WorldWideScience

Sample records for plate tectonic motion

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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 ...

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. Tectonics of the Easter plate

    Science.gov (United States)

    Engeln, J. F.; Stein, S.

    1984-01-01

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

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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)

  14. Tectonic Plate Movement.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Landalf, Helen

    1998-01-01

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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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...

  18. 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…

  19. 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…

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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 ...

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Reducing risk where tectonic plates collide

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gomberg, Joan S.; Ludwig, Kristin A.

    2017-06-19

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

  9. Localised Plate Motion on Venus

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ghail, R. C.

    1996-03-01

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

  10. 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.

  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. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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)

  16. 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)

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. Comment on "Intermittent plate tectonics?".

    Science.gov (United States)

    Korenaga, Jun

    2008-06-06

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

  20. 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.

  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

    2016-01-01

    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

  2. Plate tectonics drive tropical reef biodiversity dynamics

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-05-01

    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.

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. Episodic plate tectonics on Venus

    Science.gov (United States)

    Turcotte, Donald

    1992-01-01

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

  9. Plate tectonics, habitability and life

    Science.gov (United States)

    Spohn, Tilman; Breuer, Doris

    2016-04-01

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

  10. When Did Plate Tectonics Begin

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brown, M.

    2015-12-01

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

  11. 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.…

  12. 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.…

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blueford, J. R.; And Others

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

  14. 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...

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. Continental tectonics in the aftermath of plate tectonics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Molnar, Peter

    1988-01-01

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

  18. 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. 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 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 ...

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  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. 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

  7. 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.

  8. Global Dynamic Numerical Simulations of Plate Tectonic Reorganizations

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-12-01

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

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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)

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. Computer animation of Phanerozoic plate motions

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Scotese, C.R. (Univ. of Texas, Arlington, TX (United States). Dept. of Geology)

    1992-01-01

    Since 1985, the PALEOMAP Project, in collaboration with research groups both in the US and abroad, has assembled a digital model that describes global plate motions during the last 600 million years. In this paper the authors present a series of computer animations that dynamically illustrates the movement of continents and terranes, and the evolution of the ocean basins since the breakup of the late Precambrian supercontinent. These animations depict the motion of the plates from both equatorial and polar perspectives. Mesozoic and Cenozoic plate tectonic reconstructions are based on a synthesis of linear magnetic anomalies, fracture zone locations, intracontinental rifts, collision and thrust belts, and zones of strike-slip. Paleozoic plate reconstructions, though more speculative, are based on evidence of past subduction, continental collision, and inferred sea floor spreading. The relative longitudinal positions of the continents during the Paleozoic and the width of intervening oceans have been adjusted to best explain changing biogeographic and paleoclimatic patterns. A new paleomagnetic/hot spot reference frame has been constructed that combines paleomagnetic data compiled by Rob Van der Voo (1992) with inferred motion relative to a fixed frame of hot spots. Using probable Early Mesozoic and Paleozoic hot spot tracks on the major continents, the authors have extended plate motions relative to the hot spot reference frame back to 400 million years.

  18. Plate tectonics and crustal deformation around the Japanese Islands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hashimoto, Manabu; Jackson, David D.

    1993-01-01

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

  19. Plate tectonics and crustal deformation around the Japanese Islands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hashimoto, Manabu; Jackson, David D.

    1993-01-01

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

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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...

  7. 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).

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jordan, Thomas H.; Minster, J. Bernard

    1988-01-01

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

  9. 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.

  10. RELATIVE MOTION AND DEFORMATION OF PACIFIC PLATE FROM SPACE GEODESY

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    JinShuanggen; ZhuWenyao

    2003-01-01

    The circum-Pacific tectonic system that contains of convergent, divergent and transform boundaries, is the most active region of volcanoes and earthquakes in the world, and involves many important theoretical questions in geosciences. The relative motion and deformation of Pacific plate is still an active subject of research. In this note, we analyze the deformation of Pacific plate and obtain reliable results of the relative motion rates at the circum-Pacific boundaries based on space geodetic data, which reveals the present-day motion characteristics of Pacific plate.

  11. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-07-07

    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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  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. 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. Horizontal versus vertical plate motions

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M. Cuffaro

    2006-07-01

    Full Text Available We review both present and past motions at major plate boundaries, which have the horizontal component in average 10 to 100 times faster (10–100 mm/yr than the vertical component (0.01–1 mm/yr in all geodynamic settings. The steady faster horizontal velocity of the lithosphere with respect to the upward or downward velocities at plate boundaries supports dominating tangential forces acting on plates. This suggests a passive role of plate boundaries with respect to far field forces determining the velocity of plates. The forces acting on the lithosphere can be subdivided in coupled and uncoupled, as a function of the shear at the lithosphere base. Higher the asthenosphere viscosity, more significant should be the coupled forces, i.e., the mantle drag and the trench suction. Lower the asthenosphere viscosity, more the effects of uncoupled forces might result determinant, i.e., the ridge push, the slab pull and the tidal drag. Although a combination of all forces acting on the lithosphere is likely, the decoupling between lithosphere and mantle suggests that a torque acts on the lithosphere independently of the mantle drag. Slab pull and ridge push are candidates for generating this torque, but, unlike these boundary forces, the advantage of the tidal drag is to be a volume force, acting simultaneously on the whole plates, and being the decoupling at the lithosphere base controlled by lateral variations in viscosity of the low-velocity layer.

  20. 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

  1. 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...

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. Looking for Plate Tectonics in all the wrong fluids

    Science.gov (United States)

    Davaille, Anne

    2017-04-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Achache, Jose

    1987-01-01

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

  6. 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.

  7. Eastern Indian Ocean microcontinent formation driven by plate motion changes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Whittaker, J. M.; Williams, S. E.; Halpin, J. A.; Wild, T. J.; Stilwell, J. D.; Jourdan, F.; Daczko, N. R.

    2016-11-01

    The roles of plate tectonic or mantle dynamic forces in rupturing continental lithosphere remain controversial. Particularly enigmatic is the rifting of microcontinents from mature continental rifted margins, with plume-driven thermal weakening commonly inferred to facilitate calving. However, a role for plate tectonic reorganisations has also been suggested. Here, we show that a combination of plate tectonic reorganisation and plume-driven thermal weakening were required to calve the Batavia and Gulden Draak microcontinents in the Cretaceous Indian Ocean. We reconstruct the evolution of these two microcontinents using constraints from new paleontological samples, 40Ar/39Ar ages, and geophysical data. Calving from India occurred at 101-104 Ma, coinciding with the onset of a dramatic change in Indian plate motion. Critically, Kerguelen plume volcanism does not appear to have directly triggered calving. Rather, it is likely that plume-related thermal weakening of the Indian passive margin preconditioned it for microcontinent formation but calving was triggered by changes in plate tectonic boundary forces.

  8. 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).

  9. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stamenkovic, Vlada; Seager, Sara

    2014-11-01

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

  11. Petroleum and natural gas geology and plate tectonics

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Koebel, B.

    1984-01-01

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

  12. 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.

  13. Tectonic motion and deformation from satellite laser ranging to Lageos

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smith, David E.; Kolenkiewicz, Ronald; Dunn, Peter J.; Robbins, John W.; Torrence, Mark H.; Klosko, Steve M.; Williamson, Ronald G.; Pavlis, Erricos C.; Douglas, Nancy B.

    1990-01-01

    Data on satellite laser ranging (SLR) to Lageos aquired during the period 1978-1988 are analyzed on the basis of the precise modeling of the orbit dynamics of Lageos, producing estimates of tectonic motion for 22 sites located on seven major plates. It was estimated that intraplate motion within northern Europe is below the 2 mm/yr level in absolute rate, in agreement with conclusions of Zoback et al. (1989) regarding the stress across the region. A comparison of SLR geodesic rates with those from NUVEL-1 and AMO-2 models showed high correlations between tracking sites that are well within plate interiors, but displayed small but significant departures from unity in slope which are attributed to the possibility of recent changes in relative velocities or geologic time scale uncertainties. For lines crossing the Nnorth Atlantic, the San Andreas fault, and within the Basin and Range province, the geodesic rates determined by SLR are in good agreement with those determined by VLBI.

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

    OpenAIRE

    Wyllie, Peter J.

    1988-01-01

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

  15. Vertical plate motions in the West Siberian Basin

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vibe, Yulia

    2014-05-01

    The West Siberian Basin is a sedimentary basin situated between the Ural Mountains and the Siberian Craton. The Basin has experienced several periods of subsidence and uplift since the arrival of the Siberian Traps c. 250 Ma. Although the Basin is extensively explored and hosts large reserves of Oil and Gas, the forces driving the vertical motions are poorly understood. In this work we attempt to analyse the amount, timing and location of subsidence and uplift in the Basin to shed light on the possible causes of these motions. A detailed description of sedimentary layers is published in a number of Soviet-era books and articles and serves as a basis for our research. This data is first converted into sediment grids through time. Subsequently, the sediments, the sediment load and the compaction are taken into account ('backstripping') to produce the depth of the Basin at respective time steps. With this technique we calculate the tectonic component of subsidence. Uncertainties related to uplift events are estimated by the unconformities in the stratigraphic charts. One of the possible driving forces of vertical motions is a change of force balance arising at plate boundaries. Since active plate tectonics have been absent from West Siberia since the formation of the Urengoy and Khodosey Rifts, c. 250Ma, we study the far-field tectonic effects as a potential driving mechanism. Indeed, some of the significant vertical events in the West Siberian Basin coincide with the major tectonic events around Siberia. An example is the spreading in the Arctic (Eurasian Basin) in the Eocene (56 Ma) which was synchronous with initiation of uplift events in the northern part of West Siberia. In the middle Oligocene (33 Ma), the northern and eastern parts of the basin were subjected to uplift as subsidence migrated southwards and the Basin rose above the sea level. This was coincident with the changes of plate motions in the northern North Atlantic and Indo-European collision.

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. The dynamics of Cenozoic and Mesozoic plate motions

    OpenAIRE

    Lithgow-Bertelloni, C.; Richards, M. A.

    1998-01-01

    Our understanding of the dynamics of plate motions is based almost entirely upon modeling of present-day plate motions. A fuller understanding, however, can be derived from consideration of the history of plate motions. Here we investigate the kinematics of the last 120 Myr of plate motions and the dynamics of Cenozoic motions, paying special attention to changes in the character of plate motions and plate-driving forces. We analyze the partitioning of the observed surface velocity field into...

  2. 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.

  3. 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…

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Chaotic Motion of Corrugated Circular Plates

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2007-01-01

    Large deflection theory of thin anisotropic circular plates was used to analyze the bifurcation behavior and chaotic phenomena of a corrugated thin circular plate with combined transverse periodic excitation and an in-plane static boundary load. The nonlinear dynamic equation for the corrugated plate was derived by employing Galerkin's technique. The critical conditions for occurrence of the homoclinic and subharmonic bifurcations as well as chaos were studied theoretically using the Melnikov function method. The chaotic motion was also simulated numerically using Maple, with the Poincaré map and phase curve used to evaluate when chaotic motion appears. The results indicate some chaotic motion in the corrugated plate. The method is directly applicable to chaotic analysis of an isotropic circular plate.

  7. 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...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anderson, D. L.

    2001-12-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wadge, G.; Burke, K.

    1983-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wadge, G.; Burke, K.

    1983-01-01

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

  11. 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

  12. Motion of the Scotia sea plates

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thomas, C.; Livermore, R.; Pollitz, F.

    2003-01-01

    Earthquake data from the Scotia Arc to early 2002 are reviewed in the light of satellite gravity and other data in order to derive a model for the motion of plates in the Scotia Sea region. Events with magnitude ???5, which occurred on or near the boundaries of the Scotia and Sandwich plates, and for which Centroid Moment Tensor (CMT) solutions are available, are examined. The newer data fill some of the previous sampling gaps along the boundaries of the Scotia and Sandwich plates, and provide tighter constraints on relative motions. Variations in the width of the Brunhes anomaly on evenly spaced marine magnetic profiles over the East Scotia Ridge provide new estimates of Scotia-Sandwich plate spreading rates. Since there are no stable fracture zones in the east Scotia Sea, the mean azimuth of sea floor fabric mapped by sidescan is used to constrain the direction of spreading. 18 new rate estimates and four azimuths from the East Scotia Ridge are combined with 68 selected earthquake slip vectors from the boundaries of the Scotia Sea in a least-squares inversion for the best-fitting set of Euler poles and angular rotation rates describing the 'present-day' motions of the Scotia and Sandwich plates relative to South America and Antarctica. Our preferred model (TLP2003) gives poles that are similar to previous estimates, except for Scotia Plate motion with respect to South America, which is significantly different from earlier estimates; predicted rates of motion also differ slightly. Our results are much more robust than earlier work. We examine the implications of the model for motion and deformation along the various plate boundaries, with particular reference to the North and South Scotia Ridges, where rates are obtained by closure.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Warren, Paul H.

    1993-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1982-01-01

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

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

    CERN Document Server

    Herndon, J M

    2005-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1982-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Warren, Paul H.

    1993-01-01

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

  18. 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.

  19. Tectonic Motion of Malaysia: Analysis from Years 2001 TO 2013

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gill, J.; Shariff, N. S.; Omar, K.; Amin, Z. M.

    2015-10-01

    This paper seeks to investigate the tectonic motion of Malaysia using the Malaysian Active GPS Station (MASS) and Malaysia Realtime Kinematic GNSS Network (MyRTKnet) data from years 2001 to 2013. GNSS data were processed using Bernese 5.0, and plotted as a time series; whereby the period before and after the 2004 Sumatra-Andaman mega earthquake are plotted separately. From the time series, episodic events and stable inter-seismic deformation period are analysed. The results indicate that the 2001- 2004 and 2008-2011 periods were free from episodic events; hence, chosen to depict the tectonic motion of Malaysia before and after 2004 Sumatra-Andaman earthquake, respectively. The motion had a major change in direction and rate, especially for East Malaysia and South Peninsular Malaysia. This indicates there exist a long-term post-seismic deformation due to the 2004 mega earthquake. Nonetheless, the 2008-2011 inter-seismic period is stable, and suitable to represent the current long-term tectonic motion of Malaysia: Peninsular and East Malaysia moves south-east, at an average velocity of 0.89 ±0.01 cm/yr south and 1.70 ±0.02 cm/yr east, and 1.06 ±0.01 cm/yr south and 2.50 ±0.02 cm/yr east, respectively. In addition, the co-seismic motion for the 2005 Nias, 2007 Bengkulu and 2012 Northern Sumatra earthquakes after the 2004 Sumatra-Andaman earthquake are relatively small, indicating these three earthquakes have no significant contribution to the long-term tectonic motion of Malaysia. Overall, this paper aims to provide a general insight into the tectonic motion of Malaysia which, expectedly, may benefit other scientific fields.

  20. 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.

  1. Tomography, the geoid and plate motions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gable, Carl W.; O'Connell, Richard J.

    1991-01-01

    The dynamics of the earth's mantle and its relationship to mantle structure as revealed by seismic tomography, the geoid, and plate motions are discussed in a critical review of U.S. research from the period 1987-1990. Sections are devoted to plates and mantle convection; seismic anomalies, flow, and the geoid; subducted slabs and the 670-km discontinuity; the physical properties of the mantle; plumes; and computational and experimental modeling efforts. Also included is a comprehensive bibliography for the period.

  2. 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

  3. A New Absolute Plate Motion Model for Africa

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maher, S. M.; Wessel, P.; Müller, D.; Harada, Y.

    2013-12-01

    The India-Eurasia collision, a change in relative plate motion between Australia and Antarctica, and the coeval ages of the Hawaiian Emperor Bend (HEB) and Louisville Bend of ~Chron 22-21 all provide convincing evidence of a global tectonic plate reorganization at ~50 Ma. Yet if it were a truly global event, then there should be a contemporaneous change in Africa absolute plate motion (APM) reflected by physical evidence somewhere on the Africa plate. This evidence might be visible in the Reunion-Mascarene bend, which exhibits many HEB-like features such as a large angular change close to ~50 Ma. Recently, the Reunion hotpot trail has been interpreted as a continental feature with incidental hotspot volcanism. Here we propose the alternative hypothesis that the northern portion of the chain between Saya de Malha and the Seychelles (Mascarene Plateau) formed as the Reunion hotspot was situated on the Carlsberg Ridge, contemporaneously forming the Chagos-Laccadive Ridge on the India plate. We have created a 4-stage model that explores how a simple APM model fitting the Mascarene Plateau can also satisfy the age progressions and geometry of other hotspot trails on the Africa plate. This type of model could explain the apparent bifurcation of the Tristan hotspot chain, the age reversals seen along the Walvis Ridge and the diffuse nature of the St. Helena chain. To test this hypothesis we have made a new African APM model that goes back to ~80 Ma using a modified version of the Hybrid Polygonal Finite Rotation Method. This method uses seamount chains and their associated hotspots as geometric constraints for the model, and seamount age dates to determine its motion through time. The positions of the hotspots can be moved to get the best fit for the model and to explore the possibility that the ~50 Ma bend in the Reunion-Mascarene chain reflects Africa plate motion. We will examine how well this model can predict the key features reflecting Africa plate motion and

  4. Active Motion of Tectonic Blocks in East Asia: Evidence from GPS Measurement

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2003-01-01

    The relative Euler vectors of the Pacific, Philippine, Amurian, Okhotsk, N. Honshu and South China plates or blocks are deduced from earthquake slip vectors, transform fault azimuths and spreading rates, which are consistent with new results derived from the International Terrestrial Reference Frame ITRF2000 velocity field, the velocity field of GPS stations in China and the GPS measurement data of the GEONET network in Japan. Based on the two groups of Euler vectors, analysis and comparative study of the relative motions and deformations of the tectonic blocks in East Asia reveal the present-day motion characteristics of the blocks.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Present-day plate motions: Retrieval from the TOPEX/Poseidon orbitography network (DORIS system)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Souriau, Annie; Cazenave, Anny; Biancale, R.; Balmino, G.; Dominh, K.; Mazzega, P.; Lemoine, J.-M.; Boucher, Claude; Willis, P.; Kasser, M.

