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Sample records for plate tectonics seismic

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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...

  6. 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.

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2007-01-01

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

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2007-01-01

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

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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)

  12. 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)

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2007-12-01

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

  14. 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.

  15. 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…

  16. 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…

  17. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-04-01

    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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. Dynamics of Tectonic Plates

    CERN Document Server

    Pechersky, E; Sadowski, G; Yambartsev, A

    2014-01-01

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

  2. Dynamics of Tectonic Plates

    OpenAIRE

    2014-01-01

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. Tectonics of the Easter plate

    Science.gov (United States)

    Engeln, J. F.; Stein, S.

    1984-01-01

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

  11. Tectonics of the Easter plate

    Science.gov (United States)

    Engeln, J. F.; Stein, S.

    1984-01-01

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

  12. Tectonics: 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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...

  17. 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.

  18. Lasting mantle scars lead to perennial plate tectonics

    OpenAIRE

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

    2016-01-01

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

  19. 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)

  20. Plate Tectonics: A Paradigm under Threat.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pratt, David

    2000-01-01

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

  1. Plate Tectonics: A 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)

  2. 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.

  3. Indonesian Landforms and Plate Tectonics

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Herman Th. Verstappen

    2014-06-01

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

  4. Indonesian Landforms and Plate Tectonics

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Herman Th. Verstappen

    2014-06-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-12-01

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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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…

  12. 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...

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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 ...

  19. How mantle slabs drive plate tectonics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Conrad, Clinton P; Lithgow-Bertelloni, Carolina

    2002-10-04

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

  20. 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, ...

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Tectonic Evolution of the Jurassic Pacific Plate

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nakanishi, M.; Ishihara, T.

    2015-12-01

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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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...

  8. LOWLID FORMATION AND PLATE TECTONICS ON EXOPLANETS

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-12-01

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

  9. 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)

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. Seismic link at plate boundary

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    Faical Ramdani; Omar Kettani; Benaissa Tadili

    2015-06-01

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

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. Quantitative tests for plate tectonics on Venus

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1981-01-01

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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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).

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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...

  12. 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...

  13. 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

  14. Tectonic model and seismic potential of the eastern Gulf of Alaska and Yakataga Seismic Gap

    Science.gov (United States)

    Perez, Omar J.; Jacob, Klaus H.

    1980-12-01

    Based on 13 new fault plane solutions and published seismological, geological, and geophysical data, we interpret the deformation along the Pacific-North American plate margin in the eastern Gulf of Alaska. Three major tectonic units can be distinguished: (1) the North American plate, (2) the Pacific plate, and (3) a belt of mobile borderland terranes. The Pacific plate moves in a NNW direction at rates of about 6 cm/yr in relation to the North American plate. That motion results in mostly right-lateral strike slip at the Queen Charlotte-Fairweather fault system, a well-known observation. A new finding,however, is that a small component (˜1 cm/yr) of convergence may also be present which results in minor subduction of the oceanic plate beneath portions of the continental margin. Heretofore the Queen Charlotte-Fairweather fault zone and associated continental margin was interpreted as a classical, pure transform boundary. The Yakutat block, a borderland terrane about 400 km long and 100 to 200 km wide, is carried passively by the Pacific plate except that the block slowly overrides this plate at about 1 cm/yr. This motion is taken up by almost pure thrust faulting in a southwesterly direction along a 400-km long SE striking shelf edge structure. At its NW edge the Yakutat block is in turn being thrust beneath the North American plate along the Pamplona zone-Icy Bay lineament. The underthrusting of the Yakutat block results in a major orogeny, crustal shortening and uplift of the Chugach-St. Elias range. The effects of this collision may extend as far as 500 km inland and cause some deformation at the Denali fault in the central Alaska Range. Subduction of the Pacific plate beneath the colliding margin appears responsible for development of an active volcanic arc up to 300 km inland which trends SE from the Wrangell Mountains to Yukon Territory, Canada, and perhaps to Mt. Edgecumbe volcano in southeast Alaska. The tectonic model proposed implies a high seismic

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. Dynamic Analysis of Modifications to Simple Plate Tectonic Theory

    Science.gov (United States)

    Paczkowski, Karen

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

  19. 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).

  20. The seismicity of Ethiopia; active plate tectonics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mohr, P.

    1981-01-01

    "But I tell you, when you look at the way the pieces of the northeastern portion of the African continent seem to fit together, separated by a narrow gulf, you could almost make a believer [in continental drift] of anybody" Astronaut Harrison Schmidt, on the view from Apollo 17.

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

    OpenAIRE

    Hauksson, Egill; Unruh, Jeffrey

    2007-01-01

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

  2. Seismicity of the Earth 1900-2007, Caribbean Plate and Vicinity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Benz, Harley M.; Tarr, Arthur C.; Hayes, Gavin P.; Villaseñor, Antonio; Furlong, Kevin P.; Dart, Richard L.; Rhea, Susan

    2010-01-01

    Extensive diversity of tectonic regimes characterizes the perimeter of the Caribbean plate, involving no fewer than four major adjacent plates (North America, South America, Nazca, and Cocos). Inclined zones of deep earthquakes (Wadati-Benioff zones), deep ocean trenches, and arcs of volcanoes clearly indicate subduction of oceanic lithosphere along the Central American and Atlantic Ocean margins of the Caribbean plate, while shallow seismicity and focal mechanisms of major shocks in Guatemala, northern Venezuela, and the Cayman Ridge and Cayman Trench indicate transform fault and pull-apart basin tectonics.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Piper, John D. A.

