WorldWideScience

Sample records for plate tectonics earthquakes

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hanks, T.C.

    1977-01-01

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

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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…

  7. 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)

  8. 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)

  9. It's "Your" Fault!: An Investigation into Earthquakes, Plate Tectonics, and Geologic Time

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clary, Renee; Wandersee, James

    2011-01-01

    Earthquakes "have" been in the news of late--from the disastrous 2010 Haitian temblor that killed more than 300,000 people to the March 2011 earthquake and devastating tsunami in Honshu, Japan, to the unexpected August 2011 earthquake in Mineral, Virginia, felt from Alabama to Maine and as far west as Illinois. As expected, these events…

  10. It's "Your" Fault!: An Investigation into Earthquakes, Plate Tectonics, and Geologic Time

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clary, Renee; Wandersee, James

    2011-01-01

    Earthquakes "have" been in the news of late--from the disastrous 2010 Haitian temblor that killed more than 300,000 people to the March 2011 earthquake and devastating tsunami in Honshu, Japan, to the unexpected August 2011 earthquake in Mineral, Virginia, felt from Alabama to Maine and as far west as Illinois. As expected, these events…

  11. 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…

  12. 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…

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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 ...

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. Tectonics Earthquake Distribution Pattern Analysis Based Focal Mechanisms (Case Study Sulawesi Island, 1993???2012)

    OpenAIRE

    Ismullah M, Muh.Fawzy; Lantu; Aswad, Sabrianto; MASSINAI, MUH.ALTIN

    2015-01-01

    Indonesia is the meeting zone between three world main plates: Eurasian Plate, Pacific Plate, and Indo ??? Australia Plate. Therefore, Indonesia has a high seismicity degree. Sulawesi is one of whose high seismicity level. The earthquake centre lies in fault zone so the earthquake data gives tectonic visualization in a certain place. This research purpose is to identify Sulawesi tectonic model by using earthquake data from 1993 to 2012. Data used in this research is the earthquake...

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. Plate tectonics on Venus

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anderson, D. L.

    1981-01-01

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

  3. Plate tectonics on Venus

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anderson, D. L.

    1981-01-01

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

  4. 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)

  5. 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)

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. Seismicity as a guide to global tectonics and earthquake prediction.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sykes, L. R.

    1972-01-01

    From seismicity studies, evidence is presented for several aspects of plate-tectonic theory, including ideas of sea-floor spreading, transform faulting and underthrusting of the lithosphere in island arcs. Recent advances in seismic instrumentation, the use of computers in earthquake location, and the installation of local networks of instruments are shown to have vastly increased the data available for seismicity studies. It is pointed out that most of the world's earthquakes are located in very narrow zones along active plate margins and are intimately related to global processes in an extremely coherent manner. Important areas of uncertainty calling for further studies are also pointed out.

  14. Plate tectonics of the Mediterranean region.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McKenzie, D P

    1970-04-18

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

  15. 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.

  16. 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...

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. Earth's Decelerating Tectonic Plates

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    2008-08-22

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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 ...

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Active tectonics and earthquake potential of the Myanmar region

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-04-01

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

  9. Earthquake relocation in Mollucas Sea using teleseismic double difference method for tectonic setting analysis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Setiadi, Tio Azhar Prakoso; Rohadi, Supriyanto; Heryandoko, Nova

    2017-07-01

    Earthquake hypocenter relocation is need to be done to get a better earthquake location with high accuracy so tectonic setting, and seismicity analysis can be get and done for further studies. One of some method to relocate earthquake is teleseismic Double-Difference that used 3D velocity model. This research is done by relocating 7042 of 8845 available earthquakes from January 1st 2009 - June 12th 2016 in Moluccas Sea. The result are better earthquake depths, showed by no more fixed depth earthquakes and hypocenter distribution shows subduction pattern which is assossiated to Moluccas Sea Plate. Subducting Plate of Moluccas Sea below Sangihe is getting deeper more way it gets north (± 580 km) and sloping to the south (± 280 km) and the subducting Moluccas Sea below Halmahera Arc is 250 km depth on average. Another result is a rollback of Phillipine plate is found that moves along with Moluccas Sea plate which is subducting below Halmahera Arc.

  10. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gedney, L.; Vanwormer, J.

    1974-01-01

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

  12. 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...

  13. LOWLID FORMATION AND PLATE TECTONICS ON EXOPLANETS

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-12-01

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

  14. Tectonic controls on earthquake size distribution and seismicity rate: slab buoyancy and slab bending

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nishikawa, T.; Ide, S.

    2014-12-01

    There are clear variations in maximum earthquake magnitude among Earth's subduction zones. These variations have been studied extensively and attributed to differences in tectonic properties in subduction zones, such as relative plate velocity and subducting plate age [Ruff and Kanamori, 1980]. In addition to maximum earthquake magnitude, the seismicity of medium to large earthquakes also differs among subduction zones, such as the b-value (i.e., the slope of the earthquake size distribution) and the frequency of seismic events. However, the casual relationship between the seismicity of medium to large earthquakes and subduction zone tectonics has been unclear. Here we divide Earth's subduction zones into over 100 study regions following Ide [2013] and estimate b-values and the background seismicity rate—the frequency of seismic events excluding aftershocks—for subduction zones worldwide using the maximum likelihood method [Utsu, 1965; Aki, 1965] and the epidemic type aftershock sequence (ETAS) model [Ogata, 1988]. We demonstrate that the b-value varies as a function of subducting plate age and trench depth, and that the background seismicity rate is related to the degree of slab bending at the trench. Large earthquakes tend to occur relatively frequently (lower b-values) in shallower subduction zones with younger slabs, and more earthquakes occur in subduction zones with deeper trench and steeper dip angle. These results suggest that slab buoyancy, which depends on subducting plate age, controls the earthquake size distribution, and that intra-slab faults due to slab bending, which increase with the steepness of the slab dip angle, have influence on the frequency of seismic events, because they produce heterogeneity in plate coupling and efficiently inject fluid to elevate pore fluid pressure on the plate interface. This study reveals tectonic factors that control earthquake size distribution and seismicity rate, and these relationships between seismicity and

  15. Plate Tectonics and Continental Drift: Classroom Ideas.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stout, Prentice K.

    1983-01-01

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

  16. Laboratory plate tectonics: a new experiment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gans, R F

    1976-03-26

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

  17. Plate tectonic raster reconstruction in GPlates

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    J. Cannon

    2014-03-01

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

  18. Plate tectonics in the late Paleozoic

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mathew Domeier

    2014-05-01

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

  19. Plate tectonics in the late Paleozoic

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Mathew Domeier; Trond H. Torsvik

    2014-01-01

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

  20. 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. The tectonic source of the 1755 Lisbon earthquake and tsunami

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Zitellini, N.; Chierici, F. (CNR, Centro Nazionale delle Ricerche, Bologna (Italy). Ist. di Geologia Marina); Sartori, R. (Bologna Univ. (Italy). Dip. di Scienze della Terra e Geologico-Ambientali); Torelli, L. (Parma Univ. (Italy). Dip. di Scienze della Terra)

    1999-02-01

    The SW continental margin of Iberia is affected by several tectonic structures of Cenozoic to Recent age, generated by the dynamics of the Iberia-Africa plate margin. This activity is testified by diffuse seismicity along the eastern portion of the Azores-Gibraltar line. The most important active structure, detected during a reflection seismic survey in 1992, is a thrust-fault, some 50 km long and with dip-slip throw of more than 1 km, located offshore Cabo de S.Vincente. A relocation of historical earthquakes in the area shows that this structure lies very close to the epicentre of the catastrophic 1755 Lisbon earthquake and that it should be the generator of the event. This submarine structure can now be studied for modelization of tsunamis and consequent risk mitigation.

  4. The tectonic source of the 1755 Lisbon earthquake and tsunami

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    L. Torelli

    1999-06-01

    Full Text Available The SW continental margin of Iberia is affected by several tectonic structures of Cenozoic to Recent age, gen-erated by the dynamics of the Iberia-Africa plate margin. This activity is testified by diffuse seismicity along the eastern portion of the Azores-Gibraltar line. The most important active structure, detected during a reflection seismic survey in 1992, is a thrust-fault, some 50 km long and with dip-slip throw of more than 1 km, located offshore Cabo de S. Vincente. A relocation of historical earthquakes in the area shows that this structure lies very close to the epicentre of the catastrophic 1755 Lisbon earthquake and that it should be the generator of the event. This submarine structure can now be studied for modelization of tsunamis and consequent risk mitigation.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1973-01-01

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

  6. 地震动力学与板块构造:地震灾害评估%Earthquake Dynamics and Plate Tectonics: Seismic Hazard Assessment

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    陈胜早

    2005-01-01

    The main topic in earthquake dynamics is to deal with rupture processes, faulting mechanism, source radiation,and propagation of the radiated seismic waves and ground motions, on which seismic hazard assessment is based. Critical theories of earthquake mechanics, source radiation and energy release are intensively studied in this paper for a completeness of systematic investigation on the topic. Using the state - of - the - art methods for seismic hazard analysis, with which the seismological, geological and geodetic inputs are combined into logic trees, samples of the ground - motion evaluation are applied to the typical tectonic sources of earthquakes including the crustal seismogenic zones, subduction interfaces and intraslabs. Various ground motion attenuation models with respect to faulting mechanism were examined and demonstrated through both the probabilistic and deterministic approaches. Uncertainties exist in either aleatory variability or epistemic uncertainty, but a weighted average of various alternatives in probabilistic seismic hazard analysis (PSHA) and the combination in methodology of PSHA and DSHA (deterministic seismic hazard analysis) should better prevent it from producing an extremely biased output of hazard estimates.%作为地震灾害评估的理论基础,地震动力学主要研究与地震活动有关的断裂机制、破裂过程、震源辐射和由此而引起的地震波的传播及地面运动规律.对地震力学、震源辐射和能量释放等经典理论问题进行了系统研究.在此基础上,应用最新的定量地震学研究方法,以逻辑树的形式综合地震、地质和大地测量资料,提供了不同构造环境和断裂机制条件下地震灾害评估的概率分析和确定性分析实例.用于震源分析的典型构造类型包括板内地壳震源层、地壳活动断层及其速率、板块俯冲界面和俯冲板片.由于输入模型中不确定因素的存在,如输入参数的随机性和

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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...

  18. 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).

  19. Tectonics earthquake distribution pattern analysis based focal mechanisms (Case study Sulawesi Island, 1993–2012)

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Ismullah M, Muh. Fawzy, E-mail: mallaniung@gmail.com [Master Program Geophysical Engineering, Faculty of Mining and Petroleum Engineering (FTTM), Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB), Jl. Ganesha no. 10, Bandung, 40116, Jawa Barat (Indonesia); Lantu,; Aswad, Sabrianto; Massinai, Muh. Altin [Geophysics Program Study, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Hasanuddin University (UNHAS), Jl. PerintisKemerdekaan Km. 10, Makassar, 90245, Sulawesi Selatan (Indonesia)

    2015-04-24

    Indonesia is the meeting zone between three world main plates: Eurasian Plate, Pacific Plate, and Indo – Australia Plate. Therefore, Indonesia has a high seismicity degree. Sulawesi is one of whose high seismicity level. The earthquake centre lies in fault zone so the earthquake data gives tectonic visualization in a certain place. This research purpose is to identify Sulawesi tectonic model by using earthquake data from 1993 to 2012. Data used in this research is the earthquake data which consist of: the origin time, the epicenter coordinate, the depth, the magnitude and the fault parameter (strike, dip and slip). The result of research shows that there are a lot of active structures as a reason of the earthquake in Sulawesi. The active structures are Walannae Fault, Lawanopo Fault, Matano Fault, Palu – Koro Fault, Batui Fault and Moluccas Sea Double Subduction. The focal mechanism also shows that Walannae Fault, Batui Fault and Moluccas Sea Double Subduction are kind of reverse fault. While Lawanopo Fault, Matano Fault and Palu – Koro Fault are kind of strike slip fault.

  20. 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.

  1. 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...

  2. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Korenaga, Jun

    2012-07-01

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

  4. 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...

  5. 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

  6. Dynamic subduction process of local plate revealed by Ibaraki earthquake sequence of 1982 in Japan

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2001-01-01

    The kinematics and dynamics of plate tectonics are frontalsubjects in geosciences and the strong earthquake oc-curred along the plate boundary result directly from plate movement. By analyzing Ibaraki earthquake sequence, it has been found that the focal fault plane shows a special image of grading expansion along the direction of strike and adjustment along the dip direction respectively. With the consideration of strike, dip and slip directions of focal mechanism, we have confirmed that Ibaraki earthquake belongs to a thrust fault earthquake occurred under the Japan Trench. The cause of the earthquake sequence is discussed in the paper. The study on the temporal-spatial distribution of the earthquake sequence with a time-scale between the year-scale spatial geodetic data and the second-scale moment tensor of the strong earthquake has indicated the dynamic process of Pacific Plate sub-duction under the Eurasia Plate. According to the average slip distance of earthquake and the velocity of plate movement, it is predicted that a strong earthquake might occur in recent years.

  7. Hidden Earthquake Potential in Plate Boundary Transition Zones

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-04-01

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

  8. 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.

  9. Effect of tectonic setting on the fit and performance of a long-range earthquake forecasting model

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    David Alan Rhoades

    2012-02-01

    Full Text Available The Every Earthquake a Precursor According to Scale (EEPAS long-range earthquake forecasting model has been shown to be informative in several seismically active regions, including New Zealand, California and Japan. In previous applications of the model, the tectonic setting of earthquakes has been ignored. Here we distinguish crustal, plate interface, and slab earthquakes and apply the model to earthquakes with magnitude M≥4 in the Japan region from 1926 onwards. The target magnitude range is M≥ 6; the fitting period is 1966-1995; and the testing period is 1996-2005. In forecasting major slab earthquakes, it is optimal to use only slab and interface events as precursors. In forecasting major interface events, it is optimal to use only interface events as precursors. In forecasting major crustal events, it is optimal to use only crustal events as precursors. For the smoothed-seismicity component of the EEPAS model, it is optimal to use slab and interface events for earthquakes in the slab, interface events only for earthquakes on the interface, and crustal and interface events for crustal earthquakes. The optimal model parameters indicate that the precursor areas for slab earthquakes are relatively small compared to those for earthquakes in other tectonic categories, and that the precursor times and precursory earthquake magnitudes for crustal earthquakes are relatively large. The optimal models fit the learning data sets better than the raw EEPAS model, with an average information gain per earthquake of about 0.4. The average information gain is similar in the testing period, although it is higher for crustal earthquakes and lower for slab and interface earthquakes than in the learning period. These results show that earthquake interactions are stronger between earthquakes of similar tectonic types and that distinguishing tectonic types improves forecasts by enhancing the depth resolution where tectonic categories of earthquakes are

  10. 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)

  11. Stress drops of induced and tectonic earthquakes in the central United States are indistinguishable.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Huang, Yihe; Ellsworth, William L; Beroza, Gregory C

    2017-08-01

    Induced earthquakes currently pose a significant hazard in the central United States, but there is considerable uncertainty about the severity of their ground motions. We measure stress drops of 39 moderate-magnitude induced and tectonic earthquakes in the central United States and eastern North America. Induced earthquakes, more than half of which are shallower than 5 km, show a comparable median stress drop to tectonic earthquakes in the central United States that are dominantly strike-slip but a lower median stress drop than that of tectonic earthquakes in the eastern North America that are dominantly reverse-faulting. This suggests that ground motion prediction equations developed for tectonic earthquakes can be applied to induced earthquakes if the effects of depth and faulting style are properly considered. Our observation leads to the notion that, similar to tectonic earthquakes, induced earthquakes are driven by tectonic stresses.

  12. Earthquake source mechanisms from body-waveform inversion and intraplate tectonics in the northern Indian Ocean

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bergman, E. A.; Solomon, S. C.

    1985-01-01

    Double-couple point-source parameters for 11 of the largest intraplate earthquakes in the northern Indian Ocean during the last 20 years were determined from a formal inversion of the long-period P and SH waveforms. Two major intraplate tectonic provinces are distinguished in the northern Indian Ocean. The plate-wide stress pattern found and the high level of intraplate seismicity are probably the results of substantial resistance, along the Himalayan continental collision zone, to the continued northward motion of the western portion of the Indian plate.

  13. 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).

  14. Improve earthquake hypocenter using adaptive simulated annealing inversion in regional tectonic, volcano tectonic, and geothermal observation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ry, Rexha Verdhora; Nugraha, Andri Dian

    2015-04-01

    Observation of earthquakes is routinely used widely in tectonic activity observation, and also in local scale such as volcano tectonic and geothermal activity observation. It is necessary for determining the location of precise hypocenter which the process involves finding a hypocenter location that has minimum error between the observed and the calculated travel times. When solving this nonlinear inverse problem, simulated annealing inversion method can be applied to such global optimization problems, which the convergence of its solution is independent of the initial model. In this study, we developed own program codeby applying adaptive simulated annealing inversion in Matlab environment. We applied this method to determine earthquake hypocenter using several data cases which are regional tectonic, volcano tectonic, and geothermal field. The travel times were calculated using ray tracing shooting method. We then compared its results with the results using Geiger's method to analyze its reliability. Our results show hypocenter location has smaller RMS error compared to the Geiger's result that can be statistically associated with better solution. The hypocenter of earthquakes also well correlated with geological structure in the study area. Werecommend using adaptive simulated annealing inversion to relocate hypocenter location in purpose to get precise and accurate earthquake location.

  15. Improve earthquake hypocenter using adaptive simulated annealing inversion in regional tectonic, volcano tectonic, and geothermal observation

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Ry, Rexha Verdhora, E-mail: rexha.vry@gmail.com [Master Program of Geophysical Engineering, Faculty of Mining and Petroleum Engineering, Institut Teknologi Bandung, Jalan Ganesha No.10, Bandung 40132 (Indonesia); Nugraha, Andri Dian, E-mail: nugraha@gf.itb.ac.id [Global Geophysical Research Group, Faculty of Mining and Petroleum Engineering, Institut Teknologi Bandung, Jalan Ganesha No.10, Bandung 40132 (Indonesia)

    2015-04-24

    Observation of earthquakes is routinely used widely in tectonic activity observation, and also in local scale such as volcano tectonic and geothermal activity observation. It is necessary for determining the location of precise hypocenter which the process involves finding a hypocenter location that has minimum error between the observed and the calculated travel times. When solving this nonlinear inverse problem, simulated annealing inversion method can be applied to such global optimization problems, which the convergence of its solution is independent of the initial model. In this study, we developed own program codeby applying adaptive simulated annealing inversion in Matlab environment. We applied this method to determine earthquake hypocenter using several data cases which are regional tectonic, volcano tectonic, and geothermal field. The travel times were calculated using ray tracing shooting method. We then compared its results with the results using Geiger’s method to analyze its reliability. Our results show hypocenter location has smaller RMS error compared to the Geiger’s result that can be statistically associated with better solution. The hypocenter of earthquakes also well correlated with geological structure in the study area. Werecommend using adaptive simulated annealing inversion to relocate hypocenter location in purpose to get precise and accurate earthquake location.

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. Subducting plate geology in three great earthquake ruptures of the western Alaska margin, Kodiak to Unimak

    Science.gov (United States)

    von Huene, Roland; Miller, John J.; Weinrebe, Wilhelm

    2012-01-01

    Three destructive earthquakes along the Alaska subduction zone sourced transoceanic tsunamis during the past 70 years. Since it is reasoned that past rupture areas might again source tsunamis in the future, we studied potential asperities and barriers in the subduction zone by examining Quaternary Gulf of Alaska plate history, geophysical data, and morphology. We relate the aftershock areas to subducting lower plate relief and dissimilar materials in the seismogenic zone in the 1964 Kodiak and adjacent 1938 Semidi Islands earthquake segments. In the 1946 Unimak earthquake segment, the exposed lower plate seafloor lacks major relief that might organize great earthquake rupture. However, the upper plate contains a deep transverse-trending basin and basement ridges associated with the Eocene continental Alaska convergent margin transition to the Aleutian island arc. These upper plate features are sufficiently large to have affected rupture propagation. In addition, massive slope failure in the Unimak area may explain the local 42-m-high 1946 tsunami runup. Although Quaternary geologic and tectonic processes included accretion to form a frontal prism, the study of seismic images, samples, and continental slope physiography shows a previous history of tectonic erosion. Implied asperities and barriers in the seismogenic zone could organize future great earthquake rupture.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    R. Bilham

    2004-06-01

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

  20. Earthquakes, Cities, and Lifelines: lessons integrating tectonics, society, and engineering in middle school Earth Science

    Science.gov (United States)

    Toke, N.; Johnson, A.; Nelson, K.

    2010-12-01

    Earthquakes are one of the most widely covered geologic processes by the media. As a result students, even at the middle school level, arrive in the classroom with preconceptions about the importance and hazards posed by earthquakes. Therefore earthquakes represent not only an attractive topic to engage students when introducing tectonics, but also a means to help students understand the relationships between geologic processes, society, and engineering solutions. Facilitating understanding of the fundamental connections between science and society is important for the preparation of future scientists and engineers as well as informed citizens. Here, we present a week-long lesson designed to be implemented in five one hour sessions with classes of ~30 students. It consists of two inquiry-based mapping investigations, motivational presentations, and short readings that describe fundamental models of plate tectonics, faults, and earthquakes. The readings also provide examples of engineering solutions such as the Alaskan oil pipeline which withstood multi-meter surface offset in the 2002 Denali Earthquake. The first inquiry-based investigation is a lesson on tectonic plates. Working in small groups, each group receives a different world map plotting both topography and one of the following data sets: GPS plate motion vectors, the locations and types of volcanoes, the location of types of earthquakes. Using these maps and an accompanying explanation of the data each group’s task is to map plate boundary locations. Each group then presents a ~10 minute summary of the type of data they used and their interpretation of the tectonic plates with a poster and their mapping results. Finally, the instructor will facilitate a class discussion about how the data types could be combined to understand more about plate boundaries. Using student interpretations of real data allows student misconceptions to become apparent. Throughout the exercise we record student preconceptions

  1. 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...

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. Investigating Students' Ideas about Plate Tectonics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ford, Brent; Taylor, Melanie

    2006-01-01

    Giant exploding volcanoes...asteroids crashing into Earth...continents floating across the oceans...massive pools of lava...violent earthquakes splitting continents--middle school students hold a variety of ideas about Earth, how it has changed over time, and what has caused these changes. Listening to students talk about how the world works is…

  5. Investigating Students' Ideas about Plate Tectonics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ford, Brent; Taylor, Melanie

    2006-01-01

    Giant exploding volcanoes...asteroids crashing into Earth...continents floating across the oceans...massive pools of lava...violent earthquakes splitting continents--middle school students hold a variety of ideas about Earth, how it has changed over time, and what has caused these changes. Listening to students talk about how the world works is…

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Simon, Gilla; Apel, Michael

    2017-04-01

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

  7. 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

  8. Generalized statistical mechanics approaches to earthquakes and tectonics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vallianatos, Filippos; Papadakis, Giorgos; Michas, Georgios

    2016-12-01

    Despite the extreme complexity that characterizes the mechanism of the earthquake generation process, simple empirical scaling relations apply to the collective properties of earthquakes and faults in a variety of tectonic environments and scales. The physical characterization of those properties and the scaling relations that describe them attract a wide scientific interest and are incorporated in the probabilistic forecasting of seismicity in local, regional and planetary scales. Considerable progress has been made in the analysis of the statistical mechanics of earthquakes, which, based on the principle of entropy, can provide a physical rationale to the macroscopic properties frequently observed. The scale-invariant properties, the (multi) fractal structures and the long-range interactions that have been found to characterize fault and earthquake populations have recently led to the consideration of non-extensive statistical mechanics (NESM) as a consistent statistical mechanics framework for the description of seismicity. The consistency between NESM and observations has been demonstrated in a series of publications on seismicity, faulting, rock physics and other fields of geosciences. The aim of this review is to present in a concise manner the fundamental macroscopic properties of earthquakes and faulting and how these can be derived by using the notions of statistical mechanics and NESM, providing further insights into earthquake physics and fault growth processes.

  9. Tectonic setting of the Wooded Island earthquake swarm, eastern Washington

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blakely, Richard J.; Sherrod, Brian L.; Weaver, Craig S.; Rohay, Alan C.; Wells, Ray E.

    2012-01-01

    Magnetic anomalies provide insights into the tectonic implications of a swarm of ~1500 shallow (~1 km deep) earthquakes that occurred in 2009 on the Hanford site,Washington. Epicenters were concentrated in a 2 km2 area nearWooded Island in the Columbia River. The largest earthquake (M 3.0) had first motions consistent with slip on a northwest-striking reverse fault. The swarm was accompanied by 35 mm of vertical surface deformation, seen in satellite interferometry (InSAR), interpreted to be caused by ~50 mm of slip on a northwest-striking reverse fault and associated bedding-plane fault in the underlying Columbia River Basalt Group (CRBG). A magnetic anomaly over exposed CRBG at Yakima Ridge 40 km northwest of Wooded Island extends southeastward beyond the ridge to the Columbia River, suggesting that the Yakima Ridge anticline and its associated thrust fault extend southeastward in the subsurface. In map view, the concealed anticline passes through the earthquake swarm and lies parallel to reverse faults determined from first motions and InSAR data. A forward model of the magnetic anomaly near Wooded Island is consistent with uplift of concealed CRBG, with the top surface swarm and the thrust and bedding-plane faults modeled from interferometry all fall within the northeastern limb of the faulted anticline. Although fluids may be responsible for triggering the Wooded Island earthquake swarm, the seismic and aseismic deformation are consistent with regional-scale tectonic compression across the concealed Yakima Ridge anticline.

