cracking, accompanied by within-plate alkaline volcanism from equally spaced ridge-top eruptive centers confined to a narrow, linear volcanic arc are unknown from any other tectonic province.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 从变质作用观看板块构造何时在华北克拉通开始%WHEN DID PLATE TECTONICS BEGIN ON THE NORTH CHINA CRATON? INSIGHTS FROM METAMORPHISM

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    赵国春

    2007-01-01

    Understanding when and why plate tectonics began on Earth is one of the most important unresolved problems in earth sciences. As a final result of plate tectonics, continental collisional orogens are formed, and the identification of such orogens is regarded as a milestone in recognizing the operation of plate tectonics in Earths history. Metamorphism of continental collisional belts is generally characterized by clockwise p - T paths, especially for those involving isothermal decompression following the peak metamorphism. Therefore, clockwise p - T paths involving isothermal decompression are considered one of the important indicators for recognition of plate tectonics, especially in the early history of the earth. As one of the oldest continental blocks in the world, the North China Craton is considered a promising area for applying the large-scale synthesis approach of metamorphic p - T paths to understand tectonic settings or processes since extensive investigations have been undertaken on the p - T - t evolution of the basement rocks over the craton. Tectonically, the North China Craton is composed of three small continental blocks (Eastern Block, Yinshan Block, and Ordos Block) and three Paleoproterozoic mobile belts (Trans-North China Orogen, Khondalite Belt, and Jiao - Liao - Ji Belt). Metamorphism of Late Archean basement rocks in the Eastern and Yinshan Blocks is characterized by anticlockwise p - T paths, mostly involving isobaric cooling, suggesting that the heating source of the metamorphism was related to the underplating or intrusion of large volumes of mantle-derived magmas. Although theoretically such mantle-derived magmas form under continental magmatic arc, mantle plume or continental rift environments, only a mantle plume model can reasonably explain spatial and temporal distribution, lithological association, and structural features of the Late Archean basement rocks in the Eastern and Yinshan Blocks. Therefore, mantle plumes may be the

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-12-01

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

  12. Closure of the Africa-Eurasia-North America plate motion circuit and tectonics of the Gloria fault

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1989-01-01

    The current motions of the African, Eurasian, and North American plates are examined. The problems addressed include whether there is resolvable motion of a Spitsbergen microplate, the direction of motion between the African and North American plates, whether the Gloria fault is an active transform fault, and the implications of plate circuit closures for rates of intraplate deformation. Marine geophysical data and magnetic profiles are used to construct a model which predicts about 4 mm/yr slip across the Azores-Gibraltar Ridge, and west-northwest convergence near Gibraltar. The analyzed data are consistent with a rigid plate model with the Gloria fault being a transform fault.

  13. 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

  14. Tectonic inversion in the Wandel Sea Basin

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Svennevig, Kristian; Guarnieri, Pierpaolo; Stemmerik, Lars

    2016-01-01

    The seminunatak Kilen in eastern North Greenland, with its complexly deformed Carboniferous-Cretaceous strata, is a key area to understand the tectonic history of the transform plate boundary between eastern North Greenland and Svalbard. Detailed 3-D geological mapping from oblique photogrammetry...... along with limited ground fieldwork and interpretation of previously published data forms the basis for a new structural model of Kilen. Previous structural models interpreted rhombic-shaped fault patterns as the evidence for strike-slip tectonics. These structures are here interpreted to be the result...

  15. Microstructural analysis and calcite piezometry on hydrothermal veins: Insights into the deformation history of the Cocos Plate at Site U1414 (IODP Expedition 344)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brandstätter, Jennifer; Kurz, Walter; Rogowitz, Anna

    2017-08-01

    In this study we present microstructural data from hydrothermal veins in the sedimentary cover and the igneous basement recovered from Hole U1414A, Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) Expedition 344 (Costa Rica Seismogenesis Project), to constrain deformation mechanism operating in the subducting Cocos Plate. Cathodoluminescence studies, mechanical e-twin piezometry and electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) analyses of carbonate veins were used to give insights into the deformation conditions and to help to understand the tectonic deformation history of the Cocos Plate offshore Costa Rica. Analyses of microstructures in the sedimentary rocks and in the basalt of the igneous basement reveal brittle deformation, as well as crystal-plastic deformation of the host rock and the vein material. Cathodoluminescence images showed that in the basalt fluid flow and related precipitation occurred over several episodes. The differential stresses, obtained from two different piezometers using the same parameter (twin density), indicate various mean differential stresses of 49 ± 11 and 69 ± 30 MPa and EBSD mapping of calcite veins reveals low-angle subgrain boundaries. Deformation temperatures are restricted to the range from 170°C to 220°C, due to the characteristics of the existing twins and the lack of high-temperature intracrystalline deformation mechanisms (>220°C). The obtained results suggest that deformation occurred over a period associated with changes of ambient temperatures, occurrence of fluids and hydrofracturing, induced differential stresses due to the bending of the plate at the trench, and related seismic activity.

  16. 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

  17. Re-examination of geophysical data off Northwest India: Implications to the Late Cretaceous plate tectonics between India and Africa.

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Ramana, M.V.; Desa, M.; Ramprasad, T.

    processes. Late Cretaceous seafloor spreading between India and Africa formed the Mascarene Basin, and the plate reconstruction models depict unequal crustal accretion in this basin. Re-interpretation of magnetic data in the Gop and Laxmi Basins suggests...

  18. Subsidence history and forming mechanism of anomalous tectonic subsidence in the Bozhong depression, Bohaiwan basin

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2007-01-01

    The Bozhong depression of the Bohaiwan basin belongs to a family of extensional basins in East China, but is quite different from other parts of the basin. The Cenozoic subsidence of the depression is controlled by a combination of lithospheric thinning and polycyclic strike-slip movements. Three episodic rifts have been identified, i.e. Paleocence-early Eocene, middle-late Eocene and Oligocene age. The depression underwent syn-rift and post-rift stages, but two episodic dextral movement events of the strike-slip faults modify the subsidence of the Bozhong depression since the Oligocene. The early dextral movement of the Tan-Lu fault associated with crustal extension resulted in accelerated subsidence during the time of deposition of the Dongying Formation with a maximum thickness of 4000 m. A late reactivation of dextral movement of the Tan-Lu fault began in late Miocene (about 12 Ma), which resulted in the intense subsidence of Minghuazhen Formation and Quaternary. In addition, dynamic mantle convection-driven topography also accelerated the post-rift anomalous subsidence since the Miocene (24.6 Ma). Our results indicate that the primary control on rapid subsidence both during the rift and post-rift stages in the Bozhong depression originates from a combination of multiple episodic crustal extension and polycyclic dextral movements of strike-slip faults, and dynamic topography. tectonic subsidence, strike-slip, dynamic topography, Bozhong depression, Bohaiwan basin

  19. 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.

  20. Integrated remote sensing data utilization for investigating structural and tectonic history of the Ghadames Basin, Libya

    Science.gov (United States)

    Saadi, N. M.; Zaher, M. Abdel; El-Baz, F.; Watanabe, K.

    2011-10-01

    This study was initiated to constrain the geological structure of the Ghadames Basin in northwest Libya. Detailed analysis was based on digital integration of surface data, including SRTM DEM, ETM+ and geologic maps with subsurface data, including well logs and potential field data. Integrated analysis of remotely sensed data of the SRTM and ETM+ were utilized to identify geologic lineaments in the area. Ground-based verification of the remote sensing data was achieved with field work. Interpretation and analysis of the lineaments indicate that the Ghadames Basin is controlled by four main fault systems that trend WNW, NNW, NW and ENE. Well logs and potential field data were used to delineate a detailed picture of the subsurface structure. The potential field data reveal two NE and NNE trending sedimentary basins. The depth of the basement inside the main basin ranges from 2 to 6 km. A two-dimensional (2-D) schematic model shows that the basin gradually deepens towards the southwest. The applied data integration gave new insight into the tectonic and structure patterns of the Ghadames Basin and the adjacent areas of northwest Libya.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Phaedra Upton

    2014-07-01

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

  2. A history of normal plates, tables and stages in vertebrate embryology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hopwood, Nick

    2007-01-01

    Developmental biology is today unimaginable without the normal stages that define standard divisions of development. This history of normal stages, and the related normal plates and normal tables, shows how these standards have shaped and been shaped by disciplinary change in vertebrate embryology. The article highlights the Normal Plates of the Development of the Vertebrates edited by the German anatomist Franz Keibel (16 volumes, 1897-1938). These were a major response to problems in the relations between ontogeny and phylogeny that amounted in practical terms to a crisis in staging embryos, not just between, but (for some) also within species. Keibel's design adapted a plate by Wilhelm His and tables by Albert Oppel in order to go beyond the already controversial comparative plates of the Darwinist propagandist Ernst Haeckel. The project responded to local pressures, including intense concern with individual variation, but recruited internationally and mapped an embryological empire. Though theoretically inconclusive, the plates became standard laboratory tools and forged a network within which the Institut International d'Embryologie (today the International Society of Developmental Biologists) was founded in 1911. After World War I, experimentalists, led by Ross Harrison and Viktor Hamburger, and human embryologists, especially George Streeter at the Carnegie Department of Embryology, transformed Keibel's complex, bulky tomes to suit their own contrasting demands. In developmental biology after World War II, normal stages-reduced to a few journal pages-helped domesticate model organisms. Staging systems had emerged from discussions that questioned the very possibility of assigning an embryo to a stage. The historical issues resonate today as developmental biologists work to improve and extend stage series, to make results from different laboratories easier to compare and to take individual variation into account.

  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.

    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.

  4. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    D. Babbucci

    1997-06-01

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

  6. Tectonics of the Qinling (Central China): Tectonostratigraphy, geochronology, and deformation history

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ratschbacher, L.; Hacker, B.R.; Calvert, A.; Webb, L.E.; Grimmer, J.C.; McWilliams, M.O.; Ireland, T.; Dong, S.; Hu, Jiawen

    2003-01-01

    The Qinling orogen preserves a record of late mid-Proterozoic to Cenozoic tectonism in central China. High-pressure metamorphism and ophiolite emplacement (Songshugou ophiolite) assembled the Yangtze craton, including the lower Qinling unit, into Rodinia during the ~1.0 Ga Grenvillian orogeny. The lower Qinling unit then rifted from the Yangtze craton at ~0.7 Ga. Subsequent intra-oceanic arc formation at ~470-490 Ma was followed by accretion of the lower Qinling unit first to the intra-oceanic arc and then to the Sino-Korea craton. Subduction then imprinted a ~400 Ma Andean-type magmatic arc onto all units north of the northern Liuling unit. Oblique subduction created Silurian-Devonian WNW-trending, sinistral transpressive wrench zones (e.g., Lo-Nan, Shang-Dan), and Late Permian-Early Triassic subduction reactivated them in dextral transpression (Lo-Nan, Shang-Xiang, Shang-Dan) and subducted the northern edge of the Yangtze craton. Exhumation of the cratonal edge formed the Wudang metamorphic core complex during dominantly pure shear crustal extension at ~230-235 Ma. Post-collisional south-directed shortening continued through the Early Jurassic. Cretaceous reactivation of the Qinling orogen started with NW-SE sinistral transtension, coeval with large-scale Early Cretaceous crustal extension and sinistral transtension in the northern Dabie Shan; it presumably resulted from the combined effects of the Siberia-Mongolia-Sino-Korean and Lhasa-West Burma-Qiangtang-Indochina collisions and Pacific subduction. Regional dextral wrenching was active within a NE-SW extensional regime between ~60 and 100 Ma. An Early Cretaceous Andean-type continental magmatic arc, with widespread Early Cretaceous magmatism and back-arc extension, was overprinted by shortening related to the collision of Yangtze-Indochina Block with the West Philippines Block. Strike-slip and normal faults associated with Eocene half-graben basins record Paleogene NNE-SSW contraction and WNW-ESE extension

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-06-01

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

  8. An exact solution for the history-dependent material and delamination behavior of laminated plates subjected to cylindrical bending

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Williams, Todd O [Los Alamos National Laboratory

    2009-01-01

    The exact solution for the history-dependent behavior of laminated plates subjected to cylindrical bending is presented. The solution represents the extension of Pagano's solution to consider arbitrary types of constitutive behaviors for the individual lamina as well as arbitrary types of cohesive zones models for delamination behavior. Examples of the possible types of material behavior are plasticity, viscoelasticity, viscoplasticity, and damaging. Examples of possible CZMs that can be considered are linear, nonlinear hardening, as well as nonlinear with softening. The resulting solution is intended as a benchmark solution for considering the predictive capabilities of different plate theories. Initial results are presented for several types of history-dependent material behaviors. It is shown that the plate response in the presence of history-dependent behaviors can differ dramatically from the elastic response. These results have strong implications for what constitutes an appropriate plate theory for modeling such behaviors.

  9. Late Cretaceous to middle Tertiary tectonic history of the northern Rio Grande Rift, New Mexico

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kelley, Shari A.; Duncan, Ian J.