    1991-01-01

    The goal of the proposal is to determine the present motion of the main tectonic plates from the Doppler data of the Doppler Orbitography and Radiopositioning Integrated by Satellite (DORIS) orbitography system, which includes in its final configuration about 50 tracking stations with a world-wide distribution.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. Constraints on Jalisco Block Motion and Tectonics of the Guadalajara Triple Junction from 1998-2001 Campaign GPS Data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Selvans, Michelle M.; Stock, Joann M.; Demets, Charles; Sanchez, Osvaldo; Marquez-Azua, Bertha

    2011-08-01

    A GPS campaign network in the state of Jalisco was occupied for ~36 h per station most years between 1995 and 2005; we use data from 1998-2001 to investigate tectonic motion and interseismic deformation in the Jalisco area with respect to the North America plate. The twelve stations used in this analysis provide coverage of the Jalisco Block and adjacent North America plate, and show a pattern of motion that implies some contribution to Jalisco Block boundary deformation from both tectonic motion and interseismic deformation due to the offshore 1995 earthquake. The consistent direction and magnitude of station motion on the Jalisco Block with respect to the North America reference frame, ~2 mm/year to the southwest (95% confidence level), perhaps can be attributed to tectonic motion. However, some station velocities within and across the boundaries of the Jalisco Block are also non-zero (95% confidence level), and the overall pattern of station velocities indicates both viscoelastic response to the 1995 earthquake and partial coupling of the subduction interface (together termed "interseismic deformation"). Our results show motion across the northern Colima rift, the eastern boundary of the Jalisco Block, which is likely to be sinistral oblique extension rather than pure extension. We constrain extension across both the Colima rift and the northeastern boundary of the Jalisco Block, the Tepic-Zacoalco rift, to ≤8 mm/year (95% confidence level), slow compared to relative rates of motion at nearby plate boundaries.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. The Hawaii-Emperor Bend: Plate motion, plume motion, or both?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wessel, P.

    2011-12-01

    The Hawaii-Emperor Bend (HEB) has become a lightening rod for studies of absolute plate motion (APM). Initially seen as the clearest evidence for an APM change over an approximately stationary hotspot, recent studies have suggested that the HEB represents no change in APM motion at all. Instead, it has been proposed that there was a rapid retardation of the southward motion of the underlying Hawaii plume at ~ 50 Ma while the Pacific plate continued its otherwise undisturbed westward motion. Some even see this development as further evidence that the hotspot hypothesis is fundamentally flawed and that no plumes exist. Although several lines of inquiry have lead to the revised interpretations of the HEB signature, there are in particular two principal observations that have prompted this proposed major revision: (a) Paleolatitudes inferred from basalt samples recovered from drill cores at several sites along the Emperor chain systematically imply a volcanic origin much further north than the present latitude of the Hawaiian hotspot, and (b) the age progressions along the Emperor and Louisville chains inferred from dated rock samples appear to diverge for ages older than ~55 Ma when a fixed hotspot reference frame is used to relate the two age progressions. While the latter discrepancy can be modeled with relative minor changes in the inter-hotspot distance between Hawaii and Louisville or by appealing to limited hotspot-ridge interactions, the paleolatitude anomaly at 78 Ma is almost 15 degrees. Unless this anomaly only partially reflects plume motion, its sheer magnitude may require a significant revision of Pacific tectonic history and could ultimately drive a stake through the heart of the hotspot hypothesis; critical new data on Louisville seamount paleolatitudes are required to resolve this puzzle. The HEB itself is constrained to have formed around 50-47 Ma, i.e., approximately Chron 21, which is a known period of significant and global plate reorganizations

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  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. 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.

  12. Current Arabian Plate Motion From Campaign GPS Measurements in Saudi Arabia: Preliminary Results

    Science.gov (United States)

    Almuslmani, B.; Teferle, F. N.; Bingley, R. M.; Moore, T.

    2007-12-01

    Current investigations of the motions of the Arabian and its neighboring plates are primarily based on GPS measurements obtained in the surrounding areas of the Arabian plate, with few stations actually located on the Arabian plate itself in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In order to advance the knowledge of the dynamics of the Arabian plate and its intra-plate deformations, the General Directorate of Military Survey (GDMS), through collaboration with the Institute of Engineering Surveying and Space Geodesy (IESSG), densified the GPS network in Saudi Arabia, covering nearly two thirds of the tectonic plate. Since July 2002, a network of 32 GPS stations has been established at locations of the Saudi Arabia geodetic network. At all of these GPS stations a concrete pillar has been used as the monument and the locations have been selected in order to give the broadest distribution of observing sites. During 2005, 27 additional GPS stations in the Hejaz and Asser Mountains, and the Farasan Islands, all in south-western Saudi Arabia, have been established, for which the past and future campaign GPS measurements will provide valuable data for investigations of crustal deformations close to the plate boundaries between the Nubia, Somalian and Arabian plates. In this presentation we will show results in the form of velocity field and plate motion estimates based on data from at least three campaigns occupying the initial 32 GDMS GPS network stations, but also from a number of IGS stations in the region. Our reference frame is aligned to ITRF2005 and uses approximately 40 IGS reference frame stations located on all major tectonic plates, e.g. Nubia and Somalia, surrounding the Arabian plate. Furthermore, we apply absolute satellite and receiver antenna phase center models together with newly available GPS products from a recent global re-processing effort.

  13. Supercontinent Pangea, Mantle Dynamics, and Reference Frame of Global Plate Motions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhong, S.; Rudolph, M. L.; Liu, X.

    2014-12-01

    Arguably the most important and challenging goal in geodynamics is to understand the two-way dynamics between tectonic plates and mantle convection. While it has long been recognized that the present-day degree-2 mantle structure as imaged seismically is closely related to the plate motions (Hager and O'Connell, 1981) and their history (500 Ma (Torsvik et al., 2014), although its statistical significance has been challenged (Austermann et al., 2013). The proposals of the spatially stable Africa and Pacific LLSVPs and of the LIP eruptions along their edges have also been exploited in attempts to build global plate motion models since the Pangea assembly by providing a plate motion reference frame or inferring true polar wander (TPW) corrections to the plate motions (Torsvik et al., 2014). Second, mantle dynamics studies indicate that degree-1 mantle convection, which is expected with realistic lithospheric and mantle viscosity, may be needed for assembly of a supercontinent (e.g., Pangea) (Zhong et al., 2007). This suggests that the present degree-2 mantle structure may have been formed only after the Pangea assembly from an initially degree-1 structure - a scenario that is consistent with convection calculations with a proxy plate motion model that considers Pangea process (Zhang et al., 2010). In this presentation, in addition to critically reviewing these arguments, we will discuss calculations of long-wavelength geoid for the mantle with thermochemical piles and LLSVPs and their potential effects on TPW determinations and hence reconstruction of plate motion (i.e., net lithospheric rotation). We will also present additional calculations of mantle structure evolution using different plate motion history models.

  14. 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.

  15. [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.

  16. 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...

  17. 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)

  18. 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)

  19. Current plate motions across the Red Sea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chu, Dezhi; Gordon, Richard G.

    1998-11-01

    A new objective method is used to estimate precisely 64 rates of seafloor spreading since chron 2A (3.2 Ma) from all the Red Sea magnetic profiles available from 15.9° to 26°N. The fastest spreading rate, ~16 mm yr-1, occurs near 18°N, whereas the slowest rate, 10 mm yr-1, occurs at 25.5°N and is consistent with the rate predicted from Arabia-Nubia data to the south. The standard deviation of the spreading rates is 0.8 mm yr-1, much smaller than the median standard deviation of 4 mm yr-1 previously assigned to spreading rates in the global plate-motion model NUVEL-1 (DeMets et al. 1990). The fit to the spreading rates, as well as the locations of earthquakes in and near the Red Sea, indicate that spreading south of approximately 17.7°N is less than the full rate of spreading between the Arabian and Nubian plates. The Red Sea spreading centre is instead usefully interpreted as the boundary between the Arabian Plate and a Danakil microplate that includes the subaerial Danakil block and a larger oceanic portion of lithosphere. Despite the absence of reliable azimuths of transform faults in the Red Sea, all components of the angular velocity of Arabia relative to Nubia are usefully constrained from just the 45 relevant spreading rates. The new compact 95 per cent confidence region of the angular velocity excludes prior estimates based on only four and two spreading rates by Chase (1978) and Jestin et al. (1994), respectively. 19 spreading rates in the southern Red Sea are used to estimate the angular velocity between the Danakil microplate and Arabia. An approach based on singular value decomposition shows that without slip vectors only two of the three components of the angular velocity of the Danakil microplate relative to Arabia or Nubia are usefully constrained, but that all three components are usefully constrained if one earthquake slip vector is included.

  20. 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.

  1. 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...

  2. 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

  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. Sensitivity analysis of the GNSS derived Victoria plate motion

    Science.gov (United States)

    Apolinário, João; Fernandes, Rui; Bos, Machiel

    2014-05-01

    Fernandes et al. (2013) estimated the angular velocity of the Victoria tectonic block from geodetic data (GNSS derived velocities) only.. GNSS observations are sparse in this region and it is therefore of the utmost importance to use the available data (5 sites) in the most optimal way. Unfortunately, the existing time-series were/are affected by missing data and offsets. In addition, some time-series were close to the considered minimal threshold value to compute one reliable velocity solution: 2.5-3.0 years. In this research, we focus on the sensitivity of the derived angular velocity to changes in the data (longer data-span for some stations) by extending the used data-span: Fernandes et al. (2013) used data until September 2011. We also investigate the effect of adding other stations to the solution, which is now possible since more stations became available in the region. In addition, we study if the conventional power-law plus white noise model is indeed the best stochastic model. In this respect, we apply different noise models using HECTOR (Bos et al. (2013), which can use different noise models and estimate offsets and seasonal signals simultaneously. The seasonal signal estimation is also other important parameter, since the time-series are rather short or have large data spans at some stations, which implies that the seasonal signals still can have some effect on the estimated trends as shown by Blewitt and Lavellee (2002) and Bos et al. (2010). We also quantify the magnitude of such differences in the estimation of the secular velocity and their effect in the derived angular velocity. Concerning the offsets, we investigate how they can, detected and undetected, influence the estimated plate motion. The time of offsets has been determined by visual inspection of the time-series. The influence of undetected offsets has been done by adding small synthetic random walk signals that are too small to be detected visually but might have an effect on the

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

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

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

    2015-01-01

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

  6. Study of tectonic layering motion and layering mineralization in the Tongling metallogenic cluster

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    吴淦国; 张达; 臧文拴

    2003-01-01

    Analysis of the deep tectonics and cover tectonic deformations shows that tectonic layering motion is a typical lithospheric characteristic in the Tongling area and the metallogenic belt of the middle-lower Yangtze. Controlling of the deep tectonosphere over the shallow-seated tectonosphere involves various grades of tectonic layering motions. Multi-layer, multi-grade, and multi-directional gliding tectonics are the specific modes of tectonic layering motions in the cover of the Tongling metallogenic cluster. The gliding tectonics developed based on S-shaped folds of the Indosinian, and was continuously active in the Yanshanian. They correspond to the deformation systems of the EW and NNE extensions. The control of tectonic layering motion acts against ore-forming processes, the different interlayer gliding belts can easily form different genetic-type deposits, and the ore-forming features of different parts of the same gliding layer are different. All of these characters are closely related to tectonic gliding mechanisms, tectonic compounding characteristics, features of metallogenic wall rocks, and types of ore-forming hydrothermal solutions.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2013-01-01

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

  12. 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?

  13. 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...

  14. 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.

  15. Contemporary Crustal Motion and Deformation of South America Plate

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    JIN Shuanggen; ZHU Wenyao

    2003-01-01

    This paper presents the contemporary motion and active deformation of South America plate and relative motion of Nazca-South America plate using space geodetic data. The South America plate is moving at average 14.5 mm/a with an azimuth of 15.2° and shrinking in the west-east at 10. 9 mm/a. The geodetic deformations of sites with respect to the South America plate are in quite good agreement with the estimated deformations from NNR-NUVEL1A, but the deformation of the western South America regions is very large.

  16. 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...

  17. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-04-01

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

  19. 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.

  20. 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...

  1. A true polar wander model for Neoproterozoic plate motions

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Ripperdan, R.L. (Weizmann Inst. of Science, Rehovot (Israel))

    1992-01-01

    Recent paleogeographic reconstructions for the interval 750--500 Ma (Neoproterozoic to Late Cambrian) require rapid rates of plate motion and/or rotation around an equatorial Euler pole to accommodate reconstructions for the Early Paleozoic. Motions of this magnitude appear to be very uncommon during the Phanerozoic. A model for plate motions based on the hypothesis that discrete intervals of rapid true polar wander (RTPW) occurred during the Neoproterozoic can account for the paleogeographic changes with minimum amounts of plate motion. The model uses the paleogeographic reconstructions of Hoffman (1991). The following constraints were applied during derivation of the model: (1) relative motions between major continental units were restricted to be combinations of great circle or small circle translations with Euler poles of rotation = spin axis; (2) maximum rates of relative translational plate motion were 0.2 m/yr. Based on these constraints, two separate sets of synthetic plate motion trajectories were determined. The sequence of events in both can be summarized as: (1) A rapid true polar wander event of ca 90[degree] rafting a supercontinent to the spin axis; (2) breakup of the polar supercontinent into two fragments, one with the Congo, West Africa, Amazonia, and Baltica cratons, the other with the Laurentia, East Gondwana, and Kalahari cratons; (3) great circle motion of the blocks towards the equator; (4) small circle motion leading to amalgamation of Gondwana and separation of Laurentia and Baltica. In alternative 1, rifting initiates between East Antarctica and Laurentia and one episode of RTPW is required. Alternative 2 requires two episodes of RTPW; and that rifting occurred first along the eastern margin and later along the western margin of Laurentia. Synthetic plate motion trajectories are compared to existing paleomagnetic and geological data, and implications of the model for paleoclimatic changes during the Neoproterozoic are discussed.

  2. Controlling the motion of multiple objects on a Chladni plate

    OpenAIRE

    2016-01-01

    The origin of the idea of moving objects by acoustic vibration can be traced back to 1787, when Ernst Chladni reported the first detailed studies on the aggregation of sand onto nodal lines of a vibrating plate. Since then and to this date, the prevailing view has been that the particle motion out of nodal lines is random, implying uncontrollability. But how random really is the out-of-nodal-lines motion on a Chladni plate? Here we show that the motion is sufficiently regular to be statistica...

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Plate Motions Predicted from Global Dynamic Models and Seismic Tomography: The Problem of North American Plate Motion

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liu, S.; King, S. D.; Adam, C. M.

    2016-12-01

    Seismic tomography is a snapshot of the mantle convection system and provides important constraints on Earth's internal dynamics. An increasing number of global seismic tomography models along with various rheological structures have been used to compute mantle flow pattern and the resulting surface expressions, including dynamic topography and geoid. Accurately predicting the plate motion from the mantle dynamic models is a challenge particularly with the newest generation of seismic tomography models (e.g., S40RTS, SAVANI), especially for the North American plate which only has a little subduction along it's boundary. The difficulties include the uncertainty of the velocity-to-density scaling, discrepancies between different seismic tomography models, and the computational technology to solve for global mantle flow with observationally constrained high resolution models. We use the code ASPECT (Advanced Solver for Problems in Earth CovecTion) to make a series of tests to derive mantle flow pattern from different global seismic tomography models and rheological structures. We further make a quantitative statistical comparison between the modeled and observed plate motions in terms of flow magnitude, flow direction, and plateness within each plate area. We investigate how the velocity-to-density scaling, the features of seismic tomography models, and the lateral rheological structures of the lithosphere and upper mantle influence the modeled plate motions. We find that the velocity-to-density scaling mainly changes the flow magnitude and has little impact on the flow direction. The results of different seismic tomography models are similar broadly but can be quite different in some regions. The presence of lateral viscosity variations including stiff cratons, weak plate boundary zones, and high viscosity slabs along with density variations from seafloor age and subducting slabs can improve the fit to observed plate motions. With a very small fraction of subduction

  6. 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...

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. Transient motion of thick anisotropic plates

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nayfeh, Adnan H.; Taylor, Timothy W.

    1991-01-01

    Analyses are developed for the response of anisotropic plate strips to a transient load. The load is taken in the form of a line load of normal stress on the surface or within the body of the strip. The characteristic free vibrational modes of the strip are derived and used to derive the secular equation for this case in closed form and to isolate the mathematical conditions for symmetric and antisymmetric wave mode propagation in completely separate terms. The applied loads are expanded in terms of these normal modes and the response of the plate is obtained by superposition of the appropriate components. Material systems of higher symmetry are contained implicitly in the analysis.

  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. 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…

  12. 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…

  13. 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

  14. 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…

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-02-05

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

  18. The initial establishment of the tectonic block motion model of China from space geodetic data

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2000-01-01

    Using the velocity fields of 28 GPS sites in China and its contiguous area and International Terrestrial Reference Frame ITRF96, an initial tectonic block motion model of China was established. The model was quite consistent with those obtained from the geologic data. The model could show the sketch of China crustal horizontal motion.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-12-01

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

  20. Toward a self-consistent, high-resolution absolute plate motion model for the Pacific

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wessel, Paul; Harada, Yasushi; Kroenke, Loren W.

    2006-03-01

    The hot spot hypothesis postulates that linear volcanic trails form as lithospheric plates move relative to stationary or slowly moving plumes. Given geometry and ages from several trails, one can reconstruct absolute plate motions (APM) that provide valuable information about past and present tectonism, paleogeography, and volcanism. Most APM models have been designed by fitting small circles to coeval volcanic chain segments and determining stage rotation poles, opening angles, and time intervals. Unlike relative plate motion (RPM) models, such APM models suffer from oversimplicity, self-inconsistencies, inadequate fits to data, and lack of rigorous uncertainty estimates; in addition, they work only for fixed hot spots. Newer methods are now available that overcome many of these limitations. We present a technique that provides high-resolution APM models derived from stationary or moving hot spots (given prescribed paths). The simplest model assumes stationary hot spots, and an example of such a model is presented. Observations of geometry and chronology on the Pacific plate appear well explained by this type of model. Because it is a one-plate model, it does not discriminate between hot spot drift or true polar wander as explanations for inferred paleolatitudes from the Emperor chain. Whether there was significant relative motion within the hot spots under the Pacific plate during the last ˜70 m.y. is difficult to quantify, given the paucity and geological uncertainty of age determinations. Evidence in support of plume drift appears limited to the period before the 47 Ma Hawaii-Emperor Bend and, apart from the direct paleolatitude determinations, may have been somewhat exaggerated.