  10. 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.

  11. Aftershock seismicity and Tectonic Setting of the 16 September 2015 Mw 8.3 Illapel earthquake

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lange, Dietrich; Geersen, Jacob; Barrientos, Sergio; Moreno, Marcos; Grevemeyer, Ingo; Contreras-Reyes, Eduardo; Kopp, Heidrun

    2016-04-01

    Powerful subduction zone earthquakes rupture thousands of square kilometers along continental margins but at certain locations earthquake rupture terminates. On 16 September 2015 the Mw. 8.3 Illapel earthquake ruptured a 200 km long stretch of the Central Chilean subduction zone, triggering a tsunami and causing significant damage. Here we analyze the spatial pattern of coseismic rupture and the temporal and spatial pattern of local seismicity for aftershocks and foreshocks in relation to the tectonic setting in the earthquake area. Aftershock seismicity surrounds the rupture area in lateral and downdip direction. For the first 24 hours following the mainshock we observe aftershock migration to both lateral directions with velocities of approximately 2.5 and 5 km/h. At the southern earthquake boundary aftershocks cluster around individual subducted seamounts located on the prolongation of the downthrusting Juan Fernández Ridge indicating stress transfer from the main rupture area. In the northern part of the rupture area a deeper band of local seismicity is observed indicating an alternation of seismic to aseismic behavior of the plate interface in downdip direction. This aseismic region at ~30 km depth that is also observed before the Illapel 2015 earthquake is likely controlled by the intersection of the continental Moho with the subducting slab.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Relocation of earthquakes at southwestern Indian Ocean Ridge and its tectonic significance

    Science.gov (United States)

    Luo, W.; Zhao, M.; Haridhi, H.; Lee, C. S.; Qiu, X.; Zhang, J.

    2015-12-01

    The southwest Indian Ridge (SWIR) is a typical ultra-slow spreading ridge (Dick et al., 2003) and further plate boundary where the earthquakes often occurred. Due to the lack of the seismic stations in SWIR, positioning of earthquakes and micro-earthquakes is not accurate. The Ocean Bottom Seismometers (OBS) seismic experiment was carried out for the first time in the SWIR 49 ° 39 'E from Jan. to March, 2010 (Zhao et al., 2013). These deployed OBS also recorded the earthquakes' waveforms during the experiment. Two earthquakes occurred respectively in Feb. 7 and Feb. 9, 2010 with the same magnitude of 4.4 mb. These two earthquakes were relocated using the software HYPOSAT based on the spectrum analysis and band-pass (3-5 Hz) filtering and picking up the travel-times of Pn and Sn. Results of hypocentral determinations show that there location error is decreased significantly by joined OBS's recording data. This study do not only provide the experiences for the next step deploying long-term wide-band OBSs, but also deepen understanding of the structure of SWIR and clarify the nature of plate tectonic motivation. This research was granted by the Natural Science Foundation of China (41176053, 91028002, 91428204). Keywords: southwest Indian Ridge (SWIR), relocation of earthquakes, Ocean Bottom Seismometers (OBS), HYPOSAT References:[1] Dick, H. J. B., Lin J., Schouten H. 2003. An ultraslow-spreading class of ocean ridge. Nature, 426(6965): 405-412. [2] Zhao M. H., et al. 2013. Three-dimensional seismic structure of the Dragon Flag oceanic core complex at the ultraslow spreading Southwest Indian Ridge (49°39' E). Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems, 14(10): 4544-4563.

  15. 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.

  16. 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…

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. Tectonic Setting of the Wooded Island Earthquake Swarm, Eastern Washington

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Blakely, R. J.; Sherrod, B. L.; Weaver, C. S.; Rohay, A. C.; Wells, R. E.

    2012-08-01

    Magnetic anomalies provide insights into the tectonic implications of a swarm of ~1500 shallow (~1 km deep) earthquakes that occurred in 2009 on the Hanford site, Washington. Epicenters were concentrated in a 2 km2 area near Wooded Island in the Columbia River. The largest earthquake (M 3.0) had first motions consistent with slip on a northwest-striking reverse fault. The swarm was accompanied by 35 mm of vertical surface deformation, seen in satellite interferometry (InSAR), interpreted to be caused by ~50 mm of slip on a northwest-striking reverse fault and associated bedding-plane fault in the underlying Columbia River Basalt Group (CRBG). A magnetic anomaly over exposed CRBG at Yakima Ridge 40 km northwest of Wooded Island extends southeastward beyond the ridge to the Columbia River, suggesting that the Yakima Ridge anticline and its associated thrust fault extend southeastward in the subsurface. In map view, the concealed anticline passes through the earthquake swarm and lies parallel to reverse faults determined from first motions and InSAR data. A forward model of the magnetic anomaly near Wooded Island is consistent with uplift of concealed CRBG, with the top surface <200 m below the surface. The earthquake swarm and the thrust and bedding-plane faults modeled from interferometry all fall within the northeastern limb of the faulted anticline. Finally, although fluids may be responsible for triggering the Wooded Island earthquake swarm, the seismic and aseismic deformation are consistent with regional-scale tectonic compression across the concealed Yakima Ridge anticline.

  20. 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.

  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. 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...

  3. Technogenic-tectonic earthquakes of the Dnieper-Donets aulacogen

    Science.gov (United States)

    Adushkin, V. V.; Sanina, I. A.; Gabsatarova, I. P.; Ivanchenko, G. N.; Gorbunova, E. M.

    2016-08-01

    The Mikhnevo Seismic Group of the Institute of Geosphere Dynamics, Russian Academy of Sciences (IGD RAS), and the Malin mini-group in the region of the Dnieper-Donets aulacogen, within which prospecting and mountain-explosion works were carried out from 2007 to 2015 on industrial scales, recorded a series of seismic events. Special attention has been focused on analysis of the nature of three earthquakes in 2015. Application of the spectral discrimination method log(Pg/Lg) and cross-correlation tools allowed us to identify the seismic events in 2015 as a special technogenic-tectonic type.

  4. Upper-Plate Earthquake Swarms Remotely Triggered by the 2012 Mw-7.6 Nicoya Earthquake, Costa Rica

    Science.gov (United States)

    Linkimer, L.; Arroyo, I. G.; Montero Pohly, W. K.; Lücke, O. H.

    2013-12-01

    Remotely triggered seismicity that takes place at distances greater than 1-2 fault lengths appears to be a frequent phenomenon after large earthquakes, including damaging upper-plate 5.0-to-6.0 magnitude earthquakes in Costa Rica after the large (Mw greater than 7.0) inter-plate earthquakes in 1941, 1950, 1983, 1990, and 1991. On 5 of September 2012, an inter-plate 7.6-Mw earthquake struck the Nicoya Peninsula, triggering upper-plate seismicity in the interior of Costa Rica again. The number of upper plate-earthquakes outside the Nicoya source region that were recorded by the National Seismological Network (RSN: UCR-ICE) for the six-month period after the Nicoya event was two times higher than that number of upper plate-earthquakes during the six months before it happened. We analyze the three largest upper-plate earthquake swarms that took place during the first six months after the Nicoya event. We relocate the epicenters using a double difference algorithm with a 1D velocity model (HypoDD) and using a probabilistic method with a 3D velocity model (NonLinLoc). Additionally we compute first motion focal mechanisms for the largest events. The three swarms analyzed occurred at distances of 170 to 350 km from the Nicoya source region in three different tectonic settings: the Cartago area in the central part of Costa Rica near the active volcanic arc (approximately 170 km from the source region), the Calero Island near the Costa Rica-Nicaragua border in the backarc Caribbean region (approximately 220 km), and the San Vito area in the Costa Rica-Panama border region, at the southern flank of the Talamanca Cordillera, an inactive portion of the magmatic arc (approximately 300 km). The Cartago swarm with 95 1.8-to-4.1 Mw earthquakes occurred from September 5 to October 31, 2012. The location and left-lateral solution of the largest event suggest that the Aguacaliente fault, which caused the deadliest earthquake in Costa Rican history on May 4, 1910 (Ms 6.4), is the

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. Discrimination between nuclear explosions and earthquakes based on consideration of tectonic ambient shear stress values

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2001-01-01

    On the basis of fracture mechanics earthquake rupture model, the relations between source parameters and t0, the value of tectonic ambient shear stress in the place where the earthquake occurs, have been derived. Thus, we can calculate a large number of values of tectonic ambient shear stress or values of background stress in the place where the earthquake occurs. If nuclear explosions are treated as earthquakes in the calculation, we find that t0 values of nuclear explosions have about 20 MPa, which is obviously higher than average t0 values of earthquakes with the same magnitude. This result can be used to discriminate nuclear explosions from earthquakes.

  9. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schillak, S.; Wnuk, E.

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

  11. 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. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  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. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. Inversions for earthquake focal mechanisms and regional stress in the Kachchh Rift Basin, western India: Tectonic implications

    Science.gov (United States)

    Singh, A. P.; Zhao, L.; Kumar, Santsoh; Mishra, Smita

    2016-03-01

    More than a decade after the 2001 MW 7.7 Bhuj earthquake in western India, aftershocks up to MW 5.0 are still continuing around the rupture zone in the Kachchh Rift Basin. Over the years, some surrounding faults in the region have been activated, and a transverse fault generated an MW 5.1 earthquake in 2012. Most of the earthquakes occur in the lower crust at depths between 15 and 35 km. We have determined focal mechanism solutions of 47 earthquakes (MW 3.2-5.1) that were recorded by a 60-station broadband network during 2007-2014 within an area of 50 km radius of the 2001 main shock. South dipping nodal planes in most of the solutions correlate well with the active faults. The earthquakes near the epicenter of the 2001 main shock primarily show reverse-faulting mechanisms. The surrounding earthquakes in the area, however, show predominantly strike-slip mechanisms. The P axes of the earthquakes mostly oriented in north-south, and the T axes in east-west. However, the orientations of the P and T axes exhibit more complexity near the source area of the main shock. Stress field inversion of the solutions yields a dominant north-south compression, which is consistent with the ambient tectonic stress field owing to the northward movement of the Indian Plate with respect to the Eurasian Plate. The geodetic measurements are in reasonable agreement with our results.

  2. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sotin, C.; Schubert, G.

    2009-12-01

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

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

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    LU Hongbo; ZHANG Yuxu; ZHANG Qiling; XIAO Jiafei

    2006-01-01

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

  5. Tectonic Tremor and the Collective Behavior of Low-Frequency Earthquakes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Frank, W.; Shapiro, N.; Husker, A. L.; Kostoglodov, V.; Campillo, M.; Gusev, A. A.

    2015-12-01

    Tectonic tremor, a long duration, emergent seismic signal observed along the deep roots of plate interfaces, is thought to be the superposition of repetitive shear events called low-frequency earthquakes (LFE) [e.g. Shelly et al., Nature, 2007]. We use a catalog of more than 1.8 million LFEs regrouped into more than 1000 families observed over 2 years in the Guerrero subduction zone in Mexico, considering each family as an individual repetitive source or asperity. We develop a statistical analysis to determine whether the subcatalogs corresponding to different sources represent random Poisson processes or if they exhibit scale-invariant clustering in time, which we interpret as a manifestation of collective behavior. For each individual LFE source, we compare their level of collective behavior during two time periods: during the six-month-long 2006 Mw 7.5 slow-slip event and during a calm period with no observed slow slip. We find that the collective behavior of LFEs depends on distance from the trench and increases when the subduction interface is slowly slipping. Our results suggest that the occurrence of strong episodes of tectonic tremors cannot be simply explained by increased rates of low frequency earthquakes at every individual LFE source but correspond to an enhanced collective behavior of the ensemble of LFE asperities.

  6. 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…

  7. 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.

  8. Mesoproterozoic Earthquake Events and Breakup of the Sino-Korean Plate

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    QIAO Xiufu; GAO Linzhi; PENG Yang

    2007-01-01

    In the Mesoproterozoic time, the northern part of the Sino-Korean Plate experienced a period of intensive tectonic extension and breakup. 1. An abundance of sedimentary earthquake records is preserved in the Chuanlinggou, Tuanshanzi and Gaoyuzhuang formations in the Mesoproterozoic Changcheng System (1800-1400 Ma) and in the Mesoproterozoic Wumishan Formation of the Jixian System (1400-1000 Ma). These earthquake records are characterized by various liquefied sand-veins, carbonate microspar and coarser spar veins, limestone dikes, liquefied breccia and various forms of liquefied contorted bedding. This deformation is always associated with synsedimentary faults and igneous activity. 2. Three liquefaction models for soft carbonate sediments are recognized, including liquefaction in laminated carbonate rocks, liquefaction in thin-bedded carbonates and large-scale liquefaction along huge carbonate dikes. 3. Based on the record of earthquake and volcanic activities, the Sino-Korean Plate experienced at least twice intraplate breakups. One occurred between 1800-1400 Ma, and the other occurred at about 1200 Ma. The last breakup resulted in formation of the Yan-Liao aulacogen, a tectonic zone characterized by deeper material vibrancy, active faults, major igneous activity and frequent earthquakes.

  9. Geoid Data and Implications for Plate Tectonic Dynamics

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-12-01

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

  10. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1985-01-01

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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.…

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chamberlain, Valerie Elaine

    1989-01-01

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

  16. 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.

  17. Tectonics of the March 27, 1964, Alaska earthquake: Chapter I in The Alaska earthquake, March 27, 1964: regional effects

    Science.gov (United States)

    Plafker, George

    1969-01-01

    the seaward part of the major zone of subsidence. According to the postulated model, the observed and inferred tectonic displacements that accompanied the earthquake resulted primarily from (1) relative seaward displacement and uplift of the seaward part of the block by movement along the dipping megathrust and subsidiary faults that break through the upper plate to the surface, and (2) simultaneous elastic horizontal extension and vertical attenuation (subsidence) of the crustal slab behind the upper plate. Slight uplift inland from the major zones of deformation presumably was related to elastic strain changes resulting from the overthrusting; however, the data are insufficient to permit conclusions regarding its cause. The belt of seismic activity and major zones of tectonic deformation associated with the 1964 earthquake, to a large extent, lie between and parallel to the Aleutian Volcanic Arc and the Aleutian Trench, and are probably genetically related to the arc. Geologic data indicate that the earthquake-related tectonic movements were but the most recent pulse in an episode of deformation that probably began in late Pleistocene time and has continued intermittently to the present. Evidence for progressive coastal submergence in the deformed region for several centuries preceding the earthquake, in combin1ation with transverse horizontal shortening indicated by the retriangulation data, suggests pre-earthquake strain directed at a gentle angle downward beneath the arc. The duration of strain accumulation in the epicentral region, as interpreted from the time interval during which the coastal submergence occurred, probably is 930–1,360 years.

  18. 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.

  19. Tidal stress triggering effects of earthquakes based on various tectonic regions in China and related astronomical characteristics

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    WU XiaoPing; MAO Wei; HUANG Yong; HU Hui; HU YiLi

    2009-01-01

    Dividing the mainland Chins into different tectonic stress regions, we calculate tidal stress components along the seismic compressive and extensional principal stress axes at every earthquake's focus in different tectonic stress regions. Tidal stress triggering effect on every earthquake fault is analyzed. Based on this, the lunar-solar location parameters on the occurring times of earthquakes which suf-fered tidal triggering effects are calculated, and the distribution patterns of the lunar-solar location parameters in different tectonic stress regions are obtained. The results Indicate that earthquake tidal triggering effects and related astronomical characteristics are dependent on the properties of regional tectonic stress and the geographic locations of earthquake faults.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. Subduction zone and crustal dynamics of western Washington; a tectonic model for earthquake hazards evaluation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stanley, Dal; Villaseñor, Antonio; Benz, Harley

    1999-01-01

    The Cascadia subduction zone is extremely complex in the western Washington region, involving local deformation of the subducting Juan de Fuca plate and complicated block structures in the crust. It has been postulated that the Cascadia subduction zone could be the source for a large thrust earthquake, possibly as large as M9.0. Large intraplate earthquakes from within the subducting Juan de Fuca plate beneath the Puget Sound region have accounted for most of the energy release in this century and future such large earthquakes are expected. Added to these possible hazards is clear evidence for strong crustal deformation events in the Puget Sound region near faults such as the Seattle fault, which passes through the southern Seattle metropolitan area. In order to understand the nature of these individual earthquake sources and their possible interrelationship, we have conducted an extensive seismotectonic study of the region. We have employed P-wave velocity models developed using local earthquake tomography as a key tool in this research. Other information utilized includes geological, paleoseismic, gravity, magnetic, magnetotelluric, deformation, seismicity, focal mechanism and geodetic data. Neotectonic concepts were tested and augmented through use of anelastic (creep) deformation models based on thin-plate, finite-element techniques developed by Peter Bird, UCLA. These programs model anelastic strain rate, stress, and velocity fields for given rheological parameters, variable crust and lithosphere thicknesses, heat flow, and elevation. Known faults in western Washington and the main Cascadia subduction thrust were incorporated in the modeling process. Significant results from the velocity models include delineation of a previously studied arch in the subducting Juan de Fuca plate. The axis of the arch is oriented in the direction of current subduction and asymmetrically deformed due to the effects of a northern buttress mapped in the velocity models. This

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. The 2005 volcano-tectonic earthquake swarm in the Andaman Sea: Triggered by the 2004 great Sumatra-Andaman earthquake

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Kundu, B.; Legrand, D.; Gahalaut, K.; Gahalaut, V.K.; Mahesh, P.; KameshRaju, K.A.; Catherine, J.K.; Ambikapthy, A.; Chadha, R.K.

    environments (e.g Roman et al., 2004; Legrand et al., 2011; Wright et al., 2012). 8.4. Feed-back tectonic and volcanic responses The 2005 Andaman swarm is related to both tectonic and volcanic processes. The swarm probably occurred on the WAF and on the en... mechanisms of all the earthquakes are compatible with a unique stress tensor (Fig. 6). Thus the time evolution of the focal mechanism shows the feedback response of the tectonic behavior of this swarm (strike-slip focal mechanisms almost on the right...

  9. 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

  10. Tectonic summaries of magnitude 7 and greater earthquakes from 2000 to 2015

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hayes, Gavin P.; Meyers, Emma K.; Dewey, James W.; Briggs, Richard W.; Earle, Paul S.; Benz, Harley M.; Smoczyk, Gregory M.; Flamme, Hanna E.; Barnhart, William D.; Gold, Ryan D.; Furlong, Kevin P.

    2017-01-11

    This paper describes the tectonic summaries for all magnitude 7 and larger earthquakes in the period 2000–2015, as produced by the U.S. Geological Survey National Earthquake Information Center during their routine response operations to global earthquakes. The goal of such summaries is to provide important event-specific information to the public rapidly and concisely, such that recent earthquakes can be understood within a global and regional seismotectonic framework. We compile these summaries here to provide a long-term archive for this information, and so that the variability in tectonic setting and earthquake history from region to region, and sometimes within a given region, can be more clearly understood.

  11. 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.

  12. Tectonic implications and seismicity triggering during the 2008 Baluchistan, Pakistan earthquake sequence

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yadav, R. B. S.; Gahalaut, V. K.; Chopra, Sumer; Shan, Bin

    2012-02-01

    A damaging and widely felt moderate earthquake (Mw 6.4) hit the rural, mountainous region of southwestern Pakistan on October 28, 2008. The main shock was followed by another earthquake of identical magnitude (Mw 6.4) on the next day. The spatial distribution of aftershocks and focal mechanism revealed a NW-SE striking rupture with right-lateral strike-slip motion which is sympathetic to the NNW-SSE striking active mapped Urghargai Fault. The occurrence of strike-slip earthquakes suggests that along with the thrust faults, strike slip faults too are present beneath the fold-and-thrust belt of Sulaiman-Kirthar ranges and accommodates some of the relative motion of the Indian and Eurasian plates. To assess the characteristics of this sequence, the statistical parameters like aftershocks temporal decay, b-value of G-R relationship, partitioning of radiated seismic energy due to aftershocks, and spatial fractal dimension (D-value) have been examined. The b-value is estimated as 1.03 ± 0.42 and suggests the tectonic genesis of the sequence and crustal heterogeneity within rock mass. The low p-value of 0.89 ± 0.07 implies slow decay of aftershocks activity which is probably an evidence for low surface heat flow. A value of spatial fractal dimension of 2.08 ± 0.02 indicates random spatial distribution and that the source is a two-dimensional plane filled-up by fractures. The static coseismic Coulomb stress changes due to the foreshock (Mw 5.3) were found to increase stress by more than 0.04 bars at the hypocenter of the main shock, thus promoting the failure. The cumulative coseismic Coulomb stress changes due to the foreshock and mainshocks suggest that most of the aftershocks occurred in the region of increased Coulomb stress, and to the SE to the mainshock rupture.

  13. Occurrences of large-magnitude earthquakes in the Kachchh region, Gujarat, western India: Tectonic implications

    Science.gov (United States)

    Khan, Prosanta Kumar; Mohanty, Sarada Prasad; Sinha, Sushmita; Singh, Dhananjay

    2016-06-01

    Moderate-to-large damaging earthquakes in the peninsular part of the Indian plate do not support the long-standing belief of the seismic stability of this region. The historical record shows that about 15 damaging earthquakes with magnitudes from 5.5 to ~ 8.0 occurred in the Indian peninsula. Most of these events were associated with the old rift systems. Our analysis of the 2001 Bhuj earthquake and its 12-year aftershock sequence indicates a seismic zone bound by two linear trends (NNW and NNE) that intersect an E-W-trending graben. The Bouguer gravity values near the epicentre of the Bhuj earthquake are relatively low (~ 2 mgal). The gravity anomaly maps, the distribution of earthquake epicentres, and the crustal strain-rate patterns indicate that the 2001 Bhuj earthquake occurred along a fault within strain-hardened mid-crustal rocks. The collision resistance between the Indian plate and the Eurasian plate along the Himalayas and anticlockwise rotation of the Indian plate provide the far-field stresses that concentrate within a fault-bounded block close to the western margin of the Indian plate and is periodically released during earthquakes, such as the 2001 MW 7.7 Bhuj earthquake. We propose that the moderate-to-large magnitude earthquakes in the deeper crust in this area occur along faults associated with old rift systems that are reactivated in a strain-hardened environment.

  14. Comparative study of tectonic tremor locations: Characterization of slow earthquakes in Guerrero, Mexico

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maury, J.; Ide, S.; Cruz-Atienza, V. M.; Kostoglodov, V.; González-Molina, G.; Pérez-Campos, X.

    2016-07-01

    Deep tectonic tremor in Guerrero, Mexico, has been observed using dense temporal seismic networks (i.e., the Meso-American Subduction Experiment and Guerrero Gap Experiment (G-GAP) arrays) during two different time periods. We apply a set of seismic waveform analysis methods to these data sets to constrain the locations of tremors and determine the associated moment tensors. First we detect and locate the tremors. Next, very low frequency (VLF) signals are identified by stacking waveform data during tremor bursts, and their moment tensors are determined. Finally, to better investigate the link between tremors and VLF earthquakes, we detect VLF events using a matched filtering algorithm to search continuous seismic records. None of the 11 VLF events detected by this method occurred in the absence of tremor bursts suggesting they are indeed part of the same phenomena. Unlike previous investigations, our results for the G-GAP period reveal that downdip tremor activity (i.e., in the so-called "sweet spot") is segmented into two patches separated by 40 km in the along-trench direction, indicating possible variations in the geometry of the plate interface and/or slab effective pressure. Moment tensors of VLF signals are consistent with shear slip on the near-horizontal plate interface, but source depths are about 5 km deeper than the established plate interface. The slip directions of the VLF events are slightly ( 10°) counterclockwise of the plate convergence direction, indicating that strain energy promoting left-lateral strike-slip motion may accumulate in the continental crust during the interseismic period.

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

    OpenAIRE

    2008-01-01

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

  16. Flexure of the Indian plate and intraplate earthquakes

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    Roger Bilham; Rebecca Bendick; Kali Wallace

    2003-09-01

    The flexural bulge in central India resulting from India's collision with Tibet has a wavelength of approximately 670 km. It is manifest topographically and in the free-air gravity anomaly and the geoid. Calculations of the stress distribution within a flexed Indian plate reveal spatial variations throughout the depth of the plate and also a function of distance from the Himalaya. The wave- length (and therefore local gradient) of stress variation is a function of the effective elastic thickness of the plate, estimates of which have been proposed to lie in the range 40-120 km. The imposition of this stress field on the northward moving Indian plate appears fundamental to explaining the current distribution of intraplate earthquakes and their mechanisms. The current study highlights an outer trough south of the flexural bulge in central India where surface stresses are double the contiguous compressional stresses to the north and south. The Bhuj, Latur and Koyna earthquakes and numerous other recent reverse faulting events occurred in this compressional setting. The N/S spatial gradient of stress exceeds 2 bars/km near the flexural bulge. The overall flexural stress distribution provides a physical basis for earthquake hazard mapping and suggests that areas of central India where no historic earthquakes are recorded may yet be the locus of future damaging events.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Verma, Sanjeet K.

    2017-01-01

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

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. Tectonic Summaries for Web-served Earthquake Responses, Southeastern North America

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wheeler, Russell L.