    1986-05-01

    Apatite fission track ages for samples collected from three mountain ranges on the eastern margin of the Rio Grande rift are used to examine the late Cretaceous to middle Miocene uplift and erosional history of north central New Mexico. The dates indicate that uplift and erosion was in progress in the Sandia Mountains near Albuquerque and in the Taos Range portion of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains near Taos at least 30-35 m.y. ago. Uplift and erosion continued in the Sandia Mountains at a relatively constant rate (81 m/m.y.) until 15 Ma; the rate of uplift and erosion in this area has approximately tripled in the past 15 m.y. (230 m/m.y.). Igneous activity in the Taos Range has largely obscured the early Tertiary uplift and erosional history of this portion of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. A fission track date from one of the middle Tertiary intrusions in the Taos Range is used to calculate the cooling rate due to uplift and erosion in this area for the past 14 m.y. (210 m/m.y.). The uplift and erosion rates derived from the fission track data for the past 14-15 m.y. are similar to those obtained from other geological evidence. In contrast to the Oligocene to Miocene ages found in the other two areas, the apatite fission track ages from the Santa Fe Range portion of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains near Santa Fe are Late Cretaceous to early Eocene. These dates record the cooling of the area due to uplift and erosion during the Laramide event. The preservation of these older ages indicates that the Santa Fe Range was a low-lying area during the Oligocene to Miocene, while the surrounding areas (Sandia Mountains and Taos Range) underwent uplift and erosion. Volcanic activity occurred in the vicinity of the two areas of positive relief. Localized crustal extension associated with the volcanism may have contributed, in part, to the uplift of these areas. Using simple, two-dimensional thermal models, we found that the apparent denudation rates derived from the fission

  10. Strike-slip tectonics within the northernmost Philippine Sea plate in an arc-continent collisional setting

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gong, Wei; Jiang, Xiaodian; Guo, Yufan; Xing, Junhui; Li, Congying; Sun, Yang

    2017-09-01

    The geological processes in the northernmost Philippine Sea plate, which is bounded by the Suruga and Sagami troughs, are a typical example of an active collision zone. We attempt to illustrate the stress field through seismic estimations and geodetic analysis and propose the kinematic mode of the northernmost tip of the Philippine Sea plate. Seven events (M ≥ 4.0) are chosen for waveform inversion by the ISOLA software to distinguish the stress field. In particular, six of the chosen events, which exhibit strike-slip motion, are distributed in the eastern area, where few focal mechanisms have been reported by previous studies. According to the available focal mechanisms, strike-slip faults with similar P and T axes are widely distributed in the study area. The stress inversion suggests that the northern area is characterized by a NW-SE compression and a NE-SW extension stress regime, although some spatial differences exist. As indicated by an analysis of the geodesy, epicenters, focal mechanisms, gravity anomalies and velocity structure, the deformation in the northernmost tip is mainly accommodated by several conjugate strike-slip fault systems with steep dips that center on the Izu volcanic line. Generally, the maximum principal stress of the kinematics is derived from the collision between the Philippine Sea plate and Central Japan. Because of the different subduction angles, rates and directions of the down-going plate, diverging slab-pull forces along the Suruga and Sagami troughs may be causing the NE-NNE extension in most of the areas that are bounded by the two troughs. The extension propagates southwards along the Izu volcanic line and reaches the area adjacent to Miyake-jima.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1987-01-01

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

  12. A THUMBNAIL HISTORY OF HETEROTROPHIC PLATE COUNT (HPC) METHODOLOGY IN THE UNITED STATES

    Science.gov (United States)

    Over the past 100 years, the method of determining the number of bacteria in water, foods or other materials has been termed variously as: bacterial plate count, total plate count, total viable plate count, aerobic plate count, standard plate cound and more recently, heterotrophi...

  13. The effect of plate motion history on the longevity of deep mantle heterogeneities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bull, Abigail L.; Domeier, Mathew; Torsvik, Trond H.

    2014-09-01

    Understanding the first-order dynamical structure and evolution of Earth's mantle is a fundamental goal in solid-earth geophysics. Tomographic observations reveal a lower mantle characterised by higher-than-average shear-wave speeds beneath Asia and encircling the Pacific, consistent with cold slabs beneath regions of ancient subduction, and lower-than-average shear-wave speeds in broad regional areas beneath Africa and the Central Pacific (termed LLSVPs). The LLSVPs are not well understood from a dynamical perspective and their origin and evolution remain enigmatic. Some numerical studies propose that the LLSVP beneath Africa is post-Pangean in origin, formed as a result of return flow in the mantle due to circum-Pangean subduction, countered by an older Pacific LLSVP, suggested to have formed during the break up of Rodinia. This propounds that, prior to the formation of Pangea, the lower mantle was dominated by a degree-1 convection pattern with a major upwelling centred close to the present-day Pacific LLSVP and subduction concentrated mainly in the antipodal hemisphere. In contrast, palaeomagnetic observations which proffer a link between the reconstructed eruption sites of Phanerozoic kimberlites and Large Igneous Provinces with regions on the margins of the present-day LLSVPs suggest that the anomalies may have remained stationary for at least the last 540 Myr and further that the anomalies were largely insensitive to the formation and subsequent break-up of Pangea. Here we investigate the evolution and long-term stability of LLSVP-like structures in Earth's mantle by integrating plate tectonics and numerical models of global thermochemical mantle dynamics. We explore the possibility that either one or both LLSVPs existed prior to the formation of Pangea and improve upon previous studies by using a new, true polar wander-corrected global plate model to impose surface velocity boundary conditions for a time interval that spans the amalgamation and subsequent

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-12-01

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

  15. Extending Whole-earth Tectonics To The Terrestrial Planets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baker, V. R.; Maruyama, S.; Dohm, J. M.

    Based on the need to explain a great many geological and geophysical anomalies on Mars, and stimulated by the new results from the Mars Global Surveyor Mission, we propose a conceptual model of whole-EARTH (Episodic Annular Revolving Thermal Hydrologic) tectonics for the long-term evolution of terrestrial planets. The theory emphasizes (1) the importance of water in planetary evolution, and (2) the physi- cal transitions in modes of mantle convection in relation to planetary heat produc- tion. Depending on their first-order geophysical parameters and following accretion and differentiation from volatile-rich planetessimals, terrestrial planets should evolve through various stages of mantle convection, including magma ocean, plate tectonic, and stagnant lid processes. If a water ocean is able to condense from the planet's early steam atmosphere, an early regime of plate tectonics will follow the initial magma ocean. This definitely happened on earth, probably on Mars, and possibly on Venus. The Mars history led to transfer of large amounts of water to the mantle during the pe- riod of heavy bombardment. Termination of plate tectonics on Mars during the heavy bombardment period led to initiation of superplumes at Tharsis and Elysium, where long-persistent volcanism and water outbursts dominated much of later Martian his- tory. For Venus, warming of the early sun made the surface ocean unstable, eliminating its early plate-tectonic regime. Although Venus now experiences stagnant-lid convec- tion with episodic mantle overturns, the water subducted to its lower mantle during the ancient plate-tectonic regime manifests itself in the initation of volatile-rich plumes that dominate its current tectonic regime.

  16. Towards community-driven paleogeographic reconstructions: integrating open-access paleogeographic and paleobiology data with plate tectonics

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    N. Wright

    2013-03-01

    Full Text Available A variety of paleogeographic reconstructions have been published, with applications ranging from paleoclimate, ocean circulation and faunal radiation models to resource exploration; yet their uncertainties remain difficult to assess as they are generally presented as low-resolution static maps. We present a methodology for ground-truthing the digital Palaeogeographic Atlas of Australia by linking the GPlates plate reconstruction tool to the global Paleobiology Database and a Phanerozoic plate motion model. We develop a spatio-temporal data mining workflow to validate the Phanerozoic Palaeogeographic Atlas of Australia with paleoenvironments derived from fossil data. While there is general agreement between fossil data and the paleogeographic model, the methodology highlights key inconsistencies. The Early Devonian paleogeographic model of southeastern Australia insufficiently describes the Emsian inundation that may be refined using biofacies distributions. Additionally, the paleogeographic model and fossil data can be used to strengthen numerical models, such as the dynamic topography and the associated inundation of eastern Australia during the Cretaceous. Although paleobiology data provide constraints only for paleoenvironments with high preservation potential of organisms, our approach enables the use of additional proxy data to generate improved paleogeographic reconstructions.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-02-01

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

  18. PLATE

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kling, Joyce; Hjulmand, Lise-Lotte

    2008-01-01

    ’s level of English is sufficient for the increasing number of courses offered in English each semester. This paper addresses these concerns and describes a pilot project initiated in 2003 at CBS to gauge the overall English language proficiency of those teaching content courses in English. Through......Copenhagen Business School (CBS) finds itself needing to address the issue of English-medium instruction for its increasing number of foreign exchange and full degree students. With internationalisation as a main pillar of the institution’s agenda, there are concerns whether the teaching faculty...... the Project in Language Assessment for Teaching in English (PLATE) language professionals from CBS’s Language Center observe teachers and provide feedback using evaluation criteria from the Common European Framework for Reference (CEFR) supplemented by some additional criteria which take the LSP nature...

  19. PLATE

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kling, Joyce; Hjulmand, Lise-Lotte

    2008-01-01

    Copenhagen Business School (CBS) finds itself needing to address the issue of English-medium instruction for its increasing number of foreign exchange and full degree students. With internationalisation as a main pillar of the institution’s agenda, there are concerns whether the teaching faculty......’s level of English is sufficient for the increasing number of courses offered in English each semester. This paper addresses these concerns and describes a pilot project initiated in 2003 at CBS to gauge the overall English language proficiency of those teaching content courses in English. Through...... the Project in Language Assessment for Teaching in English (PLATE) language professionals from CBS’s Language Center observe teachers and provide feedback using evaluation criteria from the Common European Framework for Reference (CEFR) supplemented by some additional criteria which take the LSP nature...

  20. METAMORPHISM, PLATE TECTONICS, AND THE SUPERCONTINENT CYCLE%变质作用、板块构造及超级大陆旋回

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Michael; Brown

    2007-01-01

    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 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).%麻粒岩相超高温变质作用(G - UHTM)主要发育于新太古代至寒武纪岩石中;推测在深部较年轻的,特别是新生代造山带岩石中也会有G - UHTM存在.岩石中最初出现G - UHTM记录意味着产生瞬时极高热流处的地球动力学发生了改变.许多G - UHTM带可能发育于类似现代大陆弧后的构造背景中.在较热的地球上,超大陆及其裂解形成的循环组合,尤其是经岩石圈减薄的洋盆卷入到其外翻过程中可能产生比现代太平洋边缘更热的大陆弧后.中温榴辉岩-高压麻粒岩相变质作用(E - HPGM)也是最先发现于新太古代岩石记录中,并发育于从元古宙至古生代岩石中.E - HPGM带是对G - UHTM带的补充,并经常认为是记录了从俯冲至碰撞造山作用的过程.在元古宙岩石记录中的蓝片岩明显记录了与现代俯冲作用相关的低热流梯度.以发育柯石英(±硬柱石)或金刚石

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Tectonic history of continental crustal wedge constrained by EBSD measurements of garnet inclusion trails and thermodynamic modeling

    Science.gov (United States)

    Skrzypek, E.; Schulmann, K.; Lexa, O.; Haloda, J.

    2009-04-01

    Inclusion trails in garnets represent an important but underused tool of structural geology to examine non-coaxial or polyphase coaxial deformation histories of orogens. Garnet growth with respect to deformation during prograde and retrograde orogenic evolution of a continental crustal wedge was constrained by EBSD measurements of internal garnet fabrics and petrological record from mid-crustal rocks of the Śnieżnik Massif (Western Sudetes). Textural position of metamorphic minerals and thermodynamic modeling document three main stages in the tectonic evolution. Few garnet cores show prograde MnO zoning and growth coeval with the formation of the earliest metamorphic foliation which is only rarely observed in the field. The major garnet growth occurs synchronously with the second steep S2 fabric under still prograde conditions as shown by garnet zoning and appearance of staurolite and kyanite (peak at 6,5kbar/600°C). Oppositely, garnet retrogression associated to the development of sillimanite and later andalusite indicates pressure decrease of ca. 3 kbar for the late flat and pervasive S3 fabric associated with macroscopic recumbent folding of steep S2 foliation. Electron back-scatter diffraction measurements on ilmenites platelets included in garnets help determining their crystallographic preferred orientation. Ilmenites a[100] axes define planar structures that are interpreted as included foliations. Consequently, microscopic observations and foliation intersection axes (FIA) allow to distinguish between two different records. Only few (prograde) garnet cores yield information on the orientation of the presumed first metamorphic fabric whereas most of the internal garnet foliations are straight, steep and correspond to relics of originally steep S2 fabric. Importantly, this steep attitude of internal garnet foliations is persistent in both F3 fold hinge and limb zones as well as in zones of complete transposition of S2 into flat S3. Therefore, these

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-08-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2006-11-01

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

  6. Relative influence of surficial, climatic, and plate tectonic processes on the development of thick Paleoproterozoic quartz arenite successions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Corcoran, P.; Bynoe, L.