  1. 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.

  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. Kinematics of the Ethiopian Rift and Absolute motion of Africa and Somalia Plates

    Science.gov (United States)

    Muluneh, A. A.; Cuffaro, M.; Doglioni, C.

    2013-12-01

    The Ethiopian Rift (ER), in the northern part of East African Rift System (EARS), forms a boundary zone accommodating differential motion between Africa and Somalia Plates. Its orientation was influenced by the inherited Pan-African collisional system and related lithospheric fabric. We present the kinematics of ER derived from compilation of geodetic velocities, focal mechanism inversions, structural data analysis, and construction of geological profiles. GPS velocity field shows a systematic eastward magnitude increase in NE direction in the central ER. In the same region, incremental extensional strain axes recorded by earthquake focal mechanism and fault slip inversion show ≈N1000E orientation. This deviation between GPS velocity trajectories and orientation of incremental extensional strain is developed due to left lateral transtensional deformation. This interpretation is consistent with the en-échelon pattern of tensional and transtensional faults, the distribution of the volcanic centers, and the asymmetry of the rift itself. Small amount of vertical axis blocks rotation, sinistral strike slip faults and dyke intrusions in the rift accommodate the transtensional deformation. We analyzed the kinematics of ER relative to Deep and Shallow Hot Spot Reference Frames (HSRF). Comparison between the two reference frames shows different kinematics in ER and also Africa and Somalia plate motion both in magnitude and direction. Plate spreading direction in shallow HSRF (i.e. the source of the plumes locates in the asthenosphere) and the trend of ER deviate by about 27°. Shearing and extension across the plate boundary zone contribute both to the style of deformation and overall kinematics in the rift. We conclude that the observed long wavelength kinematics and tectonics are consequences of faster SW ward motion of Africa than Somalia in the shallow HSRF. This reference frame seems more consistent with the geophysical and geological constraints in the Rift. The

  6. 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).

  7. 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).

  8. 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.

  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. Towards absolute plate motions constrained by lower-mantle slab remnants

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Meer, D.G. van der; Spakman, W.; Hinsbergen, D.J.J. van; Amaru, M.L.; Torsvik, T.H.

    2010-01-01

    Since the first reconstruction of the supercontinent Pangaea, key advances in plate tectonic reconstructions have been made1. Although the movement of tectonic plates since the start of the mid-Cretaceous period (~100 million years (Myr) ago) is relatively well understood1, 2, the longitudinal posit

  11. Controlling the motion of multiple objects on a Chladni plate

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhou, Quan; Sariola, Veikko; Latifi, Kourosh; Liimatainen, Ville

    2016-09-01

    The origin of the idea of moving objects by acoustic vibration can be traced back to 1787, when Ernst Chladni reported the first detailed studies on the aggregation of sand onto nodal lines of a vibrating plate. Since then and to this date, the prevailing view has been that the particle motion out of nodal lines is random, implying uncontrollability. But how random really is the out-of-nodal-lines motion on a Chladni plate? Here we show that the motion is sufficiently regular to be statistically modelled, predicted and controlled. By playing carefully selected musical notes, we can control the position of multiple objects simultaneously and independently using a single acoustic actuator. Our method allows independent trajectory following, pattern transformation and sorting of multiple miniature objects in a wide range of materials, including electronic components, water droplets loaded on solid carriers, plant seeds, candy balls and metal parts.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. Multi-Hazard Analysis for the Estimation of Ground Motion Induced by Landslides and Tectonics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Iglesias, Rubén; Koudogbo, Fifame; Ardizzone, Francesca; Mondini, Alessandro; Bignami, Christian

    2016-04-01

    Space-borne synthetic aperture radar (SAR) sensors allow obtaining all-day all-weather terrain complex reflectivity images which can be processed by means of Persistent Scatterer Interferometry (PSI) for the monitoring of displacement episodes with extremely high accuracy. In the work presented, different PSI strategies to measure ground surface displacements for multi-scale multi-hazard mapping are proposed in the context of landslides and tectonic applications. This work is developed in the framework of ESA General Studies Programme (GSP). The present project, called Multi Scale and Multi Hazard Mapping Space based Solutions (MEMpHIS), investigates new Earth Observation (EO) methods and new Information and Communications Technology (ICT) solutions to improve the understanding and management of disasters, with special focus on Disaster Risk Reduction rather than Rapid Mapping. In this paper, the results of the investigation on the key processing steps for measuring large-scale ground surface displacements (like the ones originated by plate tectonics or active faults) as well as local displacements at high resolution (like the ones related with active slopes) will be presented. The core of the proposed approaches is based on the Stable Point Network (SPN) algorithm, which is the advanced PSI processing chain developed by ALTAMIRA INFORMATION. Regarding tectonic applications, the accurate displacement estimation over large-scale areas characterized by low magnitude motion gradients (3-5 mm/year), such as the ones induced by inter-seismic or Earth tidal effects, still remains an open issue. In this context, a low-resolution approach based in the integration of differential phase increments of velocity and topographic error (obtained through the fitting of a linear model adjustment function to data) will be evaluated. Data from the default mode of Sentinel-1, the Interferometric Wide Swath Mode, will be considered for this application. Regarding landslides

  2. Shrinking of the Cocos and Nazca Plates due to Horizontal Thermal Contraction and Implications for Plate Non-rigidity and the Non-closure of the Pacific-Cocos-Nazca Plate Motion Circuit

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gordon, R. G.; Kreemer, C.

    2015-12-01

    Plate rigidity is the central tenet of plate tectonics. Mounting evidence suggests, however, that significant intraplate deformation occurs in oceanic lithosphere due to horizontal thermal contraction, the rate of which decreases as ≈ 1/age [Kumar & Gordon 2009]. Support for this hypothesis comes from the azimuths of submarine transform faults, which are fit significantly better assuming shrinking plates than by assuming rigid plates [Mishra & Gordon 2015]. Previously we estimated the intraplate velocity field of the Pacific plate accounting for horizontal thermal contraction. The ≈2 mm/yr southeastward motion predicted for the northeastern part of the plate relative to the Pacific-Antarctic Rise may contribute to the non-closure of the Pacific-North America plate motion circuit. In a reference frame in which fix the oldest portion of the Pacific plate, some sites on the plate move up to ≈2 mm/yr [Kreemer & Gordon 2014]. Here we present intraplate velocity fields of the Cocos and Nazca plates and discuss their implications for the non-rigidity of plates and the non-closure of the Pacific-Cocos-Nazca plate circuit, which fails closure by a stunning 14 ±5 mm/yr [DeMets et al. 2010]. If we fix the oldest part of the Cocos plate, intraplate velocities of up to ≈2 mm/yr are estimated, with the fastest motion occurring at the northern end of the plate. If we fix the oldest part of the Nazca plate, displacement rates up to 2 mm/yr are estimated, with the fastest motion occurring in the northeasternmost portion of the plate. In the velocity fields for both plates, the lithosphere adjacent to transform faults along the East Pacific Rise tends to move to the south, which would skew the azimuths of the transform faults clockwise of the values expected for rigid plates, which is the same as the sense of misfit between observed azimuths of transform faults and the azimuths calculated from the MORVEL global set of relative angular velocities [DeMets et al. 2010]. Direct

  3. 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

  4. Longitudinal wave motion in width-constrained auxetic plates

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lim, Teik-Cheng

    2016-05-01

    This paper investigates the longitudinal wave velocity in auxetic plates in comparison to conventional ones, in which the plate is constrained from motion in the width direction. By taking into account the thickness change of the plate and its corresponding change in density, the developed wave velocity is casted not only as a function of Young’s modulus and density, but also in terms of Poisson’s ratio and longitudinal strain. Results show that density and thickness variations compensate for one another when the Poisson’s ratio is positive, but add up when the Poisson’s ratio is negative. Results also reveal that the classical model of longitudinal wave velocity for the plate is accurate when the Poisson’s ratio is about 1/3; at this Poisson’s ratio the influence from density and thickness variations cancel each other. Comparison between the current corrected model and the density-corrected Rayleigh-Lamb model reveals a number of consistent trends, while the discrepancies are elucidated. If the plate material possesses a negative Poisson’s ratio, the deviation of the actual wave velocity from the classical model becomes significant; auxeticity suppresses and enhances the wave velocity in compressive and tensile impacts, respectively. Hence the use of the corrected model is proposed when predicting longitudinal waves in width-constrained auxetic plates, and auxetic materials can be harnessed for effectively controlling wave velocities in thin-walled structures.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Absolute plate motion of Africa around Hawaii-Emperor bend time

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maher, S. M.; Wessel, P.; Müller, R. D.; Williams, S. E.; Harada, Y.

    2015-06-01

    Numerous regional plate reorganizations and the coeval ages of the Hawaiian Emperor bend (HEB) and Louisville bend of 50-47 Ma have been interpreted as a possible global tectonic plate reorganization at ˜chron 21 (47.9 Ma). Yet for a truly global event we would expect a contemporaneous change in Africa absolute plate motion (APM) reflected by physical evidence distributed on the Africa Plate. This evidence has been postulated to take the form of the Réunion-Mascarene bend which exhibits many HEB-like features, such as a large angular change close to ˜chron 21. However, the Réunion hotspot trail has recently been interpreted as a sequence of continental fragments with incidental hotspot volcanism. Here we show that the alternative Réunion-Mascarene Plateau trail can also satisfy the age progressions and geometry of other hotspot trails on the Africa Plate. The implied motion, suggesting a pivoting of Africa from 67 to 50 Ma, could explain the apparent bifurcation of the Tristan hotspot chain, the age reversals seen along the Walvis Ridge, the sharp curve of the Canary trail, and the diffuse nature of the St. Helena chain. To test this hypothesis further we made a new Africa APM model that extends back to ˜80 Ma using a modified version of the Hybrid Polygonal Finite Rotation Method. This method uses seamount chains and their associated hotspots as geometric constraints for the model, and seamount age dates to determine APM through time. While this model successfully explains many of the volcanic features, it implies an unrealistically fast global lithospheric net rotation, as well as improbable APM trajectories for many other plates, including the Americas, Eurasia and Australia. We contrast this speculative model with a more conventional model in which the Mascarene Plateau is excluded in favour of the Chagos-Laccadive Ridge rotated into the Africa reference frame. This second model implies more realistic net lithospheric rotation and far-field APMs, but

  9. Is a 50 Ma Event Recorded in the Absolute Plate Motion of Africa?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maher, S. M.; Wessel, P.; Müller, R.; Harada, Y.

    2012-12-01

    There is considerable evidence for a global plate tectonic reorganization at ~Chron 21, as suggested by observed changes in global relative plate motion (RPM). The timings of these events appear to coincide with the age of the Hawaiian Emperor Bend (HEB), i.e., ~47-50 Ma. This 120° bend has traditionally been the poster child for the fixed hotspot hypothesis, suggesting the Pacific plate underwent a change in absolute plate motion (APM) as it moved over a more or less stationary Hawaiian hotspot. However, palaeomagnetic evidence favors southward motion of the Hawaii hotspot during the Emperor stage, limiting the amount of APM change required. In the Indo-Atlantic realm, RPMs involving Africa all seem compatible with a change in Africa APM around ~50 Ma. If this global plate reorganization took place there should also be physical evidence on the Africa plate itself due to the change in Africa APM. A candidate for such evidence may be the Réunion-Mascarene bend, which exhibits many HEB-like features. However, the Réunion hotspot also created the Chagos-Laccadive ridge as it encountered (and later crossed) the Carlsberg Ridge, and the oldest Mascarene section closest to the Seychelles may be continental in origin; thus there is some uncertainty in how to interpret the geometry. Furthermore, published APM models have had difficulty modeling this abrupt change in orientation. To reexamine this problem we derived a new Africa APM model that goes back to ~65 Ma using the Hybrid Polygonal Finite Rotation Method. The modeling incorporates the geometry and ages of seamount chains on the Africa plate and their associated hotspots as suitable constraints on an Africa APM model. The present as well as earlier positions of hotspots can be adjusted to get the best fit for the model. We examine how models with or without a ~50 Ma bend satisfy the geometries and age progressions of hotspot chains on the Africa plate and how well the predictions match observed paleolatitudes.

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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...

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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...

  18. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1973-01-01

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

  20. Ridge-spotting: A new test for Pacific absolute plate motion models

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wessel, Paul; Müller, R. Dietmar

    2016-06-01

    Relative plate motions provide high-resolution descriptions of motions of plates relative to other plates. Yet geodynamically, motions of plates relative to the mantle are required since such motions can be attributed to forces (e.g., slab pull and ridge push) acting upon the plates. Various reference frames have been proposed, such as the hot spot reference frame, to link plate motions to a mantle framework. Unfortunately, both accuracy and precision of absolute plate motion models lag behind those of relative plate motion models. Consequently, it is paramount to use relative plate motions in improving our understanding of absolute plate motions. A new technique called "ridge-spotting" combines absolute and relative plate motions and examines the viability of proposed absolute plate motion models. We test the method on six published Pacific absolute plate motions models, including fixed and moving hot spot models as well as a geodynamically derived model. Ridge-spotting reconstructs the Pacific-Farallon and Pacific-Antarctica ridge systems over the last 80 Myr. All six absolute plate motion models predict large amounts of northward migration and monotonic clockwise rotation for the Pacific-Farallon ridge. A geodynamic implication of our ridge migration predictions is that the suggestion that the Pacific-Farallon ridge may have been pinned by a large mantle upwelling is not supported. Unexpected or erratic ridge behaviors may be tied to limitations in the models themselves or (for Indo-Atlantic models) discrepancies in the plate circuits used to project models into the Pacific realm. Ridge-spotting is promising and will be extended to include more plates and other ocean basins.

  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. 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.

  4. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hampe, Arndt; Petit, Rémy J

    2007-12-01

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

  6. 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.

  7. Tectonic motion characteristics of the Earth planet: from 80 MaBP up to now

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    JIN; Shuanggen

    2004-01-01

    At present, the criteria for selecting space geodetic sites are random and uncertain internationally. In this paper, we present a new method for selecting rigid geodetic sites of each plate and establishing a present-day relative motion model of global plates: RM2000. Incorporating geomagnetic anomaly data 80 MaBP, the relative Euler vectors of global plates in different ages can be determined, based on which the spreading, sliding and converging rates of adjacent plates can be obtained. Comparing them shows: ① in the recent 10 Ma, the relative motions of adjacent plates have been systematically slowing down in the South Hemisphere, and have no systematical variations in the North Hemisphere; ② in the entire 80 Ma, the relative motion trends of Australia-Antarctica, Pacific-Antarctica, Africa-Australia and Australia-Eurasia have been accelerative, the relative motion trends of mid-Atlantic ridge, Africa-Antarctica, Cocos-Pacific, Africa-Eurasia and India-Eurasia have been slowing down, and the relative motion trends of Pacific-Nazca, Nazca-South America, Pacific-Australia and Pacific-North America have been almost constant.

  8. Tectonic motion characteristics of the Earth planet:from 80 MaBP up to now

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    JIN Shuanggen; ZHU Wenyao

    2004-01-01

    At present, the criteria for selecting space geodetic sites are random and uncertain internationally. In this paper, we present a new method for selecting rigid geodetic sites of each plate and establishing a present-day relative motion model of global plates: RM2000. Incorporating geomagnetic anomaly data 80 MaBP, the relative Euler vectors of global plates in different ages can be determined, based on which the spreading, sliding and converging rates of adjacent plates can be obtained. Comparing them shows: ① in the recent 10 Ma, the relative motions of adjacent plates have been systematically slowing down in the South Hemisphere, and have no systematical variations in the North Hemisphere; ② in the entire 80 Ma, the relative motion trends of Australia-Antarctica, Pacific-Antarctica, Africa-Australia and Australia-Eurasia have been accelerative, the relative motion trends of mid-Atlantic ridge, Africa-Antarctica, Cocos-Pacific, Africa-Eurasia and India-Eurasia have been slowing down, and the relative motion trends of Pacific-Nazca, Nazca-South America, Pacific-Australia and Pacific-North America have been almost constant.

  9. 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.

  10. Rapid Measurement of Tectonic Deformation Using Structure-from-Motion

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pickering, A.; DeLong, S.; Lienkaemper, J. J.; Hecker, S.; Prentice, C. S.; Schwartz, D. P.; Sickler, R. R.

    2016-12-01

    Rapid collection and distribution of accurate surface slip data after earthquakes can support emergency response, help coordinate scientific response, and constrain coseismic slip that can be rapidly overprinted by postseismic slip, or eliminated as evidence of surface deformation is repaired or obscured. Analysis of earthquake deformation can be achieved quickly, repeatedly and inexpensively with the use of Structure-from-Motion (SfM) photogrammetry. Traditional methods of measuring surface slip (e.g. manual measurement with tape measures) have proven inconsistent and irreproducible, and sophisticated methods such as laser scanning require specialized equipment and longer field time. Here we present a simple, cost-effective workflow for rapid, three-dimensional imaging and measurement of features affected by earthquake rupture. As part of a response drill performed by the USGS and collaborators on May 11, 2016, geologists documented offset cultural features along the creeping Hayward Fault in northern California, in simulation of a surface-rupturing earthquake. We present several photo collections from smart phones, tablets, and DSLR cameras from a number of locations along the fault collected by users with a range of experience. Using professionally calibrated photogrammetric scale bars we automatically and accurately scale our 3D models to 1 mm accuracy for precise measurement in three dimensions. We then generate scaled 3D point clouds and extract offsets from manual measurement and multiple linear regression for comparison with collected terrestrial scanner data. These results further establish dense photo collection and SfM processing as an important, low-cost, rapid means of quantifying surface deformation in the critical hours after a surface-rupturing earthquake and emphasize that researchers with minimal training can rapidly collect three-dimensional data that can be used to analyze and archive the surface effects of damaging earthquakes.