    2003-01-01

    This report documents the rationale and strategy used to write short summaries of the seismicity and tectonic settings of domains in southeastern North America. The summaries are used in automated responses to notable earthquakes that occur anywhere east of the Rocky Mountains in the United States or Canada. Specifically, the report describes the geologic and tectonic information, data sources, criteria, and reasoning used to determine the content and format of the summaries, for the benefit of geologists or seismologists who may someday need to revise the summaries or write others. These tectonic summaries are designed to be automatically posted on the World Wide Web as soon as an earthquake?s epicenter is determined. The summaries are part of a larger collection of summaries that is planned to cover the world.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Source mechanism studies of earthquakes in the Ibero-Maghrebian region and their tectonic implications

    Science.gov (United States)

    Buforn, E.; Udías, A.; Pro, C.

    2016-10-01

    Seismicity of the Ibero-Maghrebian region includes the occurrence of shallow, intermediate depth, and very deep earthquakes. This is a very rare occurrence for a region not associated to an active subduction zone. Detailed studies of the source mechanism of these three types of earthquakes have been made possible through the collaboration with Prof. Madariaga. They give important information about the complex tectonic of the region. Shallow earthquakes at the west and east ends of the region have predominant reverse faulting with NW-SE trending horizontal pressure axes. The center part is the most tectonically complex. At the Strait of Gibraltar, there is a change on focal mechanisms from reverse faulting to strike-slip motion in northern Morocco, conserving the horizontal compression on NW-SE direction. In the Alboran Sea, mechanisms are of normal faulting with E-W trending horizontal tension axes, and in south Spain, mechanisms are of mixed solutions. The intermediate depth earthquakes (40-130 km) are located at both sides of the Strait of Gibraltar, at the western part distributed in E-W direction. The most important concentration, however, is located at the east of Gibraltar in a N-S trending thin vertical body and has different mechanisms. The very deep earthquakes (650 km) are concentrated at a small volume, and their mechanism corresponds to N-S vertical planes or horizontal ones. A tectonic model for the region is presented to explain the shallow, intermediate, and deep earthquakes.

  7. [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.

  8. 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...

  9. 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)

  10. 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)

  11. Earthquake Risk - MO 2010 Tectonic Fault Structures (SHP)

    Data.gov (United States)

    NSGIC GIS Inventory (aka Ramona) — The data set contains line data for known structural features in the state of Missouri. These include faults, folds, and other related tectonic structures. Source...

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. Ball-and-socket tectonic rotation during the 2013 Mw7.7 Balochistan earthquake

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barnhart, W. D.; Hayes, G. P.; Briggs, R. W.; Gold, R. D.; Bilham, R.

    2014-10-01

    The September 2013 Mw7.7 Balochistan earthquake ruptured a ˜200-km-long segment of the curved Hoshab fault in southern Pakistan with 10±0.2 m of peak sinistral and ˜1.7±0.8 m of dip slip. This rupture is unusual because the fault dips 60±15° towards the focus of a small circle centered in northwest Pakistan, and, despite a 30° increase in obliquity along strike, the ratios of strike and dip slip remain relatively uniform. Surface displacements and geodetic and teleseismic source inversions quantify a bilateral rupture that propagated rapidly at shallow depths from a transtensional jog near the northern end of the rupture. Static friction prior to rupture was unusually weak (μ<0.05), and friction may have approached zero during dynamic rupture. Here we show that the inward-dipping Hoshab fault defines the northern rim of a structural unit in southeast Makran that rotates - akin to a 2-D ball-and-socket joint - counter-clockwise in response to India's penetration into the Eurasian plate. This rotation accounts for complexity in the Chaman fault system and, in principle, reduces seismic potential near Karachi; nonetheless, these findings highlight deficiencies in strong ground motion equations and tectonic models that invoke Anderson-Byerlee faulting predictions.

  15. 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

  16. RECENT TECTONIC DEFORMATION ANOMALY AND EARTHQUAKES IN GANSU-NINGXIA-QINGHAI AREA

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Wang Shuangxu; Zhang Xi; Zhang Sixin; Xue Fuping

    2003-01-01

    By processing and analyzing geodetic data of vertical deformation, fault deforma tion and horizontal deformation by GPS in Gansu-Ningxia-Qinghai area and by comparing them with geological structures and many medium to strong earthquake activities in this area, some features of recent tectonic deformation anomaly and the development of medium to strong earthtively large. The amount of vertical movement and the deformation status evolve with time. The dominant stress of tectonic deformation and seismic development in this area comes from the persistent northeastward compression of Qinghai-Tibet block;The time-spatial distribution evolution of tectonic deformation and seismic activities are closely related to dynamic evolution of block moand remarkable fault deformation anormaly on the borders of regional tectonic blocks are indicators of developing moderate-to-strong earthquakes but earthquakes may not necessarily take place in the position of maxium deformation, it usually occurred in the region where fault deformation anormaly shows "trend accumulation-acceleration-turn" variation character or nearby. On the basis of above study, a preliminary prediction for strong earthquake risk in this area is given.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-12-01

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

  20. 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.

  1. 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

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2013-01-01

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

  4. Six years of tectonic tremor observations prior to the Mw 7.4 March 20, 2012 Ometepec Earthquake

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sit, S. M.; Brudzinski, M. R.; Schlanser, K. M.; Cabral-Cano, E.; Arciniega-Ceballos, A.; DeMets, C.

    2012-12-01

    Observations of episodic tremor and slip (ETS) at several major tectonic boundaries have suggested a potential temporal relationship between the new seismic phenomena and megathrust earthquake events. The subduction zone in Oaxaca, Mexico provides an ideal locality to investigate this potential relationship, where we obtain a multi-year record of tectonic tremor detections and slow slip observations prior to the recent Mw 7.4 March 20, 2012 Ometepec earthquake. The preliminary epicenter, depth (20 km), and finite fault model all place the earthquake at the downdip edge of the band of background seismicity that is thought to outline the boundary between the seismogenic zone and transition zone of the plate interface. To detect tectonic tremor, we take advantage of its unique frequency content by scanning multiple frequency passbands where tremor (2-5 Hz), regional seismicity (10-15 Hz), and teleseismic surface waves (0.02-0.1 Hz) are present. We calculate a ratio of amplitudes favoring tremor behavior and downweighting activity from the other frequency passbands. Application of our technique allows us to quickly examine the prevalence of tremor beginning in mid-2006. Results from our frequency-based detection algorithm are in good agreement with previous tremor detections and locations in Oaxaca and additionally detects several previously unidentified low amplitude, short duration tremor episodes. Tremor occurs over a relatively short time period, 2-10 days, recurs as often as every 2-3 months, and does not regularly correlate with periods of large slow slip that tend to last several months and occur further updip. These observations are more consistent with those from Nankai than Cascadia. Preliminary analysis suggests that no obvious change in tremor prevalence occurred prior to the 2012 Ometepec earthquake; however, a variety of GPS inferred slow slip signals begin in the months leading up to the event. The puzzling relationship between tremor, slow slip, and

  5. Seismo-tectonic divisions of strong earth-quakes with MS37.0 and their tectonic geomorphology along Xianshuihe-Xiaojiang fault zone

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    张世民; 谢富仁

    2001-01-01

    Seismo-tectonic areas of historical strong earthquakes with MS37 along Xianshuihe-Xiaojiang fault zone are di-vided, and their individual fault-pattern and tectonic geomorphology are analyzed. Those strong-earthquake areas are located in some special parts of the fault zone, where the major branch-faults of the fault zone form left step-ping, parallel, and fork-like patterns. In the strong-earthquake areas structurally complicated basins are developed, such as pull-apart basins in fork-like area, in double stepping area, and in stepping and fork-like areas.

  6. Tectonic Stress Wave,Micro-fracture Wave,and a Modified Elastic-Rebound Model of Earthquakes

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Zhao Fuyuan

    2010-01-01

    Based on a sample of some real earthquakes,we have suggested in previous papers that there is a density-tectonic stress wave with ultra-low frequency which is emitted from the epicenter region for months before earthquakes,and a micro-fracture wave 1~10 days before earthquakes.The former has been observed by different kinds of measurements and the latter has been observed by a few chance observations which consists of electromagnetic,gravitational and sonic fluctuations.We show real observational results that depict the two waves and they have very different frequencies,which are not difficult to discriminate.The classicaI elastic-rebound model is one of the most influential theories on earthquakes,and the thermodynamic elastic-rebound model has amended the classical framework.Considering the two waves above,we attempt to further modify the elasticrebound model,and the new framework could be called the"micro-fracture elasticrebound model".We infer that tectonic earthquakes could have three special phases:the accumulation of tectonic stress,micro-fracture,and main-fracture.Accordingly,there would be three waves which come from the epicenter of a tectonic earthquake,i.e.,the tectonic stress wave with ultra-low frequency a few months before the earthquake,the micro-fracture wave about 1~10 days before the earthquake and the main-fracture wave(common earthquake wave).

  7. 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...

  8. 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.

  9. 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...

  10. 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.

  11. Re-evaluation of the regional tectonic stress fields and faulting regimes in central Kyushu, Japan, behind the 2016 Mw 7.0 Kumamoto Earthquake

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yoshida, Masaki

    2017-08-01

    To re-evaluate the regional tectonic stress fields in central Kyushu, Japan, the region in which the 2016 Kumamoto Earthquakes occurred on 14 April 2016 (Mw 6.2) and 16 April (Mw 7.0), the faulting regimes in central Kyushu were analyzed using the focal mechanisms of this earthquake sequence. Results show that almost all of the focal mechanisms of the earthquakes occurring along the active Futagawa-Hinagu fault zone fall into two spatial faulting regimes: a strike-slip (SS) regime along this fault zone and a pure normal faulting (NF) regime without or with minor strike-slip component in the northern part of this fault zone. In terms of the relationship between the two horizontal principal stresses acting on Kyushu Island, these two regimes are regarded as a set of tectonics stress fields. The highly accumulated strain energy along this fault zone and asymmetrically unbalanced stress condition for the maximum horizontal principal stress acting on the east-west sides of the crustal blocks in this area expected from a pair of these two regimes might explain the relatively large number of aftershocks following the Kumamoto Earthquake as compared to other recent inland earthquakes in the Japanese Islands. From the results of the present analyses, it is considered that the regional stress field of Honshu Island could be extended to Kyushu Island and that the kinematics of the Philippine Sea Plate may have been affecting the stress field in Kyushu since the late Miocene.

  12. 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.

  13. Magma Supply System at Batur Volcano Inferred from Volcano-Tectonic Earthquakes and Their Focal Mechanism

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sri Hidayati

    2014-07-01

    Full Text Available DOI: 10.17014/ijog.v8i2.159The Volcano-Tectonic (VT earthquakes occurring during September - November 2009 were analyzed. The result shows that the epicentres aligning in NE- SW direction coincided with the weak zone of Batur Volcano Complex. The focal zone is located at the depth around 1.5 - 5.5 km beneath the summit. Migration of magma was detected by ground deformation measured by GPS and focal mechanism. Mechanism of VT earthquake shows mostly normal fault types during the swarm in November 2009.

  14. Tidal stress triggering effects of earthquakes based on various tectonic regions in China and related astronomical characteristics

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2009-01-01

    Dividing the mainland China into different tectonic stress regions,we calculate tidal stress components along the seismic compressive and extensional principal stress axes at every earthquake’s focus in different tectonic stress regions.Tidal stress triggering effect on every earthquake fault is analyzed.Based on this,the lunar-solar location parameters on the occurring times of earthquakes which suffered tidal triggering effects are calculated,and the distribution patterns of the lunar-solar location parameters in different tectonic stress regions are obtained.The results indicate that earthquake tidal triggering effects and related astronomical characteristics are dependent on the properties of regional tectonic stress and the geographic locations of earthquake faults.

  15. 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.

  16. 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...

  17. Earthquakes: Risk, Monitoring, Notification, and Research

    Science.gov (United States)

    2008-06-19

    far away as Bangladesh , Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. Several large aftershocks have occurred since the main seismic event. The May 12 earthquake...motion of tectonic plates; ! Earthquake geology and paleoseismology: studies of the history, effects, and mechanics of earthquakes; ! Earthquake hazards

  18. Recent earthquake activity in Trichonis region and its tectonic significance

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    N. DELIBASIS

    1977-06-01

    Full Text Available SUMMARY. - The aftershock activity associated with the central Greece
    (Trichonis Lake earthquake of |une-Dec. 1975, has been studied, with emphasis
    on the time and magnitude distribution. It has been found that the value of b,
    in Gutenberg - R i c h t e r ' s relationship was near the same for the primary as
    well as the secondary or second order aftershocks of the sequences, but depends
    upon the focal depth.
    A correlation between the calculated focal mechanisms and the associated
    stress components to the distribution pattern of meizoseismic effects as well
    as to the geological structure of the seismic region was found.
    The seismic region lies at the top of an anticline which was found moving
    downwards, apparently due to compressional stresses.
    Within the series of three earthquakes the progress of the destruction of
    the buildings was observed and reported. The interest is concentrated to modern
    buildings out of reinforced concrete and infill brick walls. The relatively unexpected
    rather bad performance of the later case of buildings was compared to that
    of the traditional small houses out of brick or stone masonry, the behaviour of
    which may be considered as better from what it was expected.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Demets, Charles; Stein, Seth

    1990-01-01

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

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

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Ma Hongsheng; Zhang Guomin; Liu Jie; Wang Hui

    2006-01-01

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

  1. Distal Volcano-Tectonic Earthquakes (DVT's): Diagnosis and use in Eruption Forecasting

    Science.gov (United States)

    White, R. A.; Power, J. A.

    2001-12-01

    Volcano-tectonic earthquake swarms occurred 5-6 Km from the summit months prior to the catastrophic eruptions of Mt. Pinatubo (1991) and Nevado del Ruiz (1985). Similar earthquake swarms probably occurred beneath distal portions of Mt. St. Helens (1980), El Chichon (1982), and Soufriere Hills (1995-98) months to years prior the eruptions there. Thus these Distal Volcano-Tectonic (DVT) earthquakes were probably the longest-term precursors to those eruptions. Based on close correlation with observed volcanic activity, we show that DVT's result from magma intrusion. Although DVT's are brittle-failure earthquakes along faults, they are generally distinguishable from tectonic sequences by clustering features, most notably a slowly increasing to roughly constant moment release rate. Total seismic moments for DVT swarms appear constrained by magma viscosity, with the largest moments associated with basalts. DVT swarms occur from 30 Km from summits of volcanoes. Maximum depths increase roughly as the distance out to 10 km then gradually level off, as do depths to the brittle-ductile transition near active volcanoes. We interpret DVT's as resulting from injection of magmatic fluids into closed aquifers near the base of the brittle zone, over-pressurizing the aquifers out several to many kilometers horizontally. The over-pressure may trigger faulting in areas where the intruding magma increased the static stress. We show that the DVT moment rate is proportional to the fluid injection rate and is apparently delayed by only minutes to tens of minutes depending on distance, owing to the rapid hydraulic transmission of pore-pressures. Thus DVT earthquake swarms can provide early warning for major eruptions while possibly providing constraints in near-real time on magma viscosity, depth and ascent rate during intrusion.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Soft-sediment Deformation Structures Related to Earthquake from the Devonian of the Eastern North Qilian Mts. and Its Tectonic Significance

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    DU Yuansheng; XU Yajun; YANG Jianghai

    2008-01-01

    Devonian in the North Qilian orogenic belt and Hexi Corridor developed terrestrial molasse of later stage of foreland basin caused by collision between the North China plate and Qaidam microplate. The foreland basin triggered a intense earthquake, and formed seismites and earthquake- related soft-sediment deformation. The soft-sediment deformation structures of Devonian in the eastern North Qilian Mts. consist of seismo-cracks, sandstone dykes, syn-depositional faults, microfolds (micro-corrugated lamination), fluidized veins, load casts, flame structures, pillow structures and brecciation. The seismo-cracks, syn-depositional faults and microfolds are cracks, faults and folds formed directly by oscillation of earthquake. The seismic dykes formed by sediment instilling into seismic cracks. Fluidized veins were made by instilling into the seismo-fissures of the fluidized sands. The load casts, flame structures and pillow structures were formed by sinking and instilling caused from oscillation of earthquake along the face between sandy and muddy beds. The brecciation resulted from the oscillation of earthquake and cracking of sedimentary layers. The seismites and soft-sediment deformations in Devonian triggered the earthquake related to tectonic activities during the orogeny and uplift of North Qilian Mts.

  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. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  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. 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…

  16. 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

  17. 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…

  18. 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.

  19. Deep Tectonic Tremor in Haiti triggered by the 2010/02/27 Mw8.8 Maule, Chile earthquake

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aiken, C.; Peng, Z.; Douilly, R.; Calais, E.; Deschamps, A.; Haase, J. S.

    2013-05-01

    Tectonic tremors have been observed along major plate-boundary faults around the world. In most of these regions, tremors occur spontaneously (i.e. ambient) or as a result of small stress perturbations from passing surface waves (i.e. triggered). Because tremors are located below the seismogenic zone, a detailed study of their behavior could help to better understand how tectonic movement is accommodated in the deep root of major faults, and the relationship with large earthquakes. Here, we present evidence of triggered tremor in southern Haiti around the aftershock zone of the 2010/01/12 Mw7.0 Haiti earthquake. Following the January mainshock, several groups have installed land and ocean bottom seismometers to record aftershock activity (e.g., De Lepinay et al., 2011). In the following month, the 2010/02/27 Mw8.8 Maule, Chile earthquake occurred and was recorded in the southern Haiti region by these seismic stations. We apply a 5-15 Hz band-pass filter to all seismograms to identify local high-frequency signals during the Chile teleseismic waves. Tremor is identified as non-impulsive bursts with 10-20 s durations that is coherent among different stations and is modulated by surface waves. We also convert the seismic data into audible sounds and use them to distinguish between local aftershocks and deep tremor. We locate the source of the tremor bursts using an envelope cross-correlation method based on travel time differences. Because tremor depth is not well constrained with this method, we set it to 20 km, close to the recent estimate of Moho depth in this region (McNamara et al., 2012). Most tremors are located south of the surface expression of the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden Fault (EPGF), a high-angle southward dipping left-lateral strike-slip fault that marks the boundary between the Gonave microplate and the Caribbean plate, although the location errors are large. Tremor peaks are mostly modulated by Love wave velocity, which is consistent with left

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2008-04-01

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

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. The January 2006 Volcanic-Tectonic Earthquake Swarm at Mount Martin, Alaska

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dixon, James P.; Power, John A.

    2009-01-01

    On January 8, 2006, a swarm of volcanic-tectonic earthquakes began beneath Mount Martin at the southern end of the Katmai volcanic cluster. This was the first recorded swarm at Mount Martin since continuous seismic monitoring began in 1996. The number of located earthquakes increased during the next four days, reaching a peak on January 11. For the next two days, the seismic activity decreased, and on January 14, the number of events increased to twice the previous day's total. Following this increase in activity, seismicity declined, returning to background levels by the end of the month. The Alaska Volcano Observatory located 860 earthquakes near Mount Martin during January 2006. No additional signs of volcanic unrest were noted in association with this earthquake swarm. The earthquakes in the Mount Martin swarm, relocated using the double difference technique, formed an elongated cluster dipping to the southwest. Focal mechanisms beneath Mount Martin show a mix of normal, thrust, and strike-slip solutions, with normal focal mechanisms dominating. For earthquakes more than 1 km from Mount Martin, all focal mechanisms showed normal faulting. The calculated b-value for the Mount Martin swarm is 0.98 and showed no significant change before, during, or after the swarm. The triggering mechanism for the Mount Martin swarm is unknown. The time-history of earthquake occurrence is indicative of a volcanic cause; however, there were no low-frequency events or observations, such as increased steaming associated with the swarm. During the swarm, there was no change in the b-value, and the distribution and type of focal mechanisms were similar to those in the period before the anomalous activity. The short duration of the swarm, the similarity in observed focal mechanisms, and the lack of additional signs of unrest suggest this swarm did not result from a large influx of magma within the shallow crust beneath Mount Martin.

  7. Discussion on the Precise Relocation and Seismo-Tectonics of the Jiujiang-Ruichang Earthquake

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Lü Jian; Ni Sidao; Shen Xiaoqi; Gao Jianhua; Zeng Xinfu

    2008-01-01

    Based on relocating the Jiujiang-Ruichang earthquake sequence which occurred on November 26, 2005 in Jiangxi Province with the double-difference (DD) algorithm and master event technique, the paper discusses the focal mechanism of the main shock (Ms5.7) and the probable seismo-tectonics. The precise relocation results indicate that the average horizontal error is 0.31 km in a EW direction and 0.40km in a NS direction, and the average depth error is 0.48km. The focal depths vary from 8kin to 14km, with the predominant distribution at 10km~ 12km. The epicenter of the main shock is relocated to be 29.69° N, 115.74°E and the focal depth is about 10.Skm. Combining the predominant distribution of the earthquake sequence, the focal mechanism of the main shock and the tectonic conditions of NE- and NWstrike faults growth in the seismic region, we infer that the main shock of the earthquake sequence was caused by a NW striking buried fault in the Rnichang basin. The nature of seismic faults needs to be further explored.

  8. Tectonic Setting and Aftershocks of the Mw 6.7 Feburary 14, 2013 Earthquake in Yakutia, Northeast Russia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rappolee, E.; Burk, D. R.; Mackey, K. G.; Fujita, K.; Shibaev, S. V.; Koz'min, B. M.

    2016-12-01

    The details of the seismotectonics along the boundary between the Eurasian, North American, and Okhotsk plates are poorly understood. Infrequent earthquakes of moderate size (Mw > 4) in this remote region make it difficult to characterize its tectonic activity. On February 14, 2013, an Mw 6.7 earthquake along this boundary in Northern Yakutia, Russia, resulted in a long sequence of aftershocks that provide an opportunity to better understand the region's geology. A temporary deployment of four seismic stations was installed around the main shock to supplement regional station coverage. During the ten day deployment, several thousand aftershocks were recorded. We have located 112 events using both first-arriving Pn and Sn and secondary arriving Pg and Sg phase time picks. The located aftershocks define a SSE striking zone approximately 30 km long and 10 km wide, east of the Illin'-Tas fault and northwest of the Indigirka River. Location depths range from 0 to 20 km. In conjunction with locating aftershocks, a local three-layer best-fit velocity was determined consisting of an upper crust (14 km thick, VPg = 6.06 km/s and VSg = 3.53 km/s), a lower crust (21 km thick, VP* = 6.45 km/s and VS* = 3.65 km/s), and a Moho (35 km deep, VPn = 7.98 km/s and VSn = 4.53 km/s). The mainshock epicenter falls in the northwestern corner of the aftershock zone, however its focal depth is not well established. Aftershock analysis is ongoing and will possibly provide a better understanding of the earthquake rupture zone. Nonetheless, results of this study support active thrusting and mountain building as a mechanism to accommodate compression along the North America-Eurasia boundary.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1988-01-01

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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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).

  16. 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.

  17. Differentiating Tectonic and Anthropogenic Earthquakes in the Greater Los Angeles Basin, Southern California

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hauksson, E.; Goebel, T.; Cochran, E. S.; Ampuero, J. P.

    2014-12-01

    The 2014 flurry of moderate earthquakes in the Los Angeles region raised the concern if some of this or past seismicity was of anthropogenic origin as opposed to being caused by ongoing transpressional tectonics. The Mw5.1 La Habra sequence is located near several major oil fields but the Mw4.4 Encino sequence was located away from oil fields, within the Santa Monica Mountains. The last century of seismicity in the Los Angeles area consists of numerous small and large earthquakes. Most of these earthquakes occur beneath the basin sediments and are associated with transpressional tectonics, related to the big bend in the San Andreas fault, but some could be associated with large oil fields. In particular, both the 1933 Mw6.4 Long Beach and the 1987 Mw5.9 Whittier Narrows earthquakes were spatially associated with two major oil fields, the Huntington Beach and Montebello fields. Numerous large oil fields have been in production for more than 125 years. The geographical locations of the oil fields follow major tectonic trends such as the Newport-Inglewood fault, the Whittier fault, and the thrust belt located at the north edge of the Los Angeles basin. More than 60 fields have oil wells and some of these have both disposal and fracking wells. Before fluid injection became common, Kovach (1974) documented six damaging events induced by fluid extraction from 1947 to 1961 in the Wilmington oil field. Since 1981 the waveform-relocated earthquake catalog for the Los Angeles basin is complete on the average above M2.0. We compare the spatial distribution of these events and the proximity of nearby active oil fields. We will also analyze the seismicity in the context of available monthly fluid extraction and injection volumes and search for temporal correlations. The La Habra sequence apparently correlates with temporal changes in extraction and injection volumes in the Santa Fe Springs oil field but not with activities in other oil fields within closer spatial proximity.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1981-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1981-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-09-22

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

  1. The 2014 Mw6.2 Eketahuna earthquake, Hikurangi subduction zone - normal faulting in the subducted Pacific Plate crust

    Science.gov (United States)

    Abercrombie, R. E.; Bannister, S. C.; Francois-Holden, C.; Hamling, I. J.; Ristau, J. P.