    2010-12-01

    Quartz arenites are significant components of the rock record and appear to be most abundant during specific time intervals in Earth history. Thick quartz arenite successions are typical in Precambrian strata and have been associated with extensive cratonization during the late Archean to early Proterozoic. These supermature sandstones can also be attributed to the intense weathering conditions of early Earth’s atmosphere, source rocks rich in quartz, recycling and diagenesis, or simply the higher preservation potential of quartz compared with other minerals. Modern quartz-rich sands develop in low relief settings where high residence times contribute to chemical breakdown of labile grains. The lack of land vegetation during the Precambrian would have precluded confined sedimentation patterns and stabilization of soils, both of which enhance sediment residence times. Thus, the generation of first-cycle late Archean quartz arenites in fault-controlled, high relief basins necessitates periods of intense chemical weathering. The inferred change from a greenhouse to oxygenated atmosphere at around 2.3-2.2 Ga could have been the major control on the relative change to thinner units of pure sandstones with time. In order to test this hypothesis, detailed facies and compositional analyses are being conducted on the ca. 2.2 Ga Bar River Formation of the Huronian Supergroup, Canada. Four groups comprise Huronian stratigraphy, three of which contain basal glaciogenic conglomerates, followed by mudstone-dominated then quartz-rich formations. It has been suggested that these tripartite cycles could have been climatically controlled. Detailed facies analysis of the 500-750 m thick quartz arenite indicates shallow water, wave-influenced settings, akin to shoreface environments along extensive stable shelves. Thin mudstone interbeds, representing brief periods of suspension sedimentation, have been sampled for geochemical analysis in order to determine the degree of chemical

  7. Late Cenozoic tectonic deformation in the Tianshan Mountain and its foreland basins

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    ZHANG Peizhen

    2004-01-01

    @@ The magnificent Tianshan Mountain has owned its respects and high praise since the beginning of ancient Chinese civilization. When the history wheeled into the 1990s, a large group of earth scientists once again focused their sights on the Tianshan Mountain, the most spectacular Cenozoic rejuvenated intra-plate mountain building. Why does such strong tectonic deformation occur in the continental interior several thousand kilometers away from plate boundaries? What are the pattern and magnitude of the tectonic deformation? What factors dominate tectonic deformation in the continental interior? How do the dynamic processes at the depth dictate tectonic deformation near the surface? The Tianshan Mountain provides a natural laboratory to answer these important scientific questions.

  8. Elastic-plastic contact force history and response characteristics of circular plate subjected to impact by a projectile

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    L. B. Chen; F. Xi; J. L. Yang

    2007-01-01

    A new elastic-plastic impact-contact model is proposed in this paper. By adopting the principle of minimum acceleration for elastic-plastic continue at finite deformation,and with the aid of finite difference method, the proposed model is applied in the problem of dynamic response of a clamped thin circular plate subjected to a projectile impact centrally. The impact force history and response characte-ristics of the target plate is studied in detail. The theoreti-cal predictions of the impact force and plate deflection are in good agreements with those of LDA experimental data.Linear expressions of the maximum impact force/transverse deflection versus impact velocity are given on the basis of the theoretical results.

  9. Triassic to Cenozoic multi-stage intra-plate deformation focused near the Bogd Fault system, Gobi Altai, Mongolia

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Van Hinsbergen, Douwe J J; Cunningham, Dickson; Straathof, Gijsbert B.; Ganerød, Morgan; Hendriks, Bart W H; Dijkstra, Arjan H.

    2015-01-01

    The Gobi Altai region of southern Mongolia has been in the Eurasian plate interior since the mid-Mesozoic, yet has experienced episodic phases of deformation since that time. In this paper, we document field evidence to characterize and date the intra-plate tectonic history of the Gobi Altai region

  10. 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.

  11. Tectonic stress in the plates

    Science.gov (United States)

    Richardson, R. M.; Solomon, S. C.; Sleep, N. H.

    1979-01-01

    In the present paper, the basic set of global intraplate stress orientation data is plotted and tabulated. Although the global intraplate stress field is complicated, several large-scale patterns can be seen. Much of stable North America is characterized by an E-W to NE-SW trend for the maximum compressive stress. South American lithosphere beneath the Andes, and perhaps farther east in the stable interior, has horizontal compressive stresses trending E-W to NW-SE. Western Europe north of the Alps is characterized by a NW-SE trending maximum horizontal compression, while Asia has the maximum horizontal compressive stress trending more nearly N-S, especially near the Himalayan front.

  12. Tectonic stress in the plates

    Science.gov (United States)

    Richardson, R. M.; Solomon, S. C.; Sleep, N. H.

    1979-01-01

    In the present paper, the basic set of global intraplate stress orientation data is plotted and tabulated. Although the global intraplate stress field is complicated, several large-scale patterns can be seen. Much of stable North America is characterized by an E-W to NE-SW trend for the maximum compressive stress. South American lithosphere beneath the Andes, and perhaps farther east in the stable interior, has horizontal compressive stresses trending E-W to NW-SE. Western Europe north of the Alps is characterized by a NW-SE trending maximum horizontal compression, while Asia has the maximum horizontal compressive stress trending more nearly N-S, especially near the Himalayan front.

  13. Research on the Terrane Tectonics in China

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    郭令智; 舒良树; 等

    1996-01-01

    This paper summarizes the latest advances in research on the terrane tectonics of China.The terranes of China distributed around various plates may be divided into four terrane belts of different ages and sizes.i.e.,the East China,Northwest China,Southwest China and Qilling-Dabie terrane belts.Among them,the East China belt may be subdivided into three composite terrane groups;each terrane proup is composed of several terranes that were formed roughly at the same time and have distince geologic histories.The accretion of China's terranes involver three types;the collision type,the flake-thrusting type,and the docking type.The results of the lates study in the five widening fields and some advances in the methods of research on the terrane tectonics in China are presented in the present paper.

  14. Active tectonics of the western tethyan himalaya above the underthrusting indian plate: The upper sutlej river basin as a pull-apart structure

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ni, James; Barazangi, Muawia

    1985-03-01

    Fault-bounded blocks and structural elements were mapped in the eastern Ladakh-Spiti and upper Sutlej River Basin located within the Tethyan Himalaya and to the southwest of the Karakorum fault zone mainly using LANDSAT Multispectral Scanner (MSS) band 5, band 7 (near-infrared) images with detailed analysis of smaller areas by interactive digital processing of false color images, and Returned Beam Vidicon (RBV) imagery in conjunction with available topographical, geological and seismological data. For the first time the Leo Pargil Horst and other nearby fault-bounded blocks located at the northwestern end of the upper Setlej River Basin were clearly revealed on the LANDSAT color composites. Shallow crustal seismicity is systematically related to the NNE-trending and N-trending normal faults of the Leo Pargil and nearby regions. Some of the aftershocks of the Kinnaur earthquake of January 19,1975 ( Ms = 6.8), appear to be associated with movement along the NNE-trending westbound fault of the Leo Pargil Horst and the nearby Kaurik-Chango fault. The main shock, however, is teleseismically located at about 30 km to the northwest of the Kaurik-Chango fault. Fault plane solutions of the main shock and two aftershocks indicate a large component of normal faulting. In map view, the upper Sutlej River Basin has an approximately rhomboidal shape and is located to the southwest of the Karakorum fault system. We suggest that this basin is a pull-apart between the NW-SE oriented, right-lateral, strike-slip Karakorum fault system and the high-angle faults near the southern boundary of the Tethyan Himalaya. The Leo Pargil Horst is the northwestern bounding fault block of this pull-apart. The active tectonic features in this part of the Tethyan Himalaya appear to reflect right-shear within the crust, and this is probably a consequence of oblique underthrusting of the Indian continental plate beneath the western Himalaya and southwestern Tibet during the Neogene and Quaternary

  15. Tectonic geomorphology

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Burbank, Douglas West; Anderson, Robert S

    2012-01-01

    Tectonic geomorphology is the study of the interplay between tectonic and surface processes that shape the landscape in regions of active deformation and at times scales ranging from days to millions of years...

  16. Alignment between seafloor spreading directions and absolute plate motions through time

    Science.gov (United States)

    Williams, Simon E.; Flament, Nicolas; Müller, R. Dietmar

    2016-02-01

    The history of seafloor spreading in the ocean basins provides a detailed record of relative motions between Earth's tectonic plates since Pangea breakup. Determining how tectonic plates have moved relative to the Earth's deep interior is more challenging. Recent studies of contemporary plate motions have demonstrated links between relative plate motion and absolute plate motion (APM), and with seismic anisotropy in the upper mantle. Here we explore the link between spreading directions and APM since the Early Cretaceous. We find a significant alignment between APM and spreading directions at mid-ocean ridges; however, the degree of alignment is influenced by geodynamic setting, and is strongest for mid-Atlantic spreading ridges between plates that are not directly influenced by time-varying slab pull. In the Pacific, significant mismatches between spreading and APM direction may relate to a major plate-mantle reorganization. We conclude that spreading fabric can be used to improve models of APM.

  17. Performative Tectonics

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Holst, Malene Kirstine; Mullins, Michael; Kirkegaard, Poul Henning

    2010-01-01

    This paper studies two digital generative tools in terms of Performative Tectonics. Performative Tectonics is a term developed in the paper, which links the contemporary development of digital tools to the tectonic tradition of architecture. Within the theoretical framework of this definition...

  18. 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

  19. Paleomagnetism of the Tertiary Clarno Formation of central Oregon and its significance for the tectonic history of the Pacific Northwest

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gromme, C. Sherman; Beck, Myrl E., Jr.; Wells, Ray E.; Engebretson, David C.

    1986-12-01

    The Clarno Formation, a mostly Eocene and partly early Oligocene sequence of andesitic lavas and volcaniclastic rocks, is the oldest Tertiary formation exposed in north central Oregon. Remanent magnetization directions at 46 sites in the lavas provide a paleomagnetic pole at 84°N, 278°E with a 95% confidence cone of 7°. Comparison of this pole with the North American reference pole for Eocene time indicates that the Clarno Formation has rotated 16° clockwise with an uncertainty of 10° but has undergone no significant latitudinal displacement. Further comparison with paleomagnetic data from the Miocene Columbia River Basalt Group and Steens Basalt shows that large-scale block rotations in the eastern Columbia Embayment ceased sometime between 38 m.y. and 15 m.y. A paleogeographic reconstruction for 38 m.y. is offered which is consistent with the observed rotation of the Clarno and with the other paleomagnetic data from the Pacific Northwest, which are briefly reviewed. This reconstruction shows that it is possible to account for virtually all of the paleomagnetically indicated rotations in pre-Miocene Tertiary rocks of the Pacific Northwest by an extensional tectonic model. As a consequence, only part of the rotations in the pre-Tertiary rocks of the eastern Columbia Embayment need to be the result of accretionary tectonics. The initiation of magmatism in the eastern Columbia Embayment that is represented by the Clarno Formation itself may have been contemporaneous with the beginning of crustal extension in the Pacific Northwest.

  20. Compaction history of Upper Cretaceous shale (Al-Khod Formation) and its relationship to plate margin tectonics, Arabian Plate, Sultanate of Oman

    Science.gov (United States)

    AL-Sarmi, Musaab; Mattern, Frank; Scharf, Andreas; Pracejus, Bernhard; Al-Mamari, Amira; Al-Hinaai, Al-Shima

    2017-04-01

    Conglomerates of the late Cretaceous Al-Khod Formation have been intruded by older shale of the same formation along faults, which were opened/widened by extension, thus, resulting in shale dike formation. Following intrusion the shale was behaving plastically as its fissility follows the contact contours of the conglomeratic host rock and as stoped sandstone blocks are floating within the shale. Vertical calcite veins were ptygmatically folded with subhorizontal fold axial planes. All these aspects show that the shale contained a high water content in the beginning. The ptygmatically folded calcite veins display vertical shortening amounts of 40 % corresponding to 35 % to 45 % of water loss during compaction. Incalculable numbers of calcite veins of different orientations and thicknesses within the conglomerate along the shale contact indicate that the fluid was expelled from the shale into the conglomerate host rock under high pressure (overpressure?). Shale dyke formation took place after the late Cretaceous obduction of the Semail Ophiolite, before the deposition of early Tertiary carbonate rocks, and during the latest Cretaceous doming of the Saih Hatat area which was caused by deformation and slab breakoff, likely associated with gravitational collapse and elastic rebound. Shale intrusion was followed by deposition of 100 to 200 m thick sediments of the upper part of Al-Khod Formation, leading to compaction and water loss. The shale retained much of its water during the uppermost Cretaceous-late Paleocene stratigraphic hiatus as this interval is marked by erosion and a reduction of overburden, which was probably due to the elastic rebound. Folding of calcite veins together with a high amount of water loss was a consequence of compaction caused by the overburden of 1000 m thick shallow marine limestones which were deposited from the Eocene to Oligocene.