  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. NNR constraint in ITRF2000 and the new global plate motion model NNR-ITRF2000VEL

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    ZHU; Wenyao; (朱文耀); FU; Yang; (符; 养); LI; Yan; (李; 彦); WU; Xianbing; (吴显兵)

    2003-01-01

    There are 54 sites employed by ITRF2000 for ITRF2000 orientation. The deficiencies are obvious. First, these sites cannot well represent the rotation rate of the earth crust because there is no selected site in five out of fourteen tectonic plates and three of fourteen plates only have one site each. Second, the total angular momentum of the crust is non-vanishing in ITRF2000, even though it is declared that No Net Rotation (NNR) with respect to NNR-NUVEL1A is imposed on ITRF2000 construction according to the documentations of ITRF2000. So the NNR condition in conventional terrestrial reference system (CTRS) realization cannot be satisfied in ITRF2000. In this paper, the criteria of site selection for estimating the Euler vectors are suggested; the Tisserand system constraint equation in ITRF construction is derived; and as a product, the global plate motions can be obtained from the ITRF2000 construction.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. A new plate motions model for the central Atlantic region

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tassi, L.; Schettino, A.

    2010-12-01

    Although the plate kinematics associated with the opening of the central Atlantic ocean after the break-up of Pangaea has been the subject of several studies since the late 1960s, there are still open problems and debated solutions to the tectonic evolution of this area. In particular, the initial fit of Pangaea, the spreading directions during the early stages of opening, the existence of ridge jumps, and the entity of deformation processes in northwest Africa are still subject to different interpretations by distinct research groups. We performed a reassessment of the central Atlantic plate kinematics since the early Jurassic through a re-examination of marine magnetic anomalies and fracture zone trends. A total of 432 ship tracks from the NGDC GEODAS database for the time interval from 1964 through 1994 in the area comprised between the Fifteen-Twenty FZ and the Azores triple junction were analyzed. The data quality was assessed through the examination of Kp indices, and 191 magnetic profiles were extracted having an azimuth that differed from the fracture zones trend by less than 30° and did not cross any fracture zone. Magnetic data collected during moderately disturbed days (Kp > 5) were also filtered away. The 191 ship track segments were projected onto flow lines that parallel existing fracture zones in order to avoid shape distortion of the magnetic anomalies. Finally, the magnetic data were high-pass filtered to remove trends. A new advanced software tool for the analysis and interpretation of the anomalies was developed in order to improve the reliability of magnetic anomaly identifications. The main result of this work is a new map of the magnetic lineations in the central Atlantic, which overcomes the flaws of previous maps. The structural pattern that results from this study evidences that: 1) a unique spreading direction existed during the early and middle Jurassic, and until the M25 - M21 time interval in the late Jurassic. Such a spreading

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  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. 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.

  8. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1984-01-01

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

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    2014-08-20

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

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

    CERN Document Server

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Domeier, Mat

    2017-04-01

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

  13. 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.

  14. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-10-01

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

  16. Middle-Late Eocene structure of the southern Levant continental margin — Tectonic motion versus global sea-level change

    Science.gov (United States)

    Segev, Amit; Schattner, Uri; Lyakhovsky, Vladimir

    2011-03-01

    During the Paleogene greenhouse episode Earth experienced the warmest period of the Cenozoic while global sea level rose by more than 100 m. However, geological evidence from the Levant margin, northwestern Arabian plate, indicates that throughout this period seabed deepening exceeded 1000 m. Lithology from Israel, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan is mainly pelagic and neritic, interfered by occasional fossil sub-marine slumps. In order to understand this dissimilarity we quantify the vertical tectonic motion of the Levant continental margin through the Paleogene. The margin began to take shape during the Late Permian and it was reactivated during the Oligocene. Based on information from outcrops, drillholes, seismic reflection and refraction, gravity, and previous publications, a multi-layered model of the Levant lithosphere was established. Layers include the Moho, top of the crystalline basement and covering sediments up to the Late Eocene. The model was restored horizontally by 100 km along the younger Dead Sea transform. Assuming local isostatic compensation, vertical restoration yielded the paleo-bathymetry which prevailed across northwestern Arabia during the Middle-Late Eocene. Results show that following the margin subsidence the Cretaceous Levantine platform became ramp shaped during the Eocene. Most parts of the central Levant were submerged under ~ 200 to ~ 1800 m of water, while the paleo-bathymetric gradients ranged from ~ 2° at the shelf to ~ 6° at the slope. The apparent dissimilarity between sea level and our tectonic-based calculations is up to an order of magnitude. These differences may be resolved by accounting for vertical tectonic motions and sediment supply rates. Our results stress the importance of the presented crustal structure. As opposed to the backstripping procedure, the structural map of the top Eocene interface was constructed upwards from the well established top Turonian (Judea Group) interface since only scarce and sporadic outcrops

  17. Crustal motion studies in the southwest Pacific: Geodetic measurements of plate convergence in Tonga, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Phillips, David A.

    The southwest Pacific is one of the most tectonically dynamic regions on Earth. This research focused on crustal motion studies in three regions of active Pacific-Australia plate convergence in the southwest Pacific: Tonga, the New Hebrides (Vanuatu) and the Solomons Islands. In Tonga, new and refined velocity estimates based on more than a decade of Global Positioning System (GPS) measurements and advanced analysis techniques are much more accurate than previously reported values. Convergence rates of 80 to 165 mm/yr at the Tonga trench represent the fastest plate motions observed on Earth. For the first time, rotation of the Fiji platform relative to the Australian plate is observed, and anomalous deformation of the Tonga ridge was also detected. In the New Hebrides, a combined GPS dataset with a total time series of more than ten years led to new and refined velocity estimates throughout the island arc. Impingement of large bathymetric features has led to arc fragmentation, and four distinct tectonic segments are identified. The central New Hebrides arc segment is being shoved eastward relative to the rest of the arc as convergence is partitioned between the forearc (Australian plate) and the backarc (North Fiji Basin) boundaries due to impingement of the d'Entrecasteaux Ridge and associated Bougainville seamount. The southern New Hebrides arc converges with the Australian plate more rapidly than predicted due to backarc extension. The first measurements of convergence in the northern and southernmost arc segments were also made. In the Solomon Islands, a four-year GPS time series was used to generate the first geodetic estimates of crustal velocity in the New Georgia Group, with 57--84 mm/yr of Australia-Solomon motion and 19--39 mm/yr of Pacific-Solomon motion being observed. These velocities are 20--40% lower than predicted Australia-Pacific velocities. Two-dimensional dislocation models suggest that most of this discrepancy can be attributed to locking of

  18. Understanding plate-motion changes over the past 100 Myr with quantitative models of the coupled lithosphere/mantle system

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stotz, Ingo; Iaffaldano, Giampiero; Rhodri Davies, D.

    2015-04-01

    The volume of geophysical datasets has grown substantially over recent decades. Our knowledge of continental evolution has increased due to advances in interpreting the records of orogeny and sedimentation. Ocean-floor observations now allow one to resolve past plate motions (e.g. in the North Atlantic and Indian Ocean over the past 20 Myr) at temporal resolutions of about 1 Myr. Altogether, these ever-growing datasets allow us to reconstruct the past evolution of Earth's lithospheric plates in greater detail. This is key to unravelling the dynamics of geological processes, because plate motions and their temporal changes are powerful probe into the evolving force balance between shallow- and deep-rooted processes. However, such progress is not yet matched by the ability to quantitatively model past plate-motion changes and, therefore, to test hypotheses on the dominant controls. The main technical challenge is simulating the rheological behaviour of the lithosphere/mantle system, which varies significantly from viscous to brittle. Traditionally computer models for viscous mantle flow on the one hand, and for the motions of the brittle lithosphere on the other hand, have been developed separately. Coupling of these two independent classes of models has been accomplished only for neo-tectonic scenarios, without accounting for the impact of time-evolving mantle-flow (e.g. Iaffaldano and Bunge 2009). However, we have built a coupled model to simulate the lithosphere/mantle system (using SHELLS and TERRA, respectively) through geological time, and to exploit the growing body of geophysical data as a primary constraint on these quantitative models. TERRA is a global spherical finite-element code for mantle convection (e.g. Baumgardner 1985, Bunge et al. 1996, Davies et al. 2013), whilst SHELLS is a thin-sheet finite-element code for lithosphere dynamics (e.g. Bird 1998). Our efforts are focused, in particular, on achieving the technical ability to: (i) simulate the

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-12-01

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

  6. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Green, D. H.; Falloon, T.

    2010-12-01

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

  8. 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.

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2014-01-01

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

  11. 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.

  12. 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...

  13. 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.

  14. 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...

  15. 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

  16. Motion of the Philippine Sea plate consistent with the NUVEL-1A model

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zang, Shao Xian; Chen, Qi Yong; Ning, Jie Yuan; Shen, Zheng Kang; Liu, Yong Gang

    2002-09-01

    We determine Euler vectors for 12 plates, including the Philippine Sea plate (PH), relative to the fixed Pacific plate (PA) by inverting the earthquake slip vectors along the boundaries of the Philippine Sea plate, GPS observed velocities, and 1122 data from the NUVEL-1 and the NUVEL-1A global plate motion model, respectively. This analysis thus also yields Euler vectors for the Philippine Sea plate relative to adjacent plates. Our results are consistent with observed data and can satisfy the geological and geophysical constraints along the Caroline (CR)-PH and PA-CR boundaries. The results also give insight into internal deformation of the Philippine Sea plate. The area enclosed by the Ryukyu Trench-Nankai Trough, Izu-Bonin Trench and GPS stations S102, S063 and Okino Torishima moves uniformly as a rigid plate, but the areas near the Philippine Trench, Mariana Trough and Yap-Palau Trench have obvious deformation.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chowdhury, Priyadarshi; Gerya, Taras; Chakraborty, Sumit

    2017-09-01

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

  18. 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.

  19. Changes in Late Cretaceous-Quaternary Caribbean plate motion directions inferred from paleostress measurements from striated fault planes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Batbayar, K.; Mann, P.; Hippolyte, J.

    2013-12-01

    We compiled paleostress analyses from previous research works collected at 591 localities of striated fault planes in rocks ranging in age from Late Cretaceous to Quaternary in the circum-Caribbean and Mexico. The purpose of the study is to quantify a progressive clockwise rotation of the Caribbean plate during its Late Cretaceous to recent subduction of the Proto-Caribbean seaway. Paleostress analysis is based on the assumption that slickenside lineations indicate both the direction and sense of maximum resolved shear stress on that fault plane. We have plotted directions of maximum horizontal stress onto plate tectonic reconstructions of the circum-Caribbean plate boundaries and infer that these directions are proxies for paleo-plate motion directions of the Caribbean plate. Plotting these stress directions onto reconstructions provided a better visualization of the relation of stress directions to blocks at their time of Late Cretaceous to recent deformation. Older, more deformed rocks of Late Cretaceous to Eocene ages yield a greater scatter in derived paleostress directions as these rocks have steeper dips, more pervasive faulting, and were likely affected by large rotations as known from previous paleomagnetic studies of Caribbean plate margins. Despite more scatter in measurements from older rock units, four major events that affected the Caribbean plate and the Great Arc of the Caribbean (GAC) are recognizable from changing orientations of stress directions: 1) Late Cretaceous collision of the GAC with southern Mexico and Colombia is consistent with NE directions of maximum compression in rocks of this age range in southern Mexico and EW directions in Colombia as the GAC approached the Proto-Caribbean seaway; 2) Paleocene-Eocene collision of the GAC with the Bahamas platform in Cuba and Hispaniola and with the South American plate in Venezuela is consistent with CW rotations of stress directions in rocks of these ages in the northern Caribbean and CCW

  20. 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

  1. 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

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Sissingh, W.

    2008-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2003-04-01

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

  4. 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.

  5. Evaluation of motion platform embedded with force plate-instrumented treadmill

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Emily H Sinitski; Edward D Lemaire; Natalie Baddour

    2015-01-01

    ... with a dual-belt treadmill and two force plates. The goal of this article was to investigate the performance characteristics associated with a treadmill-motion platform configuration and how system operation can affect the data collected...

  6. Brownian motion of a charged test particle in vacuum between two conducting plates

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yu, Hongwei; Chen, Jun

    2004-12-01

    The Brownian motion of a charged test particle caused by quantum electromagnetic vacuum fluctuations between two perfectly conducting plates is examined and the mean squared fluctuations in the velocity and position of the test particle are calculated. Our results show that the Brownian motion in the direction normal to the plates is reinforced in comparison to that in the single plate case. The effective temperature associated with this normal Brownian motion could be three times as large as that in the single plate case. However, the negative dispersions for the velocity and position in the longitudinal directions, which could be interpreted as reducing the quantum uncertainties of the particle, acquire positive corrections due to the presence of the second plate, and are thus weakened.

  7. Brownian motion of a charged test particle in vacuum between two conducting plates

    CERN Document Server

    Yu, H; Yu, Hongwei; Chen, Jun

    2004-01-01

    The Brownian motion of a charged test particle caused by quantum electromagnetic vacuum fluctuations between two perfectly conducting plates is examined and the mean squared fluctuations in the velocity and position of the test particle are calculated. Our results show that the Brownian motion in the direction normal to the plates is reinforced in comparison to that in the single-plate case. The effective temperature associated with this normal Brownian motion could be three times as large as that in the single-plate case. However, the negative dispersions for the velocity and position in the longitudinal directions, which could be interpreted as reducing the quantum uncertainties of the particle, acquire positive corrections due to the presence of the second plate, and are thus weakened.

  8. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barragán, Roberto; Baby, Patrice; Duncan, Robert

    2005-08-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Olds, S. E.

    2010-12-01

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

  11. Controlling the motion of multiple objects on a Chladni plate

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Zhou, Quan; Sariola, Veikko; Latifi, Kourosh; Liimatainen, Ville

    2016-01-01

    The origin of the idea of moving objects by acoustic vibration can be traced back to 1787, when Ernst Chladni reported the first detailed studies on the aggregation of sand onto nodal lines of a vibrating plate...

  12. Numerical Wave Flume Study on Wave Motion Around Submerged Plates

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    齐鹏; 侯一筠

    2003-01-01

    Nonlinear interaction between surface waves and a submerged horizontal plate is investigated in the absorbed numerical wave flume developed based on the volume of fluid (VOF) method. The governing equations of the numerical model are the continuity equation and the Reynolds-Averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) equations with the k-ε turbulence equations. Incident waves are generated by an absorbing wave-maker that eliminates the waves reflected from structures. Results are obtained for a range of parameters, with consideration of the condition under which the reflection coefficient becomes maximal and the transmission coefficient minimal. Wave breaking over the plate, vortex shedding downwave, and pulsating flow below the plate are observed. Time-averaged hydrodynamic force reveals a negative drift force. All these characteristics provide a reference for construction of submerged plate breakwaters.

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. First general solutions for unidirectional motions of rate type fluids over an infinite plate

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Constantin Fetecau

    2015-09-01

    Full Text Available Based on a simple but important remark regarding the governing equation for the non-trivial shear stress corresponding to the motion of a fluid over an infinite plate, exact solutions are established for the motion of Oldroyd-B fluids due to the plate that applies an arbitrary time-dependent shear stress to the fluid. These solutions, that allow us to provide the first exact solutions for motions of rate type fluids produced by an infinite plate that applies constant, constantly accelerating or oscillating shears stresses to the fluid, can easily be reduced to the similar solutions for Maxwell, second grade or Newtonian fluids performing the same motion. Furthermore, the obtained solutions are used to develop general solutions for the motion induced by a moving plate and to correct or recover as special cases different known results from the existing literature. Consequently, the motion problem of such fluids over an infinite plate that is moving in its plane or applies a shear stress to the fluid is completely solved.

  16. 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.

  17. Contemporary plate motions from Lageos - A decade later

    Science.gov (United States)

    Christodoulidis, D. C.; Smith, D. E.; Klosko, S. M.; Dunn, P. J.; Robbins, J. W.

    1986-01-01

    Progress made due to Lageos tracking and the participation of over 20 countries in the acquisition and analysis of precise range measurements is reviewed. Results of both the observed global and regional plate kinematics are presented. Mission accomplishments include the following: (1) laser technology advancements of more than an order of magnitude in single point range precision over the last ten years, (2) station positioning at the few centimeter accuracy level for annual solutions, and (3) the emergence of a global picture of plate kinematics.

  18. 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

  19. 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

  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. 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

  4. Super-weak asthenosphere models in light of plate motions and azimuthal anisotropy

    Science.gov (United States)

    Becker, T. W.

    2016-12-01

    Plate motions and azimuthal seismic anisotropy from surface waves are consistent with a strong, oceanic lithosphere that is predominantly dragged by slabs, and weakened upon subduction. Plates are underlain and sustained by a moderately weak asthenosphere, as expected from the temperature and pressure dependence of olivine viscosity for the upper mantle. However, recent observations from active source seismology, magneto-tellurics, body wave anisotropy, and postseismic surface deformation can be interpreted to imply the existence of a very weak channel of low viscosity material, potentially decoupling plates, not unlike a plume-fed asthenosphere scenario in several ways. Here, I explore the implications of such a decoupling channel for plate driving forces as well as observations of seismic anisotropy. The thickness and viscosity reduction of the channel are expected to trade off with each other, and plate motions are sensitive to the lateral extent of this super-weak asthenosphere. While there is some ambiguity of plate motion metrics with the strength of slabs, seismic anisotropy is expected to be sensitive to how shear is localized with depth. The overall good fit of azimuthal anisotropy patterns to flow model predictions brakes down for a number of the more extreme lateral and depth-dependent viscosity scenarios. This may imply that weakening mechanisms may not apply globally under plates, but are rather limited to isolated regions, perhaps associated with melt rich pockets that have limited connectivity.

  5. 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.