    2014-12-01

    The 2014 January 20th M6.2 Eketahuna earthquake occurred in the subducted crust of the Pacific plate at the Hikurangi subduction zone, beneath North Island, New Zealand. Moment tensor analysis together with aftershock relocations show that this event was an oblique-normal faulting intraplate event, with hypocentre depth ca.30 km, and with rupture on a northwest-dipping fault extending through the subducted crust up to the subduction megathrust at ca.18-20 km depth. More than 3500 aftershocks were subsequently recorded by the New Zealand GeoNet network, with only minor migration of the aftershocks away from the inferred mainshock rupture, and with very few aftershocks within +/- 1 km of the subduction megathrust. The megathrust in this particular region is inferred to be interseismically locked with no seismic or aseismic slip, although slow slip is occurring ca.15-30 km down-dip (Wallace et al, 2013). Similar oblique-normal faulting events have previously occurred along the Hikurangi subduction margin, including in 1985 (ML5.7) and 1990 (Mw6.2). Earlier earthquakes in 1942 (Mw6.8) and 1921 (Mw6.8) are also inferred to have occurred at a similar depth within the subducted crust. The 1990 earthquake sequence occurred ~40 km along-strike from the 2014 Eketahuna event, and involved a Mw6.2 oblique-normal faulting event in the subducted crust, which was quickly followed by a Mw6.4 event in the overlying crust, with both thrust and dextral strike-slip components, possibly responding to deeper aseismic slip. Deeper earthquakes of similar type at other subduction margins are thought to be high stress drop. We calculate the stress drops of the mainshock and larger aftershocks, using a direct wave, empirical Green's function (EGF) approach that includes measurement uncertainties and objective criteria for assessing the quality of each spectral ratio (Abercrombie, 2013). We compare the results to those for earthquakes in other tectonic regions of New Zealand, calculated using

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-12-01

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

  3. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stein, Claudia; Hansen, Ulrich

    2016-04-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hansen, U.; Stein, C.

    2015-12-01

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

  6. Do magnitudes of great subduction earthquakes depend on strength of mechanical coupling between the plates?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sobolev, Stephan; Muldashev, Iskander

    2017-04-01

    The common thinking is that the magnitude of a great subduction earthquake correlates with the strength of mechanical coupling between slab and overriding plate. Based on this idea, Ruff and Kanamori (1980) suggested that maximum earthquake's magnitude is controlled by two parameters: age of subducting plate and plate convergence rate, when the youngest and the fastest slabs generate the largest earthquakes. This view was supported by many researches since then. However, since 1980 a number of great earthquakes, and particularly two largest earthquakes of the last 12 years, i.e. Great Sumatra/Andaman 2004 Earthquake and Tohoku 2011 earthquake, have violated the suggested correlation. We address the relation between strength of mechanical coupling and earthquake magnitude directly by cross-scale geodynamic modeling of seismic cycles of great subduction earthquakes. This modeling technique employs elasticity, non-linear transient viscous rheology, and rate-and-state friction at slab interface. It generates spontaneous earthquake sequences, and, by using an adaptive time-step algorithm, recreates the deformation process as observed naturally over single and multiple seismic cycles. We model seismic cycles for the great subduction earthquakes with different geometries of subducting plates, different static friction coefficients in subduction channels and different subduction velocities. Under the assumption that rupture length scales with the rupture width, our models demonstrate that maximum magnitudes of the earthquakes are exclusively controlled by the factors that increase rupture width. These factors are: low slab's dipping angle (the largest effect), low friction coefficient in subduction channel (smaller effect) and high subduction velocity (the smallest effect). Models suggest that maximum magnitudes of earthquakes do not correlate significantly with the magnitudes of normal and shear stresses at subduction interface. In agreement with observations, our models

  7. Tectonic "short circuit" of sub-horizontal fluid-saturated bodies as a possible mechanism of the earthquake

    CERN Document Server

    Nechayev, Andrei

    2013-01-01

    An alternative earthquake mechanism is proposed. The traditional stress mechanism of fracture formation assigned a support role. As a proximate cause of the earthquake the destruction of the roofs of sub-horizontal fluid-saturated bodies (SHFB) is considered. This collapse may occur due to redistribution of fluid pressure within the system of SHFB connected by cracks (tectonic or other nature). It can cause both shifts of rock blocks contributing to seismic shocks and various effects characteristic of foreshocks and aftershocks.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Q.

    2001-12-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tikoo, Sonia M; Elkins-Tanton, Linda T

    2017-05-28

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

  10. Recent seismicity of Italy: Active tectonics of the central Mediterranean region and seismicity rate changes after the Mw 6.3 L'Aquila earthquake

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chiarabba, Claudio; De Gori, Pasquale; Mele, Francesco Mariano

    2015-01-01

    In this paper we present a new image of the instrumental seismicity of Italy, obtained by refining hypocentral determinations for about 100,000 earthquakes that occurred in the period 2005-2012. The improved locations yield new constraints on active tectonics of the central Mediterranean area, where prolonged interaction between nested plates and continental slivers led to the development of the Alpine and Apennines systems. Intermediate-depth and deep earthquakes define a lateral heterogeneous process of delamination and sinking of the continental lithosphere active beneath the mountain belts. Shallow seismicity prevalently occurs beneath elevated topography and correlates with low velocity mantle anomalies, suggesting a superposition of gravity-related forces to the Eurasia-Africa plate convergence. The delamination process drives a paired system of compression and extension that stretches the mountain range while shortening the external side of the belts. The updated seismic catalog permits us to resolve a sharp variation of seismic rates that occurred in recent years, timely after the 2009 Mw 6.3 L'Aquila earthquake. The increase of seismic rates is reasonably due to regional-scale perturbation of the stress field induced by fluid flow and pore-pressure variations within the crust, probably related to deep dehydration processes active beneath the mountain belt.

  11. Source mechanism of small-moderate earthquakes and tectonic stress field in Yunnan Province

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    吴建平; 明跃红; 王椿镛

    2004-01-01

    In the paper, source mechanisms of 33 small-moderate earthquakes occurred in Yunnan are determined by modeling of regional waveforms from Yunnan digital seismic network. The result shows that most earthquakes occurred within or near the Chuandian rhombic block have strike-slip mechanism. The orientations of maximum compressive stresses obtained from source mechanism are changed from NNW-SSN to NS in the areas from north to south of the block, and tensile stresses are mainly in ENE-WSW or NE-SE. In the eastern Tibetan Plateau, the orientations of maximum compressive stress radiate toward outside from the plateau, and the tensile stress orientations mostly parallel to arc structures. Near 28°N the orientations of both maximum compressive stress and tensile stress changed greatly, and the boundary seems to correspond to the southwestern extended line of Longmenshan fault. Outside of the Chuandian rhombic block, the orientations of P and T axes are some different from those within the block. The comparison shows that the source mechanism of small-moderate events presented in the paper is consistence with that of moderate-strong earthquakes determined by Harvard University, which means the source mechanism of small-moderate events can be used to study the tectonic stress field in this region.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. Frustration and disorder in granular media and tectonic blocks: implications for earthquake complexity

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    A. Sornette

    1994-01-01

    Full Text Available We present exploratory analogies and speculations on the mechanisms underlying the organization of faulting and earthquake in the earth crust. The mechanical properties of the brittle lithosphere at scales of the order or larger than a few kilometers are proposed to be analogous to those of non-cohesive granular media, since both systems present stress amplitudes controlled by gravity, and shear band (faulting localization is determined by a type of friction Mohr-Coulomb rupture criterion. here, we explore the implications of this correspondence with respect to the origin of tectonic and earthquake complexity, on the basis of the existing experimental data on granular media available in the mechanical literature. An important observation is that motions and deformations of non-cohesive granular media are characterized by important fluctuations both in time (sudden breaks, avalanches, which are analogous to earthquakes and space (strain localizations, yield surfaces forming sometimes complex patterns. This is in apparent contradiction with the conventional wisdom in mechanics, based on the standard tendency to homogenize, which has led to dismiss fluctuations as experimental noise. On the basis of a second analogy with spinglasses and neural networks, based on the existence of block and grain packing disorder and block rotation "frustration", we suggest that these fluctuations observed both at large scales and at the block scale constitute an intrinsic signature of the mechanics of granular media. The space-time complexity observed in faulting and earthquake phenomenology is thus proposed to result form the special properties of the mechanics of granular media, dominated by the "frustration" of the kinematic deformations of its constitutive blocks.

  16. Marine and land active-source seismic investigation of geothermal potential, tectonic structure, and earthquake hazards in Pyramid Lake, Nevada

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Eisses, A.; Kell, A.; Kent, G. [UNR; Driscoll, N. [UCSD; Karlin, R.; Baskin, R. [USGS; Louie, J.; Pullammanappallil, S. [Optim

    2016-08-01

    Amy Eisses, Annie M. Kell, Graham Kent, Neal W. Driscoll, Robert E. Karlin, Robert L. Baskin, John N. Louie, Kenneth D. Smith, Sathish Pullammanappallil, 2011, Marine and land active-source seismic investigation of geothermal potential, tectonic structure, and earthquake hazards in Pyramid Lake, Nevada: presented at American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, San Francisco, Dec. 5-9, abstract NS14A-08.

  17. Marine and land active-source seismic investigation of geothermal potential, tectonic structure, and earthquake hazards in Pyramid Lake, Nevada

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Eisses, A.; Kell, A.; Kent, G. [UNR; Driscoll, N. [UCSD; Karlin, R.; Baskin, R. [USGS; Louie, J. [UNR; Pullammanappallil, S. [Optim

    2016-08-01

    Amy Eisses, Annie M. Kell, Graham Kent, Neal W. Driscoll, Robert E. Karlin, Robert L. Baskin, John N. Louie, Kenneth D. Smith, Sathish Pullammanappallil, 2011, Marine and land active-source seismic investigation of geothermal potential, tectonic structure, and earthquake hazards in Pyramid Lake, Nevada: presented at American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, San Francisco, Dec. 5-9, abstract NS14A-08.

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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...

  1. Ball-and-socket tectonic rotation during the 2013 Mw7.7 Balochistan earthquake

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barnhart, William D.; Hayes, Gavin P.; Briggs, Richard W.; Gold, Ryan D.; Bilham, R.

    2014-01-01

    The September 2013 Mw7.7 Balochistan earthquake ruptured a ∼200-km-long segment of the curved Hoshab fault in southern Pakistan with 10±0.2 m of peak sinistral and ∼1.7±0.8 m of dip slip. This rupture is unusual because the fault dips 60±15° towards the focus of a small circle centered in northwest Pakistan, and, despite a 30° increase in obliquity along strike, the ratios of strike and dip slip remain relatively uniform. Surface displacements and geodetic and teleseismic source inversions quantify a bilateral rupture that propagated rapidly at shallow depths from a transtensional jog near the northern end of the rupture. Static friction prior to rupture was unusually weak (μChaman fault system and, in principle, reduces seismic potential near Karachi; nonetheless, these findings highlight deficiencies in strong ground motion equations and tectonic models that invoke Anderson–Byerlee faulting predictions.

  2. Preliminary analysis on the tectonic stress level in the source region of Tangshan earthquake

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    赵建涛; 崔效锋; 谢富仁

    2002-01-01

    The abundant data of focal mechanism solutions in Tangshan region, China, are inverted for the tectonic stress field. Combined with tectonophysical consideration, the magnitude of the three principal stresses, as well as their vertical variation under the average crustal rock property, in the source region of the 1976 Tangshan earthquake is estimated. The relationship between crustal stress and friction (c, pore pressure P0 and stress shape factor ( is studied. The paper draws the conclusion that the vertical increasing rate of the maximum principal stress ( is directly proportional to friction, and inversely to pore pressure P0 and stress shape factor ( ; while the vertical increasing rate of the minimum principal tress ( is directly proportional to pore pressure P0, inversely to friction (c and stress shape factor (. This study is a try to invert the data of focal mechanism solutions for the complete stress tensor.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Fractal Models of Earthquake Dynamics

    CERN Document Server

    Bhattacharya, Pathikrit; Kamal,; Samanta, Debashis

    2009-01-01

    Our understanding of earthquakes is based on the theory of plate tectonics. Earthquake dynamics is the study of the interactions of plates (solid disjoint parts of the lithosphere) which produce seismic activity. Over the last about fifty years many models have come up which try to simulate seismic activity by mimicking plate plate interactions. The validity of a given model is subject to the compliance of the synthetic seismic activity it produces to the well known empirical laws which describe the statistical features of observed seismic activity. Here we present a review of two such models of earthquake dynamics with main focus on a relatively new model namely The Two Fractal Overlap Model.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Earthquake prediction on boundaries of the Arabian Plate: premonitory chains of small earthquakes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yaniv, M.; Agnon, A.; Shebalin, P.

    2009-12-01

    The RTP method is a probabilistic prediction method for strong earthquakes (Keilis-Borok et al., 2004). Based on simple pattern recognition algorithms and tuned on historical seismic catalogs, RTP has been running as a prediction in advance experiment since 1997. We present a similar system aimed at improving the algorithm and tuning it to regional catalogs, focusing on the Arabian Plate. RTP is based on recognition of "Earthquake chains", microseismic patterns that capture a rise in activity and in correlation range. A chain is defined as a closed set of "neighbor events" with epicenters and times of occurrences separated by less than a spatial parameter R0 and a temporal parameter τ, respectively. The seismic catalog can be viewed as a non-directional graph, with earthquakes as vertices, neighbor pairs as edges and chains as connected components of the graph. Various algorithms were tried, based on different concepts. Some using graph theory concepts, and others focusing on the data structure in the catalog. All algorithms aim at recognizing neighboring pairs of events, and combining the pairs into chains.They relies on a number of parameters: -Minimum length for a valid chain L0 -Weights for the spatial and temporal thresholds -Target magnitude: the minimum magnitude we aim to predict -Cutoff value: the minimum magnitude to be taken into account The output for an algorithms is a set of chains. The list is filtered for chains longer than L0. The 2D parameter space was mapped. For every pair of R0 and τ three characteristics were calculated: -Number of chains found -Mean number of events in a chain -Mean size (Max distance between events in a chain) of chains Each of these plots as a surface, showing dependance on the parameters R0 and τ. The most recent version of the algorithm was run on the NEIC catalog. It recognizes three chains longer than 15 events, with Target events, shown in the figure. In the GII catalog only two chains are found. Both start with a

  13. Fault plane solutions of the 1993 and 1995 Gulf of Aqaba earthquakes and their tectonic implications

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    E. M. Ibrahim

    1997-06-01

    Full Text Available The stereographic projection of P-wave first motions for the 3 August 1993 Gulf of Aqaba earthquake, its largest aftershock (16 h 33 min, and for the 22 November 1995 earthquake were constructed using the polarity readings of regional and teleseismic stations. The focal mechanism solutions of the 3 August 1993 mainshock and its largest aftershock represent a normal faulting mechanism with some left lateral strike slip component. The nodal planes selected as the fault imply high similarity in strike and dip. They are related to a local fault striking NW-SE and dipping to the SW. The selected fault planes are in good agreement with the aftershock distribution. For the main shock of the 22 November 1995, the fault plane solution displays the same mechanism (normal faulting with left lateral strike slip component with a plane striking N-S and dipping to the west. The fault plane is greatly conformable with the direction of the regional tectonics and also with the aftershock distribution. The main trend of the extension stress pattern is in a NE-SW direction, corresponding to the rifting direction of the Gulf of Suez and may be related to the paleostress along the Gulf of Suez and Aqaba during the Middle to Late Miocene.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1989-01-01

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

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. Dynamical Stress Analysis of Tectonic Earthquakes in Nusa Tenggara and its possible relations to the Activity of Mt. Rinjani, Indonesia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bakti Sukrisna

    2017-01-01

    Full Text Available Some strong earthquakes are associated with increasing of volcanic activity in near and also in far field. This research is to investigate the effect of the tectonic earthquakes in Nusa Tenggara Island area towards the October 25th,2015 eruption of Mt. Rinjani, Indonesia. Three earthquakes occurred before the eruptions; Mw 5 Sumba earthquake on June 10th 2015, Mw 5.8 South of Java earthaquake July 26th, 2016 and Mw 5 South of Bali on August 6th, 2015. In theory, dynamical stress transfer can be calculated by analyzing synthetic seismogram as a waveform simulation at the volcano and the change of dynamical stress can be calculated with the finitedifference numerical method. Our result indicates that the dynamic stress value is still below the threshold value that can trigger eruptions. Simulation of three earthquakes by varying the magnitude of each earthquake shows that dynamic stress changes will surpass the threshold at Mw  7.5. As all the earthquake that used in this study have magnitude smaller then the threshold, it can be concluded that the eruption of Mount Rinjani was triggered by internal factors, and very unlikely triggered by tyhe earthquake we investigated in this study.

  1. 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

  2. Tectonic tremor on Vancouver Island, Cascadia, modulated by the body and surface waves of the Mw 8.6 and 8.2, 2012 East Indian Ocean earthquakes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kundu, Bhaskar; Ghosh, Abhijit; Mendoza, Manuel; Bürgmann, Roland; Gahalaut, V. K.; Saikia, Dipankar

    2016-09-01

    The 2012 East Indian Ocean earthquake (Mw 8.6), so far the largest intraoceanic plate strike-slip event ever recorded, modulated tectonic tremors in the Cascadia subduction zone. The rate of tremor activity near Vancouver Island increased by about 1.5 times from its background level during the passage of seismic waves of this earthquake. In most cases of dynamic modulation, large-amplitude and long-period surface waves stimulate tremors. However, in this case even the small stress change caused by body waves generated by the 2012 earthquake modulated tremor activity. The tremor modulation continued during the passage of the surface waves, subsequent to which the tremor activity returned to background rates. Similar tremor modulation is observed during the passage of the teleseismic waves from the Mw 8.2 event, which occurs about 2 h later near the Mw 8.6 event. We show that dynamic stresses from back-to-back large teleseismic events can strongly influence tremor sources.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Seismicity at Uturuncu Volcano, Bolivia: Volcano-Tectonic Earthquake Swarms Triggered by the 2010 Maule, Chile Earthquake and Non-Triggered Background Activity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Christensen, D. H.; Chartrand, Z. A.; Jay, J.; Pritchard, M. E.; West, M. E.; McNutt, S. R.

    2010-12-01

    We find that the 270 ky dormant Uturuncu Volcano in SW Bolivia exhibits relatively high rates of shallow, volcano-tectonic seismicity that is dominated by swarm-like activity. We also document that the 27 February 2010 Mw 8.8 Maule, Chile earthquake triggered an exceptionally high rate of seismicity in the seconds to days following the main event. Although dormant, Uturuncu is currently being studied due to its large-scale deformation rate of 1-2 cm/yr uplift as revealed by InSAR. As part of the NASA-funded Andivolc project to investigate seismicity of volcanoes in the central Andes, a seismic network of 15 stations (9 Mark Products L22 short period and 6 Guralp CMG40T intermediate period sensors) with an average spacing of about 10 km was installed at Uturuncu from April 2009 to April 2010. Volcano-tectonic earthquakes occur at an average rate of about 3-4 per day, and swarms of 5-60 events within a span of minutes to hours occur a few times per month. Most of these earthquakes are located close to the summit at depths near and above sea level. The largest swarm occurred on 28 September 2009 and consisted of 60 locatable events over a time span of 28 hours. The locations of volcano-tectonic earthquakes at Uturuncu are oriented in a NW-SE trend, which matches the dominant orientation of regional faults and suggests a relationship between the fault system at Uturuncu and the regional tectonics of the area; a NW-SE trending fault beneath Uturuncu may serve to localize stresses that are accumulating over the broad area of uplift. Based on automated locations, the maximum local magnitude of these events is approximately M = 4 and the average magnitude is approximately M = 2. An initial estimate of the b-value is about b = 1.2. The Mw 8.8 Maule earthquake on 27 February 2010 triggered hundreds of local volcano-tectonic events at Uturuncu. High-pass filtering of the long period surface waves reveals that the first triggered events occurred with the onset of the Rayleigh

  6. Tectonic geomorphology of the 21 May 2003 Zemmouri earthquake area (Mw 6.8, Tell Atlas, Algeria) : An analysis of the long-term coastal uplift

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bagdi-Issaad, Souhila; Meghraoui, Mustapha; Nedjari, Ahmed

    2017-04-01

    Geomorphological, geological and structural markers attest for successive uplift during the late Quaternary along the Algerian coastal region, a section of the Africa-Eurasia plate boundary. Large and moderate shallow earthquakes with Mw ≥ 6 occurred on E-W to NE-SW active thrust-related-fold structures an among them the 21 May 2003 Zemmouri earthquake (Mw 6.8) that caused 0.5 m uplift on 55 km coastal. In this work, we study the correlation between the 2003 coseismic uplift with the long-term active deformation using the distribution of Quaternary marine and alluvial terraces where indicators show three pre-2003 main notch levels formed in the last 21.9 ka along with five alluvial terrace levels formed in Pleistocene. The analysis of drainage system and related tectonic geomorphology along the coastal area show over 500 small and large rivers that document the trend of present-day and past stream channels, their longitudinal profiles, the arrangement of Quaternary deposits and the response of river mouths to the successive past and recent uplift. The analysis of remote sensing images combined with high-resolution Digital Elevation Model and field observations reveal concave downward shape of most river profiles and river mouth deflections near the coastline. Data previously obtained on the coseismic deformation using coastal tectonics, seismology and geodetic (InSAR and GPS) investigations are combined to our analysis of coastal deformation. The results confirm the impact of the offshore thrust fault responsible of the coastal deformation through successive coseismic uplift with an estimated average 0.9 to 2.1 mm/year during the late Pleistocene - Holocene (Maouche et al.,2011). The short-term and long-term deformation and related surface slip distribution controls the drainage system and related distribution of Quaternary deposits. Our results indicate how the tectonic geomorphology can be a decisive marker for the identification of coastal active faults and

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-10-01

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

  8. 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

  9. Large and great earthquakes in the Shillong plateau-Assam valley area of Northeast India Region: Pop-up and transverse tectonics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kayal, J. R.; Arefiev, S. S.; Baruah, Saurabh; Hazarika, D.; Gogoi, N.; Gautam, J. L.; Baruah, Santanu; Dorbath, C.; Tatevossian, R.

    2012-04-01

    The tectonic model of the Shillong plateau and Assam valley in the northeast India region, the source area for the 1897 great earthquake (Ms ~ 8.7) and for the four (1869, 1923, 1930 and 1943) large earthquakes (M. ≥ 7.0), is examined using the high precision data of a 20-station broadband seismic network. About 300 selected earthquakes M ≥ 3.0 recorded during 2001-2009 are analysed to study the seismicity and fault plane solutions. The dominating thrust/reverse faulting earthquakes in the western plateau may be explained by the proposed pop-up tectonics between two active boundary faults, the Oldham-Brahmaputra fault to the north and the Dapsi-Dauki thrust to the south, though the northern boundary fault is debated. The more intense normal and strike-slip faulting earthquakes in the eastern plateau (Mikir massif) and in the Assam valley, on the other hand, are well explained by transverse tectonics at the long and deep rooted Kopili fault that cuts across the Himalaya and caused the 2009 Bhutan earthquake (Mw 6.3). It is conjectured that the complex tectonics of the Shillong plateau and transverse tectonics at the Kopili fault make the region vulnerable for impending large earthquake(s).

  10. 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.

  11. Source parameters of the 2005-2008 Balâ-Sırapınar (central Turkey) earthquakes: Implications for the internal deformation of the Anatolian plate

    Science.gov (United States)

    Çubuk, Yeşim; Yolsal-Çevikbilen, Seda; Taymaz, Tuncay

    2014-11-01

    Active tectonics of central Anatolia is mainly governed by the collision of the African, Arabian and Anatolian plates, which causes westward escape of Anatolia along the North and East Anatolian Fault zones, and the counterclockwise rotation of the Kırşehir block with insignificant internal deformation. The formation of the present-day tectonic processes in this region can be deduced from geophysical prospecting and seismological data. Although the seismicity in central Anatolia is distinctively lower than that in the northern and eastern parts of the Anatolian plate, small and moderate earthquakes (2.5 ≤ Mw ≤ 6.0) mostly occurred in the region in the past decades or so. For example, intense earthquake activity was observed in the Balâ-Afşar-Sırapınar (Ankara, central Anatolia) region in the period of 2005 to 2008 with destructive earthquakes of July 30, 2005 (Mw = 5.2); December 20, 2007 (Mw = 5.7) and December 26, 2007 (Mw = 5.6). Therefore, these earthquakes are crucial to analyze the shallow crustal deformation in the central Anatolian block. In the present study, we obtained source parameters of 2005-2008 earthquake sequence using the regional moment tensor (RMT) inversion method. We analyzed complete broad-band waveforms recorded at near-field distances (0.45° ≤ Δ ≤ 3.6°). Our results reveal NW-SE directed right-lateral strike-slip faulting and NE-SW directed left-lateral strike-slip faulting mechanisms, which are clearly correlated with the conjugate fault systems in the Balâ-Afşar-Sırapınar region. However, some earthquakes also have E-W directed normal faulting components. We suggest that the major characteristics of 2005-2006 and 2007-2008 earthquake activity could have been dominantly associated with left-lateral and right-lateral strike-slip faulting mechanisms, respectively. The seismogenic depth is found to be about 8-10 km. This result implies that earthquakes in the study region occurred mostly in the upper crust, which

  12. Focal depths and fault plane solutions of earthquakes and active tectonics of the Himalaya

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baranowski, J.; Armbruster, J.; Seeber, L.; Molnar, P.

    1984-01-01

    Synthetic seismograms were compared with long-period body waves for nine earthquakes with epicenters in the Himalayan arc to determine depths of foci and to improve fault plane solutions. Focal depths are shallow (10-20 km). Inferred slip vectors are locally perpendicular to the mountain range; they plunge very gently (about 10 deg) in the eastern sections of the range and more steeply (about 25 deg) in western sections. Assuming India to be a rigid plate, the radially oriented slip vectors imply that southern Tibet extends at about half the rate of underthrusting in the Himalaya and therefore probably at about 5-10 mm/yr. The shallow depths and gentle dips of the fault planes, at least for the events in the eastern half of the range, are consistent with coherent underthrusting of the Indian plate beneath, at least, the Lesser Himalaya. The steeper dips of fault planes in the western part of the arc might reflect deformation of the overriding thrust plate or simply a steepening of the main underthrusting zone beneath the Greater Himalaya.

  13. 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.