    2013-03-01

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

  8. Seismicity, structure and tectonics in the Arctic region

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Masaki Kanao

    2015-09-01

    Full Text Available The “Arctic” region, where the North Pole occupies the center of the Arctic Ocean, has been affecting the environmental variation of the Earth from geological time to the present. However, the seismic activities in the area are not adequately monitored. Therefore, by conducting long term monitoring of seismic phenomenon as sustainable parameters, our understanding of both the tectonic evolution of the Earth and the dynamic interaction between the cryosphere and geosphere in surface layers of the Earth will increase. In this paper, the association of the seismicity and structure of the Arctic region, particularly focused on Eurasian continent and surrounding oceans, and its relationship with regional evolution during the Earth's history is studied. The target areas cover representative tectonic provinces in the Eurasian Arctic, such as the wide area of Siberia, Baikal Rift Zone, Far East Russia, Arctic Ocean together with Greenland and Northern Canada. Based on discussion including characteristics of seismicity, heterogeneous structure of the crust and upper mantle, tectonic history and recent dynamic features of the Earth's surface in the Arctic are summarized.

  9. Seismicity, structure and tectonics in the Arctic region

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Masaki Kanao; Vladimir D. Suvorov; Shigeru Toda; Seiji Tsuboi

    2015-01-01

    The“Arctic”region, where the North Pole occupies the center of the Arctic Ocean, has been affecting the environmental variation of the Earth from geological time to the present. However, the seismic activities in the area are not adequately monitored. Therefore, by conducting long term monitoring of seismic phenomenon as sustainable parameters, our understanding of both the tectonic evolution of the Earth and the dynamic interaction between the cryosphere and geosphere in surface layers of the Earth will increase. In this paper, the association of the seismicity and structure of the Arctic region, particularly focused on Eurasian continent and surrounding oceans, and its relationship with regional evolution during the Earth’s history is studied. The target areas cover representative tectonic provinces in the Eurasian Arctic, such as the wide area of Siberia, Baikal Rift Zone, Far East Russia, Arctic Ocean together with Greenland and Northern Canada. Based on discussion including characteristics of seismicity, het-erogeneous structure of the crust and upper mantle, tectonic history and recent dynamic features of the Earth’s surface in the Arctic are summarized.

  10. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-06-01

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

  12. 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. Numerical modelling of instantaneous plate tectonics

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1974-01-01

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

  15. Plate 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. Seismic structure and tectonics of the continental margins of India

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Krishna, K.S.; Chaubey, A.K.; Rao, D.G.; Reddy, P.R.

    the traditionally believed single Indo-Australian plate into three composite - Indian, Australian, and Capricorn - plates. The diffuse deformation zone in the central Indian Ocean is the classical example of distributed deformation of the oceanic lithosphere... seismic sequences (H1-H6) of sediment of the margin and assigned the ages of seismic sequences H1-H6 (Paleocene- Holocene) on correlation with drill-well results (Singh and Lal, 1993; Pandey and Dave, 1998), global sea-level curve (Haq et al., 1987...

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  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. Plate tectonics. Seismological detection of slab metamorphism.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Julian, Bruce

    2002-05-31

    The occurrence of more or less continuous ground vibrations ("volcanic tremor") is an important indicator of volcanic activity. But results from the "Hi-net" seismic network in Japan reported by Obara show that continuous ground vibrations can occur far away from any volcanic activity. In his Perspective, Julian discusses the idea that this tremor is excited by flow of metamorphic fluids. He also identifies other possible locations where such a tremor may be detected and explains what may be learnt from measuring it.

  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. 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...

  4. Prediction of tectonically deformed coal based on lithologic seismic information

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Juanjuan; Pan, Dongming; Cui, Ruofei; Ding, Enjie; Zhang, Wei; Hu, Mingshun

    2016-02-01

    Owing to the differences in physical properties between tectonically deformed coal (TDC) and primary coal, lithologic seismic inversion methods were adopted to identify the coal structure type, including probabilistic neural network (PNN) inversion, elastic impedance (EI) inversion and simultaneous inversion methods. Based on poststack and prestack gathers, the inversion methods were applied to calculate lithologic seismic information, which included porosity, acoustic impedance, elastic impedance, λ × ρ and μ × ρ data. The inversion results were then analysed to evaluate the development potential of TDC. The research showed that the lithology inversion results, which indicated the potential zone of development areas of the coal, were all basically identical and a comprehensive prediction factor (the linear lithologic information combination) was proposed to effectively predict the development potential. Therefore, the prediction of TDC by lithologic seismic information could provide a scientific basis for both coal mining safety and the development potential of large-scale coalbed methane resources.

  5. SEISMIC SOURCE SCALING AND DISCRIMINATION IN DIVERSE TECTONIC ENVIRONMENTS

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Abercrombie, R E; Mayeda, K; Walter, W R; Viegas, G M; Murphy, K

    2008-07-08

    The objectives of this study are to improve low-magnitude (concentrating on M2.5-5) regional seismic discrimination by performing a thorough investigation of earthquake source scaling using diverse, high-quality datasets from varied tectonic regions. Local-to-regional high-frequency discrimination requires an estimate of how earthquakes scale with size. Walter and Taylor (2002) developed the MDAC (Magnitude and Distance Amplitude Corrections) method to empirically account for these effects through regional calibration. The accuracy of these corrections has a direct impact on our ability to identify clandestine explosions in the broad regional areas characterized by low seismicity. Unfortunately our knowledge at small magnitudes (i.e., m{sub b} < {approx} 4.0) is poorly resolved, and source scaling remains a subject of on-going debate in the earthquake seismology community. Recently there have been a number of empirical studies suggesting scaling of micro-earthquakes is non-self-similar, yet there are an equal number of compelling studies that would suggest otherwise. It is not clear whether different studies obtain different results because they analyze different earthquakes, or because they use different methods. Even in regions that are well studied, such as test sites or areas of high seismicity, we still rely on empirical scaling relations derived from studies taken from half-way around the world at inter-plate regions. We investigate earthquake sources and scaling from different tectonic settings, comparing direct and coda wave analysis methods that both make use of empirical Green's function (EGF) earthquakes to remove path effects. Analysis of locally recorded, direct waves from events is intuitively the simplest way of obtaining accurate source parameters, as these waves have been least affected by travel through the earth. But finding well recorded earthquakes with 'perfect' EGF events for direct wave analysis is difficult, limits the number