  6. A study on characteristics of tectonic block motion and tectonic setting of strong earthquakes in northern part of the Shanxi fault depression zone

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    于慎谔

    2004-01-01

    This paper makes a systematical study on characteristics of structure and motion of the tectonic blocks in northern part of the Shanxi fault depression zone by means of geometrical and kinematical analysis of the blocks. The kinetic behavior of the blocks is discussed by comparing associated geomorphic features of fault movement. All analyses and studies are based on a Domino model. The block movement, fault basin extension and their regional distribution are systematically investigated. The result shows: (a) The studied region is divided into sub-regions by NW striking faults: the western, middle and eastern sub-region with crustal extension being 4.46 km, 2.80 km and 1.86 km, respectively. The extensional amount of each block in the region is estimated being generally about 1 km. The calculated result using the block motion model approximately fits the data of geologic survey. (b) Block kinematical features are obviously different between the northern and southern part, with the Hengshan block in between, of the studied region. Moreover, the magnitude of the largest historical earthquake in the northern part is about 6, while that in the southern is 7. The faulted blocks in the northern sub-region show northwestward extension, indicating a feature of extensional graben, while the blocks in the southern part manifest tilt motion, extending southeastward, in the opposite sense of fault dipping. Additional tectonic stress generated by block rotation may be one of major factors affecting seismogenic process in the region. It is responsible for the difference in the movement of the block boundary faults and seismic activities between the two sub-regions.

  7. 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

  8. Relative Motion between the Rivera and North American Plates: Constraints from Focal Mechanisms

    Science.gov (United States)

    Suárez, Gerardo; Jaramillo, Said H.; Bandy, William

    2010-05-01

    The direction and velocity of the Rivera Plate in western Mexico relative to the North American plate has been a source of controversy. The southeastern segment of this plate boundary has been the site of one of the largest subduction events observed in Mexico during the last 100 years: the 3 June 1932 earthquake (Mw 8.2). To the northwest of the rupture zone of the 1932 event, however, there are no other known large subduction events, either from the historical or instrumental record. We analyze all focal mechanisms in this northern segment of the plate boundary to define the direction of relative motion between these two plates. The largest event occurred beneath the Tres Marias Escarpment, the earthquake of 4 December 1948. The recomputed magnitude yields Mw 6.4. This event caused widespread damage in a penal colony on the Tres Marias Islands. Although the focal mechanism of the 1948 event is not well constrained, the first arrival data collected shows reverse faulting with P axes oriented in a NE-SW direction. This mechanism coincides with other two fault plane solutions of more recent events. These mechanisms indicate reverse faulting beneath the Tres Marias Escarpment. To the northwest of the Islas Marias, in area where no clear physiographic feature defines the plate limits, we identify a group of strike-slip events, where the E-W trending nodal plane indicates right-lateral motion. These mechanisms suggest that the relative motion between Rivera and North America may be taken up by right-lateral strike slip motion. The accuracy of the locations does not allow to define in detail the geometry of this plate boundary. The slip vectors determined from these focal mechanisms are compared with the flow lines resulting from the various poles of relative motion between Rivera and North America to constrain its location.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. The effects of possibly buoyant flat slab segments on Nazca and South American plate motions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lithgow-Bertelloni, C. R.; Shea, R.; Crameri, F.

    2014-12-01

    Flat slabs are ubiquitous today and in Earth's past, present in at least 10% of present-day subduction zones. The Nazca slab is a classic example with large dip variations along strike, including two prominent flat segments in Peru and Argentina that coincide with the subduction of aseismic ridges. The origin of flat segments remain enigmatic though much work has examined the consequences for upper plate deformation and continued subduction. In the case of the Argentinian flat segment, detailed seismic imaging has shown significantly increased crustal thickness in the flat part of the slab. Our present understanding of oceanic crust formation suggests that incrased crustal thickness forms in response to larger degrees of partial melt, which in turn decrease the water content of the formed crust. The residuum from this process is depleted. The resulting combined lithospheric column is buoyant with respect to the underlying mantle, and likely cold from its contact with the overlying plate and unlikely to undergo the basalt-eclogite transition due to kinetic hindrances. This has consequences for mantle flow and the shear stresses it exerts at the base of the lithosphere and hence to plate motions. Interestingly, the motion of the Nazca-South America pair is difficult to reproduce even in the most sophisticated models (Stadler et al. 2010) without invoking special coupling, rheology or forces. We examine the effects of the subduction of neutral and buoyant flat segments on mantle flow and plate motions, globally and locally for Nazca and South America. We construct high-resolution models of the morphology and density structure of the Nazca slab and embed them in an existing global slab model. We compute the global viscous flow induced and predict plate motions consistent with the density heterogeneity and plate geometry. As an end member we also examine a Nazca slab that dips uniformly with a 30 degree dip. We find, perhaps unsurprisingly, that the most important

  12. Impact of uncertain reference-frame motions in plate kinematic reconstructions: A theoretical appraisal

    Science.gov (United States)

    Iaffaldano, Giampiero; Stein, Seth

    2017-01-01

    Geoscientists infer past plate motions, which serve as fundamental constraints for a range of studies, from observations of magnetic isochrons as well as hotspots tracks on the ocean floor and, for stages older than the Cretaceous, from paleomagnetic data. These observations effectively represent time-integrals of past plate motions but, because they are made at present, yield plate kinematics naturally tied to a present-day reference-frame, which may be another plate or a hotspots system. These kinematics are therefore different than those occurred at the time when the rocks acquired their magnetisation or when hotspot-related marine volcanism took place, and are normally corrected for the reference-frame absolute motion (RFAM) that occurred since then. The impact of true-polar-wander events on paleomagnetic data and the challenge of inferring hotspot drifts result in RFAMs being less resolved - in a temporal sense - and prone to noise. This limitation is commonly perceived to hamper the correction of plate kinematic reconstructions for RFAMs, but the extent to which this may be the case has not been explored. Here we assess the impact of uncertain RFAMs on kinematic reconstructions using synthetic models of plate motions over 100 million years. We use randomly-drawn models for the kinematics of two plates separated by a spreading ridge to generate a synthetic magnetisation pattern of the ocean floor. The kinematics we infer from such a pattern are outputs that we correct for synthetic RFAMs using two equivalent methods (a classical one as well as another that we propose and test here) and then compare to the 'true' motions input. We assess the misfits between true and inferred kinematics by exploring a statistically-significant number of models where we systematically downgrade the temporal resolution of RFAM synthetic data and add noise to them. We show that even poorly-resolved, noisy RFAMs are sufficient to retrieve reliable plate kinematic reconstructions

  13. Anatomy of the Dead Sea transform: Does it reflect continuous changes in plate motion?

    Science.gov (United States)

    ten Brink, U.S.; Rybakov, M.; Al-Zoubi, A. S.; Hassouneh, M.; Frieslander, U.; Batayneh, A.T.; Goldschmidt, V.; Daoud, M.N.; Rotstein, Y.; Hall, J.K.

    1999-01-01

    A new gravity map of the southern half of the Dead Sea transform offers the first regional view of the anatomy of this plate boundary. Interpreted together with auxiliary seismic and well data, the map reveals a string of subsurface basins of widely varying size, shape, and depth along the plate boundary and relatively short (25-55 km) and discontinuous fault segments. We argue that this structure is a result of continuous small changes in relative plate motion. However, several segments must have ruptured simultaneously to produce the inferred maximum magnitude of historical earthquakes.

  14. A new visualization of the motion of the Indian Plate in the Cenozoic

    Science.gov (United States)

    Holmes, J. J.; Stegman, D. R.

    2011-12-01

    90 million years ago the Indian Plate detached from the ancient supercontinent Gondwana and diverged away from the Antarctic and African plates in a northwest-wards direction. Evidence from magnetic anomalies and paleomagnetic data shows that between 67 and 49 million years ago spreading rates increased the Indian plate to anomalously rapid velocities, with a peak of nearly 200 mm/yr relative to the African plate. Cande and Stegman (2011) have shown new evidence that the Indian Plate acceleration was caused by a push force originating from the Reunion mantle plume. Two notable slowdowns occurred during that time period: a sharp reduction in velocity at 63 million years ago, and another more gradual reduction from 52 to 45 million years ago. The first slowdown coincides with rapidly dwindling flood basalt eruptions caused by the plume head of the Reunion mantle plume. The second slowdown is thought to be due to collision with either the Eurasian continent or a now extinct intermediate plate that may have contained an island arc. We are motivated to create a new visual model using new data and considering the Reunion plume as a driving force. Using the GPlates tectonics modeling software and rotation data developed by the EarthBytes Project we reconstruct the trajectory to develop a velocity vector model of the Indian plate. We use these tools to explore alternative plate reconstructions, such as one that includes a collision between India and a hypothetical intraoceanic arc beginning at 52 Ma (Ali and Aitchison, 2008) to help explain the reduction in plate velocity over the 7 million year span during the second slowdown.

  15. 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

  16. 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...

  17. High-resolution reconstructions of Pacific-North America plate motion: 20 Ma to present

    Science.gov (United States)

    DeMets, C.; Merkouriev, S.

    2016-11-01

    We present new rotations that describe the relative positions and velocities of the Pacific and North America plates at 22 times during the past 19.7 Myr, offering ≈1-Myr temporal resolution for studies of the geotectonic evolution of western North America and other plate boundary locations. Derived from ≈18 000 magnetic reversal, fracture zone and transform fault identifications from the Pacific-Antarctic-Nubia-North America plate circuit and the velocities of 935 GPS sites on the Pacific and North America plates, the new rotations and GPS-derived angular velocity indicate that the rate of motion between the two plates increased by ≈70 per cent from 19.7 to 9±1 Ma, but changed by less than 2 per cent since 8 Ma and even less since 4.2 Ma. The rotations further suggest that the relative plate direction has rotated clockwise for most of the past 20 Myr, with a possible hiatus from 9 to 5 Ma. This conflicts with previously reported evidence for a significant clockwise change in the plate direction at ≈8-6 Ma. Our new rotations indicate that Pacific plate motion became obliquely convergent with respect to the San Andreas Fault of central California at 5.2-4.2 Ma, in agreement with geological evidence for a Pliocene onset of folding and faulting in central California. Our reconstruction of the northern Gulf of California at 6.3 Ma differs by only 15-30 km from structurally derived reconstructions after including 3-4 km Myr-1 of geodetically measured slip between the Baja California Peninsula and Pacific plate. This implies an approximate 15-30 km upper bound for plate non-rigidity integrated around the global circuit at 6.3 Ma. A much larger 200±54 km discrepancy between our reconstruction of the northern Gulf of California at 12 Ma and that estimated from structural and marine geophysical observations suggests that faults in northwestern Mexico or possibly west of the Baja California Peninsula accommodated large amounts of obliquely divergent dextral shear

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  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. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Entropy generation in the flow system generated in between two parallel plates due to bivertical motion of the top plate

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    Ahmet Z Sahin; Bekir S Yilbas

    2009-06-01

    Thermodynamic irreversibility in the flow system provides information on the energy and power losses in the system. Minimization of entropy generation in the flow system enables for the parametric optimization of the system operation. In the present study, parallel plates, in between, filled with the fluid are considered. The fluid motion resulted from the bi-vertical compression of the top plate of the parallel plates is examined. The entropy generation rate in the flow system is formulated after considering the constant movement of the top plate, constant applied load, and the combination of the constant velocity and applied load to the top plate. The optimum operating conditions related to the fluid motion in between the parallel plates is determined through the entropy analysis. It is found that the combination of the constant velocity and the constant applied load resulted in the low entropy generation rate.

  9. Basic characteristics of active tectonics of China

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    DENG; Qidong(邓起东); ZHANG; Peizhen(张培震); RAN; Yongkang(冉勇康); YANG; Xiaoping(杨晓平); MIN; Wei(闵伟); CHU; Quanzhi(楚全芝)

    2003-01-01

    During the last 20 years, studies on active tectonics in China have entered a new quantitative research stage and made a great progress. Summing up the quantitative results, a Map of Active Tectonics of China on the scale of 1︰4 million has been compiled. In the map all types of active tectonics and their kinematic parameters are reflected in possible detail, such as active faults, active folds, active basins, active blocks, volcanoes, and earthquakes. This paper summarizes the basic characteristics of active tectonics of China. The Himalaya Mountains and Taiwan Island are major plate boundaries where the slip rates are larger than 15 mm/a. Tectonic activity in the continental intraplate region is characterized by block motion. The crust and lithosphere in the region were dissected into blocks with different orders. Of them the Qinghai-Xizang (Tibet), Xin- jiang, and North China block regions exhibit the most recent tectonic activity. The kinematic characteristics of more than 200 active tectonic zones indicate that the intraplate tectonic activity represents a block motion at a limited low rate. Horizontal slip rate along the tectonic boundary belts between the blocks is generally less than 10 mm/a, and 10-15 mm/a in maximum, and hence it does not support the continental escape theory of high rate of slip.

  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. 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

  12. 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.

  13. Plate Tectonics at 3.8-3.7 Ga: Field Evidence from the Isua Accretionary Complex, Southern West Greenland.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Komiya; Maruyama; Masuda; Nohda; Hayashi; Okamoto

    1999-09-01

    Archean oceanic lithosphere was rigid. These conclusions-rigidity and lateral plate movement-support the idea that the modern style of plate tectonics was in operation only 0.7-0.8 G.yr. after the formation of the Earth.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. Reconciling geodetic and geologic estimates of recent plate motion across the Southwest Indian Ridge

    Science.gov (United States)

    DeMets, C.; Calais, E.; Merkouriev, S.

    2016-10-01

    We use recently published, high-resolution reconstructions of the Southwest Indian Ridge to test whether a previously described systematic difference between Global Positioning System (GPS) and 3.16-Myr-average estimates of seafloor spreading rates between Antarctica and Africa is evidence for a recent slowdown in Southwest Indian Ridge seafloor spreading rates. Along the Nubia-Antarctic segment of the ridge, seafloor opening rates that are estimated with the new, high-resolution reconstructions and corrected for outward displacement agree well with geodetic rate estimates and reduce previously reported, highly significant non-closure of the Nubia-Antarctic-Sur plate circuit. The observations are inconsistent with a slowdown in spreading rates and instead indicate that Nubia-Antarctic plate motion has been steady since at least 5.2 Ma. Lwandle-Antarctic seafloor spreading rates that are estimated from the new high-resolution reconstructions differ insignificantly from a GPS estimate, thereby implying steady Lwandle-Antarctic plate motion since 5.2 Ma. Between the Somalia and Antarctic plates, the new Southwest Indian Ridge reconstructions eliminate roughly half of the systematic difference between the GPS and MORVEL spreading rate estimates. We interpret the available observations as evidence that Somalia-Antarctic spreading rates have been steady since at least 5.2 Ma and postulate that the remaining difference is attributable to random and/or systematic errors in the plate kinematic estimates and the combined effects of insufficient geodetic sampling of undeforming areas of the Somalia plate, glacial isostatic adjustment in Antarctica, and transient deformation triggered by the 1998 Mw=8.2 Antarctic earthquake, the 2004 Mw=9.3 Sumatra earthquake, or possibly other large historic earthquakes.

  18. 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.

  19. The interpretation of crustal dynamics data in terms of plate motions and regional deformation near plate boundaries

    Science.gov (United States)

    Solomon, Sean C.

    During our participation in the NASA Crustal Dynamics Project under NASA contract NAS-27339 and grant NAG5-814 for the period 1982-1991, we published or submitted for publication 30 research papers and 52 abstracts of presentations at scientific meetings. In addition, five M.I.T. Ph.D. students (Eric Bergman, Steven Bratt, Dan Davis, Jeanne Sauber, Anne Sheehan) were supported wholly or in part by this project during their thesis research. Highlights of our research progress during this period include the following: application of geodetic data to determine rates of strain in the Mojave block and in central California and to clarify the relation of such strain to the San Andreas fault and Pacific-North American plate motions; application of geodetic data to infer post seismic deformation associated with large earthquakes in the Imperial Valley, Hebgen Lake, Argentina, and Chile; determination of the state of stress in oceanic lithosphere from a systematic study of the centroid depths and source mechanisms of oceanic intraplate earthquakes; development of models for the state of stress in young oceanic regions arising from the differential cooling of the lithosphere; determination of the depth extent and rupture characteristics of oceanic transform earthquakes; improved determination of earthquake slip vectors in the Gulf of California, an important data set for the estimation of Pacific-North American plate motions; development of models for the state of stress and mechanics of fold-and-thrust belts and accretionary wedges; development of procedures to invert geoid height, residual bathymetry, and differential body wave travel time residuals for lateral variations in the characteristic temperature and bulk composition of the oceanic upper mantle; and initial GPS measurements of crustal deformation associated with the Imperial-Cerro Prieto fault system in southern California and northern Mexico. Full descriptions of the research conducted on these topics may be

  20. 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....

  1. 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.

  2. Global Plate Motions and Their Impact on the Earth's Surface Area Change

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Cao Shuai; Zhang Keliang; Wei Dongping

    2010-01-01

    Based on their Euler polea,we calculated the relative velocities between every two plates in the typical global plate motion models,respectively,and estimated the area change along these boundaries.In our calculations.plates on both sides accommodated area changes depending on the boundary types:extensional,convergent or transform,so we can estimate area change of each plate and then globally.Our preliminary results show that the area of the southern hemisphere increased while that of the northern hemisphere decreased over the past 1 million years,and global area has increased by 26,000km2 to 36,000km2,which corresponds to the 160m~250m increment on the Earth's radius if all these area increments are attributed to Earth's expansion.Taking the NUVEL-1 model as an example,of the 14 plates in this model,11 are decreasing,but the global area has increased because of the larger increment amount from Africa,North America and Antarctica.Finally,we also discussed factors affecting the global area change such as subduction zone retreating and back-arc spreading.

  3. High-resolution estimates of Southwest Indian Ridge plate motions, 20 Ma to present

    Science.gov (United States)

    DeMets, C.; Merkouriev, S.; Sauter, D.