  14. Volcano-tectonic earthquakes: A new tool for estimating intrusive volumes and forecasting eruptions

    Science.gov (United States)

    White, Randall A.; McCausland, Wendy

    2016-01-01

    We present data on 136 high-frequency earthquakes and swarms, termed volcano-tectonic (VT) seismicity, which preceded 111 eruptions at 83 volcanoes, plus data on VT swarms that preceded intrusions at 21 other volcanoes. We find that VT seismicity is usually the earliest reported seismic precursor for eruptions at volcanoes that have been dormant for decades or more, and precedes eruptions of all magma types from basaltic to rhyolitic and all explosivities from VEI 0 to ultraplinian VEI 6 at such previously long-dormant volcanoes. Because large eruptions occur most commonly during resumption of activity at long-dormant volcanoes, VT seismicity is an important precursor for the Earth's most dangerous eruptions. VT seismicity precedes all explosive eruptions of VEI ≥ 5 and most if not all VEI 4 eruptions in our data set. Surprisingly we find that the VT seismicity originates at distal locations on tectonic fault structures at distances of one or two to tens of kilometers laterally from the site of the eventual eruption, and rarely if ever starts beneath the eruption site itself. The distal VT swarms generally occur at depths almost equal to the horizontal distance of the swarm from the summit out to about 15 km distance, beyond which hypocenter depths level out. We summarize several important characteristics of this distal VT seismicity including: swarm-like nature, onset days to years prior to the beginning of magmatic eruptions, peaking of activity at the time of the initial eruption whether phreatic or magmatic, and large non-double couple component to focal mechanisms. Most importantly we show that the intruded magma volume can be simply estimated from the cumulative seismic moment of the VT seismicity from:

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. Imaging the tectonic framework of the 24 August 2016, Amatrice (central Italy earthquake sequence: new roles for old players?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lorenzo Bonini

    2016-11-01

    Full Text Available We reconstruct the tectonic framework of the 24 August 2016, Amatrice earthquake. At least three main faults, including an older thrust fault (Sibillini Thrust, played an active role in the sequence. The mainshock nucleated and propagated along an extensional fault located in the footwall of the Sibillini Thrust, but due to the preliminary nature of the data the role of this thrust is still unclear. We illustrate two competing solutions: 1 the coseismic rupture started along an extensional fault and then partially used the thrust plane in extensional motion; 2 the thrust fault acted as an upper barrier to the propagation of the mainshock rupture, but was partially reactivated during the aftershock sequence. In both cases our tectonic reconstruction suggests an active role of the thrust fault, providing yet another example of how structures inherited from older tectonic phases may control the mainshock ruptures and the long-term evolution of younger seismogenic faults.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. Intermediate-Depth Intraplate Strike-Slip Earthquake Along the Subducted Nazca Plate: Stress Conditions Related to Flat-Slab Transition Zone?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carrizo, D.; Peyrat, S.; Comte, D.; Boroschek, R.

    2013-05-01

    On October 11th, 2012 an strike-slip intraplate earthquake Mw=5.6 occurred at about 15 km NE of Santiago-Chile, at 107 km depth. This earthquake had a distribution of intensities of about VI MM, around Santiago region. In the past only few similar seismic events had been occurred, the majority of them without reported intensities. The location, the focal mechanism, and the depth of this earthquake, make it particularly interesting because the processes responsible for this kind of ruptures is still an open question. Moreover, it was also recorded by a local strong motion networks, allowing for the first time the possibility to study this kind of earthquakes using seismic and accelerographic data. We study the nature of this event using the aftershocks recorded by the Chilean Seismological Network and with a joint inversion of local strong-motion and teleseimic data, to understand the kinematic of rupture. Preliminary results suggest a singular stress condition in the subducted plate related to the transition from flat to normal subduction, which could be accommodated by strike-slip faulting. The strong motion analysis reveals high horizontal accelerations in agreement with high angle fault planes. Understand the tectonic setting associated to this type of earthquakes represents a relevant goal for seismic risk evaluation in the most populated Chilean region.

  2. Tectonic Implication of the 5th March 2005, Doublet Earthquake in Ilan, Taiwan

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    En-Chao Yeh

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available The 5th March 2005 earthquake doublet focal mechanism was determined as strike-slip faulting from Harvard and BATS moment tensor inversion. However, based on first motion polarities, the first shock has a normal focal mechanism (Wu et al. 2008a. This discrepancy has caused a debate over the focal mechanism solution because different focal mechanisms have different tectonic implications. Based on the dislocation determination from Global Position System (GPS measurements, we find this event includes both tensile and strike-slip components. This finding illustrates the reason for the differences in the determined focal mechanisms using two different types of seismic data and analyzing methods. Field mapping and microstructure examination results indicate that the ductile deformation around the study area was characterized by the evolution from transpression to transtension with a predominant strike-slip component, but present-day active structures may be dominated by normal faulting. Thus, the active tensile slip result determined from dislocation modeling strongly suggests that the back arc extension of the Okinawa trough influences the stress state in this region, and changes the major transtension from strike-slip faulting to normal faulting.

  3. Seismotectonics of the 2013 Lushan Mw 6.7 earthquake: Inversion tectonics in the eastern margin of the Tibetan Plateau

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lu, Renqi; Xu, Xiwei; He, Dengfa; John, Suppe; Liu, Bo; Wang, Fuyun; Tan, Xibin; Li, Yingqiang

    2017-08-01

    On 20 April 2013, an unexpected Mw 6.7 earthquake occurred in Lushan County at the southern Longmen Shan, the eastern margin of the Tibetan Plateau. A high-resolution seismic reflection profile was combined with near-surface geological data, earthquake relocation and geodetic measurements, and a recent deep artificial seismic reflection profile to identify the active fault and seismotectonics of this earthquake. Three-dimensional imaging of the aftershocks was used to identify two planar faults that together form a y shape (f1 and f2). Seismic interpretations suggest that fault f1 did not break through the overlying Mesozoic and Cenozoic rocks and is a typical blind fault. Geodetic measurements suggest that the coseismic deformation is consistent with the geometry and kinematics of shear fault-bend folding. Deep seismic data indicate the syndepositional nature of fault f1 a preexisting normal fault older than the Triassic, which underwent positive inversion tectonics during the Late Cenozoic. A thrust fault f3 converges with f1 at a depth of approximately 12 km with an accumulated slip 3.6 km. This 2013 Lushan earthquake triggered by blind faults is a hidden earthquake. Blind and reactivated faults increase the potential risk and uncertainty related to earthquakes in the eastern margin of the Tibetan Plateau.

  4. Tectonic Origin of the 1899 Yakutat Bay Earthquakes, Alaska, and Insights into Future Hazards

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gulick, S. S.; LeVoir, M. A.; Haeussler, P. J.; Saustrup, S.

    2012-12-01

    On September 10th the largest of four earthquakes (Mw 8.2) that occurred in southeast Alaska on 1899 produced a 6 m tsunami and may have produced as much as 14 m of co-seismic uplift. This earthquake had an epicenter somewhere near Yakutat or Disenchantment Bays. These bays lie at the transition between the Fairweather Fault (the Pacific-North American strike-slip plate boundary), and the Yakutat Terrane-North American subduction zone. The deformation front of this subduction zone is thought to include the eastern fault in the Pamplona Zone offshore, the Malaspina Fault onshore, and the Esker Creek Fault near Yakutat Bay. The 10 September 1899 event could have taken place on a Yakutat-North American megathrust that daylights in Yakutat or Disenchantment Bay. Alternatively, the 10 September 1899 earthquake could have originated from the Fairweather-Boundary and Yakutat faults, transpressive components of the Fairweather strike-slip system present in the Yakutat Bay region, or from thrusting along the Yakutat and Otemaloi Faults on the southeast flank of Yakutat Bay. Characterizing fault slip during the Alaskan earthquakes of 1899 is vital to assessing both subduction zone structure and seismic hazards in the Yakutat Bay area. Each possible fault model has a different implication for modern hazards. These results will be used to update seismic hazard and fault maps and assess future risk to the Yakutat Bay and surrounding communities. During Aug. 6-17th, we anticipate acquiring high-resolution, marine multichannel seismic data aboard the USGS vessel Alaskan Gyre in Yakutat and Disenchantment Bays to search for evidence of recent faulting and directly test these competing theories for the 10 September 1899 event. This survey uses the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics' mini-GI gun, 24-channel seismic streamer, portable seismic compressor system, and associated gun control and data acquisition system to acquire the data. The profiles have a nominal common

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1984-01-01

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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  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. Geometry of the Subducting Nazca Plate Beneath Colombia From Relocation of Intermediate-Depth Earthquakes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chang, Y.; Warren, L. M.; Prieto, G. A.; Grigsby, I.

    2013-12-01

    In subduction zones, earthquakes help distinguish the location of the downgoing slab to hundreds of kilometers depth. However, beneath northwestern South America, the distribution of large intermediate-depth earthquakes in the Global CMT catalog has gaps along the subduction zone, so the position of the subducting Nazca plate is uncertain. In addition, the earthquake focal mechanisms, which range from along-strike compression to down-dip extension, vary over short distances, suggesting that the subducting slab may have a complicated morphology. To clarify the geometry of the subducting Nazca plate beneath Colombia, we relocate regional seismicity recorded by the Colombian National Seismic Network (RSNC). Our data set contains 1231 earthquakes with catalog locations from 0°N-6°N and 72°W-81°W at depths of 0-200 km and magnitudes from M2.5-6.5 that occurred between 1/2010-2/2013. Catalog hypocenters show an ~20 km thick slab subducting to the east, as well as vertical columns extending up from the slab. The shape, thickness, and position of the slab and other features can be refined by using differential travel times to relocate the earthquakes relative to each other. We verify and adjust the network P and S wave picks and pick arrivals at additional or temporary stations, and these arrival times are used to relocate the earthquakes. The hypocenters of the relocated earthquakes are used to generate 3D contours of the subducting plate and visualize bends and folds in the slab.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    1996-01-01

    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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. The 2012 Emilia earthquake in northern Italy: coseismic geological effects within a compressive tectonic framework

    Science.gov (United States)

    Montone, P.; Alessio, G.; Alfonsi, L.; Brunori, C.; Burrato, P.; Casula, G.; Cinti, F. R.; Civico, R.; Colini, L.; Cucci, L.; De Martini, P. M.; Falcucci, E.; Galadini, F.; Gaudiosi, G.; Gori, S.; Mariucci, M.; Moro, M.; Nappi, R.; Nardi, A.; Nave, R.; Pantosti, D.; Patera, A.; Pesci, A.; Pignone, M.; Pinzi, S.; Pucci, S.; Vannoli, P.; Venuti, A.; Villani, F.

    2012-12-01

    On May 20 2012 a Ml 5.9 seismic event hit the Emilia Po Plain area (northern Italy) triggering an intense earthquake activity along a broad area of the Plain. Nine days later, on May 29 a Ml 5.8 event occurred roughly 10 km to the SW of the first main shock; these events caused 26 victims and several injured and damages. The aftershock area extended for more than 50 km, in WNW-ESE direction, including five major aftershocks with 5.1≤Ml≤5.3 and more than two thousands of minor events. In general, the seismic sequence was confined in the upper 10 km of depth (ISIDe, http://iside.rm.ingv.it/). The focal mechanisms calculated for the main events and also for several M>4.5 aftershocks are almost all consistent with a compression (P-axes) N-S oriented due to thrust fault mechanisms. The two nodal planes, both E-W oriented, show a 40° southward and 60-70° northward dipping plane (QRCMT, Quick Regional Moment Tensors, http://autorcmt.bo.ingv.it/quicks.html), connected with the compressional regime of the area. From a tectonic point of view, the active Apennine thrust fronts, buried under the Po Plain Plio-Quaternary sediments, locally consist of three N-verging arcs. The most external structures, the active Ferrara and Mirandola thrusts and folds are responsible for the Emilia Romagna 2012 earthquake sequence. Just after the 20th May seismic event, the EMERGEO Working Group was active in surveying the epicentral area searching for coseismic geological effects. The survey lasted one month, involving about thirty researchers and technicians of the INGV in field and aerial investigations. Simultaneously, a laboratory-working group gathered, organized and interpreted the observations, processing them in the EMERGEO Information System (siE), on a GIS environment. The most common coseismic effects are: 1) liquefactions related to overpressure of aquifers hosted in buried and confined sand layers, occurring both as single cones or through several aligned vents forming

  1. Comparison of earthquake source parameters and interseismic plate coupling variations in global subduction zones (Invited)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bilek, S. L.; Moyer, P. A.; Stankova-Pursley, J.

    2010-12-01

    Geodetically determined interseismic coupling variations have been found in subduction zones worldwide. These coupling variations have been linked to heterogeneities in interplate fault frictional conditions. These connections to fault friction imply that observed coupling variations are also important in influencing details in earthquake rupture behavior. Because of the wealth of newly available geodetic models along many subduction zones, it is now possible to examine detailed variations in coupling and compare to seismicity characteristics. Here we use a large catalog of earthquake source time functions and slip models for moderate to large magnitude earthquakes to explore these connections, comparing earthquake source parameters with available models of geodetic coupling along segments of the Japan, Kurile, Kamchatka, Peru, Chile, and Alaska subduction zones. In addition, we use published geodetic results along the Costa Rica margin to compare with source parameters of small magnitude earthquakes recorded with an onshore-offshore network of seismometers. For the moderate to large magnitude earthquakes, preliminary results suggest a complex relationship between earthquake parameters and estimates of strongly and weakly coupled segments of the plate interface. For example, along the Kamchatka subduction zone, these earthquakes occur primarily along the transition between strong and weak coupling, with significant heterogeneity in the pattern of moment scaled duration with respect to the coupling estimates. The longest scaled duration event in this catalog occurred in a region of strong coupling. Earthquakes along the transition between strong and weakly coupled exhibited the most complexity in the source time functions. Use of small magnitude (0.5 Osa Peninsula relative to the Nicoya Peninsula, mimicking the along-strike variations in calculated interplate coupling.

  2. Earthquakes in the Orozco transform zone: seismicity, source mechanisms, and tectonics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Trehu, Anne M.; Solomon, Sean C.

    1983-01-01

    As part of the Rivera Ocean Seismic Experiment, a network of ocean bottom seismometers and hydrophones was deployed in order to determine the seismic characteristics of the Orozco transform fault in the central eastern Pacific. We present hypocentral locations and source mechanisms for 70 earthquakes recorded by this network. All epicenters are within the transform region of the Orozco Fracture Zone and clearly delineate the active plate boundary. About half of the epicenters define a narrow line of activity parallel to the spreading direction and situated along a deep topographic trough that forms the northern boundary of the transform zone (region 1). Most focal depths for these events are very shallow, within 4 km of the seafloor; several well-determined focal depths, however, are as great as 7 km. No shallowing of seismic activity is observed as the rise-transform intersection is approached; to the contrary, the deepest events are within 10 km of the intersection. First motion polarities for most of the earthquakes in region 1 are compatible with right-lateral strike slip faulting along a nearly vertical plane, striking parallel to the spreading direction. Another zone of activity is observed in the central part of the transform (region 2). The apparent horizontal and vertical distribution of activity in this region is more scattered than in the first, and the first motion radiation patterns of these events do not appear to be compatible with any known fault mechanism. Pronounced lateral variations in crustal velocity structure are indicated for the transform region from refraction data and measurements of wave propagation directions. The effect of this lateral heterogeneity on hypocenters and fault plane solutions is evaluated by tracing rays through a three-dimensional velocity grid. While findings for events in region 1 are not significantly affected, in region 2, epicentral mislocations of up to 10 km and azimuthal deflections of up to 45° may result from

  3. Lithospheric flexure under the Hawaiian volcanic load: Internal stresses and a broken plate revealed by earthquakes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Klein, Fred W.

    2016-04-01

    Several lines of earthquake evidence indicate that the lithospheric plate is broken under the load of the island of Hawai`i, where the geometry of the lithosphere is circular with a central depression. The plate bends concave downward surrounding a stress-free hole, rather than bending concave upward as with past assumptions. Earthquake focal mechanisms show that the center of load stress and the weak hole is between the summits of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea where the load is greatest. The earthquake gap at 21 km depth coincides with the predicted neutral plane of flexure where horizontal stress changes sign. Focal mechanism P axes below the neutral plane display a striking radial pattern pointing to the stress center. Earthquakes above the neutral plane in the north part of the island have opposite stress patterns; T axes tend to be radial. The M6.2 Honomu and M6.7 Kiholo main shocks (both at 39 km depth) are below the neutral plane and show radial compression, and the M6.0 Kiholo aftershock above the neutral plane has tangential compression. Earthquakes deeper than 20 km define a donut of seismicity around the stress center where flexural bending is a maximum. The hole is interpreted as the soft center where the lithospheric plate is broken. Kilauea's deep conduit is seismically active because it is in the ring of maximum bending. A simplified two-dimensional stress model for a bending slab with a load at one end yields stress orientations that agree with earthquake stress axes and radial P axes below the neutral plane. A previous inversion of deep Hawaiian focal mechanisms found a circular solution around the stress center that agrees with the model. For horizontal faults, the shear stress within the bending slab matches the slip in the deep Kilauea seismic zone and enhances outward slip of active flanks.

  4. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2007-09-04

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

  6. DEFORMATION RATE CHANGES OF TECTONIC BELTS ALONG BOUNDARIES OF YUNNAN SICHAUN BLOCK AND RELATION TO GROUPED STRONG EARTHQUAKES

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    ChengWanzheng; YangYongling

    2003-01-01

    Deformation measurements such as short-range leveling, short-baseline, continuous cross-fault strain measurement are carried out at different intervals from 1982 to 2001. All these measurement sites are built across the boundary tectonic belts of Yunnan-Sichuan block. On the basis of these deformation data, the annual deformation rates at all sites are calculated and their change curves with time are plotted respectively. With these calculated results, we analyze the vertical and horizontal movements of tectonic belts of Yunnan-Sichuan block, and the relationship to grouped strong earthquakes occurred in the block are discussed as well. These results show that the tectonic activities in the western and southeastern Yunnan are intensive. Along some eastern boundary belts: from Qujiang, Xiaojiang fault belts in the south of Yunnan to Xianshuihe fault belts in northwestern Sichuan, present annual rate of horizontal deformation decreases. Along Xianshuihe, Xiaojiang and Longmenshan fault belts the rates of vertical deformation change are small, but the vertical deformation change rates along Anninghe and Zemuhe faul tbelts are comparatively large. The comprehensive analysis shows that grouped strong earthquakes will occur probably when the deformation rate changes sharply. Thus we think that sharp changes of deformation rates may be one of the seismic precursors.

  7. DEFORMATION RATE CHANGES OF TECTONIC BELTS ALONG BOUNDARIES OF YUNNAN SICHAUN BLOCK AND RELATION TO GROUPED STRONG EARTHQUAKES

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Cheng Wanzheng; Yang Yongling

    2003-01-01

    Deformation measurements such as short-range leveling, short-baseline, continuous cross-fault strain measurement are carried out at different intervals from 1982 to 2001. All these measurement sites are built across the boundary tectonic belts of Yunnan-Sichuan block. On the basis of these deformation data, the annual deformation rates at all sites are calculated and their change curves with time are plotted respectively. With these calculated results, we analyze the vertical and horizontal movements of tectonic belts of Yunnan-Sichuan block, and the relationship to grouped strong earthquakes occurred in the block are discussed as well. These results show that the tectonic activities in the western and southeastern Yunnan are intensive. Along some eastern boundary belts: from Qujiang, Xiaojiang fault belts in the south of Yunnan to Xianshuihe fault belts in northwestern Sichuan, present annual rate of horizontal deformation decreases. Along Xianshuihe, Xiaojiang and Longmenshan fault belts the rates of vertical deformation change are small, but the vertical deformation change rates along Anninghe and Zemuhe fault belts are comparatively large. The comprehensive analysis shows that grouped strong earthquakes will occur probably when the deformation rate changes sharply. Thus we think that sharp changes of deformation rates may be one of the seismic precursors.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. Formulation and Application of a Physically-Based Rupture Probability Model for Large Earthquakes on Subduction Zones: A Case Study of Earthquakes on Nazca Plate

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mahdyiar, M.; Galgana, G.; Shen-Tu, B.; Klein, E.; Pontbriand, C. W.

    2014-12-01

    -based rupture probability models for large earthquakes on subduction zones that is consistent with their true locking state and earthquake history. We will present the formulation of the proposed model and its application to the Nazca plate subduction zone.

  13. 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.

  14. Statistical discrimination of induced and tectonic earthquake sequences in Central and Eastern US based on waveform detected catalogs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Meng, X.; Daniels, C.; Smith, E.; Peng, Z.; Chen, X.; Wagner, L. S.; Fischer, K. M.; Hawman, R. B.

    2015-12-01

    Since 2001, the number of M>3 earthquakes increased significantly in Central and Eastern United States (CEUS), likely due to waste-water injection, also known as "induced earthquakes" [Ellsworth, 2013]. Because induced earthquakes are driven by short-term external forcing and hence may behave like earthquake swarms, which are not well characterized by branching point-process models, such as the Epidemic Type Aftershock Sequence (ETAS) model [Ogata, 1988]. In this study we focus on the 02/15/2014 M4.1 South Carolina and the 06/16/2014 M4.3 Oklahoma earthquakes, which likely represent intraplate tectonic and induced events, respectively. For the South Carolina event, only one M3.0 aftershock is identified by the ANSS catalog, which may be caused by a lack of low-magnitude events in this catalog. We apply a recently developed matched filter technique to detect earthquakes from 02/08/2014 to 02/22/2014 around the epicentral region. 15 seismic stations (both permanent and temporary USArray networks) within 100 km of the mainshock are used for detection. The mainshock and aftershock are used as templates for the initial detection. Newly detected events are employed as new templates, and the same detection procedure repeats until no new event can be added. Overall we have identified more than 10 events, including one foreshock occurred ~11 min before the M4.1 mainshock. However, the numbers of aftershocks are still much less than predicted with the modified Bath's law. For the Oklahoma event, we use 1270 events from the ANSS catalog and 182 events from a relocated catalog as templates to scan through continuous recordings 3 days before to 7 days after the mainshock. 12 seismic stations within the vicinity of the mainshock are included in the study. After obtaining more complete catalogs for both sequences, we plan to compare the statistical parameters (e.g., b, a, K, and p values) between the two sequences, as well as their spatial-temporal migration pattern, which may

  15. Quantitative data about active tectonics and possible locations of strong earthquakes in the future in the northwestern Beijing

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2001-01-01

    Deterministic, probabilistic and composite-grading methods are used to get the possible locations of strong earth-quakes in the future in Norwest Beijing and its vicinity based on the quantitative data and their accuracy about active tectonics in the research area and by ordering, some questions in the results are also discussed. It shows that the most dangerous fault segments for strong earthquakes in the future include: segments B and A of the southern boundary fault of the Yangyuan basin, the southern boundary fault of the Xuanhua basin, the east segment of the southern Huai¢an fault and the east segment of the northern Yanggao-Tianzhen fault. The most dangerous area is Yangyuan-Shenjing basin, the second one is Tianzhen-Huai¢an-Xuanhua basin and the third dangerous areas are Wanquan-Zhangjiakou and northeast of Yuxian to southwest of Fanshan.

  16. Aftershock seismicity and tectonic setting of the 2015 September 16 Mw 8.3 Illapel earthquake, Central Chile

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lange, Dietrich; Geersen, Jacob; Barrientos, Sergio; Moreno, Marcos; Grevemeyer, Ingo; Contreras-Reyes, Eduardo; Kopp, Heidrun

    2016-08-01

    Powerful subduction zone earthquakes rupture thousands of square kilometres along continental margins but at certain locations earthquake rupture terminates. To date, detailed knowledge of the parameters that govern seismic rupture and aftershocks is still incomplete. On 2015 September 16, the Mw 8.3 Illapel earthquake ruptured a 200 km long stretch of the Central Chilean subduction zone, triggering a tsunami and causing significant damage. Here, we analyse the temporal and spatial pattern of the coseismic rupture and aftershocks in relation to the tectonic setting in the earthquake area. Aftershocks cluster around the area of maximum coseismic slip, in particular in lateral and downdip direction. During the first 24 hr after the main shock, aftershocks migrated in both lateral directions with velocities of approximately 2.5 and 5 km hr-1. At the southern rupture boundary, aftershocks cluster around individual subducted seamounts that are related to the downthrusting Juan Fernández Ridge. In the northern part of the rupture area, aftershocks separate into an upper cluster (above 25 km depth) and a lower cluster (below 35 km depth). This dual seismic-aseismic transition in downdip direction is also observed in the interseismic period suggesting that it may represent a persistent feature for the Central Chilean subduction zone.

  17. Aftershock seismicity and tectonic setting of the 16 September 2015 Mw 8.3 Illapel earthquake, Central Chile

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lange, Dietrich; Geersen, Jacob; Barrientos, Sergio; Moreno, Marcos; Grevemeyer, Ingo; Contreras-Reyes, Eduardo; Kopp, Heidrun

    2016-06-01

    Powerful subduction zone earthquakes rupture thousands of square kilometers along continental margins but at certain locations earthquake rupture terminates. To date detailed knowledge of the parameters that govern seismic rupture and aftershocks is still incomplete. On 16 September 2015 the Mw. 8.3 Illapel earthquake ruptured a 200 km long stretch of the Central Chilean subduction zone, triggering a tsunami and causing significant damage. Here we analyze the temporal and spatial pattern of the co-seismic rupture and aftershocks in relation to the tectonic setting in the earthquake area. Aftershocks cluster around the area of maximum coseismic slip, in particular in lateral and downdip direction. During the first 24 hours after the mainshock, aftershocks migrated in both lateral directions with velocities of approximately 2.5 and 5 km/h. At the southern rupture boundary aftershocks cluster around individual subducted seamounts that are related to the downthrusting Juan Fernández Ridge. In the northern part of the rupture area aftershocks separate into an upper cluster (above 25 km depth) and a lower cluster (below 35 km depth). This dual seismic-aseismic transition in downdip direction is also observed in the interseismic period suggesting that it may represent a persistent feature for the Central Chilean subduction zone.