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Michael A. Athanasiou

    2015-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jordan, Thomas H.; Minster, J. Bernard

    1988-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jordan, Thomas H.; Minster, J. Bernard

    1988-01-01

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

  9. Tectonics of the West Iberia continental margin from seismic reflection data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Henning, Alison Teagan

    Continental rifting is a fundamental component of the plate tectonic cycle. The West Iberia passive margin is a classic example of a nonvolcanic rifted margin. The West Iberia margin contains an enigmatic north-south ridge of serpentinized peridotite located within the ocean-continent transition. Interpretation of multichannel seismic data and tectonic subsidence analyses suggests that the ridge is located within a broad zone of exhumed mantle that has been serpentinized. This implies that seafloor spreading does not immediately follow continental breakup. Where the peridotite ridge is well-developed, it parallels a deeply-penetrating, west-dipping normal fault. Hydrodynamic circulation drove seawater down this fault close to the beginning of seafloor spreading and caused a concentration of serpentinization at its base. This water-driven process of formation accounts for the variability of the ridge along strike. Prestack depth migration of a 340 km long seismic reflection profile across the margin served as the basis for stratigraphic interpretation. The proximal margin displays horsts and grabens, with 1--2 km thick synrift deposits from Early Cretaceous (Valanginian) rifting. The deep water margin displays rotated blocks with distinct internal seismic patterns. These blocks formed during the final Cretaceous rifting event that led to continental breakup, and contain earlier Valanginian synrift deposits as part of the rotated blocks, thus providing evidence of two separate rifting stages along this profile. A large mantle-penetrating fault located seaward of the last rotated block of continental crust provides evidence for a third and final Cretaceous rifting event that may have been coeval with early seafloor spreading. Two independent estimates of crustal thickness along this line indicate stretching factors of 50% on the proximal margin (corresponding to a continental crustal thickness of ˜16 km), increasing to 100% in the deep water. Plate tectonics is one

  10. 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

  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. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Origin of azimuthal seismic anisotropy in oceanic plates and mantle

    Science.gov (United States)

    Becker, Thorsten W.; Conrad, Clinton P.; Schaeffer, Andrew J.; Lebedev, Sergei

    2014-09-01

    Seismic anisotropy is ubiquitous in the Earth's mantle but strongest in its thermo-mechanical boundary layers. Azimuthal anisotropy in the oceanic lithosphere and asthenosphere can be imaged by surface waves and should be particularly straightforward to relate to well-understood plate kinematics and large-scale mantle flow. However, previous studies have come to mixed conclusions as to the depth extent of the applicability of paleo-spreading and mantle flow models of anisotropy, and no simple, globally valid, relationships exist. Here, we show that lattice preferred orientation (LPO) inferred from mantle flow computations produces a plausible global background model for asthenospheric anisotropy underneath oceanic lithosphere. The same is not true for absolute plate motion (APM) models. A ˜200 km thick layer where the flow model LPO matches observations from tomography lies just below the ˜1200 °C isotherm of a half-space cooling model, indicating strong temperature-dependence of the processes that control the development of azimuthal anisotropy. We infer that the depth extent of shear, and hence the thickness of a relatively strong oceanic lithosphere, can be mapped this way. These findings for the background model, and ocean-basin specific deviations from the half-space cooling pattern, are found in all of the three recent and independent tomographic models considered. Further exploration of deviations from the background model may be useful for general studies of oceanic plate formation and dynamics as well as regional-scale tectonic analyses.

  15. Discriminating Characteristics of Tectonic and Human-Induced Seismicity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zaliapin, I. V.; Ben-Zion, Y.

    2015-12-01

    We analyze statistical features of background and clustered subpopulations of earthquakes in different regions in an effort to distinguish between human-induced and natural seismicity. Analysis of "end-member" areas known to be dominated by human-induced earthquakes (the Geyser geothermal field in northern California and TauTona gold mine in South Africa) and regular tectonic activity (the San Jacinto fault zone in southern California and Coso region excluding the Coso geothermal field in eastern central California) reveals several distinguishing characteristics. Induced seismicity is shown to have (i) higher rate of background events (both absolute and relative to the total rate), (ii) faster temporal offspring decay, (iii) higher intensity of repeating events, (iv) larger proportion of small clusters, and (v) larger spatial separation between parent and offspring, compared to regular tectonic activity. These differences also successfully discriminate seismicity within the Coso and Salton Sea geothermal fields in California before and after the expansion of geothermal production during the 1980s.

  16. SEISMIC SOURCE SCALING AND DISCRIMINATION IN DIVERSE TECTONIC ENVIRONMENTS

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Abercrombie, R E; Mayeda, K; Walter, W R; Viegas, G M; Murphy, K

    2007-07-10

    The objectives of this study are to improve low-magnitude regional seismic discrimination by performing a thorough investigation of earthquake source scaling using diverse, high-quality datasets from varied tectonic regions. Local-to-regional high-frequency discrimination requires an estimate of how earthquakes scale with size. Walter and Taylor (2002) developed the MDAC (Magnitude and Distance Amplitude Corrections) method to empirically account for these effects through regional calibration. The accuracy of these corrections has a direct impact on our ability to identify clandestine explosions in the broad regional areas characterized by low seismicity. Unfortunately our knowledge of source scaling at small magnitudes (i.e., m{sub b} < {approx}4.0) is poorly resolved. It is not clear whether different studies obtain contradictory results because they analyze different earthquakes, or because they use different methods. Even in regions that are well studied, such as test sites or areas of high seismicity, we still rely on empirical scaling relations derived from studies taken from half-way around the world at inter-plate regions. We investigate earthquake sources and scaling from different tectonic settings, comparing direct and coda wave analysis methods. We begin by developing and improving the two different methods, and then in future years we will apply them both to each set of earthquakes. Analysis of locally recorded, direct waves from events is intuitively the simplest way of obtaining accurate source parameters, as these waves have been least affected by travel through the earth. But there are only a limited number of earthquakes that are recorded locally, by sufficient stations to give good azimuthal coverage, and have very closely located smaller earthquakes that can be used as an empirical Green's function (EGF) to remove path effects. In contrast, coda waves average radiation from all directions so single-station records should be adequate, and

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Warren, Paul H.