  1. Mesozoic/Cenozoic tectonic events around Australia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Müller, R. Dietmar; Gaina, Carmen; Tikku, Anahita; Mihut, Dona; Cande, Steven C.; Stock, Joann M.

    We use an absolute and relative plate motion model for the plates around Australia to identify major plate tectonic events, evaluate their causes, and investigate their effects on anomalous intraplate subsidence or uplift and on the history of oceanic crustal accretion. An event at ˜136 Ma is marked by the onset of sea floor spreading between Greater India and Australia. At about this time long-lived subduction east of Australia ceased, probably due to subduction of the Phoenix-Pacific spreading ridge, changing this plate boundary to a transform margin. Between 130 and 80 Ma, Australia and East Antarctica moved eastward in the Atlantic-Indian mantle hotspot reference frame. This can be plausibly linked to ridge push from the NW-SE oriented spreading center NW of Australia and to the inferred geometry and continued subduction of the Phoenix plate beneath the West Antarctic margin. A drastic change in spreading direction between the Indian and Australian plates from NE-SW to N-S occurred at about 99 Ma, possibly caused by a change in absolute motion of the Pacific Plate. Chron 27 (˜61 Ma) marks the onset of relative motion between East and West Antarctica, and a change in the relative motion between Australia and Antarctica. It may be linked to the subduction of a segment of the Neo-Tethyan Ridge. Both events caused anomalous subsidence on the Northwest Shelf of Australia. The almost stationary position of Australia w.r.t. the mantle from ˜80 Ma to ˜40 Ma may reflect the progressive subduction of the Pacific-Phoenix ridge to the east of New Zealand preceding 80 Ma, resulting in a diminished trench suction force east of Australia. Preliminary reconstructions to close the Pacific-Australian plate circuit based on recently collected geophysical data indicate that a tectonic event at 43 Ma may mark the onset of renewed subduction east of Australia. At the same time spreading in the Wharton Basin between India and Australia ceased, and tectonic reactivation is

  2. Tectonic history and structural development of the Zallah-Dur al Abd Sub-basin, western Sirt Basin, Libya

    Science.gov (United States)

    Abdunaser, Khalifa M.; McCaffrey, Ken J. W.

    2015-04-01

    The Zallah-Dur al Abd Sub-basin area lies in the western part of the Sirt Basin of Libya. 2D seismic data covering an area of about 32,000 km² were studied along with the formation tops from 240 wells. We mapped a complex network of normal and probable strike-slip faults, generally striking NNW-SSE that control the asymmetry of the basin. Subordinate NE-SW structures acted as transverse faults controlling local depocentres that segment the Zallah-Dur al Abd Sub-basin. A number of active faults in the intra-basin area have been identified in seismic sections with generally moderate to high dip angles, and displaying evidence for positive and negative flower structures. The bordering extensional fault (the Gedari fault) passes at depth into a moderately SW-dipping structure crossing most of the Upper Mesozoic to Cenozoic stratigraphic section. Thickness variations adjacent to other major faults suggest also an original extensional system where inherited high-angle faults were reactivated throughout this time. A detailed analysis of the available seismic reflection and drill hole data shows that an obliquely rifted, multi-cyclic, NNW-SSE trending basin developed during the complex Upper Mesozoic Cenozoic rearrangement of Mediterranean tectonics. Multiple phases of rifting can be observed in the study area affecting a number of different horizons from Upper Cretaceous to Eocene. In the study area, the basin was initiated as a result of a Tethyan oblique extensional rift system that began in the Early Cretaceous and peaked in the Late Cretaceous. The basin reached its rift maturation phase during the Upper Cretaceous as a result of the continuing extensional tectonics on the marginal bounding NNW-SSE trending normal growth faults. During the Alpine-related tectonic pulses of Middle-Late Eocene the Sirt Basin underwent compression resulted in northward tilting of the basin, causing abrupt subsidence in the north and uplift on the basin southern shoulders, possibly

  3. On tectonic movement in the South China Sea during the Cenozoic

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    LIN Changsong; CHU Fengyou; GAO Jinyao; TAN Yonghua

    2009-01-01

    The tectonic movement taking place at the end of Cretaceous and the beginning of Cenozoic had opened the Ce-nozoic phase of polycyclic tectonic movements, then the whole crust of the South China Sea had been mainly subjected to the regional stress field of tectonic tension, which was characterized by rifting depression. Seven times of regional tectonic movement and sedimentation had been assembled into a geological development history of polycyclic oscillation. Especially, the tectonic movements were strongly intensified at the end of Cretacious and the beginning of Paleagene, between Late Eocene and Mid-Oligocene, during Mid- and Late Miocene. These three times of tectonic movement had built the most important regional tectonic interfaces in the South China Sea. Crust movements of the South China Sea were the result and epitome of interaction of the Eurasia, Pacific and Indo-Australia plates, that is, they were introduced by polycyclic changes of directions, rates and strengths of lithospheric movements and asthenospheric flows across the Pacific and Indo-Australia plates.

  4. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

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

  6. Active tectonics and earthquake potential of the Myanmar region

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Yu; Sieh, Kerry; Tun, Soe Thura; Lai, Kuang-Yin; Myint, Than

    2014-04-01

    This paper describes geomorphologic evidence for the principal neotectonic features of Myanmar and its immediate surroundings. We combine this evidence with published structural, geodetic, and seismic data to present an overview of the active tectonic architecture of the region and its seismic potential. Three tectonic systems accommodate oblique collision of the Indian plate with Southeast Asia and extrusion of Asian territory around the eastern syntaxis of the Himalayan mountain range. Subduction and collision associated with the Sunda megathrust beneath and within the Indoburman range and Naga Hills accommodate most of the shortening across the transpressional plate boundary. The Sagaing fault system is the predominant locus of dextral motion associated with the northward translation of India. Left-lateral faults of the northern Shan Plateau, northern Laos, Thailand, and southern China facilitate extrusion of rocks around the eastern syntaxis of the Himalaya. All of these systems have produced major earthquakes within recorded history and continue to present major seismic hazards in the region.

  7. Note on: "Inevitability of Plate Tectonics on Super-Earths" by Valencia, O Connell and Sasselov, arXiv preprint 0710.0699

    CERN Document Server

    Omerbashich, Mensur

    2008-01-01

    Valencia et al. recently claimed that the mass of a Super-Earth (SE) is a sole factor in determining whether a SE is tectonically active or not. However, mass resolving astrometry is unable to discern between a SE and its moons if any. The fact that no exomoons have been discovered yet is rather a matter of instrumentation imperfection at the present, not of physical absence of exomoons. This, with recently discovered relationships between geometric and physical properties in astronomical bodies (Transiting planets; the Earth) makes it impossible to know yet if the Wageners (here constraining) supposition on somehow-tidally caused tectonics holds universally or not also.

  8. Precambrian accretionary history and phanerozoic structures-A unified explanation for the tectonic architecture of the nebraska region, USA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carlson, M.P.

    2007-01-01

    The Phanerozoic history in Nebraska and adjacent regions contains many patterns of structure and stratigraphy that can be directly related to the history of the Precambrian basement rocks of the area. A process is proposed that explains the southward growth of North America during the period 1.8-1.6 Ga. A series of families of accretionary events during the Proterozoic emplaced sutures that remained as fundamental basement weak zones. These zones were rejuvenated in response to a variety of continental stress events that occurred during the Phanerozoic. By combining the knowledge of basement history with the history of rejuvenation during the Phanerozoic, both the details of Proterozoic accretionary growth and an explanation for the patterns of Phanerozoic structure and stratigraphy is provided. ?? 2007 The Geological Society of America. All rights reserved.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-05-01

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

  10. Is subduction really in the plate tectonics driving seat, or do two other global mechanisms do the driving? A review in the 'deep-keeled cratons' frame for global dynamics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Osmaston, M. F.

    2012-04-01

    mantle boundary layer habitually assumed, but its LVZ content gives it (i) residual heat content, (ii) corresponding buoyancy, and (iii) a flexural strength which demands a reconsideration of its mode of downbend, hitherto widely regarded as flexural, but still be able to explain outer rises and their differences. Solutions for (ii) and (iii) are convincingly supported by widespread exposure of the resulting rocks in the Alps, telling us how they and other UHP metamorphic mountain belts have been built [11]. I will illustrate the essential points. In particular, the buoyancy (ii) provides the upward mechanical contact essential for the shallow basal subduction tectonic erosion of the upper plate as preparation of thin imbricate crustal slices to subduct to UHP. And a seismologically supported through-plate step-faulting mode of downbend copes with the flexure problem (iii) and provides the tectonic erosion mechanism. In tackling these matters, important intrinsic properties of the materials are, notably:- (1) the thermal conductivity of non-migrating interstitial melt is >20 times less than its parent rock, so the LVZ heat is effectively trapped during the plate's journey across the ocean, only to be released when subduction raises the pressure and the melt freezes; (2) the garnet-to-spinel peridotite phase change, typically at 50 to 90 km depth, gives some 50 times more volume change per joule than pure expansivity, and it does so with the big force of solid-state recrystallization. This force is the crack-wall push-apart force provided by our thick-plate MOR model, which thereby develops at least an order more ridge push than the divergent flow model. We now consider the post-downbend evolution of the subducting plate, recognizing both the heat content of its ex-LVZ material and that, within the 2-layer mantle picture established by the plate dynamics of 'deep-keeled cratons' [2 - 5], there is no substantial mantle transport across the 660 km level. Examination of

  11. 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.

  12. Eruptive and tectonic history of the Endeavour Segment, Juan de Fuca Ridge, based on AUV mapping data and lava flow ages

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clague, David. A.; Dreyer, Brian M.; Paduan, Jennifer B.; Martin, Julie F.; Caress, David W.; Gill, James B.; Kelley, Deborah S.; Thomas, Hans; Portner, Ryan A.; Delaney, John R.; Guilderson, Thomas P.; McGann, Mary L.

    2014-08-01

    bathymetric surveys from autonomous underwater vehicles ABE and D. Allan B. were merged to create a coregistered map of 71.7 km2 of the Endeavour Segment of the Juan de Fuca Ridge. Radiocarbon dating of foraminifera in cores from three dives of remotely operated vehicle Doc Ricketts provide minimum eruption ages for 40 lava flows that are combined with the bathymetric data to outline the eruptive and tectonic history. The ages range from Modern to 10,700 marine-calibrated years before present (yr BP). During a robust magmatic phase from >10,700 yr BP to ˜4300 yr BP, flows erupted from an axial high and many flowed >5 km down the flanks; some partly buried adjacent valleys. Axial magma chambers (AMCs) may have been wider than today to supply dike intrusions over a 2 km wide axial zone. Summit Seamount formed by ˜4770 yr BP and was subsequently dismembered during a period of extension with little volcanism starting ˜4300 yr BP. This tectonic phase with only rare volcanic eruptions lasted until ˜2300 yr BP and may have resulted in near-solidification of the AMCs. The axial graben formed by crustal extension during this period of low magmatic activity. Infrequent eruptions occurred on the flanks between 2620-1760 yr BP and within the axial graben since ˜1750 yr BP. This most recent phase of limited volcanic and intense hydrothermal activity that began ˜2300 yr BP defines a hydrothermal phase of ridge development that coincides with the present-day 1 km wide AMCs and overlying hydrothermal vent fields.

  13. Eruptive and tectonic history of the Endeavour Segment, Juan de Fuca Ridge, based on AUV mapping data and lava flow ages

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clague, David A.; Dreyer, Brian M; Paduan, Jennifer B; Martin, Julie F; Caress, David W; Gillespie, James B.; Kelley, Deborah S; Thomas, Hans; Portner, Ryan A; Delaney, John R; Guilderson, Thomas P.; McGann, Mary L.

    2014-01-01

    High-resolution bathymetric surveys from autonomous underwater vehicles ABE and D. Allan B. were merged to create a coregistered map of 71.7 km2 of the Endeavour Segment of the Juan de Fuca Ridge. Radiocarbon dating of foraminifera in cores from three dives of remotely operated vehicle Doc Ricketts provide minimum eruption ages for 40 lava flows that are combined with the bathymetric data to outline the eruptive and tectonic history. The ages range from Modern to 10,700 marine-calibrated years before present (yr BP). During a robust magmatic phase from >10,700 yr BP to ~4300 yr BP, flows erupted from an axial high and many flowed >5 km down the flanks; some partly buried adjacent valleys. Axial magma chambers (AMCs) may have been wider than today to supply dike intrusions over a 2 km wide axial zone. Summit Seamount formed by ~4770 yr BP and was subsequently dismembered during a period of extension with little volcanism starting ~4300 yr BP. This tectonic phase with only rare volcanic eruptions lasted until ~2300 yr BP and may have resulted in near-solidification of the AMCs. The axial graben formed by crustal extension during this period of low magmatic activity. Infrequent eruptions occurred on the flanks between 2620–1760 yr BP and within the axial graben since ~1750 yr BP. This most recent phase of limited volcanic and intense hydrothermal activity that began ~2300 yr BP defines a hydrothermal phase of ridge development that coincides with the present-day 1 km wide AMCs and overlying hydrothermal vent fields.