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

    CERN Document Server

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

    2012-01-01

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

  19. Plate Boundary Observatory Strainmeter Recordings of The M6.0 August 24, 2014 South Napa Earthquake

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hodgkinson, Kathleen; Mencin, David; Phillips, David; Mattioli, Glen; Meertens, Charles

    2015-04-01

    The 2014 Mw6.0 South Napa earthquake nucleated at 11 km depth near the West Napa fault, one of a complex system of sub-parallel major right lateral faults north of San Francisco that together accommodate much of the relative motion between the Pacific and North American tectonic plates. The South Napa event was the largest to have shaken the San Francisco Bay Area (SFBA) in almost 25 years. A major goal of the NSF-funded EarthScope Plate Boundary Observatory (PBO), installed and maintained by UNAVCO, was to enable researchers to study the interaction between the faults that form a plate boundary zone, and in particular, to investigate the role that aseismic transients contribute to strain accumulation and release. To realize this goal, PBO includes borehole tensor strainmeters (BSMs) installed in several targeted regions, including on to the north and east of San Francisco. Two PBO BSMs have been operating in the SFBA since 2008: B057, north of San Francisco and 30 km from the epicenter, and B054, 3 km from the Hayward Fault and 40 km from the epicenter. We find the coseismic strains recorded by B057 are close to those predicted using elastic half-space dislocation theory and the seismically determined focal mechanism, while a more complicated variable slip model may be required for observations from B054. Months after the event, B057 continued to record a significant postseismic signal. In this presentation we document the coseismic signals recorded by the PBO BSMs and characterize the temporal behavior of the postseismic signal at B057. The PBO network includes over 1100 GPS, 75 BSMs, 79 seismometers and arrays of tiltmeters, pore pressure sensors and meteorological instrumentation. UNAVCO generates an Earthscope Level 2 processed strain time-series combined into areal and shear strains for the PBO BSM network; the raw data are available from the IRIS DMC in mSEED format. For events of interest, such as the South Napa earthquake, UNAVCO generates a 1-sps

  20. 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...

  1. 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.

  2. 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...

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. A Preliminary Study on the Use of NCEP Temperature Images and Additive Tectonic Stress from Astro-Tidal-Triggering to Forecast Short-Impending Earthquakes

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Ma Weiyu; Zhang Xingcai; Dai Xiaofang; Xie Fang

    2007-01-01

    Taking the three earthquakes which occurred in Tibet,China during the period of July 12 to August 25,2004 as an example,the paper analyses the Ms≥6.0 earthquakes that occurred in China and Ms≥7.0 earthquakes that occurred overseas since May of 2003 by combining the jmage data from the National Center for Environmental Prediction of America (NCEP) with the additive tectonic stress from astro-tidal-triggering (ATSA) and makes the following conclusions:The abnormal temperature image data of NCEP can better reflect the spatial-temporal evolution process of tectonic earthquake activity;The ATSA has an evident triggering effect on the activity of a fault when the terra stress is in critical status; using the NCEP images and the ATSA to forecast short-impending earthquake is a new concept:The three earthquakes occurred during the same phase of the respective ATSA cycle,i.e.that occurred at the time when the ATSA reached the relatively steady end of a peak,rather than at the time when the variation rate was maximal.In addition, the author discovered that the occurrence time of other earthquake cases during 2003~2004 in Tibet was also in the same phase of the above-mentioned cycles,and therefore,further study of this feature is needed with more earthquake eases in other areas over longer periods of time.

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. Lithospheric flexure under the Hawaiian volcanic load: Internal stresses and a broken plate revealed by earthquakes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Klein, Fred W.

    2016-01-01

    Several lines of earthquake evidence indicate that the lithospheric plate is broken under the load of the island of Hawai`i, where the geometry of the lithosphere is circular with a central depression. The plate bends concave downward surrounding a stress-free hole, rather than bending concave upward as with past assumptions. Earthquake focal mechanisms show that the center of load stress and the weak hole is between the summits of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea where the load is greatest. The earthquake gap at 21 km depth coincides with the predicted neutral plane of flexure where horizontal stress changes sign. Focal mechanism P axes below the neutral plane display a striking radial pattern pointing to the stress center. Earthquakes above the neutral plane in the north part of the island have opposite stress patterns; T axes tend to be radial. The M6.2 Honomu and M6.7 Kiholo main shocks (both at 39 km depth) are below the neutral plane and show radial compression, and the M6.0 Kiholo aftershock above the neutral plane has tangential compression. Earthquakes deeper than 20 km define a donut of seismicity around the stress center where flexural bending is a maximum. The hole is interpreted as the soft center where the lithospheric plate is broken. Kilauea's deep conduit is seismically active because it is in the ring of maximum bending. A simplified two-dimensional stress model for a bending slab with a load at one end yields stress orientations that agree with earthquake stress axes and radial P axes below the neutral plane. A previous inversion of deep Hawaiian focal mechanisms found a circular solution around the stress center that agrees with the model. For horizontal faults, the shear stress within the bending slab matches the slip in the deep Kilauea seismic zone and enhances outward slip of active flanks.

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. Chapter F. The Loma Prieta, California, Earthquake of October 17, 1989 - Tectonic Processes and Models

    Science.gov (United States)

    Simpson, Robert W.

    1994-01-01

    If there is a single theme that unifies the diverse papers in this chapter, it is the attempt to understand the role of the Loma Prieta earthquake in the context of the earthquake 'machine' in northern California: as the latest event in a long history of shocks in the San Francisco Bay region, as an incremental contributor to the regional deformation pattern, and as a possible harbinger of future large earthquakes. One of the surprises generated by the earthquake was the rather large amount of uplift that occurred as a result of the reverse component of slip on the southwest-dipping fault plane. Preearthquake conventional wisdom had been that large earthquakes in the region would probably be caused by horizontal, right-lateral, strike-slip motion on vertical fault planes. In retrospect, the high topography of the Santa Cruz Mountains and the elevated marine terraces along the coast should have provided some clues. With the observed ocean retreat and the obvious uplift of the coast near Santa Cruz that accompanied the earthquake, Mother Nature was finally caught in the act. Several investigators quickly saw the connection between the earthquake uplift and the long-term evolution of the Santa Cruz Mountains and realized that important insights were to be gained by attempting to quantify the process of crustal deformation in terms of Loma Prieta-type increments of northward transport and fault-normal shortening.

  14. From Geodesy to Tectonics: Observing Earthquake Processes from Space (Augustus Love Medal Lecture)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Parsons, Barry

    2017-04-01

    A suite of powerful satellite-based techniques has been developed over the past two decades allowing us to measure and interpret variations in the deformation around active continental faults occurring in earthquakes, before the earthquakes as strain accumulates, and immediately following them. The techniques include radar interferometry and the measurement of vertical and horizontal surface displacements using very high-resolution (VHR) satellite imagery. They provide near-field measurements of earthquake deformation facilitating the association with the corresponding active faults and their topographic expression. The techniques also enable pre- and post-seismic deformation to be determined and hence allow the response of the fault and surrounding medium to changes in stress to be investigated. The talk illustrates both the techniques and the applications with examples from recent earthquakes. These include the 2013 Balochistan earthquake, a predominantly strike-slip event, that occurred on the arcuate Hoshab fault in the eastern Makran linking an area of mainly left-lateral shear in the east to one of shortening in the west. The difficulty of reconciling predominantly strike-slip motion with this shortening has led to a wide range of unconventional kinematic and dynamic models. Using pre-and post-seismic VHR satellite imagery, we are able to determine a 3-dimensional deformation field for the earthquake; Sentinel-1 interferometry shows an increase in the rate of creep on a creeping section bounding the northern end of the rupture in response to the earthquake. In addition, we will look at the 1978 Tabas earthquake for which no measurements of deformation were possible at the time. By combining pre-seismic 'spy' satellite images with modern imagery, and pre-seismic aerial stereo images with post-seismic satellite stereo images, we can determine vertical and horizontal displacements from the earthquake and subsequent post-seismic deformation. These observations

  15. 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.

  16. Stress in the contorted Nazca Plate beneath southern Peru from local earthquakes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schneider, John F.; Sacks, I. Selwyn

    1987-12-01

    We study earthquake focal mechanisms in a region of highly contorted subducting lithosphere to identify dominant sources of stress in the subduction process. We observe a stress pattern in the contorted Nazca plate beneath southern Peru from an analysis of hypocentral trend and focal mechanisms of intermediate-depth earthquakes. Expanding on previous studies, we examine the hypocentral trend using 1673 of 2178 well-located local events from the nine-station Arequipa network. The dip of the plate beneath southern Peru averages 25°-30° from 25- to 100-km depth. Below this depth there is an 80- to 100-km-wide contortion between a zone of increasing dip (convex) to the southeast and a flat lying (concave) zone to the northwest. Using more than 6000 P wave first motions of events deeper than 50 km, we derive stress orientations from a moving average of composite focal mechanisms across a 200 by 350 km region including the contortion. The in-plate distribution of tension (T) and compression (P) axes reveals a coherent stress pattern. The trend is most clear beneath south-central Peru (NW section) and below 100- km depth in southernmost Peru (SE section). Both T and P axes tend to be dominantly in plate, especially below 100-km depth. T axes orient toward the contortion in a fan-shaped trend, which suggests that the deepest part of the seismic zone, within the convex SE section, is sinking and pulling the more buoyant NW section. We conclude that from 50- to 200-km depth, slab-pull forces are dominant in the observed stress. Our results suggest that a significant amount of plate extension occurs in this region of intermediate-depth subduction.

  17. Hydrothermal response to a volcano-tectonic earthquake swarm, Lassen, California

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ingebritsen, Steven E.; Shelly, David R.; Hsieh, Paul A.; Clor, Laura; P.H. Seward,; Evans, William C.

    2015-01-01

    The increasing capability of seismic, geodetic, and hydrothermal observation networks allows recognition of volcanic unrest that could previously have gone undetected, creating an imperative to diagnose and interpret unrest episodes. A November 2014 earthquake swarm near Lassen Volcanic National Park, California, which included the largest earthquake in the area in more than 60 years, was accompanied by a rarely observed outburst of hydrothermal fluids. Although the earthquake swarm likely reflects upward migration of endogenous H2O-CO2 fluids in the source region, there is no evidence that such fluids emerged at the surface. Instead, shaking from the modest sized (moment magnitude 3.85) but proximal earthquake caused near-vent permeability increases that triggered increased outflow of hydrothermal fluids already present and equilibrated in a local hydrothermal aquifer. Long-term, multiparametric monitoring at Lassen and other well-instrumented volcanoes enhances interpretation of unrest and can provide a basis for detailed physical modeling.

  18. 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.

  19. Repeated large-magnitude earthquakes in a tectonically active, low-strain continental interior: The northern Tien Shan, Kyrgyzstan

    Science.gov (United States)

    Landgraf, A.; Dzhumabaeva, A.; Abdrakhmatov, K. E.; Strecker, M. R.; Macaulay, E. A.; Arrowsmith, Jr.; Sudhaus, H.; Preusser, F.; Rugel, G.; Merchel, S.

    2016-05-01

    The northern Tien Shan of Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan has been affected by a series of major earthquakes in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. To assess the significance of such a pulse of strain release in a continental interior, it is important to analyze and quantify strain release over multiple time scales. We have undertaken paleoseismological investigations at two geomorphically distinct sites (Panfilovkoe and Rot Front) near the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek. Although located near the historic epicenters, both sites were not affected by these earthquakes. Trenching was accompanied by dating stratigraphy and offset surfaces using luminescence, radiocarbon, and 10Be terrestrial cosmogenic nuclide methods. At Rot Front, trenching of a small scarp did not reveal evidence for surface rupture during the last 5000 years. The scarp rather resembles an extensive debris-flow lobe. At Panfilovkoe, we estimate a Late Pleistocene minimum slip rate of 0.2 ± 0.1 mm/a, averaged over at least two, probably three earthquake cycles. Dip-slip reverse motion along segmented, moderately steep faults resulted in hanging wall collapse scarps during different events. The most recent earthquake occurred around 3.6 ± 1.3 kyr ago (1σ), with dip-slip offsets between 1.2 and 1.4 m. We calculate a probabilistic paleomagnitude to be between 6.7 and 7.2, which is in agreement with regional data from the Kyrgyz range. The morphotectonic signals in the northern Tien Shan are a prime example of deformation in a tectonically active intracontinental mountain belt and as such can help understand the longer-term coevolution of topography and seismogenic processes in similar structural settings worldwide.

  20. 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.

  1. Discussion on Deep Tectonic Background of Moderately Strong Earthquake in Anhui Province and Its Neighboring Areas Using Results of Seismic Tomography

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Zhang Jie; Shen Xiaoqi; Wang Xingzhou; Shen Yelong

    2006-01-01

    Using the latest results of seismic tomography, we studied the deep tectonic settings of the moderate and strong earthquakes in Anhui Province and its neighboring areas (28°~ 39°N,112°~ 124°E). The results are as follows: (1) There exists a certain correlation between the location of moderate-strong earthquake, the geologic structure of the surface and the partitioning of active tectonic elements with the upper-crust velocity structure. Most earthquakes recording M ≥ 6.0 occur in high-velocity zones or in the transitional areas between high-velocity and low-velocity zones in the upper crust. Seismicity in the low-velocity zone has a lesser impact. Earthquakes occuring in the high-velocity zone are distributed mainly in the velocity variation area. The boundary belts and the interior of the North China plain fault block are the main active sites of moderate-strong earthquakes. Beneath the fault basins in the western and northern sides of the block, the upper crust is characterized by a wide discontinuous distribution in the low-velocity zone, and in the transition zone from the low- to higl velocities, the moderate strong seismicity shows a zonal distribution where active faults are developed. The NW-extension Zhoukou-Hefei-Xuancheng low-velocity zone separates the high-velocity zones of Dabieshan Mountains and west Shandong-Anhui, and moderate-strong earthquakes on its northern side bordering the high-velocity zones are relatively frequent. This low-velocity zone is probably an important and deeply structured boundary between the North China and the South China tectonic provinces. (2) The frequent moderate-strong earthquake recorded in the past and the recent small earthquake activities in the Huoshan-Lu' an area are the result of a low-velocity zone in the middle crust beneath the central part of Dabieshan and the two sets of deep faults that cut through the crust. (3) In terms of deep structures, the distribution of moderate-strong earthquake in Anhui

  2. A resonance mechanism of earthquakes

    CERN Document Server

    Flambaum, V V

    2015-01-01

    It had been observed in [1] that there are periodic 4-6 hours pulses of ? 200 ?Hz seismogravita- tional oscillations ( SGO ) before 95 % of powerful earthquakes. We explain this by beating between an oscillation eigenmode of a whole tectonic plate and a local eigenmode of an active zone which tranfers the oscillation energy from the tectonic plate to the active zone causing the eathrquake. Oscillation frequencies of the plate and ones of the active zone are tuned to a resonance by an additional pressure applied to the active zone due to collision of neighboring plates or convection in the upper mantia (plume). Corresponding theory may be used for short-term prediction of the earthquakes and tsunami.

  3. 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

  4. Study on relationship between historical volcanic eruptions and historical strong earthquakes in China and its adjacent regions

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    1999-01-01

    This thesis lists and describes 6 pairs of tectonic events, i.e., historical volcanic eruptions associated with historical strong earthquakes, based on the analysis for the records of historical volcanic eruptions and historical strong earthquakes in China and its adjacent region since the first record. And discusses the relationship between historical eruptions and strong earthquakes by means of analyzing the characteristics of tectonic events themselves, plate movement, regional seismicity, and regional stress environment in China and its adjacent region.

  5. Surface Rupture of the 2005 Kashmir, Pakistan, Earthquake and its Active Tectonic Implications

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kaneda, H.; Nakata, T.; Tsutsumi, H.; Kondo, H.; Sugito, N.; Awata, Y.; Akhtar, S. S.; Majid, A.; Khattak, W.; Awan, A. A.; Yeats, R. S.

    2006-12-01

    The 8th October 2005 Kashmir earthquake of Mw 7.6 struck the westernmost area of the Indian-Eurasian collision zone, resulting in the worst earthquake disaster ever recorded along the frontal Himalaya. Although none of the historical Himalayan earthquakes is reported to have produced primary surface rupture, our field mapping reveals that the 2005 earthquake accompanied a NW-trending ~70-km-long distinctive surface rupture with maximum and mean vertical separations of ~7 m and ~3 m, respectively. Typical surface expression of faulting is a NE-side-up fault scarp or warp with surface shortening features at its base and tension cracks on its crest. Bulging and back-tilting are also observed on the upthrown side at many places. The surface rupture is subdivided into three geometrical segments separated by small steps. Location of the hypocenter suggests that the rupture was initiated at a deep portion of the northern-central segment boundary and bilaterally propagated to eventually break three segments. Mapped surface rupture trace clearly shows that neither the Himalayan Frontal Thrust (HFT) nor the Main Boundary Thrust (MBT) is responsible for the earthquake, but a geomorphologically-evident active fault within the Sub-Himalaya, the Balakot-Garhi fault, is a causative fault, although a part of the Balakot-Garhi fault appears to coincide with the surface trace of the MBT. Cumulative vertical separation of the most extensively recognized fluvial terrace surface is 7-8 times larger than the 2005 separation, implying occurrence of 7-8 similar earthquakes after the surface abandonment. If this deeply-incised fill surface is related to sediment yield increase due to the last major glaciation around 20 ka, the rupture interval and vertical slip rate of the Balakot-Garhi fault are estimated to be on the order of ~3000 years and ~1 mm/yr, respectively. By using the seismologically determined fault dip of ~30 degrees, horizontal shortening rate across the fault is then

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. Mechanism of the 1996-97 non-eruptive volcano-tectonic earthquake swarm at Iliamna Volcano, Alaska

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roman, D.C.; Power, J.A.

    2011-01-01

    A significant number of volcano-tectonic(VT) earthquake swarms, some of which are accompanied by ground deformation and/or volcanic gas emissions, do not culminate in an eruption.These swarms are often thought to represent stalled intrusions of magma into the mid- or shallow-level crust.Real-time assessment of the likelihood that a VTswarm will culminate in an eruption is one of the key challenges of volcano monitoring, and retrospective analysis of non-eruptive swarms provides an important framework for future assessments. Here we explore models for a non-eruptive VT earthquake swarm located beneath Iliamna Volcano, Alaska, in May 1996-June 1997 through calculation and inversion of fault-plane solutions for swarm and background periods, and through Coulomb stress modeling of faulting types and hypocenter locations observed during the swarm. Through a comparison of models of deep and shallow intrusions to swarm observations,we aim to test the hypothesis that the 1996-97 swarm represented a shallow intrusion, or "failed" eruption.Observations of the 1996-97 swarm are found to be consistent with several scenarios including both shallow and deep intrusion, most likely involving a relatively small volume of intruded magma and/or a low degree of magma pressurization corresponding to a relatively low likelihood of eruption. ?? 2011 Springer-Verlag.

  9. The 23 January 2014 Jizan earthquake and its tectonic implications in southwestern Saudi Arabia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Abdelfattah, A. K.; Al-Amri, A.; Abd el-aal, A. K.; Zaidi, Faisal K.; Fnais, M.; Almadani, S.; Al-Arifi, N.

    2017-08-01

    A moderate-sized earthquake of Mw 4.4 occurred in southwestern Saudi Arabia on 23 January 2014. The event is considered as the largest observed earthquake that has occurred in the epicentral area. To examine the seismogenic stress regime and resolve the fault plane ambiguity, the hypocenter locations and focal mechanisms were determined using well recorded waveforms of the broadband stations operated by the Saudi Geological Survey. The current analysis included dataset consisting of mainshock and a total number of 113 well-located aftershocks. Focal mechanism solutions of the mainshock and fifteen aftershocks were determined. The focal mechanism solutions were inverted using stress tensor inversion. It indicates that the maximum compressive stress, σ1, has a nearly shallow plunge (11.8°) of ESE orientation and minimum compressive stress, σ3, has a shallow plunge (0.3°) toward NNE. Our results obtained from precise earthquake locations, focal mechanism solutions and stress tensor inversion reveal dextral strike-slip faulting over the ENE-WSW striking plane. The analysis of Coulomb failure stress emphasized the causative fault of the 2014 Jizan earthquake sequence. The active fault implies a reactivation of a high-angle fault, buried in the Precambrian basement, which is conjugate to the Red Sea spreading axis and NNW-SSE Najd fault system. The present study provided an impetus toward understanding the seismogenic stress regime in a virgin area.

  10. The 1946 Unimak Tsunami Earthquake Area: revised tectonic structure in reprocessed seismic images and a suspect near field tsunami source

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miller, John J.; von Huene, Roland; Ryan, Holly F.

    2014-01-01

    In 1946 at Unimak Pass, Alaska, a tsunami destroyed the lighthouse at Scotch Cap, Unimak Island, took 159 lives on the Hawaiian Islands, damaged island coastal facilities across the south Pacific, and destroyed a hut in Antarctica. The tsunami magnitude of 9.3 is comparable to the magnitude 9.1 tsunami that devastated the Tohoku coast of Japan in 2011. Both causative earthquake epicenters occurred in shallow reaches of the subduction zone. Contractile tectonism along the Alaska margin presumably generated the far-field tsunami by producing a seafloor elevation change. However, the Scotch Cap lighthouse was destroyed by a near-field tsunami that was probably generated by a coeval large undersea landslide, yet bathymetric surveys showed no fresh large landslide scar. We investigated this problem by reprocessing five seismic lines, presented here as high-resolution graphic images, both uninterpreted and interpreted, and available for the reader to download. In addition, the processed seismic data for each line are available for download as seismic industry-standard SEG-Y files. One line, processed through prestack depth migration, crosses a 10 × 15 kilometer and 800-meter-high hill presumed previously to be basement, but that instead is composed of stratified rock superimposed on the slope sediment. This image and multibeam bathymetry illustrate a slide block that could have sourced the 1946 near-field tsunami because it is positioned within a distance determined by the time between earthquake shaking and the tsunami arrival at Scotch Cap and is consistent with the local extent of high runup of 42 meters along the adjacent Alaskan coast. The Unimak/Scotch Cap margin is structurally similar to the 2011 Tohoku tsunamigenic margin where a large landslide at the trench, coeval with the Tohoku earthquake, has been documented. Further study can improve our understanding of tsunami sources along Alaska’s erosional margins.

  11. Earthquake and Geothermal Energy

    CERN Document Server

    Kapoor, Surya Prakash

    2013-01-01

    The origin of earthquake has long been recognized as resulting from strike-slip instability of plate tectonics along the fault lines. Several events of earthquake around the globe have happened which cannot be explained by this theory. In this work we investigated the earthquake data along with other observed facts like heat flow profiles etc... of the Indian subcontinent. In our studies we found a high-quality correlation between the earthquake events, seismic prone zones, heat flow regions and the geothermal hot springs. As a consequence, we proposed a hypothesis which can adequately explain all the earthquake events around the globe as well as the overall geo-dynamics. It is basically the geothermal power, which makes the plates to stand still, strike and slip over. The plates are merely a working solid while the driving force is the geothermal energy. The violent flow and enormous pressure of this power shake the earth along the plate boundaries and also triggers the intra-plate seismicity. In the light o...

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Estimates of stress drop and crustal tectonic stress from the 27 February 2010 Maule, Chile, earthquake: Implications for fault strength

    Science.gov (United States)

    Luttrell, Karen M.; Tong, Xiaopeng; Sandwell, David T.; Brooks, Benjamin A.; Bevis, Michael G.

    2011-11-01

    The great 27 February 2010 Mw 8.8 earthquake off the coast of southern Chile ruptured a ˜600 km length of subduction zone. In this paper, we make two independent estimates of shear stress in the crust in the region of the Chile earthquake. First, we use a coseismic slip model constrained by geodetic observations from interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) and GPS to derive a spatially variable estimate of the change in static shear stress along the ruptured fault. Second, we use a static force balance model to constrain the crustal shear stress required to simultaneously support observed fore-arc topography and the stress orientation indicated by the earthquake focal mechanism. This includes the derivation of a semianalytic solution for the stress field exerted by surface and Moho topography loading the crust. We find that the deviatoric stress exerted by topography is minimized in the limit when the crust is considered an incompressible elastic solid, with a Poisson ratio of 0.5, and is independent of Young's modulus. This places a strict lower bound on the critical stress state maintained by the crust supporting plastically deformed accretionary wedge topography. We estimate the coseismic shear stress change from the Maule event ranged from -6 MPa (stress increase) to 17 MPa (stress drop), with a maximum depth-averaged crustal shear-stress drop of 4 MPa. We separately estimate that the plate-driving forces acting in the region, regardless of their exact mechanism, must contribute at least 27 MPa trench-perpendicular compression and 15 MPa trench-parallel compression. This corresponds to a depth-averaged shear stress of at least 7 MPa. The comparable magnitude of these two independent shear stress estimates is consistent with the interpretation that the section of the megathrust fault ruptured in the Maule earthquake is weak, with the seismic cycle relieving much of the total sustained shear stress in the crust.