    1993-01-01

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

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. Learning Plate Tectonics Using a Pre-Analogy Step

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-12-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sotin, C.; Schubert, G.

    2009-12-01

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

  4. 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.

  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. Piedmont seismic reflection study: A program integrated with tectonics to probe the cause of eastern seismicity

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Glover, L. III; Coruh, C.; Costain, J.K.; Bollinger, G.A. (Virginia Polytechnic Inst. and State Univ., Blacksburg, VA (United States). Dept. of Geological Sciences)

    1992-03-01

    A new tectonic model of the Appalachian orogen indicates that one, not two or more, terrane boundaries is present in the Piedmont and Blue Ridge of the central and southern Appalachians. This terrane boundary is the Taconic suture, it has been transported in the allochthonous Blue Ridge/Piedmont crystalline thrust nappe, and it is repeated at the surface by faulting and folding associated with later Paleozoic orogenies. The suture passes through the lower crust and lithosphere somewhere east of Richmond. It is spatially associated with seismicity in the central Virginia seismic zone, but is not conformable with earthquake focal planes and appears to have little causal relation to their localization.

  7. Tectonic tremor and brittle seismic events triggered along the Eastern Denali Fault in northwest Canada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zimmerman, J. P.; Aiken, C.; Peng, Z.

    2013-12-01

    Deep tectonic tremor has been observed in a number of plate-bounding tectonic environments around the world. It can occur both spontaneously (i.e. ambient) and as a result of small stress perturbations from passing seismic waves (i.e. triggered). Because tremor occurs beneath the seismogenic zone (> 15 km), it is important to understand where and how tremor occurs to discern its relationship with shallower earthquakes. In this study, we search for triggered tremor and brittle seismic events along the Eastern Denali Fault (EDF) in northwest Canada, an intraplate strike-slip region where previously tremor has not been observed. We retrieve seismic data for 19 distant earthquakes from 9 broadband stations monitored by the Canadian National Seismograph Network (CNSN). We apply high-pass or band-pass filters to the seismic data to suppress signals from distant events and search for local sources. Triggered tremor signals exhibit high-frequency contents, have long duration (> 15 s), are coincident with passing surface waves of the distant earthquakes, and are observable among nearby stations. Using this simple approach, we have identified 4 mainshocks that triggered tremor in our study region: the 2011/03/11 Mw9.1 Tohoku, 2012/04/11 Mw8.6 Sumatra, 2012/10/28 Mw7.7 Haida Gwaii, and 2013/01/05 Mw7.5 Craige earthquakes. Our initial locations indicate that the tremor source occurs on or near the southeastern portion of the EDF near the fault trace. In addition to the triggered tremor sources, we also identified many 'brittle' events with very short durations triggered by the Rayleigh waves of the 2012/10/28 Mw7.7 Haida Gwaii earthquake. While we were unable to locate these brittle events, they appear to be seismically similar to triggered icequakes observed in Antarctica (Peng et al., 2013) and occur during the dilatational strain changes caused by the Rayleigh waves.

  8. 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…

  9. The proportionality between relative plate velocity and seismicity in subduction zones

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ide, S.

    2013-12-01

    Seismic activity differs among subduction zones due to various factors such as relative plate velocity, temperature, stress, and subducting materials. Relative plate velocity has a direct control on tectonic deformation and an overall correlation with seismicity has been suggested, as a global average or for large regions. Here I show a positive correlation between relative plate velocity and seismicity by estimating the background seismicity rate for 117 sections of subduction zones worldwide using the epidemic type aftershock sequence (ETAS) model. The background rate is stably estimated even for the period following M9-class earthquakes in Chile and Japan. A prominent proportional relationship is evident in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. Given that M9-class earthquakes occur independently of one another, the lack of M9 earthquakes in the southwestern Pacific Ocean over the last century is difficult to explain by chance. On the other hand, some subduction zones have extremely low background seismicity, and have experienced very large earthquakes. Slow earthquakes have been discovered in many of these quiet zones. Thus, this proportionality relation may be useful in assessing the seismic risk in subduction zones worldwide between two apparently confusing end members: 'active and moderate' and 'quiet and extreme'.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tackley, P. J.; Xie, S.

    2001-12-01

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

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1985-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1985-01-01

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

  16. Tectonic stress within the New Madrid seismic zone

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grana, Jeffrey P.; Richardson, Randall M.

    1996-03-01

    Refraction data indicate a significant high-density rift pillow beneath the New Madrid seismic zone. We present results of linear and nonlinear viscoelastic finite element modeling to determine whether support of the rift pillow may contribute significantly to the total present-day stress field, and we consider the implications for intraplate seismicity. These models were run for a loading time of 100 m.y. to account for relaxation and transfer of stress since the last reactivation of the rift in the mid-Mesozoic. Results indicate that the nonlinear viscoelastic model with rheological stratification based on composition and temperature agrees well with the observed deformation within the seismic zone and with estimates of regional stress magnitudes. The model predicts a maximum compression of 30-40 MPa above the rift pillow in the center of the rift axis. If the magnitude of local compression predicted by the nonlinear model produces the inferred clockwise rotation of the order of 10°-30° in the direction of SHmax (maximum horizontal compression) near the rift axis, the magnitude of regional compression is a factor of 1 to 2 times the magnitude of local compression and consistent with an origin due to ridge push forces. The addition of the local stress associated with the rift pillow, however, results in an approximately 30% reduction in the resolved maximum horizontal shear stress. Thus, while the stress associated with the rift pillow can rotate the stress field into an orientation favorable for failure, reduction in the resolved shear stress requires a separate mechanism for strength reduction. Results of the modeling indicate that stresses from the load of the rift pillow may still be present in the upper crust even after 100 m.y. and may still play a role in present-day deformation and seismicity of the New Madrid seismic zone. Local stress fields of significant tectonic magnitudes may also occur around other ancient rift pillows and help explain the