    2015-12-01

    We present the first estimates of Southwest Indian Ridge (SWIR) plate motions at high temporal resolution during the Quaternary and Neogene based on nearly 5000 crossings of 21 magnetic reversals out to C6no (19.72 Ma) and the digitized traces of 17 fracture zones and transform faults. Our reconstructions of this slow-spreading mid-ocean ridge reveal several unexpected results with notable implications for regional and global plate reconstructions since 20 Ma. Extrapolations of seafloor opening distances to zero-age seafloor based on reconstructions of reversals C1n (0.78 Ma) through C3n.4 (5.2 Ma) reveal evidence for surprisingly large outward displacement of 5 ± 1 km west of 32°E, where motion between the Nubia and Antarctic plates occurs, but 2 ± 1 km east of 32°E, more typical of most mid-ocean ridges. Newly estimated SWIR seafloor spreading rates are up to 15 per cent slower everywhere along the ridge than previous estimates. Reconstructions of the numerous observations for times back to 11 Ma confirm the existence of the hypothesized Lwandle plate at high confidence level and indicate that the Lwandle plate's western and eastern boundaries respectively intersect the ridge near the Andrew Bain transform fault complex at 32°E and between ˜45°E and 52°E, in accord with previous results. The Nubia-Antarctic, Lwandle-Antarctic and Somalia-Antarctic rotation sequences that best fit many magnetic reversal, fracture zone and transform fault crossings define previously unknown changes in the Neogene motions of all three plate pairs, consisting of ˜20 per cent slowdowns in their spreading rates at 7.2^{+0.9 }_{ -1.4} Ma if we enforce a simultaneous change in motion everywhere along the SWIR and gradual 3°-7° anticlockwise rotations of the relative slip directions. We apply trans-dimensional Bayesian analysis to our noisy, best-fitting rotation sequences in order to estimate less-noisy rotation sequences suitable for use in future global plate reconstructions

  4. 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.

  5. Comparing the role of absolute sea-level rise and vertical tectonic motions in coastal flooding, Torres Islands (Vanuatu).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ballu, Valérie; Bouin, Marie-Noëlle; Siméoni, Patricia; Crawford, Wayne C; Calmant, Stephane; Boré, Jean-Michel; Kanas, Tony; Pelletier, Bernard

    2011-08-09

    Since the late 1990s, rising sea levels around the Torres Islands (north Vanuatu, southwest Pacific) have caused strong local and international concern. In 2002-2004, a village was displaced due to increasing sea incursions, and in 2005 a United Nations Environment Programme press release referred to the displaced village as perhaps the world's first climate change "refugees." We show here that vertical motions of the Torres Islands themselves dominate the apparent sea-level rise observed on the islands. From 1997 to 2009, the absolute sea level rose by 150 + /-20 mm. But GPS data reveal that the islands subsided by 117 + /-30 mm over the same time period, almost doubling the apparent gradual sea-level rise. Moreover, large earthquakes that occurred just before and after this period caused several hundreds of mm of sudden vertical motion, generating larger apparent sea-level changes than those observed during the entire intervening period. Our results show that vertical ground motions must be accounted for when evaluating sea-level change hazards in active tectonic regions. These data are needed to help communities and governments understand environmental changes and make the best decisions for their future.

  6. Comparing the role of absolute sea-level rise and vertical tectonic motions in coastal flooding, Torres Islands (Vanuatu)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ballu, Valérie; Bouin, Marie-Noëlle; Siméoni, Patricia; Crawford, Wayne C.; Calmant, Stephane; Boré, Jean-Michel; Kanas, Tony; Pelletier, Bernard

    2011-08-01

    Since the late 1990s, rising sea levels around the Torres Islands (north Vanuatu, southwest Pacific) have caused strong local and international concern. In 2002-2004, a village was displaced due to increasing sea incursions, and in 2005 a United Nations Environment Programme press release referred to the displaced village as perhaps the world's first climate change "refugees." We show here that vertical motions of the Torres Islands themselves dominate the apparent sea-level rise observed on the islands. From 1997 to 2009, the absolute sea level rose by 150 + /-20 mm. But GPS data reveal that the islands subsided by 117 + /-30 mm over the same time period, almost doubling the apparent gradual sea-level rise. Moreover, large earthquakes that occurred just before and after this period caused several hundreds of mm of sudden vertical motion, generating larger apparent sea-level changes than those observed during the entire intervening period. Our results show that vertical ground motions must be accounted for when evaluating sea-level change hazards in active tectonic regions. These data are needed to help communities and governments understand environmental changes and make the best decisions for their future.

  7. Large vertical motions and basin evolution in the Outer Continental Borderland off Southern California associated with plate boundary development and continental rifting

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nicholson, C.; Sorlien, C. C.; Schindler, C. S.; De Hoogh, G.

    2011-12-01

    The Continental Borderland offshore southern California occupies a strategic position along the continental margin. It was the locus of ~75% of Pacific-North America displacement history, it helped accommodate the large-scale (>90°) tectonic rotation of the Western Transverse Ranges province, and is still accommodating potentially 20% of PAC-NAM plate motion today. As such, it represents an ideal natural laboratory to investigate plate boundary evolution and basin development associated with transform initiation, oblique continental rifting, transrotation and transpression. We have been using newly released grids of high-quality industry multichannel seismic (MCS) reflection data, combined with multibeam bathymetry and offshore well data to map and construct digital 3D fault surfaces and stratigraphic reference horizons over large parts of the Outer Continental Borderland. These 3D surfaces of structure and stratigraphy can be used to better understand and evaluate regional patterns of uplift, subsidence, fault interaction and other aspects of plate boundary deformation. In the northern Outer Borderland, mapping in Santa Cruz basin, and across both Santa Rosa and Santa Cruz-Catalina ridges reveals a pattern of interacting high-and low-angle faults, fault reactivation, basin subsidence, folding, and basin inversion. Subsidence since early-Miocene time is significant (up to 4 km) and is much larger than predicted by simple thermal cooling models of continental rifting. This requires additional tectonic components to drive this regional subsidence and subsequent basin inversion. Farther south, a more en echelon pattern of ridges and basins suggests a distributed component of right-lateral shear also contributed to much of the modern Borderland seafloor topography, including major Borderland basins. Vertical motions of uplift and subsidence can be estimated from a prominent early-Miocene unconformity that likely represents a regional, paleo-horizontal, near

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Evaluation of motion platform embedded with dual belt treadmill instrumented with two force plates.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sinitski, Emily H; Lemaire, Edward D; Baddour, Natalie

    2015-01-01

    Motek Medical's Computer Aided Rehabilitation Environment (CAREN)-Extended system is a virtual environment primarily used in physical rehabilitation and biomechanical research. This virtual environment consists of a 180 degree projection screen used to display a virtual scene, a 12-camera motion capture system, and a six degree of freedom actuated platform equipped with a dual-belt treadmill and two force plates. The goal of this article was to investigate the performance characteristics associated with a "treadmill-motion platform" configuration and how system operation can affect the data collected. Platform static and dynamic characteristics were evaluated by translating or rotating the platform over progressively larger distances and comparing input and measured values. Treadmill belt speed was assessed with and without a person walking on the platform and at different orientations. Force plate measurements were examined when the treadmill was in operation, during ambulation, and over time to observe the baseline drift. Platform acceleration was dependent on the distance travelled and system settings. Treadmill speed variability was greatest at faster speeds. Force plate measurements were affected by platform and treadmill operation, contralateral impact forces during gait, and baseline drift. Knowledge of performance characteristics and their effect on outcome data is crucial for effective design of CAREN research protocols and rehabilitation scenarios.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. Andean tectonics: Implications for Satellite Geodesy

    Science.gov (United States)

    Allenby, R. J.

    1984-01-01

    Current knowledge and theories of large scale Andean tectonics as they relate to site planning for the NASA Crustal Dynamics Program's proposed high precision geodetic measurements of relative motions between the Nazca and South American plates are summarized. The Nazca Plate and its eastern margin, the Peru-Chile Trench, is considered a prototype plate marked by rapid motion, strong seismicity and well defined boundaries. Tectonic activity across the Andes results from the Nazca Plate subducting under the South American plate in a series of discrete platelets with different widths and dip angles. This in turn, is reflected in the tectonic complexity of the Andes which are a multitutde of orogenic belts superimposed on each other since the Precambrian. Sites for Crustal Dynamics Program measurements are being located to investigate both interplate and extraplate motions. Observing operations have already been initiated at Arequipa, Peru and Easter Island, Santiago and Cerro Tololo, Chile. Sites under consideration include Iquique, Chile; Oruro and Santa Cruz, Bolivia; Cuzco, Lima, Huancayo and Bayovar, Peru; and Quito and the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. Based on scientific considerations, Santa Cruz, Huancayo (or Lima), Quito and the Galapagos Islands should be replaced by Isla San Felix, Chile; Brazilia or Petrolina, Brazil; and Guayaquil, Ecuador. If resources permit, additional important sites would be Buenaventura and Villavicencio or Puerto La Concordia, Colombia; and Mendoza and Cordoba, Argentina.

  18. Andean tectonics: Implications for Satellite Geodesy

    Science.gov (United States)

    Allenby, R. J.

    1984-09-01

    Current knowledge and theories of large scale Andean tectonics as they relate to site planning for the NASA Crustal Dynamics Program's proposed high precision geodetic measurements of relative motions between the Nazca and South American plates are summarized. The Nazca Plate and its eastern margin, the Peru-Chile Trench, is considered a prototype plate marked by rapid motion, strong seismicity and well defined boundaries. Tectonic activity across the Andes results from the Nazca Plate subducting under the South American plate in a series of discrete platelets with different widths and dip angles. This in turn, is reflected in the tectonic complexity of the Andes which are a multitutde of orogenic belts superimposed on each other since the Precambrian. Sites for Crustal Dynamics Program measurements are being located to investigate both interplate and extraplate motions. Observing operations have already been initiated at Arequipa, Peru and Easter Island, Santiago and Cerro Tololo, Chile. Sites under consideration include Iquique, Chile; Oruro and Santa Cruz, Bolivia; Cuzco, Lima, Huancayo and Bayovar, Peru; and Quito and the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. Based on scientific considerations, Santa Cruz, Huancayo (or Lima), Quito and the Galapagos Islands should be replaced by Isla San Felix, Chile; Brazilia or Petrolina, Brazil; and Guayaquil, Ecuador. If resources permit, additional important sites would be Buenaventura and Villavicencio or Puerto La Concordia, Colombia; and Mendoza and Cordoba, Argentina.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. Reducing risk where tectonic plates collide—U.S. Geological Survey subduction zone science plan

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gomberg, Joan S.; Ludwig, Kristin A.; Bekins, Barbara; Brocher, Thomas M.; Brock, John C.; Brothers, Daniel; Chaytor, Jason D.; Frankel, Arthur; Geist, Eric L.; Haney, Matt; Hickman, Stephen H.; Leith, William S.; Roeloffs, Evelyn A.; Schulz, William H.; Sisson, Thomas W.; Wallace, Kristi; Watt, Janet; Wein, Anne

    2017-06-19

    The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) serves the Nation by providing reliable scientific information and tools to build resilience in communities exposed to subduction zone earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides, and volcanic eruptions. Improving the application of USGS science to successfully reduce risk from these events relies on whole community efforts, with continuing partnerships among scientists and stakeholders, including researchers from universities, other government labs and private industry, land-use planners, engineers, policy-makers, emergency managers and responders, business owners, insurance providers, the media, and the general public.Motivated by recent technological advances and increased awareness of our growing vulnerability to subduction-zone hazards, the USGS is uniquely positioned to take a major step forward in the science it conducts and products it provides, building on its tradition of using long-term monitoring and research to develop effective products for hazard mitigation. This science plan provides a blueprint both for prioritizing USGS science activities and for delineating USGS interests and potential participation in subduction zone science supported by its partners.The activities in this plan address many USGS stakeholder needs:High-fidelity tools and user-tailored information that facilitate increasingly more targeted, neighborhood-scale decisions to mitigate risks more cost-effectively and ensure post-event operability. Such tools may include maps, tables, and simulated earthquake ground-motion records conveying shaking intensity and frequency. These facilitate the prioritization of retrofitting of vulnerable infrastructure;Information to guide local land-use and response planning to minimize development in likely hazardous zones (for example, databases, maps, and scenario documents to guide evacuation route planning in communities near volcanoes, along coastlines vulnerable to tsunamis, and built on landslide-prone terrain);New tools

  2. Intraplate deformation, stress in the lithosphere and the driving mechanism for plate motions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Albee, Arden L.

    1993-01-01

    The initial research proposed was to use the predictions of geodynamical models of mantle flow, combined with geodetic observations of intraplate strain and stress, to better constrain mantle convection and the driving mechanism for plate motions and deformation. It is only now that geodetic observations of intraplate strain are becoming sufficiently well resolved to make them useful for substantial geodynamical inference to be made. A model of flow in the mantle that explains almost 90 percent of the variance in the observed longwavelength nonhydrostatic geoid was developed.

  3. 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.

  4. The World Stress Map Database Release 2016 - Global Crustal Stress Pattern vs. Absolute Plate Motion

    Science.gov (United States)

    Heidbach, Oliver; Rajabi, Mojtaba; Ziegler, Moritz; Reiter, Karsten

    2016-04-01

    The World Stress Map (WSM) Project was initiated in 1986 under the auspices of the International Lithosphere Program in order to compile the global information on the contemporary crustal stress state. The data come from a wide range of stress indicators such as borehole data (e.g. hydraulic fracturing, borehole breakouts), earthquake focal mechanism solutions, engineering methods (e.g. overcoring), and geological data (e.g. inversion of fault slip measurements). To guarantee the comparability of the different data sources each data record is assessed with the WSM quality ranking scheme. For the 30th anniversary we compiled a new WSM database with 42,410 data records which is an increase by >20,000 data records compared to the WSM 2008 database. In particular we added new data from more than 3,500 deep boreholes and put special emphasis on regions which previously had sparse or no published stress data such as China, Australia, Brazil, Southern Africa, Middle East and Iceland. Furthermore, we fully integrated the Chinese stress database and the Australian stress database. The resulting data increase reveals several areas with regional and local variability of the stress pattern. In particular we re-visited the question whether the plate boundary forces are the key control of the plate-wide stress pattern as indicated by the first release of the WSM in 1989 [Zoback et al, 1989]. As the WSM has now more than 10 times data records and thus a better spatial coverage we first filter the long-wave length stress pattern on a regular grid. We determine at these grid points the difference between absolute plate motion azimuth using the global plate model HS3-NUVEL1A [Gripp and Gordon, 2002] and the mean orientation of the maximum horizontal stress. The preliminary results show that the earlier findings are still valid in principal. However, all plates show in some parts significant deviations from this general trend; some plates such as the Australian Plate show hardly any

  5. 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

    tomographic transects shows at once that in by far the majority of cases, the 'slab' signature begins to fade at some depth in the 180 - 350 km interval, but that a second high-Vp signature begins near 400 km and may continue far into the lower mantle. The fading, whose onset depth varies both with the age of the plate and with the subduction rate, is clearly due, not to slab drop-off, but to reheating of the slab component by its underlying ex-LVZ heat. In either case, reheating or drop-off, this invalidates slab pull as a reliable item in the tectonics toolkit. Instead, there is a thick-plate mechanism to provide back-arc opening in the presence of ridge-push [3, 11]. Slab-reheating may proceed to the stage of partially melting the interface oceanic crust. On experimental evidence, this will, at TZ depth, produce high-density, high-Vp stishovitic residues, lumps of which I see as causing the second high-Vp signature, as they shower through the 660 into the lower mantle. This interpretation escapes the slab-view paradox that the world's longest-lived young-plate subduction zone also has the world's biggest high-Vp signature in the lower mantle, whereas Izu-Bonin, subducting very old plate, has one of the smallest. Young-plate heat would surely melt more of the interface crust and generate more of the high-density residue. The early Proterozoic date at which this mantle layout replaced whole-mantle overturn is well shown by the behaviour of the mantle depletion index, epsilon Nd. At this point I conclude unhesitatingly that subduction is neither the, nor even one of the drivers of current plate motions, but is primarily driven by the powerful ridge-push from the thick-plate version of the MOR process. That push is what compresses the ocean plate if step-faulting at the downbend has temporarily locked subduction ('seismic coupling'), with the potential to release the energy for an M9 earthquake. But our system is dynamically incomplete. Ridge push cannot split a continent, so

  6. Coupling Motion and Energy Harvesting of Two Side-by-Side Flexible Plates in a 3D Uniform Flow

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Dibo Dong

    2016-05-01

    Full Text Available The fluid-structure interaction problems of two side-by-side flexible plates with a finite aspect ratio in a three-dimensional (3D uniform flow are numerically studied. The plates’ motions are entirely passive under the force of surrounding fluid. By changing the aspect ratio and transverse distance, the coupling motions, drag force and energy capture performance are analyzed. The mechanisms underlying the plates’ motion and flow characteristics are discussed systematically. The adopted algorithm is verified and validated by the simulation of flow past a square flexible plate. The results show that the plate’s passive flapping behavior contains transverse and spanwise deformation, and the flapping amplitude is proportional to the aspect ratio. In the side-by-side configuration, three distinct coupling modes of the plates’ motion are identified, including single-plate mode, symmetrical flapping mode and decoupled mode. The plate with a lower aspect ratio may suffer less drag force and capture less bending energy than in the isolated situation. The optimized selection for obtaining higher energy conversion efficiency is the plate flapping in single-plate mode, especially the plate with a higher aspect ratio. The findings of this work provide several new physical insights into the understanding of fish schooling and are expected to inspire the developments of underwater robots or energy harvesters.

  7. 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.

  8. Jerks as Guiding Influences on the Global Environment: Effects on the Solid Earth, Its Angular Momentum and Lithospheric Plate Motions, the Atmosphere, Weather, and Climate

    Science.gov (United States)

    Quinn, J. M.; Leybourne, B. A.

    2010-12-01

    modulated. These parameters in turn affect the weather and climate (e.g., the Dust Bowl Era, El Ninos, La Ninas, and hurricanes). The stress/strain within the Earth leads to Earth torsion, vibration, and mass redistribution, which leads to tectonic plate motion, seismicity, volcanism, and gravity waves, which drive atmospheric circulation and the teleconnection processes (i.e., a redistribution of magma beneath the plates) via surge tectonics. Various other connections among these processes and parameters will be discussed.

  9. 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

  10. Active Tectonics: Part 2: Epeirogenic and intraplate movements

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brown, L. D.; Reilinger, R. E.