  15. Seismic ACROSS Transmitter Installed at Morimachi above the Subducting Philippine Sea Plate for the Test Monitoring of the Seismogenic Zone of Tokai Earthquake not yet to Occur

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kunitomo, T.; Kumazawa, M.; Masuda, T.; Morita, N.; Torii, T.; Ishikawa, Y.; Yoshikawa, S.; Katsumata, A.; Yoshida, Y.

    2008-12-01

    Here we report the first seismic monitoring system in active and constant operation for the wave propagation characteristics in tectonic region just above the subducting plate driving the coming catastrophic earthquakes. Developmental works of such a system (ACROSS; acronym for Accurately Controlled, Routinely Operated, Signal System) have been started in 1994 at Nagoya University and since 1996 also at TGC (Tono Geoscience Center) of JAEA promoted by Hyogoken Nanbu Earthquakes (1995 Jan.17, Mj=7.3). The ACROSS is a technology system including theory of signal and data processing based on the brand new concept of measurement methodology of Green function between a signal source and observation site. The works done for first generation system are reported at IWAM04 and in JAEA report (Kumazawa et al.,2007). The Meteorological Research Institute of JMA has started a project of test monitoring of Tokai area in 2004 in corporation with Shizuoka University to realize the practical use of the seismic ACROSS for earthquake prediction researches. The first target was set to Tokai Earthquake not yet to take place. The seismic ACROSS transmitter was designed so as to be appropriate for the sensitive monitoring of the deep active fault zone on the basis of the previous technology elements accumulated so far. The ground coupler (antenna) is a large steel-reinforced concrete block (over 20m3) installed in the basement rocks in order to preserve the stability. Eccentric moment of the rotary transmitter is 82 kgm at maximum, 10 times larger than that of the first generation. Carrier frequency of FM signal for practical use can be from 3.5 to 15 Hz, and the signal phase is accurately controlled by a motor with vector inverter synchronized with GPS clock with a precision of 10-4 radian or better. By referring to the existing structure model in this area (Iidaka et al., 2003), the site of the transmitting station was chosen at Morimachi so as to be appropriate for detecting the

  16. 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

  17. The threat of silent earthquakes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cervelli, Peter

    2004-01-01

    Not all earthquakes shake the ground. The so-called silent types are forcing scientists to rethink their understanding of the way quake-prone faults behave. In rare instances, silent earthquakes that occur along the flakes of seaside volcanoes may cascade into monstrous landslides that crash into the sea and trigger towering tsunamis. Silent earthquakes that take place within fault zones created by one tectonic plate diving under another may increase the chance of ground-shaking shocks. In other locations, however, silent slip may decrease the likelihood of destructive quakes, because they release stress along faults that might otherwise seem ready to snap.

  18. Contemporary tectonics of the Himalayan frontal fault system: folds, blind thrusts and the 1905 Kangra earthquake

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yeats, Robert S.; Lillie, Robert J.

    The Sub-Himalayan fold-thrust belt consists of deformed late Cenozoic and older deposits south of the Main Boundary thrust (MBT). In Pakistan, east of the Indus River, the Sub-Himalaya comprises the Potwar Plateau and the Salt Range, which is thrust southward over the Jhelum River floodplain along the Salt Range thrust. Although an estimated 9-14 mm a -1 shortening has been taken up on the Salt Range thrust during the last 2 Ma, the range-front scarp does not show signs of recent faulting. Shortening may be shifting southward to the Lilla overpressured anticline, which rises from the Jhelum floodplain as a fault-propagation fold. Farther east, shortening is partitioned among several anticlines underlain by foreland- and hinterland-dipping blind thrusts. Southeast of the main deformation zone, the Pabbi Hills overpressured anticline is best explained as a fault-propagation fold. Throughout the Potwar Plateau and Salt Range, thrusts and folds rise from a basal décollement horizon in Eocambrian evaporites. The Pakistani part of the décollement horizon could generate large earthquakes only if these evaporites die out northward at seismogenic depths. In India and Nepal, the Sub-Himalaya is narrower, reflecting the absence of evaporites and a steeper slope of the basement towards the hinterland. The southern boundary of the Sub-Himalaya is the Himalayan Front fault, discontinuous because part of the shortening is expressed at the surface by folding. Broad, alluvial synclinal valleys (dun valleys) are bounded on the south by rising barrier anticlines of Siwalik molasse. The 1905 Kangra earthquake (M8) produced uplift on the Mohand anticline and the Dehra Dun Valley, suggesting that this earthquake occurred on a décollement horizon above basement, downdip from the fold. If so, the Kangra event is the largest known earthquake on a blind thrust expressed at the surface as a fold.

  19. 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.

  20. Upper-plate splay fault earthquakes recorded by uplifted coral microatolls on Ramree Island, the western coast of Myanmar (Burma)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shyu, J. Bruce H.; Wang, Chung-Che; Wang, Yu; Chiang, Hong-Wei; Shen, Chuang-Chou; Thura Tun, Soe

    2014-05-01

    Myanmar is located at the convergent boundary between the Indian-Australian and the Eurasian plates. Offshore western Myanmar, the Indian-Australian plate subducts northeastward underneath the Burma micro-plate along the northernmost part of the Sunda megathrust. Wide-spread marine terraces with numerous uplifted corals are evident for the active deformation along the coast of western Myanmar. The 1762 Arakan earthquake, the last major seismic event along this plate boundary belt, has been proposed to result from slip on upper-plate splay faults, in addition to rupture of the megathrust. Some previous studies also proposed that the interval between large earthquakes in this area is about 900 years from the ages of the marine terraces, but the seismic activity of upper-plate splay faults remains unclear. From the ages of multiple steps of uplifted coral microatolls, we have identified several previous earthquake events that are likely produced by the upper-plate splay faults. Near the small village of Leik-Ka-Maw at the northwestern corner of the Ramree Island, western Myanmar, we found three groups of uplifted coral colonies with different elevations on the wave-cut platform. U-Th ages of the corals indicate that the second group of corals was killed by co-seismic uplift during the 1762 earthquake. A lower group of corals suggests that there was at least one event after the 1762 earthquake, probably in 1848 according to Myanmar's recorded history. This event has not been reported previously elsewhere, thus it may represent a minor, local event that occurred entirely on a splay fault. Geomorphic evidence for such a local structure is also present near the central western Ramree coast. Detailed topographic survey revealed that the uplifted marine terrace gets higher oceanward. This deformation pattern is likely produced by an east-dipping reverse fault not too far offshore the coastline there. Since most previous studies focused on megathrust earthquakes, the

  1. Plate Tectonics and the Earthquake%板块构造学说与地震

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    潘绍焕

    2004-01-01

    介绍了关于地球地壳运动的板块学说理论,主要内容是板块运动的动力、板块的划分、板块的分界线,以及板块构造学说与地震的关系.解释全球地震发生的原因和位置,宏观地说明全世界主要地震带就存在于板块分界线上,为城市建设、局址选择、工程建设提供了重要的决策依据.

  2. Short-term volcano-tectonic earthquake forecasts based on a moving mean recurrence time algorithm: the El Hierro seismo-volcanic crisis experience

    Science.gov (United States)

    García, Alicia; De la Cruz-Reyna, Servando; Marrero, José M.; Ortiz, Ramón

    2016-05-01

    Under certain conditions, volcano-tectonic (VT) earthquakes may pose significant hazards to people living in or near active volcanic regions, especially on volcanic islands; however, hazard arising from VT activity caused by localized volcanic sources is rarely addressed in the literature. The evolution of VT earthquakes resulting from a magmatic intrusion shows some orderly behaviour that may allow the occurrence and magnitude of major events to be forecast. Thus governmental decision makers can be supplied with warnings of the increased probability of larger-magnitude earthquakes on the short-term timescale. We present here a methodology for forecasting the occurrence of large-magnitude VT events during volcanic crises; it is based on a mean recurrence time (MRT) algorithm that translates the Gutenberg-Richter distribution parameter fluctuations into time windows of increased probability of a major VT earthquake. The MRT forecasting algorithm was developed after observing a repetitive pattern in the seismic swarm episodes occurring between July and November 2011 at El Hierro (Canary Islands). From then on, this methodology has been applied to the consecutive seismic crises registered at El Hierro, achieving a high success rate in the real-time forecasting, within 10-day time windows, of volcano-tectonic earthquakes.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-04-01

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

  4. 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.

  5. TECTONIC AND SEISMOLOGICAL ASPECTS OF THE GREAT JAPAN EARTHQUAKE OF MARCH 11, 2011

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ivan N. Tikhonov

    2015-09-01

    Full Text Available The publication presents a review of the structure and seismotectonic features of the Pacific margin of the NorthEastern Honshu Island on the basis of data from seismic reflection and CDP, drilling and detailed seismic studies in view of the megaearthquake (Mw=9.0 which occurred in Japan on March 11, 2011. The megaearthquake is discussed in terms of its position in the succession of the strongest events (M≥7.6 in the area under study within the historical period and in the recent timeline. It is suggested that the period of recurrence is about 40 years for great events and about 1000+ years for megaearthquakes. A number of facts suggesting a probability of a planetaryscale earthquake in the Honshu Island region are revealed. Specifically, a seismic gap with a total length of about 800 km is determined in the study area. It is located southward of 39° north latitude has already manifested aftershocks of the megaearthquake of March 11, 2011. It is probable that the megaearthquake was related to the deep thrust along the Benioff zone and the Oyashio nappe being its structural cap rock in the middle Pacific slope. The sequence of its aftershocks is compared with those of the SumatraAndaman (Mw=9.3, 2004 and Simushir (Mw=8.3, 2006 earthquakes. It is established that development of the aftershock sequences of the first and second events was very similar in time, and development of the areas of aftershock epicentres of the first and third earthquakes is similar in space. The above similarities give grounds to suggest that an aftershock (M~8.0 is possible with a relative shifting from the main shock towards the deep trench.

  6. 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

  7. Normalized rupture potential for small and large earthquakes along the Pacific Plate off Japan

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tormann, Thessa; Wiemer, Stefan; Enescu, Bogdan; Woessner, Jochen

    2016-07-01

    We combine temporal variability in local seismic activity rates and size distributions to estimate the evolution of a Gutenberg-Richter-based metric, the normalized rupture potential (NRP), comparing differences between smaller and larger earthquakes. For the Pacific Plate off Japan, we study both complex spatial patterns and how they evolve over the last 18 years, and more detailed temporal characteristics in a simplified spatial selection, i.e., inside and outside the high-slip zone of the 2011 M9 Tohoku earthquake. We resolve significant changes, in particular an immediate NRP increase for large events prior to the Tohoku event in the subsequent high-slip patch, a very rapid decrease inside this high-stress-release area coupled with a lasting increase of NRP in the immediate surroundings. Even in the center of the Tohoku rupture, the NRP for large magnitudes has not dropped below the 12 year average and is not significantly different from conditions a decade before the M9 event.

  8. 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...

  9. 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).

  10. Non-tectonic liquefaction-induced large surface displacements in the Aso Valley, Japan, caused by the 2016 Kumamoto earthquake, revealed by ALOS-2 SAR

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fujiwara, Satoshi; Morishita, Yu; Nakano, Takayuki; Kobayashi, Tomokazu; Yarai, Hiroshi

    2017-09-01

    We constructed and analyzed full 3-D ground surface displacement field associated with the 2016 Kumamoto (Japan) earthquake using satellite radar images from ALOS-2. Displacements reflect not only tectonic crustal deformation caused by main earthquake faults but also non-tectonic surface deformations. The largest deformations in the earthquake sequence were found in the Aso Valley, along the NW outer rim of the Mt. Aso caldera. Large, independent surface deformations occurred in three areas with diameters of 500 m-2 km in the Aso Valley, and each area was horizontally displaced by more than 2 m to the NNW. These areas are underlain by thick lake-bottom deposits of saturated silt with low penetration resistance. As the direction of the displacements was parallel to the ground slope in each area, the strong seismic motion of the earthquake most probably induced liquefaction in the lake-bottom deposits and the ground surface slid horizontally along the slope on the liquefied silt. Because the areas of the large displacements are closely related to the thickness and shape of the lake-bottom deposits, amplification of the seismic wave in these deposits likely contributed to the liquefaction. A seismograph installed at the Aso Valley recorded co-seismic movement within several seconds of the main shock, indicating a possibility of the strong seismic motion amplifying the horizontal displacement of this area. On the SSE side of the deformed areas, numerous graben-like ruptures developed. As these ruptures are caused by surface tension during the large horizontal displacement, they are not earthquake fault traces and the process of this deformation is non-tectonic.

  11. Source process and tectonic implication of the January 20, 2007 Odaesan earthquake, South Korea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Abdel-Fattah, Ali K.; Kim, K. Y.; Fnais, M. S.; Al-Amri, A. M.

    2014-04-01

    The source process for the 20th of January 2007, Mw 4.5 Odaesan earthquake in South Korea is investigated in the low- and high-frequency bands, using velocity and acceleration waveform data recorded by the Korea Meteorological Administration Seismographic Network at distances less than 70 km from the epicenter. Synthetic Green functions are adopted for the low-frequency band of 0.1-0.3 Hz by using the wave-number integration technique and the one dimensional velocity model beneath the epicentral area. An iterative technique was performed by a grid search across the strike, dip, rake, and focal depth of rupture nucleation parameters to find the best-fit double-couple mechanism. To resolve the nodal plane ambiguity, the spatiotemporal slip distribution on the fault surface was recovered using a non-negative least-square algorithm for each set of the grid-searched parameters. The focal depth of 10 km was determined through the grid search for depths in the range of 6-14 km. The best-fit double-couple mechanism obtained from the finite-source model indicates a vertical strike-slip faulting mechanism. The NW faulting plane gives comparatively smaller root-mean-squares (RMS) error than its auxiliary plane. Slip pattern event provides simple source process due to the effect of Low-frequency that acted as a point source model. Three empirical Green functions are adopted to investigate the source process in the high-frequency band. A set of slip models was recovered on both nodal planes of the focal mechanism with various rupture velocities in the range of 2.0-4.0 km/s. Although there is a small difference between the RMS errors produced by the two orthogonal nodal planes, the SW dipping plane gives a smaller RMS error than its auxiliary plane. The slip distribution is relatively assessable by the oblique pattern recovered around the hypocenter in the high-frequency analysis; indicating a complex rupture scenario for such moderate-sized earthquake, similar to those reported

  12. Relation between Gravity Field Feature and Tectonics and Earthquakes in Taiwan and Its Adjacent Seas

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    张赤军; 方剑

    2001-01-01

    Short wave gravity anomaly is correlated to sea floor topography in the gravity field of Taiwan and its adjacent seas. Gravity values of 200 × 10-5ms-2 at Yushang and -160 × 10-5ms-2 at Liuqiu sea trench are respectively the maximum and minimum gravity values in this area.Bouguer gravity anomaly reflects not only Moho interface undulation, but also fault distribution.The inflexion of gradient belt of Bouguer gravity anomaly is a spot liable to earthquakes. Middlelong wave geoid is the best data to invert crustal thickness. We calculate crustal thickness by using geoid data, and the maximum value is 38km; the minimum value is 12km in Taiwan and its adjacent seas.

  13. Damping scaling factors for elastic response spectra for shallow crustal earthquakes in active tectonic regions: "average" horizontal component

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rezaeian, Sanaz; Bozorgnia, Yousef; Idriss, I.M.; Abrahamson, Norman; Campbell, Kenneth; Silva, Walter

    2014-01-01

    Ground motion prediction equations (GMPEs) for elastic response spectra are typically developed at a 5% viscous damping ratio. In reality, however, structural and nonstructural systems can have other damping ratios. This paper develops a new model for a damping scaling factor (DSF) that can be used to adjust the 5% damped spectral ordinates predicted by a GMPE for damping ratios between 0.5% to 30%. The model is developed based on empirical data from worldwide shallow crustal earthquakes in active tectonic regions. Dependencies of the DSF on potential predictor variables, such as the damping ratio, spectral period, ground motion duration, moment magnitude, source-to-site distance, and site conditions, are examined. The strong influence of duration is captured by the inclusion of both magnitude and distance in the DSF model. Site conditions show weak influence on the DSF. The proposed damping scaling model provides functional forms for the median and logarithmic standard deviation of DSF, and is developed for both RotD50 and GMRotI50 horizontal components. A follow-up paper develops a DSF model for vertical ground motion.

  14. The tectonic setting of Mount Vesuvius and the correlation between its eruptions and the earthquakes of the Southern Apennines

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marzocchi, Warner; Scandone, Roberto; Mulargia, Francesco

    1993-11-01

    Mount Vesuvius is emplaced on a regional NE-SW-trending fault that accommodates the stretching of the lithosphere caused by a backward retreat of the Calabrian arc. The dynamics of the Calabrian arc controls the temporal occurrence of earthquakes in the Southern Apennines and in Sicily. By means of a detailed statistical approach, we identified a significant correlation between seismic events occurring in different subsets of this geodynamic domain: seismicity changes in the Southern Apennines follow those in the Calabrian arc after 18-21 years, while seismicity changes in Sicily follow those in the Calabrian arc after 8-10 years. The seismicity changes in these three areas appear also to have affected the eruptive activity of Vesuvius in the period 1631-1944. The major effusive-explosive eruptions of this period followed the seismicity changes in the Southern Apennines after 6-13 years and those in the Calabrian arc after 36-39 years. From a tectonic point of view, this indicates a direct link between the eruptive activity of Vesuvius and the dynamics of the Calabrian arc. The backward retreat of the arc produces strain pulses propagating to adjacent areas. From a volcanological point of view, we speculate that the arrival of an extension strain pulse in the area of Vesuvius may trigger the fast movement of magma-filled cracks that stay in unstable equilibrium in the roots of the volcano.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. Towards understanding earthquake nucleation on a severely misoriented plate boundary fault, Alpine Fault, New Zealand

    Science.gov (United States)

    Boulton, C. J.; Faulkner, D. R.; Allen, M. J.; Coussens, J.; Menzies, C. D.; Mariani, E.

    2016-12-01

    New Zealand's Alpine Fault has accommodated relative motion between the Australian and Pacific plates for over 23 million years: first as strike-slip fault and then as an oblique transpressional fault. Despite being driven by principal stresses whose orientations have undoubtedly changed with time, the Alpine Fault continues to accommodate 70% of the relative plate boundary motion. Fault outcrop data and seismic reflection data indicate that the central Alpine Fault is consistently oriented 055/45°SE at depths up to 15 km (i.e., throughout the seismogenic zone); focal mechanisms indicate that the stress tensor is oriented σ1=σHmax=0/117°, σ2=σv, and σ3=0/207° (Boese et al. 2013, doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2013.06.030). At depth, the central Alpine Fault lies at an angle of 51° to σ1. The Mohr-Coulomb failure criterion stipulates that, for incohesive rocks, reactivation of a fault requires sufficient driving stress to overcome frictional resistance to slip. Using a coefficient of friction (μ) of 0.6, as measured for representative Alpine Fault rocks under in situ conditions (Neimeijer et al. 2016, doi:10.1002/2015JB012593), and an estimated stress shape ratio (Φ=(σ2 - σ3)/(σ1 - σ3)=0.5), a 3-D reactivation analysis was performed (Leclère and Fabbri 2013, doi:10.1016/j.jsg.2012.11.004). Results show that the Alpine Fault is severely misoriented for failure, requiring pore fluid pressures greater than the least principal stress to initiate frictional sliding. However, microstructural evidence, including pseudotachylytes and fault gouge injection structures, suggests that earthquakes nucleate and propagate along this major plate boundary fault. By assuming an increase in differential stress of 15 MPa/km, our analysis shows that reactivation may occur with suprahydrostatic pore fluid pressures given a ≥10° counterclockwise rotation of σHmax. Using measured hydraulic data, we estimate the potential for pore fluid overpressure development within the Alpine

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-07-22

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

  19. Global coupling at 660 km is proposed to explain plate tectonics and the generation of the earth's magnetic field

    CERN Document Server

    Garai, Jozsef

    2007-01-01

    The presence of low viscosity layers in the mantle is supported by line of geological and geophysical observations. Recent high pressure and temperature investigations indicated that partial carbonate melt should exist at the bottom of the lithosphere and at 660 km. The presence of few percent carbonate melt reduces the viscosity by several order of magnitude. The globally existing 660 km very low viscosity layer allows the development of differential rotation between the upper and lower mantle. This differential rotation between the 660 km outer shell and the rest of the earth offers a plausible explanation for plate tectonics and for the generation of the earth's magnetic field. Simple dynamo model is proposed, which able to reproduce all of the features of the contemporary and, within reasonable uncertainty, the paleomagnetic field. The model is also consistent with geological and geophysical observations.

  20. Long aftershock sequences within continents and implications for earthquake hazard assessment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stein, Seth; Liu, Mian

    2009-11-05

    One of the most powerful features of plate tectonics is that the known plate motions give insight into both the locations and average recurrence interval of future large earthquakes on plate boundaries. Plate tectonics gives no insight, however, into where and when earthquakes will occur within plates, because the interiors of ideal plates should not deform. As a result, within plate interiors, assessments of earthquake hazards rely heavily on the assumption that the locations of small earthquakes shown by the short historical record reflect continuing deformation that will cause future large earthquakes. Here, however, we show that many of these recent earthquakes are probably aftershocks of large earthquakes that occurred hundreds of years ago. We present a simple model predicting that the length of aftershock sequences varies inversely with the rate at which faults are loaded. Aftershock sequences within the slowly deforming continents are predicted to be significantly longer than the decade typically observed at rapidly loaded plate boundaries. These predictions are in accord with observations. So the common practice of treating continental earthquakes as steady-state seismicity overestimates the hazard in presently active areas and underestimates it elsewhere.

  1. Earthquake prediction from China's mobile gravity data

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yiqing Zhu

    2015-03-01

    Full Text Available The relation between plate tectonics and earthquake evolution is analyzed systematically on the basis of 1998–2010 absolute and relative gravity data from the Crustal Movement Observation Network of China. Most earthquakes originated in the plate boundary or within the fault zone. Tectonic deformation was most intense and exhibited discontinuity within the tectonically active fault zone because of the differential movement; the stress accumulation produced an abrupt gravity change, which was further enhanced by the earthquake. The gravity data from mainland China since 2000 obviously reflected five major earthquakes (Ms > 7, all of which were better reflected than before 2000. Regional gravity anomalies and a gravity gradient change were observed in the area around the epicenter about 2 or 3 years before the earthquake occurred, suggesting that gravity change may be a seismic precursor. Furthermore, in this study, the medium-term predictions of the Ms7.3 Yutian, Ms8.0 Wenchuan, and Ms7.0 Lushan earthquakes are analytically presented and evaluated, especially to estimate location of earthquake.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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…

  5. 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

  6. 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. ...

  7. 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

  8. 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…

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. A plate boundary earthquake record from a wetland adjacent to the Alpine fault in New Zealand refines hazard estimates

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cochran, U. A.; Clark, K. J.; Howarth, J. D.; Biasi, G. P.; Langridge, R. M.; Villamor, P.; Berryman, K. R.; Vandergoes, M. J.

    2017-04-01

    Discovery and investigation of millennial-scale geological records of past large earthquakes improve understanding of earthquake frequency, recurrence behaviour, and likelihood of future rupture of major active faults. Here we present a ∼2000 year-long, seven-event earthquake record from John O'Groats wetland adjacent to the Alpine fault in New Zealand, one of the most active strike-slip faults in the world. We linked this record with the 7000 year-long, 22-event earthquake record from Hokuri Creek (20 km along strike to the north) to refine estimates of earthquake frequency and recurrence behaviour for the South Westland section of the plate boundary fault. Eight cores from John O'Groats wetland revealed a sequence that alternated between organic-dominated and clastic-dominated sediment packages. Transitions from a thick organic unit to a thick clastic unit that were sharp, involved a significant change in depositional environment, and were basin-wide, were interpreted as evidence of past surface-rupturing earthquakes. Radiocarbon dates of short-lived organic fractions either side of these transitions were modelled to provide estimates for earthquake ages. Of the seven events recognised at the John O'Groats site, three post-date the most recent event at Hokuri Creek, two match events at Hokuri Creek, and two events at John O'Groats occurred in a long interval during which the Hokuri Creek site may not have been recording earthquakes clearly. The preferred John O'Groats-Hokuri Creek earthquake record consists of 27 events since ∼6000 BC for which we calculate a mean recurrence interval of 291 ± 23 years, shorter than previously estimated for the South Westland section of the fault and shorter than the current interseismic period. The revised 50-year conditional probability of a surface-rupturing earthquake on this fault section is 29%. The coefficient of variation is estimated at 0.41. We suggest the low recurrence variability is likely to be a feature of

  12. 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...

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. Mantle-derived peridotites in southwestern Oregon: relation to plate tectonics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Medaris, L G; Dott, R H

    1970-09-04

    A group of peridotites in southwestern Oregon contains high-pressure mineral assemblages reflecting recrystallization at high temperatures (1100 degrees to 1200 degrees C) over a range of pressure decreasing from 19 to 5 kilobars. It is proposed that the peridotites represent upper-mantle material brought from depth along the ancestral Gorda-Juan de Fuca ridge system, transported eastward by the spreading Gorda lithosphere plate, and then emplaced by thrust-faulting in the western margin of the Cordillera during late Mesozoic time.

  19. 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.

  20. Why Understanding When and How Plate Tectonics Began Is Essential for a Robust Theory of the Earth

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stern, R. J.; Gerya, T.