  17. Seismic hazard assessment of Syria using seismicity, DEM, slope, active tectonic and GIS

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ahmad, Raed; Adris, Ahmad; Singh, Ramesh

    2016-07-01

    In the present work, we discuss the use of an integrated remote sensing and Geographical Information System (GIS) techniques for evaluation of seismic hazard areas in Syria. The present study is the first time effort to create seismic hazard map with the help of GIS. In the proposed approach, we have used Aster satellite data, digital elevation data (30 m resolution), earthquake data, and active tectonic maps. Many important factors for evaluation of seismic hazard were identified and corresponding thematic data layers (past earthquake epicenters, active faults, digital elevation model, and slope) were generated. A numerical rating scheme has been developed for spatial data analysis using GIS to identify ranking of parameters to be included in the evaluation of seismic hazard. The resulting earthquake potential map delineates the area into different relative susceptibility classes: high, moderate, low and very low. The potential earthquake map was validated by correlating the obtained different classes with the local probability that produced using conventional analysis of observed earthquakes. Using earthquake data of Syria and the peak ground acceleration (PGA) data is introduced to the model to develop final seismic hazard map based on Gutenberg-Richter (a and b values) parameters and using the concepts of local probability and recurrence time. The application of the proposed technique in Syrian region indicates that this method provides good estimate of seismic hazard map compared to those developed from traditional techniques (Deterministic (DSHA) and probabilistic seismic hazard (PSHA). For the first time we have used numerous parameters using remote sensing and GIS in preparation of seismic hazard map which is found to be very realistic.

  18. Plate tectonics from VLBI and SLR global data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harrison, Christopher G. A.; Robaudo, Stefano

    1992-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chamberlain, Valerie Elaine

    1989-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chamberlain, Valerie Elaine

    1989-01-01

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

  1. 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.

  2. Active Tectonic Research for Seismic Safety Evaluation of Long-Line Engineering Sites in China

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Ran Yongkang; Chen Lichun

    2005-01-01

    Long-line engineering sites usually have to pass through active tectonics, so the research of active tectonics is of great importance to seismic safety evaluation of this sort of site. In the paper, basing on the summarization and analysis of the requirements for seismic safety evaluation of long-line engineering site and the status quo of active tectonics research, we propose the focal points of active tectonics research for seismic safety evaluation of long-line engineering sites, including the research contents, technical targets and routes, and the submission of the achievements, etc. Finally, we make a preliminary analysis and discussion about the problems existing in the present-day active tectonics research for seismic safety evaluation of long-line engineering sites.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2006-12-01

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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. Seismic Swarms at Paricutin Volcano Area. Magmatic Intrusion or Tectonic Seismicity?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pinzon, J. I.; Nunez-Cornu, F. J.; Escudero, C. R.; Rowe, C. A.

    2014-12-01

    We relocate a seismic swarm with more than 700 earthquakes that took place between May and June 2006 in the Paricutin volcano area, Mexico inside of the Michoacan monogenetic volcanic field. This seismic swarm was recorded by the project "Mapping the Riviera Subduction Zone" (MARS), a temporary seismic network that was installed in the states of Jalisco, Colima and Michoacán between January 2006 and June 2007. Previously seismic swarms in the area were reported in the years of 1997, 1999 and 2000. For one that took place in the year of 1997 the Servicio Sismologico Nacional deployed a local network in the area, they conclude that the source of the seismicity was tectonic with depths between 18 and 12 km. The episodes of 1999 and 2000 were reported as similar to the 1997 swarm. A previous analysis of the 2006 swarm concludes that the depth of seismicity migrates from 9 to 5 km and was originated by a magmatic intrusion. We did a relocation of this swarm reading all the events and using Hypo71 and the P-wave velocity model used by the Jalisco Seismic and Acelerometric Network; a waveform analysis using cross-correlation method was also carried out. We obtained 15 earthquakes families with a correlation factor equal or greater than 0.79 and composed focal mechanism for each family. These families present a migration in depth beginning at 16 km and ended at 9 km. Our results agrees with a magmatic intrusion, but not so shallow as the previous study of the 2006 swarm.

  7. 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.

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

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    ZHENG YongFei; YE Kai; ZHANG LiFei

    2009-01-01

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

  9. 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...

  10. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Toksoz, M. Nafi; Reilinger, Robert

    1992-01-01

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

  12. SEISMIC EVALUATION OF ATYPICAL SPECIAL PLATE SHEAR WALLS

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Mark J. Russell; Robert E. Spears; Ryan G. Kobbe

    2007-07-01

    The structure of a building undergoing a seismic reevaluation at the Idaho National Laboratory includes a number of steel plate walls and a roof liner which will act as shear diaphragms during an earthquake. Since the facility was designed and built long before such criteria were formulated, it is not surprising that these walls are not configured to meet all of the recently formulated requirements for such structures. To take advantage of this unusual structural feature, nonlinear analysis was used to ensure accurate modeling of the plate walls in a linear elastic seismic analysis of the full superstructure. The modeling was also used to establish the capacity of the plate.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. Seismicity of Global Tectonic Systems Obtained from the Harvard CMT Catalogue

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Wang Hui; Zhang Guomin; Ma Hongsheng; Jing Yan

    2005-01-01

    Earthquake is the best information source for describing the present-day crustal tectonic zones and crustal stress field, containing comprehensive and abundant geodynamic connotations.Based on the distribution of global earthquakes and their kinematic and dynamic characteristics, the most active global-scale tectonics can be divided into three first-order tectonic systems: the Circum-Pacific deep subduction tectonic system, the mid-oceanic ridge tectonic system, and the continent-continent shallow underthrusting tectonic system using the Harvard CMT catalogue that provides various parameters of hypocenter. Furthermore, the differences of fault types, seismicity, and distribution of focal depths in different tectonic systems are discussed as well. The results show that different tectonic system possesses different environment and geodynamics.