    The major deformations of the Earth's surface are largely consistent with the tenets of plate tectonics, which predict that such activity should be focused at the various boundaries along which massive lithospheric plates collide, pull apart, or slide past one another. Yet crustal deformations also occur well into the interior of these plates. Some may represent the distributed effects of distant plate boundaries, as, for example, the earthquakes of the intermontane western United States. Some, such as the geodetically observed uplift over a deep magma chamber in the Rio Grande rift of New Mexico, may correspond to incipient foundation of a new plate boundary. Others, like the subtle, broad uplifts and subsidences in the nominally stable cratonic interiors, are much more puzzling. Such motions often appear estranged, if not divorced, from accepted plate-tectonic processes. Postglacial rebound, a well-known phenomenon in portions of North America and Europe, also appears to be an inadequate explanation for many observations. Understanding contemporary motions of plate interiors is often hindered by the paucity and uncertain accuracy of relevant geophysical and geodetic observations. Yet intraplate tectonics constitutes more than a scientific enigma. Even seemingly slow vertical motions may threaten river courses or seafront properties on socially relevant time scales, and the subtle strain accumulating elsewhere may portend future earthquakes or volcanoes in the least predictable places.

  11. 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

  12. Recent rapid shortening of crust across the Tianshan Mts. and relative motion of tectonic blocks in the north and south

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2000-01-01

    Based on the multiple-epoch Global Positioning System observations during a period from 1992 to 1999, we document directly a rapid crustal shortening of ~20 mm/a across the western Tianshan Mts. (76°E), in contrast to a 4 mm/a convergent rate across the eastern Tianshan Mts. (87°E)and the north-south convergence across the mountain belt descends laterally from west to east. The direction of current crustal movement inferred by GPS sites along the southern flank of the Tianshan Mts. is approximately perpendicular to the easterly-trending mountain belt, indicating that the Tarim Basin thrust almost rightly into the Tianshan Mts. The Tarim Basin accommodates nearly no or a minor, if any, crustal deformation and rotates clockwise, as a rigid body in a whole, at a rate of 0.64°/Ma around a Euler pole at 95.7°E, 40.3°N (Anxi, Gansu) with respect to the stable Siberia. The relative motion between the Kazakh platform and the Dzungarian Basin is quite apparent. The Dzungar should be regarded as an independent active block from the view of the Asia tectonic settings.

  13. Late Neogene changes in North America and Antarctica absolute plate motions inferred from the Mid-Atlantic and Southwest Indian Ridges spreading histories

    Science.gov (United States)

    Iaffaldano, G.; DeMets, C.

    2016-08-01

    Reconstructions of absolute plate motions underpin our understanding of the plate torque balance, but are challenging due to difficulties in inferring well-dated rates and directions of plate movements from hot spot tracks. Useful information about plate dynamics can be inferred from rapid absolute plate motion changes, as these are linked only to the torque(s) that changed. Here we infer late Neogene changes in the absolute motions of North America and possibly Antarctica from changes in the easier-to-determine relative plate motions recorded along the Arctic, northern Mid-Atlantic and Southwest Indian Ridges. We show that Eurasia/North America and Nubia/North America motions changed by the same amount between 8 and 5 Ma, as may have Nubia/Antarctica and Somalia/Antarctica plate motions. By considering additional, independent constraints on Somalia/India plate motion, we argue that a scenario in which North America and Antarctica absolute motions changed is the simplest one that explains the observed changes in relative motions. We speculate that these changes are linked to the late Neogene dynamics of the Pacific plate.

  14. Tectonic evolution of the Sierra Maestra Mountains, SE Cuba, during Tertiary times: From arc-continent collision to transform motion

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rojas-Agramonte, Y.; Neubauer, F.; Garcia-Delgado, D. E.; Handler, R.; Friedl, G.; Delgado-Damas, R.

    2008-09-01

    A structural study was carried out along the southern Sierra Maestra mountain range, SE Cuba. This was aimed to monitor the effects of Paleogene island arc formation and collision due to convergence of the Caribbean and North American plates and subsequent Neogene disruption of the arc by initiation of the North Caribbean Transform Fault. In the Sierra Maestra two different and unrelated volcanic arcs are exposed, one of Cretaceous age (pre-Maastrichtian) and the other of Paleogene age, the latter forming the main expression of the mountain range. The volcanic arcs are overlain by Middle-Upper Eocene siliciclastic, carbonate and terrigenous rocks. Six distinct phases of deformation were recognized in this area (D1-D6). The first phase (D1) is related to the intrusion of a set of extensive subparallel, N-trending subvertical basalt-andesite dikes which record mainly E-W extension and N-S shortening during the Late Paleocene to Middle Eocene. The final stage of collision of eastern Cuba (Caribbean plate) with the Bahamas Platform (North American plate) began in the Middle Eocene and coincided with cessation of magmatism in the Sierra Maestra. Following uplift in the Sierra Maestra, coarse clastic sediments were deposited along the northern edge with clast provenance from the uplifted, southerly located, areas. Between Late Middle Eocene and Early Oligocene, rocks of the Sierra Maestra were deformed by nearly east-west trending folds and north-vergent thrust faults (D2) in an overall antiformal structure. This deformation was linked to a shift in the stress regime of the Caribbean plate from mainly N-S to NE-SW compression. Subsequent shifting in plate motion caused the abandonment of the Nipe-Guacanayabo fault system in the Early Oligocene and initiation of a deformation front to the south where the Oriente fault is now located. Shortening structures within the Sierra Maestra were overprinted in the Oligocene to Early Miocene by widespread extensional structures (D3

  15. Intermediate crust (IC); its construction at continent edges, distinctive epeirogenic behaviour and identification as sedimentary basins within continents: new light on pre-oceanic plate motions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Osmaston, Miles F.

    2014-05-01

    Introduction. The plate tectonics paradigm currently posits that the Earth has only two kinds of crust - continental and oceanic - and that the former may be stretched to form sedimentary basins or the latter may be modified by arc or collision until it looks continental. But global analysis of the dynamics of actual plate motions for the past 150 Ma indicates [1 - 3] that continental tectospheres must be immensely thicker and rheologically stiffer than previously thought; almost certainly too thick to be stretched with the forces available. In the extreme case of cratons, these tectospheric keels evidently extend to 600 km or more [2, 3]. This thick-plate behaviour is attributable, not to cooling but to a petrological 'stiffening' effect, associated with a loss of water-weakening of the mineral crystals, which also applies to the hitherto supposedly mobile LVZ below MORs [4, 5]. The corresponding thick-plate version of the mid-ocean ridge (MOR) process [6 - 8], replacing the divergent mantle flow model, has a deep, narrow wall-accreting axial crack which not only provides the seismic anisotropy beneath the flanks but also brings two outstanding additional benefits:- (i) why, at medium to fast spreading rates, MOR axes become straight and orthogonally segmented [6], (ii) not being driven by body forces, it can achieve the sudden jumps of axis, spreading-rate and direction widely present in the ocean-floor record. Furthermore, as we will illustrate, the crack walls push themselves apart at depth by a thermodynamic mechanism, so the plates are not being pulled apart. So the presence of this process at a continental edge would not imply the application of extensional force to the margin. Intermediate Crust (IC). In seeking to resolve the paradox that superficially extensional structures are often seen at margins we will first consider how this MOR process would be affected by the heavy concurrent sedimentation to be expected when splitting a mature continent. I reason

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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,

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. MagicPlate-512: A 2D silicon detector array for quality assurance of stereotactic motion adaptive radiotherapy

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Petasecca, M., E-mail: marcop@uow.edu.au; Newall, M. K.; Aldosari, A. H.; Fuduli, I.; Espinoza, A. A.; Porumb, C. S.; Guatelli, S.; Metcalfe, P.; Lerch, M. L. F.; Rosenfeld, A. B. [Centre for Medical Radiation Physics, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW 2500, Australia and Illawarra Health Medical Research Institute, Wollongong, NSW 2522 (Australia); Booth, J. T.; Colvill, E. [School of Medicine, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia and Northern Sydney Cancer Centre, Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney, NSW 2065 (Australia); Duncan, M.; Cammarano, D. [Centre for Medical Radiation Physics, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW 2500 (Australia); Carolan, M. [Centre for Medical Radiation Physics, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW 2500 (Australia); Illawarra Cancer Care Centre, Wollongong Hospital, Wollongong, NSW 2500 (Australia); Illawarra Health Medical Research Institute, Wollongong, NSW 2522 (Australia); Oborn, B. [Centre for Medical Radiation Physics, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW 2500 (Australia); Illawarra Cancer Care Centre, Wollongong Hospital, Wollongong, NSW 2500 (Australia); Perevertaylo, V. [SPA-BIT, Kiev 02232 (Ukraine); Keall, P. J. [School of Medicine, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006 (Australia)

    2015-06-15

    Purpose: Spatial and temporal resolutions are two of the most important features for quality assurance instrumentation of motion adaptive radiotherapy modalities. The goal of this work is to characterize the performance of the 2D high spatial resolution monolithic silicon diode array named “MagicPlate-512” for quality assurance of stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) and stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) combined with a dynamic multileaf collimator (MLC) tracking technique for motion compensation. Methods: MagicPlate-512 is used in combination with the movable platform HexaMotion and a research version of radiofrequency tracking system Calypso driving MLC tracking software. The authors reconstruct 2D dose distributions of small field square beams in three modalities: in static conditions, mimicking the temporal movement pattern of a lung tumor and tracking the moving target while the MLC compensates almost instantaneously for the tumor displacement. Use of Calypso in combination with MagicPlate-512 requires a proper radiofrequency interference shielding. Impact of the shielding on dosimetry has been simulated by GEANT4 and verified experimentally. Temporal and spatial resolutions of the dosimetry system allow also for accurate verification of segments of complex stereotactic radiotherapy plans with identification of the instant and location where a certain dose is delivered. This feature allows for retrospective temporal reconstruction of the delivery process and easy identification of error in the tracking or the multileaf collimator driving systems. A sliding MLC wedge combined with the lung motion pattern has been measured. The ability of the MagicPlate-512 (MP512) in 2D dose mapping in all three modes of operation was benchmarked by EBT3 film. Results: Full width at half maximum and penumbra of the moving and stationary dose profiles measured by EBT3 film and MagicPlate-512 confirm that motion has a significant impact on the dose distribution. Motion

  4. Astrometry with "Carte du Ciel" plates, San Fernando zone. II. CdC-SF: a precise proper motion catalogue

    CERN Document Server

    Vicente, Belen; Garzon, Francisco; Girard, Terrence M

    2009-01-01

    The historic plates of the "Carte du Ciel", an international cooperative project launched in 1887, offer valuable first-epoch material for the determination of absolute proper motions. We present the CdC-SF, an astrometric catalogue of positions and proper motions derived from the "Carte du Ciel" plates of the San Fernando zone, photographic material with a mean epoch of 1901.4 and a limiting magnitude of V~16, covering the declination range of -10deg < declination < -2deg. Digitization has been made using a conventional flatbed scanner. Special techniques have been developed to handle the combination of plate material and the large distortion introduced by the scanner. The equatorial coordinates are on the ICRS defined by Tycho-2, and proper motions are derived using UCAC2 as second-epoch positions. The result is a catalogue with positions and proper motions for 560000 stars, covering 1080 degrees squared. The mean positional uncertainty is 0.20" (0.12" for well-measured stars) and the proper-motion un...

  5. 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

  6. Rheological decoupling at the Moho and implication to Venusian tectonics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Azuma, Shintaro; Katayama, Ikuo; Nakakuki, Tomoeki

    2014-03-18

    Plate tectonics is largely responsible for material and heat circulation in Earth, but for unknown reasons it does not exist on Venus. The strength of planetary materials is a key control on plate tectonics because physical properties, such as temperature, pressure, stress, and chemical composition, result in strong rheological layering and convection in planetary interiors. Our deformation experiments show that crustal plagioclase is much weaker than mantle olivine at conditions corresponding to the Moho in Venus. Consequently, this strength contrast may produce a mechanical decoupling between the Venusian crust and interior mantle convection. One-dimensional numerical modeling using our experimental data confirms that this large strength contrast at the Moho impedes the surface motion of the Venusian crust and, as such, is an important factor in explaining the absence of plate tectonics on Venus.

  7. Global Tectonics of Enceladus: Numerical Model

    Science.gov (United States)

    Czechowski, Leszek

    2016-10-01

    Introduction: Enceladus, a satellite of Saturn, is the smallest celestial body in the Solar System where volcanic and tectonic activities are observed. Every second, the mass of 200 kg is ejected into space from the South Polar Terrain (SPT) - [1]. The loss of matter from the body's interior should lead to global compression of the crust. Typical effects of compression are: thrust faults, folding and subduction. However, such forms are not dominant on Enceladus. We propose here special tectonic process that could explain this paradox. Our hypotheses states that the mass loss from SPT is the main driving mechanism of the following tectonic processes: subsidence of SPT, flow in the mantle and motion of adjacent tectonic plates. The hypotheses is presented in [2], [3] and[4].We suggest that the loss of the volatiles results in a void, an instability, and motion of solid matter to fill the void. The motion is presented at the Fig.1 and includes:Subsidence of the 'lithosphere' of SPT.Flow of the matter in the mantle.Motion of plates adjacent to SPT towards the active regionMethods and results: The numerical model of processes presented is developed. It is based on the equations of continuous media..If emerging void is being filled by the subsidence of SPT only, then the velocity of subsidence is 0.05 mmyr-1. However, numerical calculations indicate that all three types of motion are usually important. The role of a given motion depends on the viscosity distribution. Generally, for most of the models the subsidence is 0.02 mmyr-1, but mantle flow and plates' motion also play a role in filling the void. The preliminary results of the numerical model indicate also that the velocity of adjacent plates could be 0.02 mmyr-1 for the Newtonian rheology.Note that in our model the reduction of the crust area is not a result of compression but it is a result of the plate sinking. Therefore the compressional surface features do not have to be dominant. The SPT does not have to be

  8. 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

  9. 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...

  10. Magma production rate along the Ninetyeast Ridge and its relationship to Indian plate motion and Kerguelen hot spot activity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sreejith, K. M.; Krishna, K. S.

    2015-02-01

    The Ninetyeast Ridge, a linear trace of the Kerguelen hot spot in the Indian Ocean, was emplaced on a rapidly drifting Indian plate. Magma production rates along the ridge track are computed using gravity-derived excess crustal thickness data. The production rates change between 2 and 15 m3/s over timescales of 3-16 Myr. Major variations in magma production rates are primarily associated with significant changes in the Indian plate velocity with low-production phases linked to high plate velocity periods. The lowest magma production rate (2 m3/s) at 62 Ma is associated with the rapid northward drift of Indian plate under the influence of the Reunion mantle plume. The contemporaneous slowing of the African plate coincides with increase in magma production rate along the Walvis Ridge in the Atlantic Ocean. The present study suggests that variations in the Indian plate motion and frequent ridge jumps have a major role in controlling the magma production, particularly on long-period cycles (~16 Myr). Short-period variations (~5 Myr) in magma productions may be associated with intrinsic changes in the plume, possibly due to the presence of solitary waves in the plume conduit.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

    Palaeo-uplift also was developed in the Early Permian to Middle Triassic (277-236 Ma), related to the final closure of the Paleo-Asian Ocean. Furthermore, we advocate that the tectonic setting of Inner Mongolia Palaeo-uplift probably belonged to the plate marginal orogenic belt during Early Permian-Middle Triassic.

  16. End Late Paleozoic tectonic stress field in the southern edge of Junggar Basin

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Wei Ju

    2012-09-01

    Full Text Available This paper presents the end Late Paleozoic tectonic stress field in the southern edge of Junggar Basin by interpreting stress-response structures (dykes, folds, faults with slickenside and conjugate joints. The direction of the maximum principal stress axes is interpreted to be NW–SE (about 325°, and the accommodated motion among plates is assigned as the driving force of this tectonic stress field. The average value of the stress index R′ is about 2.09, which indicates a variation from strike-slip to compressive tectonic stress regime in the study area during the end Late Paleozoic period. The reconstruction of the tectonic field in the southern edge of Junggar Basin provides insights into the tectonic deformation processes around the southern Junggar Basin and contributes to the further understanding of basin evolution and tectonic settings during the culmination of the Paleozoic.

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

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

    OpenAIRE

    Buscher, Jamie Todd

    2007-01-01

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

  1. Extension in a convergent tectonic setting: a lithospheic view on the Alboran system of SW Europe

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Vissers, R.L.M.

    2012-01-01

    The Betic Cordillera of southern Spain forms a clear example of a collisional orogen that has undergone large-scale late-orogenic extension while convergent motion of the bounding plates continued. The orogen provides a unique opportunity to study the tectonics of the system at different lithospheri

  2. 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.

  3. 玉树地震与板块运动%Earthquake in Yushu and Plate Tectonic Motions

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    杨志根; 舒逢春

    2010-01-01

    @@ 2010年4月14日,在我国青海省玉树县(北纬33.2°,东经96.7°)发生了里氏7.1级大地震,地震对当地人民的生命和财产造成了重大伤亡和损失.这是继2008年5月12日我国四川省汶川县(北纬31.0°,东经103.4°)发生里氏8.0级特大地震之后,又一次在中西部地区发生的灾难性地震.

  4. Greenland Fracture Zone-East Greenland Ridge(s) revisited: Indications of a C22-change in plate motion?

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Døssing, Arne; Funck, T.

    2012-01-01

    Fracture Zone and separation of the 200-km-long, fracture-zone-parallel continental East Greenland Ridge from the Eurasia plate is thought to be related to a major change in relative plate motions between Greenland and Eurasia during the earliest Oligocene (Chron 13 time). This study presents...... a reinterpretation of the Greenland Fracture Zone -East Greenland Ridge based on new and existing geophysical data. Evidence is shown for two overstepping ridge segments (Segments A and B) of which Segment A corresponds to the already known East Greenland Ridge while Segment B was not detected previously....... Interpretation of sonobuoy data and revised modeling of existing OBS data across Segment B indicate a continental composition of the segment. This interpretation is supported by magnetic anomaly data. The Segments A and B are bounded by portions of the Greenland Fracture Zone with a distinct similar to 10...