    2014-12-01

    Understanding when and how Plate Tectonics (PT) began and what came before has profound implications for understanding the Earth because the transition to PT from the previous tectonic regime - some variant of deformable lid tectonics (DLT)- resulted in faster cooling and enhanced recycling of surface materials to depth. The transition to PT also would have impacted ocean chemistry, climate and life evolution. There is no consensus about when PT began on Earth; estimates range from >4.2 Ga to ~0.85 Ga. Three pillars of a robust Theory of the Earth illustrate the importance of answering this question: (1) the solid Earth volatile cycle; (2) the Urey ratio; and (3) the kimberlite enigma. For (1), it is now clear that subduction injects more H2O (and probably CO2) into Earth's mantle- where it is stored - than is released to the surface by igneous activity. Presumably the volatile flux from the surface into the mantle was lower during DLT episodes, although delamination and Rayleigh-Taylor drippings would have sent some. Constraining PT H2O and CO2 fluxes requires knowing when PT began and interior soaking accelerated. Regarding (2), estimating Earth's Urey ratio (Ur; heat production/heat loss) evolution requires avoiding the "thermal catastrophe" implying that if Earth has been cooling off as fast as presently (Ur ~0.2) then it must have been totally molten 1-2 Ga; a transition from DLT (high Ur) to PT (low Ur) may resolve the paradox. Finally (3), why are the vast majority of kimberlites of Phaneozoic age? Is it because erosion has removed the evidence or because sufficient H2O-CO2 rich fluids that drive such eruptions have only been delivered below cratonic lithosphere since deep subduction associated with PT began? Determining when did PT start, what was Earth's DLT-regime before this, and how did the transition occur will require the insights of the entire geoscientific community, providing a worthy set of 21st Century geoscientific research priorities.

  1. Phase Transformations and Earthquakes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Green, H. W.

    2011-12-01

    Phase transformations have been cited as responsible for, or at least involved in, "deep" earthquakes for many decades (although the concept of "deep" has varied). In 1945, PW Bridgman laid out in detail the string of events/conditions that would have to be achieved for a solid/solid transformation to lead to a faulting instability, although he expressed pessimism that the full set of requirements would be simultaneously achieved in nature. Raleigh and Paterson (1965) demonstrated faulting during dehydration of serpentine under stress and suggested dehydration embrittlement as the cause of intermediate depth earthquakes. Griggs and Baker (1969) produced a thermal runaway model of a shear zone under constant stress, culminating in melting, and proposed such a runaway as the origin of deep earthquakes. The discovery of Plate Tectonics in the late 1960s established the conditions (subduction) under which Bridgman's requirements for earthquake runaway in a polymorphic transformation could be possible in nature and Green and Burnley (1989) found that instability during the transformation of metastable olivine to spinel. Recent seismic correlation of intermediate-depth-earthquake hypocenters with predicted conditions of dehydration of antigorite serpentine and discovery of metastable olivine in 4 subduction zones, suggests strongly that dehydration embrittlement and transformation-induced faulting are the underlying mechanisms of intermediate and deep earthquakes, respectively. The results of recent high-speed friction experiments and analysis of natural fault zones suggest that it is likely that similar processes occur commonly during many shallow earthquakes after initiation by frictional failure.

  2. How does the 2010 El Mayor - Cucapah Earthquake Rupture Connect to the Southern California Plate Boundary Fault System

    Science.gov (United States)

    Donnellan, A.; Ben-Zion, Y.; Arrowsmith, R.

    2016-12-01

    The Pacific - North American plate boundary in southern California is marked by several major strike slip faults. The 2010 M7.2 El Mayor - Cucapah earthquake ruptured 120 km of upper crust in Baja California to the US-Mexico border. The earthquake triggered slip along an extensive network of faults in the Salton Trough from the Mexican border to the southern end of the San Andreas fault. Earthquakes >M5 were triggered in the gap between the Laguna Salada and Elsinore faults at Ocotillo and on the Coyote Creek segment of the San Jacinto fault 20 km northwest of Borrego Springs. UAVSAR observations, collected since October of 2009, measure slip associated with the M5.7 Ocotillo aftershock with deformation continuing into 2014. The Elsinore fault has been remarkably quiet, however, with only M5.0 and M5.2 earthquakes occurring on the Coyote Mountains segment of the fault in 1940 and 1968 respectively. In contrast, the Imperial Valley has been quite active historically with numerous moderate events occurring since 1935. Moderate event activity is increasing along the San Jacinto fault zone (SJFZ), especially the trifurcation area, where 6 of 12 historic earthquakes in this 20 km long fault zone have occurred since 2000. However, no recent deformation has been detected using UAVSAR measurements in this area, including the recent M5.2 June 2016 Borrego earthquake. Does the El Mayor - Cucapah rupture connect to and transfer stress primarily to a single southern California fault or several? What is its role relative to the background plate motion? UAVSAR observations indicate that the southward extension of the Elsinore fault has recently experienced the most localized deformation. Seismicity suggests that the San Jacinto fault is more active than neighboring major faults, and geologic evidence suggests that the Southern San Andreas fault has been the major plate boundary fault in southern California. Topographic data with 3-4 cm resolution using structure from motion from

  3. 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....

  4. Earthquake

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2012-01-01

    正A serious earthquake happened in Wenchuan, Sichuan. Over 60,000 people died in the earhtquake, millins of people lost their homes. After the earthquake, people showed their love in different ways. Some gave food, medicine and everything necessary, some gave money,

  5. 浙江地区水库地震与构造地震应力参数特征研究%A Study On Stress Parameter Characteristics of Reservoir Earthquakes and Tectonic Earthquakes in Zhejiang

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    周昕; 杨福平; 钟羽云; 龚俊

    2012-01-01

    U sing the digital seismic wave data recorded by the station network in Zhejiang province and calculating source spectrum parameters with local quake records under Brune model, the system measures the stress drop and apparent stress values of 326 earthquakes that happened in Shanxi reservoir, Jiaokou reservoir and Zhejiang province. Provided with characteristics of stress drop and apparent stress parameters, this paper has conducted a comparative analysis, preliminary findings show that values of stress drop and apparent stress of Jiaokou earthquakes are less than that of tectonic earthquakes in Zhejiang. The stress drop and apparent stress of Shanxi reservoir earthquake and tectonic earthquakes are characterized by earthquake magnitude segmentation: for earthquakes of same magnitude with M<4, the two types of earthquakes shows little difference in values of stress drop and apparent stress; for earthquakes with M>4, the stress drop and apparent stress of tectonic earthquakes are higher than that of Shanxi reservoir earthquakes. In addition, we found that the logarithm of stress drop and apparent stress poses good linear relationship with the magnitude ML.%利用浙江区域数字地震台网记录到的地震波数据,采用布龙模式下近震源记录计算震源谱参数的方法,系统测定了发生在温州珊溪水库、宁波皎口水库库区以及浙江地区构造地震共326次地震的应力降、视应力等参数.给出了两个水库区地震与构造地震的应力降与视应力参数特征,并进行了对比分析.初步研究发现,皎口地震的应力降和视应力值均低于浙江地区构造地震;珊溪水库地震与构造地震在应力降和视应力值上具有震级分段的特征:震级ML<4.0级的地震,同震级的应力降和视应力值两者相差不大,而震级ML>4.0级的地震,构造地震的应力降和视应力值均高于珊溪水库地震.此外,测定的应力降、视应力的对数与震级ML之间存在较好的线性关系.

  6. 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.

  7. 3D movies for teaching seafloor bathymetry, plate tectonics, and ocean circulation in large undergraduate classes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Peterson, C. D.; Lisiecki, L. E.; Gebbie, G.; Hamann, B.; Kellogg, L. H.; Kreylos, O.; Kronenberger, M.; Spero, H. J.; Streletz, G. J.; Weber, C.

    2015-12-01

    Geologic problems and datasets are often 3D or 4D in nature, yet projected onto a 2D surface such as a piece of paper or a projection screen. Reducing the dimensionality of data forces the reader to "fill in" that collapsed dimension in their minds, creating a cognitive challenge for the reader, especially new learners. Scientists and students can visualize and manipulate 3D datasets using the virtual reality software developed for the immersive, real-time interactive 3D environment at the KeckCAVES at UC Davis. The 3DVisualizer software (Billen et al., 2008) can also operate on a desktop machine to produce interactive 3D maps of earthquake epicenter locations and 3D bathymetric maps of the seafloor. With 3D projections of seafloor bathymetry and ocean circulation proxy datasets in a virtual reality environment, we can create visualizations of carbon isotope (δ13C) records for academic research and to aid in demonstrating thermohaline circulation in the classroom. Additionally, 3D visualization of seafloor bathymetry allows students to see features of seafloor most people cannot observe first-hand. To enhance lessons on mid-ocean ridges and ocean basin genesis, we have created movies of seafloor bathymetry for a large-enrollment undergraduate-level class, Introduction to Oceanography. In the past four quarters, students have enjoyed watching 3D movies, and in the fall quarter (2015), we will assess how well 3D movies enhance learning. The class will be split into two groups, one who learns about the Mid-Atlantic Ridge from diagrams and lecture, and the other who learns with a supplemental 3D visualization. Both groups will be asked "what does the seafloor look like?" before and after the Mid-Atlantic Ridge lesson. Then the whole class will watch the 3D movie and respond to an additional question, "did the 3D visualization enhance your understanding of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge?" with the opportunity to further elaborate on the effectiveness of the visualization.

  8. Controls on Earthquake Rupture and Triggering Mechanisms in Subduction Zones

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-06-01

    of stressing rate variations in space and time from seismicity data can be used in tectonic settings besides subduction zones and has other...2004), Pre- and post- seismic slow slip on the plate boundary off Sanriku, NE Japan associated with three interplate earthquakes as estimated from...observed deformation transients in various tectonic environments. We find that stressing rate transients increase the background seismicity rate without

  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. 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.

  12. Thick shell tectonics on one-plate planets - Applications to Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Banerdt, W. B.; Saunders, R. S.; Phillips, R. J.; Sleep, N. H.

    1982-01-01

    Using the zero frequency equations of a self-gravitating elastic spherical shell overlying a strengthless fluid, a theory for stress distribution in thick lithospheric shells on one-plate planets is developed. For both the compensated and flexural modes, stress distributions in lithospheres are reviewed. For compensated modes, surface stresses depend only on surface topography, whereas for flexural modes it is shown that, for long wavelengths, stress trajectories are mainly dependent on the lithospheric lateral density distribution and not on elastic properties. Computational analyses are performed for Mars, and it is found that isostatically compensated models correctly predict the graben structure in the immediate Tharsis region and a flexural loading model is satisfactory in explaining the graben in the regions surrounding Tharsis. A three-stage model for the evolution of Tharsis is hypothesized: isostasy with north-south graben formation on Tharsis, followed by flexural loading and radial graben formation on the perimeter of Tharsis, followed by a last stage of loading with little or no regional deformation.

  13. The seismicity and tectonic stress field characteristics of the Longmenshan fault zone before the Wenchuan Ms8.0 earthquake

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Zhiwei Zhang; Wanzheng Cheng; Xiang Ruan; Peng Wu

    2009-01-01

    The seismicity of Longmenshan fault zone and its vicinities before the 12 May 2008 Wenchuan A/s8.0 earthquake is studied. Based on the digital seismic waveform data observed from regional seismic networks and mobile stations, the focal mechanism solutions are determined. Our analysis results show that the seismicities of Longmenshan fault zone before the 12 May 2008 Wenchuan earthquake were in stable state. No obvious phenomena of seismic activity intensifying appeared. According to focal mechanism solutions of some small earthquakes before the 12 May 2008 Wenchuan earthquake, the direction of principal compressive stress P-axis is WNW-ESE. The two hypocenter fault planes are NE-striking and NW-striking. The plane of NE direction is among N50°-70°E, the dip angles of fault planes are 60°-70° and it is very steep. The faultings of most earthquakes are dominantly characterized by dip-slip reverse and small part of faultings present strike-slip. The azimuths of principal compressive stress, the strikes of source fault planes and the dislocation types calculated from some small earthquakes before the 12 May 2008 Wenchuan earthquake are in accordance with that of the main shock. The average stress field of micro-rupture along the Longmenshan fault zone before the great earthquake is also consistent with that calculated from main shock. Zipingpu dam is located in the east side 20 km from the initial rupture area of the 12 May 2008 Wenchuan earthquake. The activity increment of small earthquakes in the Zipingpu dam is in the period of water discharging. The source parameter results of the small earthquakes which occurred near the initial rupture area of the 12 May 2008 Wenchuan earthquake indicate that the focal depths are 5 to 14 km and the source parameters are identical with that of earthquake.

  14. 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.

  15. Combined effects of tectonic and landslide-generated Tsunami Runup at Seward, Alaska during the Mw 9.2 1964 earthquake

    Science.gov (United States)

    Suleimani, E.; Nicolsky, D.J.; Haeussler, P.J.; Hansen, R.

    2011-01-01

    We apply a recently developed and validated numerical model of tsunami propagation and runup to study the inundation of Resurrection Bay and the town of Seward by the 1964 Alaska tsunami. Seward was hit by both tectonic and landslide-generated tsunami waves during the Mw 9.2 1964 mega thrust earthquake. The earthquake triggered a series of submarine mass failures around the fjord, which resulted in land sliding of part of the coastline into the water, along with the loss of the port facilities. These submarine mass failures generated local waves in the bay within 5 min of the beginning of strong ground motion. Recent studies estimate the total volume of underwater slide material that moved in Resurrection Bay to be about 211 million m3 (Haeussler et al. in Submarine mass movements and their consequences, pp 269-278, 2007). The first tectonic tsunami wave arrived in Resurrection Bay about 30 min after the main shock and was about the same height as the local landslide-generated waves. Our previous numerical study, which focused only on the local land slide generated waves in Resurrection Bay, demonstrated that they were produced by a number of different slope failures, and estimated relative contributions of different submarine slide complexes into tsunami amplitudes (Suleimani et al. in Pure Appl Geophys 166:131-152, 2009). This work extends the previous study by calculating tsunami inundation in Resurrection Bay caused by the combined impact of landslide-generated waves and the tectonic tsunami, and comparing the composite inundation area with observations. To simulate landslide tsunami runup in Seward, we use a viscous slide model of Jiang and LeBlond (J Phys Oceanogr 24(3):559-572, 1994) coupled with nonlinear shallow water equations. The input data set includes a high resolution multibeam bathymetry and LIDAR topography grid of Resurrection Bay, and an initial thickness of slide material based on pre- and post-earthquake bathymetry difference maps. For

  16. 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.

  17. Lithospheric loading by the 1896 Riku-u earthquake, northern Japan: implications for plate flexure and asthenospheric rheology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thatcher, W.; Matsuda, T.; Kato, T.; Rundle, J.B.

    1980-01-01

    Under favorable circumstances the time-dependent aseismic deformation resulting from the loading of the lithosphere by the stress drop of large dip slip earthquakes can be used to determine both the effective elastic plate thickness and the asthenospheric viscosity. The deformation has several similarities with the deflection of the lithosphere by surface loads and with movements due to postglacial rebound. Level changes obtained in the 80 years since the M = 7.5, 1896 Riku-u earthquake, an intraplate thrust event in northern Honshu, provide convincing evidence that asthenospheric readjustments are responsible for the observed movements. Leveling surveys crossing the zone of surface faulting have been repeated five times since 1900 and delineate a localized depression that has subsided at a continually decreasing rate. The depression is centered close to the 1896 faulting, and its shape and width, about 75 km, are matched by our model using a plate thickness of 30 km. The decaying subsidence rate constrains the viscosity of the uppermost asthenosphere to be 1 x 1020 P. A linear viscous rheology matches the observed decay quite well, although measurements are sparse during the several decades following the earthquake. -Authors

  18. Relation of Isotope Geochemical Steep Zones with Geophysical Fields and Tectonics in the Junction Area of the Cathaysian, Yangtze and Indochina Plates

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2000-01-01

    Through lead isotope geochemical mapping in the Yunnan-Guizhou area geochemical steep zones (GSZ) have been established, which clearly reveal the junction relationship of the Cathaysian, Yangtze and Indo-China plates. GSZ are closey related to gravity Moho gradient zones and lithospheric thickness. The GSZ between the Yangtze and Cathaysian plates is consistent with the Shizong-Mile tectonic belt, where island arc basalts are well developed. The Yangtze-Indo-China GSZ is parallel to the Jingdong-Mojiang volcanic belt in rift-island arc environments. The evidence of geology, geophysics and geochemistry all indicates that Cathaysia was subducted towards the Yangtze plate and that the Yangtze plate was underthrust beneath the Indo-China, which took place from the Early Carboniferous to the Early Triassic.

  19. Plate Tectonic Setting and Eruptive Characteristics of the K—rich Volcanic Belt in HeilingJiang Province,Northeast China

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    邱家骧; 吴志勤; 等

    1990-01-01

    Various lines of geological,geophysical and geochemical evidence indicate that the K-rich volcanic belt in Northeast China as represented by the volcanic groups at Wudalianchi,Erkeshan and Kelo was developed,in terms of plate tectonics,in a rift valley system within the continental plate,The volcanic material includes effusive lavas and explosive pyroclastics whose characteristics and flowing/accumulation mechanisms were studied in detail,The distribution of pyroclastics shows that the eruption is of Strombolian type with increasing intensity towards the late stages.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ni, James; Barazangi, Muawia

    1985-03-01

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

  1. Spatial variation in the frequency-magnitude distribution of earthquakes under the tectonic framework in the Middle East

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mousavi, S. Mostafa

    2017-10-01

    Spatial variations of seismic energy released and b-value over the Middle East region are investigated based on a seismicity catalog from 1995 to 2007. The goal is to use these seismic parameters and based on other geodetic and geophysical observations, such as GPS measurements, strain rate model, fault distribution, focal mechanism, crustal model, Q model, and gravity measurements, etc., to uncover spatial patterns that seem anomalous. Areas of high energy released (cumulative) seem to correspond to the areas of relatively high b-values. Areas of high energy released and high b-values seem to correspond very well with the location of continental collision where earthquake activities are high. The divergent boundary between Arabia and African plates and subduction zone at Makran seem to correspond to low to moderate energy release. Northern Pamir, Azerbaijan-Caucasus, the lower part of Zagros Mountains, eastern Turkey, Owen Fracture Zone, Strait of Bob-el-Mandeb, and south of the Sulaiman Shear Zone seem to correspond to high cumulative energy-released, high strain rate, high b-values, and high fault density. While, the central and eastern Iran, southern Zagros, northern Pakistan, Gulf of Aden, Alborz, southwest of the Caspian Sea, western Caucasus and Kopeh-Dagh seem to correspond with lower b-values. The cross-section map for Hindu-Kush shows general decreasing of the b-values with depth, however, a region of high b-value is observed underneath Pamir at depths from 170 to 230 km. This anomaly region can be due to dehydration of Pamir crustal slab at depth.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. Azimuthal seismic anisotropy in the Earth's upper mantle and the thickness of tectonic plates

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schaeffer, A. J.; Lebedev, S.; Becker, T. W.

    2016-11-01

    Azimuthal seismic anisotropy, the dependence of seismic wave speeds on propagation azimuth, is largely due to fabrics within the Earth's crust and mantle, produced by deformation. It thus provides constraints on the distribution and evolution of deformation within the upper mantle. Here, we present a new global, azimuthally anisotropic model of the crust, upper mantle and transition zone. Two versions of this new model are computed: the rough SL2016svAr and the smooth SL2016svA. Both are constrained by a very large data set of waveform fits (˜750 000 vertical component seismogram fits). Automated, multimode waveform inversion was used to extract structural information from surface and S wave forms in broad period ranges (dominantly from 11 to 450 s, with the best global sampling in the 20-350 s range), yielding resolving power from the crust down to the transition zone. In our global tomographic inversion, regularization of anisotropy is implemented to more uniformly recover the amplitude and orientation of anisotropy, including near the poles. Our massive waveform data set, with complementary large global networks and high-density regional array data, produces improved resolution of global azimuthal anisotropy patterns. We show that regional scale variations, related to regional lithospheric deformation and mantle flow, can now be resolved by the global models, in particular in densely sampled regions. For oceanic regions, we compare quantitatively the directions of past and present plate motions and the fast-propagation orientations of anisotropy. By doing so, we infer the depth of the boundary between the rigid, high-viscosity lithosphere (preserving ancient, frozen fabric) and the rheologically weak asthenosphere (characterized by fabric developed recently). The average depth of thus inferred rheological lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary (LAB) beneath the world's oceans is ˜115 km. The LAB depth displays a clear dependence on the age of the oceanic

  7. Whether solar flares can trigger earthquakes?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jain, R.

    2007-05-01

    We present the study of 682 earthquakes of ¡Ý4.0 magnitude observed during January 1991 to January 2007 in the light of solar flares observed by GOES and SOXS missions in order to explore the possibility of any association between solar flares and earthquakes. Our investigation preliminarily shows that each earthquake under study was preceded by a solar flare of GOES importance B to X class by 10-100 hrs. However, each flare was not found followed by earthquake of magnitude ¡Ý4.0. We classified the earthquake events with respect to their magnitude and further attempted to look for their correlation with GOES importance class and delay time. We found that with the increasing importance of flares the delay in the onset of earthquake reduces. The critical X-ray intensity of the flare to be associated with earthquake is found to be ~10-6 Watts/m2. On the other hand no clear evidence could be established that higher importance flares precede high magnitude earthquakes. Our detailed study of 50 earthquakes associated with solar flares observed by SOXS mission and other wavebands revealed many interesting results such as the location of the flare on the Sun and the delay time in the earthquake and its magnitude. We propose a model explaining the charged particles accelerated during the solar flare and released in the space that undergone further acceleration by interplanetary shocks and produce the ring current in the earth's magnetosphere, which may enhance the process of tectonics plates motion abruptly at fault zones. It is further proposed that such sudden enhancement in the process of tectonic motion of plates in fault zones may increase abruptly the heat gradients on spatial (dT/dx) and temporal (dT/dt) scales responsible for earthquakes.

  8. A Decade of Giant Earthquakes - What does it mean?

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Wallace, Terry C. Jr. [Los Alamos National Laboratory

    2012-07-16

    On December 26, 2004 the largest earthquake since 1964 occurred near Ache, Indonesia. The magnitude 9.2 earthquake and subsequent tsunami killed a quarter of million people; it also marked the being of a period of extraordinary seismicity. Since the Ache earthquake there have been 16 magnitude 8 earthquakes globally, including 2 this last April. For the 100 years previous to 2004 there was an average of 1 magnitude 8 earthquake every 2.2 years; since 2004 there has been 2 per year. Since magnitude 8 earthquakes dominate global seismic energy release, this period of seismicity has seismologist rethinking what they understand about plate tectonics and the connectivity between giant earthquakes. This talk will explore this remarkable period of time and its possible implications.

  9. Clustered and transient earthquake sequences in mid-continents

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liu, M.; Stein, S. A.; Wang, H.; Luo, G.

    2012-12-01

    Earthquakes result from sudden release of strain energy on faults. On plate boundary faults, strain energy is constantly accumulating from steady and relatively rapid relative plate motion, so large earthquakes continue to occur so long as motion continues on the boundary. In contrast, such steady accumulation of stain energy does not occur on faults in mid-continents, because the far-field tectonic loading is not steadily distributed between faults, and because stress perturbations from complex fault interactions and other stress triggers can be significant relative to the slow tectonic stressing. Consequently, mid-continental earthquakes are often temporally clustered and transient, and spatially migrating. This behavior is well illustrated by large earthquakes in North China in the past two millennia, during which no single large earthquakes repeated on the same fault segments, but moment release between large fault systems was complementary. Slow tectonic loading in mid-continents also causes long aftershock sequences. We show that the recent small earthquakes in the Tangshan region of North China are aftershocks of the 1976 Tangshan earthquake (M 7.5), rather than indicators of a new phase of seismic activity in North China, as many fear. Understanding the transient behavior of mid-continental earthquakes has important implications for assessing earthquake hazards. The sequence of large earthquakes in the New Madrid Seismic Zone (NMSZ) in central US, which includes a cluster of M~7 events in 1811-1812 and perhaps a few similar ones in the past millennium, is likely a transient process, releasing previously accumulated elastic strain on recently activated faults. If so, this earthquake sequence will eventually end. Using simple analysis and numerical modeling, we show that the large NMSZ earthquakes may be ending now or in the near future.

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

    OpenAIRE

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

    2008-01-01

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

  11. New insights into the tectonic inversion of North Canterbury and the regional structural context of the 2010-2011 Canterbury earthquake sequence, New Zealand

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barnes, Philip M.; Ghisetti, Francesca C.; Gorman, Andrew R.

    2016-02-01

    The 2010-2011 Canterbury earthquake sequence highlighted the existence of previously unknown active faults beneath the North Canterbury plains and Pegasus Bay, South Island, New Zealand. We provide new insights into the geometry and kinematics of ongoing deformation by analyzing marine seismic data to produce new maps of regional faults and cross-sectional reconstructions of deformation history. Active faulting and folding extends up to 30 km offshore, and involves reactivation of sets of Late Cretaceous-Paleogene normal faults under NW-SE tectonic compression. The active faults consist predominantly of NE-SW striking, SE-dipping reverse faults, and less commonly E-W to NW-SE faults suitably oriented for strike-slip reactivation. Additionally, newly developing reverse faults obliquely segment and overprint the inherited basement fabric and impose geometric and kinematic complexities revealed by mapping and reverse displacement profiles of markers. The Quaternary reverse slip rates decrease from 0.1-0.3 mm/yr beneath northern Pegasus Bay to Tectonic inversion and overprinting processes beneath Pegasus Bay are immature and tectonics, in which selective fault reactivation results from compressive stress imposed across a complex network of inherited faults.

  12. 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

  13. 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 we