  14. Reprocessing and Interpretation of Vintage Seismic Reflection Data: Evidence for the Tectonic History of the Rocky Mountain Trench, Northwest Montana.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Porter, M.; Speece, M. A.; Rutherford, B. S.; Constenius, K. N.

    2014-12-01

    In 1983 Techno, Inc. collected five seismic reflection profiles in the region between Whitefish, Montana and the United States-Canada border. The poulter method was used to gather four of these profiles and one profile was collected using a vibroseis source. We are currently reprocessing these data in order to construct a regional geological interpretation. The profiles cover a key position in the hinterland of the Cordillera in the lee of the Lewis thrust salient where the east-northeast verging Lewis thrust fault system translated (horizontal displacement >100 km) and inverted a thick, strong slab of primarily Belt-Purcell rocks out of a deep Precambrian depositional basin onto a cratonic platform. In this event, Belt-Purcell rocks were thrust over complexly imbricated Phanerozoic strata in the foreland. Late Mesozoic compressional deformation was followed by Cenozoic extensional collapse of the over-thickened Cordillera and subsequent basin and range style deformation that produced an array of northwest trending grabens. Three of the seismic profiles cross the Rocky Mountain Trench; the Trench is a linear structure of regional dimension that is an expression of the extensional fragmentation of the Cordillera. Strong reflections, interpreted as sills encased within Lower Belt rocks (encountered in the Arco-Marathon 1 Paul Gibbs borehole), outline the complexly folded and faulted structure of the eastern limb of the Purcell anticlinorium. East of the Rocky Mountain Trench stratified reflections within Belt rocks clearly outline the Wigwam Thrust. Beneath the Whitefish Range, an apparent inflection in the strongly reflective basal Cambrian veneer marks the westerly increase in dip of the Rocky Mountain Basal Detachment. The dip contrast between the foreland and hinterland might be a manifestation of the tectonic loading of the Belt basin margin and the loading might have localized extension across the Rocky Mountain Trench.

  15. Tectonic history of the north portion of the San Andreas fault system, California, inferred from gravity and magnetic anomalies

    Science.gov (United States)

    Griscom, A.; Jachens, R.C.

    1989-01-01

    Geologic and geophysical data for the San Andreas fault system north of San Francisco suggest that the eastern boundary of the Pacific plate migrated eastward from its presumed original position at the base of the continental slope to its present position along the San Andreas transform fault by means of a series of eastward jumps of the Mendocino triple junction. These eastward jumps total a distance of about 150 km since 29 Ma. Correlation of right-laterally displaced gravity and magnetic anomalies that now have components at San Francisco and on the shelf north of Point Arena indicates that the presently active strand of the San Andreas fault north of the San Francisco peninsula formed recently at about 5 Ma when the triple junction jumped eastward a minimum of 100 km to its present location at the north end of the San Andreas fault. -from Authors

  16. Rapakivi granites in the geological history of the earth. Part 1, magmatic associations with rapakivi granites: Age, geochemistry, and tectonic setting

    Science.gov (United States)

    Larin, A. M.

    2009-06-01

    Rapakivi granites characteristic practically of all old platforms are greatly variable in age and irregularly distributed over the globe. Four types of magmatic associations, which include rapakivi granites, are represented by anorthosite-mangerite-charnockite-rapakivi granite, anorthosite-mangerite-rapakivi-peralkaline granite, gabbro-rapakivi granite-foidite, and rapakivi granite-shoshonite rock series. Granitoids of these associations used to be divided into the following three groups: (1) classical rapakivi granites from magmatic associations of the first three types, which correspond to subalkaline high-K and high-Fe reduced A2-type granites exemplifying the plumasitic trend of evolution; (2) peralkaline granites of the second magmatic association representing the highly differentiated A1-type reduced granites of Na-series, which are extremely enriched in incompatible elements and show the agpaitic trend of evolution; and (3) subalkaline oxidized granites of the fourth magmatic association ranging in composition from potassic A2-type granites to S-granites. Magmatic complexes including rapakivi granites originated during the geochronological interval that spanned three supercontinental cycles 2.7-1.8, 1.8-1.0 and 1.0-0.55 Ga ago. The onset and end of each cycle constrained the assembly periods of supercontinents and the formation epochs of predominantly anorthosite-charnockite complexes of the anorthosite-mangerite-charnockite-rapakivi granite magmatic association. Peak of the respective magmatism at the time of Grenvillian Orogeny signified the transition from the tectonics of small lithospheric plates to the subsequent plate tectonics of the current type. The outburst of rapakivi granite magmatism was typical of the second cycle exclusively. The anorthosite-mangerite-charnockite-rapakivi granite magmatic series associated with this magmatism originated in back-arc settings, if we consider the latter in a broad sense as corresponding to the rear parts of

  17. Brittle tectonics in the Lufilian fold-and-thrust belt and its foreland. An insight into the stress field record in relation to moving plates (Katanga, DRC)

    OpenAIRE

    2013-01-01

    The Lufilian fold-and-thrust belt – also known as the Lufilian Arc – and the Kundulungu foreland in the Katanga region (Democratic Republic of Congo) have attracted the attention of several generations of geologists thanks to the discovery of world class Cu-Co ore deposits. Its geological context, tectonic evolution and metallogenesis are relatively well known, in particular for the Neoproterozoic to early Paleozoic, Katangan sedimentary sequences that have been folded and faulted during the ...

  18. Cretaceous-Cenozoic tectonic history of the Jiaojia Fault and gold mineralization in the Jiaodong Peninsula, China: constraints from zircon U-Pb, illite K-Ar, and apatite fission track thermochronometry

    Science.gov (United States)

    Deng, Jun; Wang, Changming; Bagas, Leon; Carranza, Emmanuel John M.; Lu, Yongjun

    2015-12-01

    The Jiaojia Fault (JJF) in the Jiaodong area of eastern China is an important NNE-trending structure that is subsidiary to the regional Tancheng-Lujiang (Tan-Lu) Fault Zone, and hosts >1200 t of gold reserves contained in disseminated and stockwork ore, dominantly in the footwall of the fault. We present new zircon U-Pb, apatite fission track, and illite K-Ar data along the JJF and have delineated its tectonic history focusing on its formation and reactivation. Zircon U-Pb dating shows that the Shangzhuang granite is a composite body with ages between 132 ± 1 and 127 ± 1 Ma. Illite K-Ar ages for the fault's gouge range from 83 ± 2 to 68 ± 2 Ma, and the measured apatite fission track ages for ores are between 55 and 21 Ma. Previous zircon U-Pb geochronology and structural studies suggest that the JJF was originally activated in the Jurassic during 160-150 Ma as a sinistral fault. The JJF was a normal fault in the Early Cretaceous due to NW-SE orientated tension and NE-SW compression, which lasted from 135 to 120 Ma. This was followed by sinistral strike-slip faulting due to NW-SE compression and NE-SW tension during 120-110 Ma, and it changed to normal displacement at ca. 110 Ma. Our apatite fission track data analysis and thermal modeling of representative samples suggest that there was a subsequent dextral reactivation of the fault at ca. 55 Ma. Previous age data of ca. 130-110 Ma for gold mineralization along the JJF coincides with the Early Cretaceous magmatism and is coeval with the transition from normal faulting to sinistral strike-slip faulting of the JJF in Early Cretaceous, which is interpreted to be due to changing direction of the subducting Pacific Plate.

  19. The provenance and tectonic setting of the Lower Devonian sandstone of the Danlin Formation in southeast Yangtze Plate, with implications for the Wuyi-Yunkai orogeny in South China Block

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Jiawei; Ye, Taiping; Li, Shuangcheng; Yuan, Guohua; Dai, Chuangu; Zhang, Hui; Ma, Yibo

    2016-12-01

    The South China Block was subject to widespread tectonic and magmatic events during the middle Ordovician to earliest Devonian which are collectively called the Wuyi-Yunkai orogeny. Two different hypotheses were formulated about the origin of the orogeny: collisional orogenesis and intracontinental orogenesis. Ages of 215 detrital zircons were obtained from quartz sandstones in the Lower Devonian Danlin Formation exposed in Dushan County, south Guizhou Province. The results show that the detrital zircons came from multiple source areas but with little indication of the Wuyi-Yunkai orogeny. The detrital zircons of early Paleozoic age account only for 1.9% of all samples. These zircons range from 476 to 402 Ma and originated from the early Paleozoic granites situated east of Dushan County. The mean 206Pb/238U age of the two youngest detrital zircons was 404 Ma, which constrains the maximum depositional age of the Danlin Formation. The detrital zircons are mostly within Neoproterozoic age (59.5%) and in the range 997 to 557 Ma. The zircon age pattern, morphology, and trace element characteristics combined with paleogeographic reconstruction interpret that these detrital zircons were supplied from igneous rocks in the Neoproterozoic Sibao and Danzhou Groups within the west Jiangnan orogen to the east of the study area. Mesoproterozoic zircons made up 20.9% of the grains and range from 1569 to 1055 Ma; the ages of most of these zircons coincide with those of zircons indicating the Grenvillian orogeny (1300-1000 Ma) in the Cathaysia Plate. The detrital zircon age data reveal that the study area was located in an intracontinental tectonic setting, both before and after the Wuyi-Yunkai orogeny. Therefore, the Cathaysia Plate was not separated from the Yangtze Plate by an ocean and the study area received sediments primarily from the Cathaysia Plate located to the southeast since the middle Ordovician. By the early Devonian, the sediments were supplied by the west Jiangnan

  20. On the Enigmatic Birth of the Pacific Plate within the Panthalassa Ocean

    Science.gov (United States)

    Boschman, L.; Van Hinsbergen, D. J. J.

    2016-12-01

    The oceanic Pacific Plate started forming in Early Jurassic time within the vast Panthalassa Ocean that surrounded the supercontinent Pangea and contains the oldest lithosphere that can directly constrain the geodynamic history of the circum-Pangean Earth. Here, we show that the geometry of the oldest marine magnetic anomalies of the Pacific Plate attests of a unique plate kinematic event that sparked the plate's birth in virtually a point location, surrounded by the Izanagi, Farallon and Phoenix Plates. We reconstruct the unstable triple junction that caused the plate reorganization leading to the birth of the Pacific Plate and present a model of the plate tectonic configuration that preconditioned this event. We show that a stable, but migrating triple junction involving the gradual cessation of intra-oceanic Panthalassa subduction culminated in the formation of an unstable transform-transform-transform triple junction. The consequent plate boundary reorganization resulted in the formation of a stable triangular three-ridge system from which the nascent Pacific Plate expanded. We link the birth of the Pacific Plate to the regional termination of intra-Panthalassa subduction. Remnants thereof have been identified in the deep lower mantle of which the locations may provide paleolongitudinal control on the absolute location of the early Pacific Plate. Our results constitute an essential step in unraveling the plate tectonic evolution of `Thalassa Incognita' comprising the comprehensive Panthalassa Ocean surrounding Pangea.

  1. Tectonic geomorphology, deformation history, and slip-rate estimate along the Palos Verdes Fault, offshore Southern California

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brothers, D. S.; Conrad, J. E.; Maier, K. L.; Paull, C. K.; McGann, M.

    2014-12-01

    The Palos Verdes Fault (PVF) is one of few active faults in Southern California that crosses the shoreline and can be studied using both terrestrial and subaqueous methodologies. Despite its proximity to metropolitan Los Angeles, the recent activity and earthquake hazards associated with the PVF are poorly constrained. To characterize the near seafloor fault morphology, Late Pleistocene-Holocene slip-rate and tectonic influences on slope sedimentary processes, a grid of high-resolution multibeam bathymetry and chirp sub-bottom profiles were acquired with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute's (MBARI) Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV). The AUV surveys were focused along the continental slope ~25 km south of Long Beach in water depths between 250 and 600 m, where the PVF crosses the slope. AUV multibeam bathymetry data gridded at 2-m resolution and chirp profiles are merged with 25-m resolution ship-based multibeam bathymetry and seismic-reflection profiles. Vibracores collected with the MBARI Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) and ship-based USGS gravity cores provided radiocarbon dates for stratigraphic horizons offset by the PVF. Recent deformation is expressed as a well-defined seafloor lineation and offset Late Pleistocene-Holocene sub-bottom reflections. Curvilinear scarps associated with an upper submarine landslide (~450 m water depth), a buried slump block, and a lower submarine landslide (~525 m water depth) have been right-laterally offset by 55±3, 55±5, and 40±5 meters, respectively. The age of the upper scarp is bracketed between 23-31 kyr BP, which yields an average slip rate across the PVF of 1.6-2.4 mm/yr. However, our best estimate for the age of the upper landslide is ~ 31 kyr BP, which yields a right-lateral slip-rate of 1.8 mm/yr. Vertical growth faulting observed along a subtle transtensional fault-bend suggests that at least two surface ruptures occurred during the Holocene. In summary, these results indicate that the offshore

  2. Uniquely Acquired Vintage Seismic Reflection Data Reveal the Stratigraphic and Tectonic History of the Montana Disturbed Belt, USA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Speece, M. A.; Link, C. A.; Stickney, M.