  17. Tectonic stratification and seismicity of the accretionary prism of the Azerbaijani part of Greater Caucasus

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alizade, Akif; Kangarli, Talat; Aliyev, Fuad

    2013-04-01

    The Greater Caucasus has formed during last stage of the tectogenesis in a geodynamic condition of the lateral compression, peculiar to the zone pseudo-subduction interaction zone between Northern and Southern Caucasian continental microplates. Its present day structure formed as a result of horizontal movements of the different phases and sub-phases of Alpine tectogenesis (from late Cimmerian to Valakhian), and is generally regarded as zone where, along Zangi deformation, the insular arc formations of the Northern edge of South Caucasian microplate thrust under the Meso-Cenozoic substantial complex contained in the facials of marginal sea of Greater Caucasus. The last, in its turn, has been pushed beneath the North-Caucasus continental margin of the Scythian plate along Main Caucasus Thrust fault. Data collected from the territory of Azerbaijan and its' sector of the Caspian area stands for pseudo-subduction interaction of microplates which resulted in the tectonic stratification of the continental slope of Alpine formations, marginal sea and insular arc into different scale plates of south vergent combined into napping complexes. In the orogeny's present structure, tectonically stratified Alpine substantial complex of the marginal sea of Greater Caucasus bordered by Main Caucasus and Zangi thrusts, is represented by allochthonous south vergent accretionary prism in the front of first deformation with its' root buried under the southern border of Scythian plate. Allocated beneath mentioned prism, the autochthonous bedding is presented by Meso-Cenosoic complex of the Northern flank of the South-Caucasian miroplate, which is in its' turn crushed and lensed into southward shifted tectonic microplates gently overlapping the northern flank of Kura flexure along Ganykh-Ayrichay-Alyat thrust. Data of real-time GPS measurement of regional geodynamics indicates that pseudo-subduction of South Caucasian microplate under the North Caucasian microplate still continues during

  18. Grain-damage hysteresis and plate tectonic states

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bercovici, David; Ricard, Yanick

    2016-04-01

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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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 ...

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-07-01

    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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. New seismic images of the crust across the Rivera Plate and Jalisco Block (Mexico)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cordoba, Diego; Núñez-Cornú, Francisco Javier; Bartolomé, Rafael; José Dañobeitia, Juan; Bandy, William Lee; Núñez, Diana; Prada, Manel; Escudero-Ayala, Christian; Espíndola, Juan Manuel; Zamora, Araceli; Gómez, Adán; Ortiz, Modesto; Tsujal Working Group

    2015-04-01

    (Jalisco coast).These instruments registered 3 borehole explosions of 1000 kg specially made for this project, in the northern, central and southern parts of this profile. These new data provide a dense sampling of tectonic plates, W Mexico, and give new seismic constraints on the deformation along and across the subduction zone, accretionary wedge size, at contact between Rivera and North American Plates and, in the transition zone between oceanic and continental crust.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-04-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1989-06-01

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

  10. [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.

  11. 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...

  12. 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)

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    King, Chris

    2000-01-01

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

  14. 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.

  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. Seismic evidence for deep fluid circulation in the overriding plate of subduction zones

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tauzin, B.; Reynard, B.; Bodin, T.; Perrillat, J. P.; Debayle, E.

    2015-12-01

    In subduction zones, non-volcanic tremors are associated with fluid circulations (Obara, 2002). Their sources are often located on the interplate boundary (Rogers and Dragert, 2003; Shelly et al, 2006; La Rocca, 2009), consistent with fluids released by the dehydration of subducted plates (Hacker et al., 2003). Reports of tremors in the overriding continental crust of several subduction zones in the world (Kao et al., 2005; Payero et al., 2008; Ide, 2012) suggest fluid circulation at shallower depths but potential fluid paths are poorly documented. Here we obtained seismic observations from receiver functions that evidence the close association between the shallow tremor zone, electrical conductivity, and tectonic features of the Cascadia overriding plate. A seismic discontinuity near 15 km depth in the crust of the overriding North American plate is attributed to the Conrad discontinuity. This interface is segmented, and its interruption is spatially correlated with conductive regions and shallow swarms of seismicity and non-volcanic tremors. These observations suggest that shallow fluid circulation, tremors and seismicity are controlled by fault zones limiting blocks of accreted terranes in the overriding plate (Brudzinski and Allen, 2007). These zones constitute fluid "escape" routes that may contribute unloading fluid pressure on the megathrust. Obara, K. (2002). Science, 296, 1679-1681. Rogers, G., & Dragert, H. (2003). Science, 300, 1942-1943. Shelly, D. R., et al. (2006). Nature, 442, 188-191. La Rocca, M., et al. (2009). Science, 323, 620-623. Kao, H., et al. (2005). Nature, 436, 841-844. Payero, J. S., et al. (2008). Geophysical Research Letters, 35. Ide, S. (2012). Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 117. Brudzinski, M. R., & Allen, R. M. (2007). Geology, 35, 907-910.

  17. 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

  18. Seismicity and active tectonics in the Alboran Sea, Western Mediterranean: Constraints from an offshore-onshore seismological network and swath bathymetry data

    OpenAIRE

    Grevemeyer, Ingo; Gràcia, Eulàlia; Villaseñor, Antonio; Leuchters, W.; Watts, A. B.

    2015-01-01

    Seismicity and tectonic structure of the Alboran Sea were derived from a large amphibious seismological network deployed in the offshore basins and onshore in Spain and Morocco, an area where the convergence between the African and Eurasian plates causes distributed deformation. Crustal structure derived from local earthquake data suggests that the Alboran Sea is underlain by thinned continental crust with a mean thickness of about 20 km. During the 5 months of offshore network operation, a t...