  5. 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...

  6. 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...

  7. 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

  8. Fault Segmentation and Earthquake Generation in the Transition from Strike-slip to Subduction Plate Motion, Saint Elias Orogen, Alaska and Yukon (Invited)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bruhn, R. L.; Shennan, I.; Pavlis, T. L.

    2010-12-01

    potential tsunami hazard that may affect population centers around the Pacific rim. Plate tectonic setting, NE Gulf of Alaska

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. Is plate tectonis withstanding the test of time?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    O. Shields

    1997-06-01

    Full Text Available Since the theory of plate tectonics was first proposed thirty years ago, some problems have arisen in its practical application. These call into question its fundamental assumptions of horizontal plate motion, hotspot fixity, true polar wander, Panthalassa, and the Earth’s constant size while leaving seafloor spreading and subduction intact. A rapidity expanding earth solves these problems and privides an alternative viewpoint worth reconsidering.

  13. Combined Plate Motion and Density Driven Flow in the Asthenosphere beneath Saudi Arabia: Evidence from Shearwave Splitting and Seismic Anisotropy

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Hansen, S; Schwartz, S; Al-Amri, A; Rodgers, A

    2006-09-08

    Mantle anisotropy along the Red Sea and across the Arabian Peninsula was analyzed using shear-wave splitting recorded by stations from three different seismic networks: the largest, most widely distributed array of stations examined across the Arabian Peninsula to date. Stations near the Gulf of Aqaba display fast orientations aligned parallel to the Dead Sea Transform Fault, most likely related to the strike-slip motion between Africa and Arabia However, most of our observations across Arabia are statistically the same (at a 95% confidence level), with north-south oriented fast directions and delay times averaging about 1.4 s. Since end-member models of fossilized anisotropy and present-day asthenospheric flow do not adequately explain these observations, we interpret them as a combination of plate and density driven flow in the asthenosphere. Combining northeast oriented flow associated with absolute plate motion with northwest oriented flow associated with the channelized Afar upwelling along the Red Sea produces a north-south resultant that matches the observations and supports models of active rifting.

  14. 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

  15. Space Geodetic Observations and Modeling of 2016 Mw 5.9 Menyuan Earthquake: Implications on Seismogenic Tectonic Motion

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yongsheng Li

    2016-06-01

    Full Text Available Determining the relationship between crustal movement and faulting in thrust belts is essential for understanding the growth of geological structures and addressing the proposed models of a potential earthquake hazard. A Mw 5.9 earthquake occurred on 21 January 2016 in Menyuan, NE Qinghai Tibetan plateau. We combined satellite interferometry from Sentinel-1A Terrain Observation with Progressive Scans (TOPS images, historical earthquake records, aftershock relocations and geological data to determine fault seismogenic structural geometry and its relationship with the Lenglongling faults. The results indicate that the reverse slip of the 2016 earthquake is distributed on a southwest dipping shovel-shaped fault segment. The main shock rupture was initiated at the deeper part of the fault plane. The focal mechanism of the 2016 earthquake is quite different from that of a previous Ms 6.5 earthquake which occurred in 1986. Both earthquakes occurred at the two ends of a secondary fault. Joint analysis of the 1986 and 2016 earthquakes and aftershocks distribution of the 2016 event reveals an intense connection with the tectonic deformation of the Lenglongling faults. Both earthquakes resulted from the left-lateral strike-slip of the Lenglongling fault zone and showed distinct focal mechanism characteristics. Under the shearing influence, the normal component is formed at the releasing bend of the western end of the secondary fault for the left-order alignment of the fault zone, while the thrust component is formed at the restraining bend of the east end for the right-order alignment of the fault zone. Seismic activity of this region suggests that the left-lateral strike-slip of the Lenglongling fault zone plays a significant role in adjustment of the tectonic deformation in the NE Tibetan plateau.

  16. Tectonically asymmetric Earth:From net rotation to polarized westward drift of the lithosphere

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Carlo Doglioni; Eugenio Carminati; Mattia Crespi; Marco Cuffaro; Mattia Penati; Federica Riguzzi

    2015-01-01

    The possibility of a net rotation of the lithosphere with respect to the mantle is generally overlooked since it depends on the adopted mantle reference frames, which are arbitrary. We review the geological and geophysical signatures of plate boundaries, and show that they are markedly asym-metric worldwide. Then we compare available reference frames of plate motions relative to the mantle and discuss which is at best able to fit global tectonic data. Different assumptions about the depths of hotspot sources (below or within the asthenosphere, which decouples the lithosphere from the deep mantle) predict different rates of net rotation of the lithosphere relative to the mantle. The widely used no-net-rotation (NNR) reference frame, and low (1?/Ma) net rotation (shallow hotspots source), all plates, albeit at different velocity, move westerly along a curved trajectory, with a tectonic equator tilted about 30? relative to the geographic equator. This is consistent with the observed global tectonic asymmetries.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2006-11-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-05-01

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

  19. Real Plates and Dubious Microplates

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kogan, M. G.; Steblov, G. M.

    2008-12-01

    From the onset of plate tectonics, the existence of most of the plates was never put in doubt, although the boundaries of some plates, like Africa, were later revised. There are however, two microplates in northeast Asia, the Amurian and Okhotsk, whose existence and the sense of rotation was revised several times. The rms value of plate-residual GPS velocities is 0.5-0.9 mm/a for sets of stations representing the motion of the following plates: Antarctic, Australian, Eurasian, North American, Nubian, Pacific, and South American. This value can be regarded as an upper bound on deviation of real plates from infinite stiffness. The rms value of plate-residual GPS velocities is 1.2-1.8 mm/a for the Indian, Nazca, and Somalian plates. Higher rms values for India and Nazca are attributed to the noisier data. The higher rms value for Somalia appears to arise from the distributed deformation to the east of the East African Rift; whether this statement is true can only be decided from observations of denser network in the future. From the analysis of plate-residual GPS velocities, the Canadian Arctic and northeastern Siberia belong to the North American plate. The detailed GPS survey on Sakhalin Island shows that the Sea of Okhotsk region also belongs to the North American plate while the region to the west of it belongs to the Eurasian plate. These results provide a constraint on the geometry of the North American plate and put in doubt the existence of smaller plates in northeast Asia.

  20. Motion

    CERN Document Server

    Graybill, George

    2007-01-01

    Take the mystery out of motion. Our resource gives you everything you need to teach young scientists about motion. Students will learn about linear, accelerating, rotating and oscillating motion, and how these relate to everyday life - and even the solar system. Measuring and graphing motion is easy, and the concepts of speed, velocity and acceleration are clearly explained. Reading passages, comprehension questions, color mini posters and lots of hands-on activities all help teach and reinforce key concepts. Vocabulary and language are simplified in our resource to make them accessible to str

  1. Screw augmentation reduces motion at the bone-implant interface: a biomechanical study of locking plate fixation of proximal humeral fractures.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schliemann, Benedikt; Seifert, Robert; Rosslenbroich, Steffen B; Theisen, Christina; Wähnert, Dirk; Raschke, Michael J; Weimann, Andre

    2015-12-01

    Shear forces at the bone-implant interface lead to a loss of reduction after locking plate fixation of proximal humeral fractures. The aim of the study was to analyze the roles of medial support screws and screw augmentation in failure loads and motion at the bone-implant interface after locking plate fixation of proximal humeral fractures. Unstable 3-part fractures were simulated in 6 pairs of cadaveric humeri and were fixed with a DiPhos-H locking plate (Lima Corporate, Udine, Italy). An additional medial support screw was implanted in 1 humerus of every donor. The opposite humerus was stabilized with a medial support screw and additional bone cement augmentation of the 2 anteriorly directed head screws. Specimens were loaded in the varus bending position. Stiffness, failure loads, plate bending, and the motion at the bone-implant interface were evaluated using an optical motion capture system. The mean load to failure was 669 N (standard deviation [SD], 117 N) after fixation with medial support screws alone and 706 N (SD, 153 N) after additional head screw augmentation (P = .646). The initial stiffness was 453 N/mm (SD, 4.16 N/mm) and 461 N/mm (SD, 64.3 N/mm), respectively (P = .594). Plate bending did not differ between the 2 groups. However, motion at the bone-implant interface was significantly reduced after head screw augmentation (P Board of Trustees. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  2. Compressive Tectonics around Tibetan Plateau Edges

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Zhao Zhixin; Xu Jiren

    2009-01-01

    Various earthquake fault types, mechanism solutions, stress field, and other geophysical data were analyzed for study on the crust movement in the Tibetan plateau and its tectonic implications. The results show that numbers of thrust fault and strike-slip fault type earthquakes with strong compressive stress near NNE-SSW direction occurred in the edges around the plateau except the eastern boundary. Some normal faulting type earthquakes concentrate in the Central Tibetan plateau. The strikes of fault planes of thrust and strike-slip faulting earthquakes are almost in the E-W direction based on the analyses of the Wulff stereonet diagrams of fault plane solutions. This implies that the dislocation slip vectors of the thrust and strike-slip faulting type events have quite great components in the N-S direction. The compression motion mainly probably plays the tectonic active regime around the plateau edges. The compressive stress in N-S or NE-SW directions predominates earthquake occurrence in the thrust and strike-slip faulting event region around the plateau. The compressive motion around the Tibetan plateau edge is attributable to the northward motion of the Indian subcontinent plate. The northward motion of the Tibetan plateau shortened in the N-S direction encounters probably strong obstructions at the western and northern margins.

  3. Structure design and motion simulation of the pin-cycloid gear planetary reducer with ring-plate-type

    Science.gov (United States)

    Duan, Hongjie; Li, Lijun; Tao, Junyi

    2017-06-01

    The pin-cycloid gear planetary reducer with ring-plate-type is a new type of reducers. It has high transmission ratio range and high efficiency. In this paper the working principle of pin-cycloid gear planetary reducer is discussed, and the structure of the reducer is designed. Especially for the complexity and the difficulty in modelling of the cycloid gear tooth profile, the parametric design module of cycloid gear is developed to solve the cycloid gear modelling problem through the second development of Solid Works. At last, the speed schemes of the input shaft and output shaft of the reducer are obtained by the motion simulation. Through the analysis of the simulation curves, the rationality of the structure design is proved, which provides a theoretical basis for the design and manufacture of the reducer.

  4. 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

  5. Heat transport in the Hadean mantle: From heat pipes to plates

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kankanamge, Duminda G. J.; Moore, William B.

    2016-04-01

    Plate tectonics is a unique feature of Earth, and it plays a dominant role in transporting Earth's internally generated heat. It also governs the nature, shape, and the motion of the surface of Earth. The initiation of plate tectonics on Earth has been difficult to establish observationally, and modeling of the plate breaking process has not consistently accounted for the nature of the preplate tectonic Earth. We have performed numerical simulations of heat transport in the preplate tectonic Earth to understand the transition to plate tectonic behavior. This period of time is dominated by volcanic heat transport called the heat pipe mode of planetary cooling. These simulations of Earth's mantle include heat transport by melting and melt segregation (volcanism), Newtonian temperature-dependent viscosity, and internal heating. We show that when heat pipes are active, the lithosphere thickens and lithospheric isotherms are kept flat by the solidus. Both of these effects act to suppress plate tectonics. As volcanism wanes, conduction begins to control lithospheric thickness, and large slopes arise at the base of the lithosphere. This produces large lithospheric stress and focuses it on the thinner regions of the lithosphere resulting in plate breaking events.

  6. Abrupt Change in North American Plate Motion: Magnetostratigraphy and Paleopoles of the Early Jurassic Moenave Formation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hutny, M. K.; Steiner, M. B.

    2001-12-01

    The J-1 cusp marks a dramatic ~ 180° change in the apparent motion of the magnetic pole with respect to North America. The cusp is defined by a sequence of poles: Chinle - Moenave - Kayenta. The Moenave pole (Ekstrand and Butler, 1989), which forms the point of the cusp, was obtained primarily from the lower member (Dinosaur Canyon) of the three-member Moenave Formation. We present new paleomagnetic data from the upper two members (Whitmore Point and Springdale Sandstone) of the formation. The Vermillion Cliffs in southern Utah present excellent exposures of the Moenave Formation. At this location, the Moenave rests uncomformably on the Late Triassic Chinle Group, although to the southeast it overlies it in a conformable manner. The Moenave is seemingly conformably overlain by the Kayenta Formation. Our study identified six polarity intervals in 100 meters of section. A preliminary paleopole from the Whitmore Point Member falls within the 95% confidence limits of the Dinosaur Canyon pole (Ekstrand and Butler, 1989), as does our pole from the top Springdale Sandstone member. If the apparent polar wander does indeed represent motion of the North American continent, then the reversal in direction implied by the J-1 cusp takes place after the deposition of the Springdale Sandstone, and either before or during the deposition of the lower Kayenta Formation. No directions intermediate between the Moenave and Kayenta directions were observed up through the uppermost Moenave strata. Within the Moenave, the lack of discernable change in magnetic direction between the three members suggests continuous deposition. This result is consistent with the observed mutually interfingering nature of the Whitmore Point and Springdale Sandstone. The sudden change in magnetic direction between the top of the Moenave and the Kayenta suggests the possibility of an unconformity between the two formations, and/or rapid continental motion following the turnaround.

  7. Effect of sodium dodecylbenzene sulfonate on the motion of three-phase contact lines on the Wilhelmy plate surface.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Karakashev, Stoyan I; Phan, Chi M; Nguyen, Anh V

    2005-11-15

    The combined approach of the molecular-kinetic and hydrodynamic theories for description of the motion of three-phase gas-liquid-solid contact lines has been examined using the Wilhelmy plate method. The whole dynamic meniscus has been divided into molecular, hydrodynamic, and static-like regions. The Young-Laplace equation and the molecular-kinetic and hydrodynamic dewetting theories have been applied to describe the meniscus profiles and contact angle. The dissipative forces accompanying the dynamic dewetting have also been investigated. The experiments with a Wilhelmy plate made from an acrylic polymer sheet were carried out using a computerized apparatus for contact angle analysis (OCA 20, DataPhysics, Germany). The extrapolated dynamic contact angle versus velocity of the three-phase contact line for Milli-Q water and 5x10(-4) M SDBS solution was experimentally obtained and compared with the combined MHD models with low and moderate Reynolds numbers. The models predict similar results for the extrapolated contact angle. SDBS decreases the equilibrium contact angle and increases the molecular jumping length but does not affect the molecular frequency significantly. The hydrodynamic deformation of the meniscus, viscous dissipation, and friction were also influenced by the SDBS surfactant.

  8. Effects of parabolic motion on an isothermal vertical plate with constant mass flux

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    R. Muthucumaraswamy

    2014-12-01

    Full Text Available An analytical study of free convection flow near a parabolic started infinite vertical plate with isothermal in the presence of uniform mass flux was considered. The mathematical model is reduced to a system of linear partial differential equations for the velocity, the concentration and the temperature; the closed form exact solutions were obtained by the Laplace transform technique. The velocity, temperature and concentration profiles for the different parameters as thermal Grashof number Gr, mass Grashof number Gc, Prandtl number Pr, Schmidt number Sc and time t were graphed and the numerical values for the skin friction were as tabulated. It is observed that the velocity is enhanced as the time increased and the velocity is decreased as the Prandtl number increased.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  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. The Rift Valley of African Plate in Elasto-Plastic Creeping over Magma Motion

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nakamura, Shigehisa

    2016-04-01

    This is a brief note to a problem on the Rift Valley in the eastern Africa. It is said that this valley was formed in an age 20,000,000 years before present though the valley is yet continuing to move eastward at an annual rate of about 5 cm/year in a geographical trend. Adding to some of the scientists tell that the separation threat of the easternAfrica from the mother land of the Africa under the effect of African crust motion over the magma. However, it is now geological understanding that the land of the Africa has been kept its basic coastal configulation in geographic pattern since the time more than 20,000,000 years before present. Sothat, it is hard to consider the above noted African land separation by part could be in the next age in a time scale of 20,000,000 years. As far as, we concern the geographic data obtaoned by the ground based survey of the African typical mountain peaks, the highest mountain peak 5885m (in 1980) is for Kilimanjaro, Kibo Peak though one of the scientific almanacs tells us its peak height as 5890m (in 2009). As for the Mount Kenia, the peak height is as 5199m (in 1980) and 5200m(in 2009). At a glance, it looks to be a trend in altimetry of the African typical mountain. Now, what trends are noted for the peak heights could be taken to suggesting the geological activity on the earth surface to maintain in a spherical shape approximately on the orbit around the Sun. In these several ten years, the digitizing of the data has been promoted even for the topographic patterns on the earth though its time scaling is extremely short comparing to the geological time scaling. Now, it should be found what is effective to monitor any trends of the African crust in motion as well as variations of the mountain peaks.

  13. Effect of contact line dynamics on the thermocapillary motion of a droplet on an inclined plate.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Karapetsas, George; Sahu, Kirti Chandra; Matar, Omar K

    2013-07-16

    We study the two-dimensional dynamics of a droplet on an inclined, nonisothermal solid substrate. We use lubrication theory to obtain a single evolution equation for the interface, which accounts for gravity, capillarity, and thermo-capillarity, brought about by the dependence of the surface tension on temperature. The contact line motion is modeled using a relation that couples the contact line speed to the difference between the dynamic and equilibrium contact angles. The latter are allowed to vary dynamically during the droplet motion through the dependence of the liquid-gas, liquid-solid, and solid-gas surface tensions on the local contact line temperature, thereby altering the local substrate wettability at the two edges of the drop. This is an important feature of our model, which distinguishes it from previous work wherein the contact angle was kept constant. We use finite-elements for the discretization of all spatial derivatives and the implicit Euler method to advance the solution in time. A full parametric study is carried out in order to investigate the interplay between Marangoni stresses, induced by thermo-capillarity, gravity, and contact line dynamics in the presence of local wettability variations. Our results, which are generated for constant substrate temperature gradients, demonstrate that temperature-induced variations of the equilibrium contact angle give rise to complex dynamics. This includes enhanced spreading rates, nonmonotonic dependence of the contact line speed on the applied substrate temperature gradient, as well as "stick-slip" behavior. The mechanisms underlying this dynamics are elucidated herein.