    2011-12-01

    techniques including linear noise suppression of the air wave and ground roll, refraction statics, and prestack migration. Reprocessing of these data using state-of-the-art seismic reflection processing techniques will provide a detailed picture of the stratigraphy and tectonic framework for this region. Moreover, extended correlations of the Vibroseis records to Moho depths might reveal new insights on crustal thickness and provide a framework for understanding crustal thickening during the Laramide Orogeny as well as later Cenozoic extension.

  3. Tectonic and metamorphic discontinuities in the Greater Himalayan Sequence in Central Himalaya: in-sequence shearing by accretion from the Indian plate

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carosi, Rodolfo

    2016-04-01

    The Greater Himalayan Sequence (GHS) is the main metamorphic unit of the Himalayas, stretching for over 2400 km, bounded to the South by the Main Central Thrust (MCT) and to the North by the South Tibetan Detachment (STD) whose contemporanous activity controlled its exhumation between 23 and 17 Ma (Godin et al., 2006). Several shear zones and/or faults have been recognized within the GHS, usually regarded as out of sequence thrusts. Recent investigations, using a multitechnique approach, allowed to recognize a tectonic and metamorphic discontinuity, localized in the mid GHS, with a top-to-the SW sense of shear (Higher Himalayan Discontinuity: HHD) (Carosi et al., 2010; Montomoli et al., 2013). U-(Th)-Pb in situ monazite ages provide temporal constraint of the acitivity of the HHD from ~ 27-25 Ma to 18-17 Ma. Data on the P and T evolution testify that this shear zone affected the tectono-metamorphic evolution of the belt and different P and T conditions have been recorded in the hanging-wall and footwall of the HHD. The HHD is a regional tectonic feature running for more than 700 km, dividing the GHS in two different portions (Iaccarino et al., 2015; Montomoli et al., 2015). The occurrence of even more structurally higher contractional shear zone in the GHS (above the HHD): the Kalopani shear zone (Kali Gandaki valley, Central Nepal), active from ~ 41 to 30 Ma (U-Th-Pb on monazite) points out to a more complex deformation pattern in the GHS characterized by in sequence shearing. The actual proposed models of exhumation of the GHS, based exclusively on the MCT and STD activities, are not able to explain the occurrence of the HHD and other in-sequence shear zones. Any model of the tectonic and metamorphic evolution of the GHS should account for the occurrence of the tectonic and metamorphic discontinuities within the GHS and its consequences on the metamorphic paths and on the assembly of Himalayan belt. References Godin L., Grujic D., Law, R. D. & Searle, M. P. 2006

  4. Holocene late Pleistocene non-tropical carbonate sediments and tectonic history of the western rift basin margin of the southern Gulf of California

    Science.gov (United States)

    Halfar, Jochen; Godinez-Orta, Lucio; Goodfriend, Glenn A.; Mucciarone, David A.; Ingle, James C.; Holden, Peter

    2001-10-01

    Using high-resolution seismic reflection profiling and dating of (1) shallow marine vibracores and (2) sediments collected from uplifted marine terraces we reconstruct the tectonic history and sediment accumulation patterns of Holocene to late Pleistocene warm-temperate to subtropical carbonates in the southern Gulf of California, Mexico. The study was conducted in the vicinity of La Paz where carbonates form along the fault bounded narrow western shelf of the tectonically active Gulf of California rift basin. The non-tropical nature of the setting is responsible for (1) poor cementation of the bioclastic carbonates, and (2) a composition which is dominated by rhodoliths (coralline red algae), corals and mollusks. Unrimmed carbonate flats forming in small pocket bays and a rhodolith bioherm, which has a surface area of more than 20 km 2 and is up to 16 m thick, constitute the major carbonate factories. Holocene carbonate accumulation rates were deduced from seismic and core data and are highest on the rhodolith bioherm (260 cm/ka) and in subtidal zones of pocket bays (210 cm/ka), and lowest on the inner and middle shelf (100 cm/ka). Taken together, rates of carbonate accumulation are intermediate in magnitude between higher rates recorded in fully tropical carbonate settings and lower rates typical of cool-water carbonates. Seismic reflection profiles demonstrate that Isla Espiritu Santo in the center of the study area is a west dipping fault block, which is tectonically influenced by two distinct faults, the La Paz and Espiritu Santo faults. The latter fault accommodates at least 700 m of east-side down normal offset, and forms a steep eastern escarpment leading into the La Paz slope basin. Some of the sediments produced in the shallow carbonate factories of the narrow La Paz shelf are transported across this escarpment and are redeposited in the slope basin at a water depth of 750 m. Uranium-series dates of marine terraces exposed on Isla Espiritu Santo indicate

  5. Age-independent seismic anisotropy under oceanic plates explained by strain history in the asthenosphere

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hedjazian, Navid; Garel, Fanny; Davies, D. Rhodri; Kaminski, Edouard

    2017-02-01

    The depth of the oceanic lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary (LAB), as inferred from shear wave velocities, increases with lithospheric age, in agreement with models of cooling oceanic lithosphere. On the other hand, the distribution of radial anisotropy under oceanic plates is almost age-independent. In particular, radial anisotropy shows a maximum positive gradient at a depth of ∼70 km, which, if used as a proxy, indicates an age-independent LAB depth. These contrasting observations have fueled a controversy on the seismological signature of the LAB. To better understand the discrepancy between these observations, we model the development of lattice preferred orientation (LPO) in upper mantle crystal aggregates and predict the seismic anisotropy produced by plate-driven mid-ocean ridge flows. The model accounts for the progressive cooling of the lithosphere with age and can incorporate both diffusion and dislocation creep deformation mechanisms. We find that an age-independent distribution of radial anisotropy is the natural consequence of these simple flows. The depth and strength of anisotropy is further controlled by the deformation regime - dislocation or diffusion creep - experienced by crystals during their ascent towards, and subsequent motion away from, the ridge axis. Comparison to surface wave tomography models yield constraints on rheological parameters such as the activation volume. Although not excluded, additional mechanisms proposed to explain some geophysical signatures of the LAB, such as the presence of partial melt or changes in water content, are not required to explain the radial anisotropy proxy. Our prediction, that the age-independent radial anisotropy proxy marks the transition to flow-induced asthenospheric anisotropy, provides a way to reconcile thermal, mechanical and seismological views of the LAB.

  6. Well-posedness and exponential stability for a plate equation with time-varying delay and past history

    Science.gov (United States)

    Feng, Baowei

    2017-02-01

    This paper is concerned with a class of plate equation with past history and time-varying delay in the internal feedback u_{tt}+α Δ ^2 u-int limits ^t_{-∞}g(t-s)Δ ^2 u(s)ds+μ _1u_t+μ _2u_t(t-τ (t))+f(u)=h(x), defined in a bounded domain of {R}^n (n≥1) with some suitable initial data and boundary conditions. For arbitrary real numbers μ _1 and μ _2, we proved the global well-posedness of the problem. Results on stability of energy are also proved under some restrictions on μ _1, μ _2 and h(x)=0.

  7. 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...

  8. Everyday Tectonics

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Beim, Anne; Hvejsel, Marie Frier

    2016-01-01

    to critically juxtapose the two concepts, everyday architecture and tectonics in this paper. We ask ourselves if everyday architecture can be qualified by means of general tectonic considerationsmethod and which strategies are needed to reveal its potential?. To aAnswerring theseese questions entails...... a clarification of concepts. Methodologically we pursue this clarification through a rereading of the essay: “Henri Lefebvre’s essay of 1972 entitled ‘The everyday and everydayness” by Henri Lefebvre (Lefebvre 1972).’ The essay offersing a general definition of the term related to everyday life...... as such and outlinea general definition of the aspects related to everyday life, how it can manifest itself in various cultural practices that can be discussed in relation to ‘everyday architecture’ and tectonic strategies or practices of tectonic methods. As such we propose the notion of ‘the everyday’ as a critical...

  9. New aero-gravity results from the Arctic: Linking the latest Cretaceous-early Cenozoic plate kinematics of the North Atlantic and Arctic Ocean

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Døssing, Arne; Hopper, J.R.; Olesen, Arne Vestergaard

    2013-01-01

    The tectonic history of the Arctic Ocean remains poorly resolved and highly controversial. Details regarding break up of the Lomonosov Ridge from the Barents-Kara shelf margins and the establishment of seafloor spreading in the Cenozoic Eurasia Basin are unresolved. Significantly, the plate...... tectonic evolution of the Mesozoic Amerasia Basin is essentially unknown. The Arctic Ocean north of Greenland is at a critical juncture that formed at the locus of a Mesozoic three-plate setting between the Lomonosov Ridge, Greenland, and North America. In addition, the area is close to the European plate...... plateau against an important fault zone north of Greenland. Our results provide new constraints for Cretaceous-Cenozoic plate reconstructions of the Arctic. Key Points Presentation of the largest aero-gravity survey acquired over the Arctic Ocean Plate tectonic link between Atlantic and Arctic spreading...

  10. ON THE NOTION OF WELL-DEFINED TECTONIC REGIMES FOR TERRESTRIAL PLANETS IN THIS SOLAR SYSTEM AND OTHERS

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Lenardic, A. [Department of Earth Science, Rice University, MS 126, P.O. Box 1892, Houston, TX 77251-1892 (United States); Crowley, J. W., E-mail: ajns@rice.edu, E-mail: jwgcrowley@gmail.com [Department of Earth and Planetary Science, Harvard University, 20 Oxford St., Cambridge, MA 02138 (United States)

    2012-08-20

    A model of coupled mantle convection and planetary tectonics is used to demonstrate that history dependence can outweigh the effects of a planet's energy content and material parameters in determining its tectonic state. The mantle convection-surface tectonics system allows multiple tectonic modes to exist for equivalent planetary parameter values. The tectonic mode of the system is then determined by its specific geologic and climatic history. This implies that models of tectonics and mantle convection will not be able to uniquely determine the tectonic mode of a terrestrial planet without the addition of historical data. Historical data exists, to variable degrees, for all four terrestrial planets within our solar system. For the Earth, the planet with the largest amount of observational data, debate does still remain regarding the geologic and climatic history of Earth's deep past but constraints are available. For planets in other solar systems, no such constraints exist at present. The existence of multiple tectonic modes, for equivalent parameter values, points to a reason why different groups have reached different conclusions regarding the tectonic state of extrasolar terrestrial planets larger than Earth ({sup s}uper-Earths{sup )}. The region of multiple stable solutions is predicted to widen in parameter space for more energetic mantle convection (as would be expected for larger planets). This means that different groups can find different solutions, all potentially viable and stable, using identical models and identical system parameter values. At a more practical level, the results argue that the question of whether extrasolar terrestrial planets will have plate tectonics is unanswerable and will remain so until the temporal evolution of extrasolar planets can be constrained.

  11. Mianlüe tectonic zone and Mianlüe suture zone on southern margin of Qinling-Dabie orogenic belt

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2004-01-01

    The Mianlue tectonic zone (Mianlue zone), an ancient suture zone in addition to theShangdan suture in the Qinling-Dabie orogenic belt, marks an important tectonic division geo-logically separating north from south and connecting east with west in China continent. To de-termine present structural geometry and kinematics in the Mianlue tectonic zone and to recon-struct the formation and evolution history involving plate subduction and collision in theQinling-Dabie orogenic belt, through a multidisciplinary study, are significant for exploring themountain-building orogenesis of the central orogenic system and the entire process of the majorChinese continental amalgamation during the Indosinian.

  12. Tectonic property and deformation history of Sangzhi-Shimen synclinorium corridor profile in western margin region of Hunan-hubei Province

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    郭建华; 王明艳; 朱美衡; 刘学锋; 张或丹; 刘辰生

    2004-01-01

    The Sangzhi-Shimen synclinorium, which is in the western margin region of the Hunan-Hubei Province and as the southeast part of the middle Yangtze platform, is a second-level tectonics unit in the south of this region.Along the profile, it can be divided into 5 third-level structure belts. By the comprehensive interpretation of seismic data and magnetotelluric (MT) sounding data, it is found that the surface structure is not in accordance with that of the underground, and this un-coordination can be conducted by many decollement surfaces between the layers.There are three periods of deformation in its geo-history in this region: before the early Yanshan stage, during the early Yanshan stage and after the early Yanshan stage, while the main deformation period is during the early Yanshan stage. And the mechanism of deformation is the thrust faults in basement, which are controlled by many decollements, in addition to the decollement of the cap-rock.

  13. Tectonic activity and stratigraphic history over the last 130-540 ka on the Southern Shelf of the Sea of Marmara, western North Anatolian Fault, Turkey

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smith, W. H.; Grall, C.; Sorlien, C. C.; Steckler, M. S.; Okay, S.; Cormier, M. H.; Seeber, L.; Cifci, G.; Dondurur, D.