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. Searching for the Lost Jurassic and Cretaceous Ocean Basins of the Circum-Arctic Linking Plate Models and Seismic Tomography

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shephard, G. E.; Müller, R.

    2012-12-01

    The tectonic evolution of the circum-Arctic since the breakup of Pangea involves the opening and closing of ocean basins including the Oimyakon, Angayucham, South Anuyi, Amerasia and Eurasia basins. The time-dependent configurations and kinematic history of the basins, adjacent continental terranes, and subduction zones involved are not well understood, and many published tectonic models for particular regions are inconsistent with models for adjacent areas. The age, location, geometry and convergence rates of the subduction zones associated with these ancient ocean basins since at least the Late Jurassic have implications for mantle structure, which can be used as an additional constraint for building plate and plate boundary models. Here we integrate an analysis of both surface and deep mantle observations back to 200 Ma. Based on a digitized set of tectonic features with time-dependent rotational histories we present a refined plate model with topologically closed plate polygons for the circum-Arctic with particular focus on the northern Pacific, Siberian and Alaskan margins (Fig 1). We correlate the location, geometry and timing of subduction zones with associated seismic velocities anomalies from global P and S wave tomography models across different depths. We design a plate model that best matches slabs imaged in seismic tomography in an iterative fashion. This match depends on a combination of relative and absolute plate motions. Therefore we test two end-member absolute plate motion models, evaluating a paleomagnetic model and a model based on hotspot tracks and large igneous provinces. This method provides a novel approach to deciphering the Arctic tectonic history in a global context. Fig 1:Plate reconstruction at 200Ma and 140Ma, visualized using GPlates software. Present-day topography raster (ETOPO2) segmented into major tectonic elements of the circum-Arctic. Plate boundaries delineated in black and selected subduction and arc features labeled in

  2. 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.

  3. Seismic anisotropy: tracing plate dynamics in the mantle.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Park, Jeffrey; Levin, Vadim

    2002-04-19

    Elastic anisotropy is present where the speed of a seismic wave depends on its direction. In Earth's mantle, elastic anisotropy is induced by minerals that are preferentially oriented in a directional flow or deformation. Earthquakes generate two seismic wave types: compressional (P) and shear (S) waves, whose coupling in anisotropic rocks leads to scattering, birefringence, and waves with hybrid polarizations. This varied behavior is helping geophysicists explore rock textures within Earth's mantle and crust, map present-day upper-mantle convection, and study the formation of lithospheric plates and the accretion of continents in Earth history.

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2013-01-01

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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  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. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-12-01

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

  11. Seismicity of the Earth 1900-2012 Philippine Sea plate and vicinity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smoczyk, Gregory M.; Hayes, Gavin P.; Hamburger, Michael W.; Benz, Harley M.; Villaseñor, Antonio; Furlong, Kevin P.

    2013-01-01

    The complex tectonics surrounding the Philippine Islands are dominated by the interactions of the Pacific, Sunda, and Eurasia plates with the Philippine Sea plate (PSP). The latter is unique because it is almost exclusively surrounded by zones of plate convergence. At its eastern and southeastern edges, the Pacific plate is subducted beneath the PSP at the Izu-Bonin, Mariana, and Yap trenches. Here, the subduction zone exhibits high rates of seismic activity to depths of over 600 km, though no great earthquakes (M>8.0) have been observed, likely because of weak coupling along the plate interface. In the northeast, the PSP subducts beneath Japan and the eastern margin of the Eurasia plate at the Nankai and Ryukyu trenches, extending westward to Taiwan. The Nankai portion of this subduction zone has hosted some of the largest earthquakes along the margins of the PSP, including a pair of Mw8.1 megathrust events in 1944 and 1946. Along its western margin, the convergence of the PSP and the Sunda plate is responsible for a broad and active plate boundary system extending along both sides of the Philippine Islands chain. The region is characterized by opposite-facing subduction systems on the east and west sides of the islands, and the archipelago is cut by a major transform structure: the Philippine Fault. Subduction of the Philippine Sea plate occurs at the eastern margin of the islands along the Philippine Trench and its northern extension, the East Luzon Trough. On the west side of Luzon, the Sunda Plate subducts eastward along a series of trenches, including the Manila Trench in the north, the smaller Negros Trench in the central Philippines, and the Sulu and Cotabato trenches in the south. Twentieth and early twentyfirst century seismic activity along the boundaries of the Philippine Sea plate has produced seven great (M>8.0) earthquakes and 250 large (M>7) events. Among the most destructive events were the 1923 Kanto, the 1948 Fukui, and the 1995 Kobe, Japan

  12. 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.

  13. Variations of upper plate mechanics, seismicity, and arc volcanism along the Middle America Trench

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ruh, J.; Sallares, V.; Ranero, C. R.; van Dinther, Y.

    2015-12-01

    The Middle America Trench (MAT) extends from the Riviera Fracture Zone offshore Mexico down to the Panama Fracture Zone. Along the MAT, the oceanic Cocos plate changes in character from the older, deeper and relatively smooth plate offshore Guatemala-Nicaragua to the ~20 km thick crust of Cocos Ridge off Costa Rica. These changes occur because the northern part of the the Cocos plate has been formed at the East Pacific Rise, while the southern part is formed at the Cocos-Nazca spreading center, which is in turn influenced by the Galapagos Hotspot, originating prominent submarine structures such as the Cocos Ridge. In contrast, the terrane forming the overriding plate in the Pacific convergent margin, which is mainly made by the Caribbean Igneous Province rocks, is relatively homogeneous. Thus, this region is an excellent natural example to study the effect of changes in the incoming plate on the tectonics and deformation of the overriding plate. The Nicaragua lake in the north is a result of upper plate extension related to rollback of the subducting slab, whereas in the south, the Talamanca Cordillera indicates compression of the Caribbean crust probably related with the subduction of the Cocos Ridge. We present numerical models that help to understand the long-term effects of variable subducting oceanic crust age and thickness on upper plate deformation and magmatism. Furthermore, we investigate the seismic behavior of these different convergent systems. The applied numerical model consists of a 2D seismo-thermo-mechanical finite difference scheme with visco-elasto-plastic rheology and a stick-slip frictional formulation to simulate spontaneous nucleation, propagation and arrest of earthquake-like ruptures on physically consistent faults.