    2016-12-01

    The submerged section of the North Anatolian Fault in the Sea of Marmara, which corresponds to the dextral plate boundary between Eurasia and Anatolia, poses strong hazard for earthquakes and subsequent submarine landslides and tsunamis in the vicinity of the highly populated region of Istanbul. Most of the right-lateral slip is accommodated by the Northern Branch of the North Anatolian Fault (NAF-N), which crosses the central part of the Sea of Marmara and is capable of an earthquake with a magnitude greater than 7. However, both the geology and the geodesy suggest that the NAF-N accommodates only 3/4 of the total slip between the plates. The deformation mechanisms for the rest of the strain (slip distributed on secondary faults, strain partitioning, and diffuse deformation) remains unexplained. Other fault systems, primarily south of the NAF-N, are shown to be important regarding the tectonic evolution of the Sea of Marmara. However, the activity of these peripheral fault systems as well as their relationships with the NAF-N need to be further constrained. For this purpose, a dense dataset of 2D geophysical images (high-resolution seismic reflection data, sparker reflection, CHIRP sub-bottom profiling), as well as multibeam bathymetry, have been acquired in 2008, 2010, 2013 and 2014 during TAMAM and SOMAR cruises, primarily in the southern shelf of the Sea of Marmara. The 15-20 km-wide southern shelf ledge is relatively flat and mostly shallower than 90 m. In this shallow marine region, we have been able to image the detailed stratigraphic record associated with the 125 ka and younger glacio-eustatic cycles and, notably, to identify paleo-shorelines at water depths shallower than 100 m. Several erosional unconformities, laterally correlative to low-stand deltas have been regionally linked to the stratigraphic boundaries previously defined for the last 130-540 ka. While the present-day shelf is relatively flat, a shallow ridge separates the inner and outer parts

  14. Digital Tectonics

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Christiansen, Karl; Borup, Ruben; Søndergaard, Asbjørn;

    2014-01-01

    Digital Tectonics treats the architectonical possibilities in digital generation of form and production. The publication is the first volume of a series, in which aspects of the strategic focus areas of the Aarhus School of Architecture will be disseminated.......Digital Tectonics treats the architectonical possibilities in digital generation of form and production. The publication is the first volume of a series, in which aspects of the strategic focus areas of the Aarhus School of Architecture will be disseminated....

  15. Tectonics of China: Continental scale cataclastic flow

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gallagher, John J., Jr.

    Stratigraphic, structural, and earthquake evidence indicates that cataclastic flow, that is, flow by brittle mechanisms (e.g., fracture and slip), was dominant in China from late Paleozoic. This process has operated over a range of scales including the continental scale. China is made up of large brittle basement elements immersed in ductile zones which are analogous to porphyroclasts (large, often brittle fragments) surrounded by fluxion (foliation or flow) structures in cataclastic rocks, respectively. This basement fabric for China is seen on Landsat imagery and on tectonic maps and is comparable to cataclastic rock fabrics seen in fault zones, on outcrops, and in thin sections. Brittle basement elements are broken into two or more large rigid blocks, and the dimensions of elements and blocks are within 1 order of magnitude of each other. Ductile zones are made up of fragments which are many orders of magnitude smaller than the ductile zones. Rigid blocks and fragments are identified, and their dimensions are measured through earthquake, fault, and fracture patterns. Rigid basement blocks are surrounded by earthquakes. The sedimentary rocks over the basement faults at the block boundaries seem to be affected by fault movements because they are characterized by facies changes, thickness changes, high-angle faults, and forced folds. Ductile basement zones are earthquake prone, and deformation of the ductile basement affects the overlying sedimentary rocks, as is demonstrated by unconformities and by a wide variety of structures. Thrust faults, buckle folds, and strike slip faults are common in and adjacent to western ductile zones. Structures are most intensely developed where ductile zones abut brittle elements. Both brittle elements and ductile zones are rifted and cut by strike slip faults in eastern China. The mechanical fabric of China and the boundary conditions acting on China are now and always have been determined by its plate tectonic history. This

  16. Records of near-isothermal decompression and clockwise P-T history from the Paleoproterozoic Mahakoshal Belt, Central Indian Tectonic Zone: Constraints from pseudosection modelling and monazite geochronology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Deshmukh, Tanzil; Naraga, Prabhakar; Bhattacharya, Abhijit; Kaliappan, Madhavan

    2017-04-01

    The Mahakoshal Belt (MB) is regarded as the oldest subunit along the northern collar of the Central Indian Tectonic Zone (CITZ) arguably representing the zone of accretion between the North India Block and the South India Block. The following study focuses on deciphering the structural and metamorphic P-T-t history of the schists/phyllites from the eastern part of the belt, and provides insights into the Paleoproterozoic tectonic development in the CITZ. The schists comprise phengite, quartz, andalusite, biotite, muscovite and margarite, and are associated with veins of rare andalusite + corundum + quartz assemblage. The field relations combined with deformation microtextures in the MB schists suggests three episodes of metamorphism, M1, M2 and M3, corresponding with D1, D2 and D3 deformation events respectively. Inclusion trails (S1) of phengite + biotite + quartz ± chlorite in syn/post-S2 andalusite porphyroblasts constrain the M1 metamorphic event in pelitic schists. The application of pseudosection modelling estimated peak metamorphic conditions at ˜8 kbar and 520 ˚ C. Near isothermal decompression (populations at 1.8-1.9 Ga, and rim populations at 1.7-1.8 Ga and 1.5-1.6 Ga. Thus, the peak metamorphism in MB schists was Paleoproterozoic in age, 1.8-1.9 Ga, and the clockwise P-T path was recorded at 1.7-1.8 Ga, which overlaps with the emplacement of blastoporphyritic granitoids along southern margin of the MB. The results obtained in this study combined with the existing structural-metamorphic-chronological information demonstrate the CITZ to be a composite of desperately-evolved crustal domains. With some major omissions, the tectono-thermal events identified in the CITZ partly overlap with those observed in the Capricorn Orogen (Western Australia) and the Trans North China Orogen. Therefore, these global correlations possibly corroborate new configurations on the assembly and fragmentation of Columbia Supercontinent, but await further studies and robust age

  17. Cenozoic tectonic reorganizations of the Death Valley region, southeast California and southwest Nevada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fridrich, Christopher J.; Thompson, Ren A.

    2011-01-01

    The Death Valley region, of southeast California and southwest Nevada, is distinct relative to adjacent regions in its structural style and resulting topography, as well as in the timing of basin-range extension. Cenozoic basin-fill strata, ranging in age from greater than or equal to 40 to approximately 2 million years are common within mountain-range uplifts in this region. The tectonic fragmentation and local uplift of these abandoned basin-fills indicate a multistage history of basin-range tectonism. Additionally, the oldest of these strata record an earlier, pre-basin-range interval of weak extension that formed broad shallow basins that trapped sediments, without forming basin-range topography. The Cenozoic basin-fill strata record distinct stratigraphic breaks that regionally cluster into tight age ranges, constrained by well-dated interbedded volcanic units. Many of these stratigraphic breaks are long recognized formation boundaries. Most are angular unconformities that coincide with abrupt changes in depositional environment. Deposits that bound these unconformities indicate they are weakly diachronous; they span about 1 to 2 million years and generally decrease in age to the west within individual basins and regionally, across basin boundaries. Across these unconformities, major changes are found in the distribution and provenance of basin-fill strata, and in patterns of internal facies. These features indicate rapid, regionally coordinated changes in strain patterns defined by major active basin-bounding faults, coincident with step-wise migrations of the belt of active basin-range tectonism. The regionally correlative unconformities thus record short intervals of radical tectonic change, here termed "tectonic reorganizations." The intervening, longer (about 3- to 5-million-year) interval of gradual, monotonic evolution in the locus and style of tectonism are called "tectonic stages." The belt of active tectonism in the Death Valley region has abruptly

  18. A Comment on Tectonics and the Future of Life on Terrestrial Planets

    CERN Document Server

    Cirkovic, M M

    2003-01-01

    It is argued that the tight interconnection between biological, climatological, and geophysical factors in the history of the terrestrial biosphere can teach us something of wider importance regarding the general astrobiological evolution of planets in the Galactic habitable zone of the Milky Way. Motivated by a recent debate on the future of Earth's biosphere, we suggest an additional reason why the impact of plate tectonics on the biological evolution is significant on the global Galactic level.

  19. Surface faulting and paleoseismic history of the 1932 Cedar Mountain earthquake area, west-central Nevada, and implications for modern tectonics of the Walker Lane

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bell, J.W.; DePolo, C.M.; Ramelli, A.R.; Sarna-Wojcicki, A. M.; Meyer, C.E.

    1999-01-01

    The 1932 Cedar Mountain earthquake (Ms 7.2) was one of the largest historical events in the Walker Lane region of western Nevada, and it produced a complicated strike-slip rupture pattern on multiple Quaternary faults distributed through three valleys. Primary, right-lateral surface ruptures occurred on north-striking faults in Monte Cristo Valley; small-scale lateral and normal offsets occurred in Stewart Valley; and secondary, normal faulting occurred on north-northeast-striking faults in the Gabbs Valley epicentral region. A reexamination of the surface ruptures provides new displacement and fault-zone data: maximum cumulative offset is estimated to be 2.7 m, and newly recognized faults extend the maximum width and end-to-end length of the rupture zone to 17 and 75 km, respectively. A detailed Quaternary allostratigraphic chronology based on regional alluvialgeomorphic relationships, tephrochronology, and radiocarbon dating provides a framework for interpreting the paleoseismic history of the fault zone. A late Wisconsinan alluvial-fan and piedmont unit containing a 32-36 ka tephra layer is a key stratigraphic datum for paleoseismic measurements. Exploratory trenching and radiocarbon dating of tectonic stratigraphy provide the first estimates for timing of late Quaternary faulting along the Cedar Mountain fault zone. Three trenches display evidence for six faulting events, including that in 1932, during the past 32-36 ka. Radiocarbon dating of organic soils interstratified with tectonically ponded silts establishes best-fit ages of the pre-1932 events at 4, 5,12,15, and 18 ka, each with ??2 ka uncertainties. On the basis of an estimated cumulative net slip of 6-12 m for the six faulting events, minimum and maximum late Quaternary slip rates are 0.2 and 0.7 mm/yr, respectively, and the preferred rate is 0.4-0.5 mm/yr. The average recurrence (interseismic) interval is 3600 yr. The relatively uniform thickness of the ponded deposits suggests that similar

  20. Propagating rift tectonics of a Caledonian marginal basin: Multi-stage seafloor spreading history of the Solund-Stavfjord ophiolite in western Norway

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dilek, Yildirim; Furnes, Harald; Skjerlie, K. P.

    1997-10-01

    northern and southern parts of the ophiolite complex and are separated by the ENE-trending Domain III, in which isotropic to pegmatitic gabbros and dike swarms are plastically deformed along ENE-striking sinistral shear zones. These shear zones, which locally include fault slivers of serpentinite intrusions, are crosscut by N20°E-striking undeformed basaltic dike swarms that contain xenoliths of gabbroic material. The NW-trending sheeted dike complex in the northern part of Domain II curves into an ENE orientation approaching Domain III in the south. The anomalous nature of deformed crust in Domain III is interpreted to have developed within an oceanic fracture zone or transform fault boundary. REE chemistry of representative extrusive and dike rocks from all three domains indicates N- to E-MORB affinities of their magmas with high Th/Ta ratios that are characteristic of subduction zone environments. The magmatic evolution of Domain I encompasses closed-system fractional crystallization of high-Mg basaltic magmas in small ephemeral chambers, which gradually interconnected to form large chambers in which mixing of primary magmas with more evolved and fractionated magma caused resetting of magma compositions through time. The compositional range from high-Mg basalts to ferrobasalts within Domain I is reminiscent of modern propagating rift basalts. We interpret the NE-trending Domain I as a remnant of an intermediate-spread rift system that propagated northeastwards (in present coordinate system) into a pre-existing oceanic crust, which was developed along the NW-trending doomed rift (Domain II) in the marginal basin. The N20°E dikes laterally intruding into the anomalous oceanic crust in Domain III represent the tip of the rift propagator. The inferred propagating rift tectonics of the Solund-Stavfjord ophiolite is similar to the evolutionary history of the modern Lau back-arc basin in the SW Pacific and suggests a complex magmatic evolution of the Caledonian marginal

  1. Tectono-Thermal History Modeling and Reservoir Simulation Study of the Nenana Basin, Central Alaska: Implications for Regional Tectonics and Geologic Carbon Sequestration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dixit, Nilesh C.

    Central Interior Alaska is an active tectonic deformation zone highlighted by the complex interactions of active strike-slip fault systems with thrust faults and folds of the Alaska Range fold-and-thrust belt. This region includes the Nenana basin and the adjacent Tanana basin, both of which have significant Tertiary coal-bearing formations and are also promising areas (particularly the Nenana basin) with respect to hydrocarbon exploration and geologic carbon sequestration. I investigate the modern-day crustal architecture of the Nenana and Tanana basins using seismic reflection, aeromagnetic and gravity anomaly data and demonstrate that the basement of both basins shows strong crustal heterogeneity. The Nenana basin is a deep (up to 8 km), narrow transtensional pull-apart basin that is deforming along the left-lateral Minto Flats fault zone. The Tanana basin has a fundamentally different geometry and is a relatively shallow (up to 2 km) asymmetrical foreland basin with its southern, deeper side controlled by the northern foothills of the central Alaska Range. NE-trending strike-slip faults within the Tanana basin are interpreted as a zone of clockwise crustal block rotation. Seismic refection data, well data, fracture data and apatite fission track data further constrain the tectonic evolution and thermal history of the Nenana basin. The Nenana basin experienced four distinct tectonic phases since Late Paleocene time. The basin initiated as a narrow half-graben structure in Late Paleocene with accumulation of greater than 6000 feet of sediments. The basin was then uplifted, resulting in the removal of up to 5000 feet of Late Paleocene sediments in Eocene to Oligocene time. During Middle to Late Miocene time, left lateral strike-slip faulting was superimposed on the existing half-graben system. Transtensional deformation of the basin began in the Pliocene. At present, Miocene and older strata are exposed to temperatures > 60°C in the deeper parts of the Nenana

  2. Multilocus phylogenetic and geospatial analyses illuminate diversification patterns and the biogeographic history of Malagasy endemic plated lizards (Gerrhosauridae: Zonosaurinae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blair, C; Noonan, B P; Brown, J L; Raselimanana, A P; Vences, M; Yoder, A D

    2015-02-01

    Although numerous studies have attempted to find single unifying mechanisms for generating Madagascar's unique flora and fauna, little consensus has been reached regarding the relative importance of climatic, geologic and ecological processes as catalysts of diversification of the region's unique biota. Rather, recent work has shown that both biological and physical drivers of diversification are best analysed in a case-by-case setting with attention focused on the ecological and life-history requirements of the specific phylogenetic lineage under investigation. Here, we utilize a comprehensive analytical approach to examine evolutionary drivers and elucidate the biogeographic history of Malagasy plated lizards (Zonosaurinae). Data from three genes are combined with fossil information to construct time-calibrated species trees for zonosaurines and their African relatives, which are used to test alternative diversification hypotheses. Methods are utilized for explicitly incorporating phylogenetic uncertainty into downstream analyses. Species distribution models are created for 14 of 19 currently recognized species, which are then used to estimate spatial patterns of species richness and endemicity. Spatially explicit analyses are employed to correlate patterns of diversity with both topographic heterogeneity and climatic stability through geologic time. We then use inferred geographic ranges to estimate the biogeographic history of zonosaurines within each of Madagascar's major biomes. Results suggest constant Neogene and Quaternary speciation with divergence from the African most recent common ancestor ~30 million years ago when oceanic currents and African rivers facilitated dispersal. Spatial patterns of diversity appear concentrated along coastal regions of northern and southern Madagascar. We find no relationship between either topographic heterogeneity or climatic stability and patterns of diversity. Ancestral state reconstructions suggest that western dry

  3. Radar, an optimum remote-sensing tool for detailed plate tectonic analysis and its application to hydrocarbon exploration (an example in Irian Jaya Indonesia)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Froidevaux, C. M.

    1980-01-01

    Geometric, geomorphic, and structural information derived from the examination of radar imagery and combined with geologic and geophysical evidences strongly indicates that Salawati Island was attached to the Irian Jaya mainland during the time of Miocene lower Pliocene reef development, and that it was separated in middle Pliocene to Pleistocene time, opening the Sele Strait rift zone. The island moved 17.5 km southwestward after an initial counterclockwise rotation of 13 deg. The rift zone is subsequent to the creation of the large left lateral Sorong fault zone that is part of the transitional area separating the westward-moving Pacific plate from the relatively stable Australian plate. The motion was triggered during a widespread magmatic intrusion of the Sorong fault zone, when the basalt infiltrated a right lateral fault system in the area of the present Sele Strait.

  4. Radar, an optimum remote-sensing tool for detailed plate tectonic analysis and its application to hydrocarbon exploration (an example in Irian Jaya Indonesia)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Froidevaux, C. M.

    1980-01-01

    Geometric, geomorphic, and structural information derived from the examination of radar imagery and combined with geologic and geophysical evidences strongly indicates that Salawati Island was attached to the Irian Jaya mainland during the time of Miocene lower Pliocene reef development, and that it was separated in middle Pliocene to Pleistocene time, opening the Sele Strait rift zone. The island moved 17.5 km southwestward after an initial counterclockwise rotation of 13 deg. The rift zone is subsequent to the creation of the large left lateral Sorong fault zone that is part of the transitional area separating the westward-moving Pacific plate from the relatively stable Australian plate. The motion was triggered during a widespread magmatic intrusion of the Sorong fault zone, when the basalt infiltrated a right lateral fault system in the area of the present Sele Strait.

  5. Abrupt tectonics and rapid slab detachment with grain damage

    OpenAIRE

    2015-01-01

    Subduction zones are delineated by Earth’s ocean trenches, and are where tectonic plates sink into the mantle as cold heavy slabs, which in turn drive plate motion. But slabs can detach from their surface plates, thus altering tectonic driving forces. Slab detachment can occur if thick crust from continents or oceanic plateaux is swept by plate motion into the subduction zone, thus plugging it up. Detachment is also accelerated because mineral grains in the slab become smaller during deformat...

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

    OpenAIRE

    Audin, Laurence; Lacan, P.; Tavera, H.; Bondoux, Francis

    2008-01-01

    The South America plate boundary is one of the most active subduction zone. The recent Mw=8.4 Arequipa 2001 earthquake ruptured the subduction plane toward the south over 400 km and stopped abruptly on the Ilo Peninsula. In this exact region, the subduction seismic crisis induced the reactivation of continental fault systems in the coastal area. We studied the main reactivated fault system that trends perpendicular to the trench by detailed mapping of fault related-geomorphic features. Also, ...

  7. The mapping methods and division of tectonic units of the regional tectonic map in the eastern China seas and adjacent regions

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    YIN Yanhong; ZHANG Xunhua; WEN Zhenhe; GUO Zhenxuan

    2009-01-01

    The geological-geophysical map series of the eastern China seas and adjacent region (1:1 000 000) will be published in the late half year of 2009. The regional tectonic map is one of the main professional maps. The Mapping methods, the division method of geological tectonic units and the main geological tectonic units are mainly discussed. The strata from Pliocene to Holocene are peeled off so as to display the Pre-Pliocene structures. In basins, isopaches are drawn for the Cenozoic deposits. The plate tectonic theory and present tectonic pattern are adopted as the priorities in tectonic division. As to the division of intraplate tectonic units, it is a revision, complement and improvement of previous dividing systems, and the nomenclature for each tectonic unit follows the current system in China. The first-order tectonic unit is plate (Pacific Plate, Eurasian Plate and Philippine Sea Plate). The second-order tectonic unit is tectonic domain (East Asian continental tectonic domain,East Asian continental margin tectonic domain and west Pacific tectonic domain). The Philippine Sea Plate and the west part of the Pacific Plate are called the West Pacific tectonic domain. The part of the Eurasian Plate involved in this study area can be further divided into East Asian continental tectonic domain and East Asian continental margin tectonic domain. The East Asian continental margin domain is composed of the Ryukyu island arc, the Okinawa Trough back-arc basin and the back-arc basin of Sea of Japan. The East Asian continental tectonic domain in this study area is composed of the Sino-Korea Massif, the Changjiang River (Yangtze) Massif and South China Massif. In turn, these massifs consist of basins, folded belts or uplift zones. The basins,the folded belts or the uplift zones are further divided into uplifts and depressions made up of sags and swells.

  8. Textile Tectonics

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Mossé, Aurélie

    2008-01-01

    The meeting of architecture and textiles is a continuous but too often forgotten story of intimate exchange. However, the 2nd Ventulett Symposium hosted by the College of Architecture, within Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, was one of these precious moments celebrating such a marriage....... Organized by Lars Spuybroeck, principal of Nox, Rotterdam, and current Thomas W. Ventulett III distinguished chair of Architectural Design, the event was embracing the textile tectonics as a core topic, praising textiles as the key component of architecture, relying on Gottfried Semper’s understanding...... of the discipline. Inspiring time gathering some of the most exciting architects of the moment, Lars Spuybroeck, Mark Burry, Evan Douglis, Michael Hensel and Cecil Balmond were invited to discuss their understanding of tectonics. Full text available at http://textilefutures.co.uk/exchange/bin/view/TextileFutures/TextileTectonics...

  9. 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

  10. Testing Absolute Plate Reference Frames and the Implications for the Generation of Geodynamic Mantle Heterogeneity Structure

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shephard, G. E.; Bunge, H.; Schuberth, B. S.; Müller, D.; Talsma, A.; Moder, C.

    2010-12-01

    Several absolute reference frames for Cretaceous-Tertiary plate tectonic reconstructions have been proposed over the last decade. They include reference frames based on hotspot tracks displaying age progression, and assuming either fixed or moving hotspots, as well as palaeomagnetically-based reference frames, a subduction reference frame and hybrid reference frames. All these alternative reference frames imply a particular history of the location of subduction zones through time, the associated subduction history, and the evolution of mantle heterogeneity via the mixing of subducted slab material with the mantle. Therefore it is possible to evaluate the observed distribution of subducted slab material in the mantle versus that predicted by a forward geodynamic model in which the plate kinematic history given by a particular absolute plate is coupled with a mantle convection model. We present a comparison of five alternative absolute plate motion models in terms of their consequences for global deep mantle structure by utilizing the 3-D spherical finite element mantle convection code TERRA, coupled with the global plate tectonic reconstruction software GPlates. We impose global palaeo-plate boundaries and plate velocities back to 140 Ma as surface boundary conditions for each absolute rotation model and forward model the associated subduction history. The correlation of seismic tomography with the predicted present-day mantle structure from each of plate models is then assessed using well-imaged slabs. We will present and discuss a comparison of geodynamically predicted mantle heterogeneity and seismic tomography to infer the robustness of each absolute reference frame through time, thus providing additional constraints for the integration of plate tectonics and mantle dynamics.

  11. Tectonics in the Northwestern West Philippine Basin

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Ni Xianglong; Wu Shiguo; Shinjo Ryuichi

    2008-01-01

    The West Philippine basin (WPB) is a currently inactive marginal basin belonging to Philippine Sea plate, which has a complex formation history and various crust structures. Based on gravity, magnetic and seismic data, the tectonics in West Philippine basin is characterized by amagnma spreading stage and strike slip fractures. NNE trending Okinawa-Luzon fracture zone is a large fracture zone with apparent geomorphology and shows a right-handed movement. The results of joint gravity-magnetic-seismic inversion suggest that the Okinawa-Luzon fracture zone has intensive deformation and is a transform fault. Western existence of the NW trending fractures under Ryukyu Islands Arc is the main cause of the differences between south and north Okinawa Trough. The Urdaneta plateau is not a remained arc, but remnant of mantle plume although its lava chemistry is similar to oceanic island basalt (OIB).

  12. Uplifted ophiolitic rocks on Isla Gordon, southernmost Chile: implications for the closure history of the Rocas Verdes marginal basin and the tectonic evolution of the Beagle Channel region

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cunningham, W. D.

    1994-04-01

    A succession of mafic rocks that includes gabbro, sheeted dikes and deformed pillow basalts has been mapped in detail on Isla Gordon, southernmost Chile and is identified as an upper ophiolitic complex representing the uplifted floor of the Late Jurassic-Early Cretaceous Rocas Verdes marginal basin. The complex was uplifted, deformed, and regionally metamorphosed prior to the intrusion of an undeformed 90 Ma granodiorite that cuts the complex. The complex appears para-autochthonous, is gently tilted to the northeast and is internally sheared by near-vertical foliation zones. No evidence for obduction was observed although the base of the complex is not exposed. The ophiolitic rocks have been regionally metamorphosed to mid-upper greenschist levels. Isla Gordon is bounded by the northwest and southwest arms of the Beagle Channel, two important structural boundaries in the southernmost Andes that are interpreted to have accommodated north-side-up and left-lateral displacements. Directly north of Isla Gordon is the Cordillera Darwin metamorphic complex that exposes the highest grade metamorphic rocks in the Andes south of Peru. On the north coast of Isla Gordon a volcaniclastic turbidite sequence that is interpreted to have been deposited above the mafic floor is metamorphosed to lower greenschist levels in strong metamorphic contrast to amphibolite-grade othogneisses exposed in Cordillera Darwin only 2 km away across the northwest arm of the Beagle Channel. The profound metamorphic break across the northwest arm of the Beagle Channel and the regional northeast tilt of the ophiolitic complex are consistent with the previously proposed hypothesis that Isla Gordon represents the upper plate to an extensional fault that accommodated tectonic unroofing of Cordillera Darwin. However, limited structural evidence for extension was identified in this study to support the model and further work is needed to determine the relative importance of contractional, extensional and