  14. Seismicity and Tectonics of the West Kaibab Fault Zone, AZ

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilgus, J. T.; Brumbaugh, D. S.

    2014-12-01

    The West Kaibab Fault Zone (WKFZ) is the westernmost bounding structure of the Kaibab Plateau of northern Arizona. The WKFZ is a branching complex of high angle, normal faults downthrown to the west. There are three main faults within the WKFZ, the Big Springs fault with a maximum of 165 m offset, the Muav fault with 350 m of displacement, and the North Road fault having a maximum throw of approximately 90 m. Mapping of geologically recent surface deposits at or crossing the fault contacts indicates that the faults are likely Quaternary with the most recent offsets occurring one of the most seismically active areas in Arizona and lies within the Northern Arizona Seismic Belt (NASB), which stretches across northern Arizona trending NW-SE. The data set for this study includes 156 well documented events with the largest being a M5.75 in 1959 and including a swarm of seven earthquakes in 2012. The seismic data set (1934-2014) reveals that seismic activity clusters in two regions within the study area, the Fredonia cluster located in the NW corner of the study area and the Kaibab cluster located in the south central portion of the study area. The fault plane solutions to date indicate NE-SW to EW extension is occurring in the study area. Source relationships between earthquakes and faults within the WKFZ have not previously been studied in detail. The goal of this study is to use the seismic data set, the available data on faults, and the regional physiography to search for source relationships for the seismicity. Analysis includes source parameters of the earthquake data (location, depth, and fault plane solutions), and comparison of this output to the known faults and areal physiographic framework to indicate any active faults of the WKFZ, or suggested active unmapped faults. This research contributes to a better understanding of the present nature of the WKFZ and the NASB as well.

  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. 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.

  18. Analysis of the seismicity of Southeastern Sicily: a proposed tectonic interpretation

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M. S. Barbano

    2000-06-01

    Full Text Available Southeastern Sicily is one of the Italian regions with high seismic risk and is characterised by the occurrence in the past of large destructive events (MS = 6.4-7.3 over a territory which is densely urbanised today. The main earthquakes were analysed and some minor damaging shocks reviewed to investigate the main seismogenic features of the region. The comparison between the pattern of seismicity and evidence of Quaternary tectonics allowed us to propose a first tentative, tectonic interpretation of the earthquakes. On the whole, the seismicity of SE Sicily seems distributed along regional fault systems which have had a role in the recent geodynamic evolution of the area. The Malta escarpment, the only structure whose late Quaternary-recent activity is currently known, appears the most probable source for earthquakes with about 7 magnitude. Although no evidence of tectonics subsequent to the middle Pleistocene is available for them, the Scicli line and the NE-SW fault system delimiting the northern sector of the Hyblean plateau seem seismically active with events with maximum magnitude of 5.2 and 6.4, respectively.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. Regional Seismic Focal Depth Estimation in Complex Tectonic Environments

    Science.gov (United States)

    2007-09-01

    seismicity in Iran region, Geophys. J. Int. 167: 761–778. Hatzfeld, D., M. Tatar, K. Priestley, and M. Ghafory-Ashtiany (2003). Seismological constraints...receiver functions and crustal structure. In Computer programs in seismology . Kennett B. L. N., and E. R. Engdahl (1991), Travel times for global...estimation. Proc. RADC Spectral Estimation Workshop, 243–258, Rome, Italy . Stroujkova, A. and D. Reiter (2006). Regional Depth Phase Detection and Focal

  2. 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?

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. Analysis of the Seismicity Associated to the Subduction of the Rivera Plate using OBS and Onland Stations.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nuñez-Cornu, F. J.; Barba, D. C., Sr.; Danobeitia, J.; Bandy, W. L.; Zamora-Camacho, A.; Marquez-Ramirez, V. H.; Ambros, M.; Gomez, A.; Sandoval, J. M.; Mortera-Gutierrez, C. A.

    2016-12-01

    The second stage of TsuJal Project includes the study of passive seismic activity in the region of the plate Rivera and Jalisco block by anchoring OBS and densifying the network of seismic stations on land for at least four months. This stage began in April 2016 with the deployment of 25 Obsidian stations with sensor Le-3D MkIII from the northern part of Nayarit state to the south of Colima state, including the Marias Islands. This temporal seismic network complements the Jalisco Seismic Network (RESAJ) for a total of 50 stations. Offshore, ten OBS type LCHEAPO 2000 with 4 channel (3 seismic short period and 1 pressure) were deployed, in the period from 19 to 30 April 2016 using the BO El Puma from UNAM. The OBS were deployed in an array from the Marias Islands to offcoast of the border of Colima and Michoacan states. On May 4, an earthquake with Ml = 4.2 took place in the contact area of the Rivera Plate, Cocos Plate and the Middle America Trench, subsequently occurred a seismic swarm with over 200 earthquakes until May 16, including an earthquake with Ml = 5.0 on May 7. A second swarm took place between May 28 and Jun 4 including an earthquake with Ml = 4.8 on Jun 1. An analysis of the quality of different location methods is presented: automatic preliminary RESAJ location using Antelope; location with revised RESAJ phases in Antelope; relocation of RESAJ data with hypo and a regional velocity model; relocation of RESAJ data with hypo adding data from the temporal seismic network stations; and finally the relocation adding the data from the OBS network. Moreover, the tectonic implications of these earthquakes are discussed.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  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. 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.

  11. Active tectonics of the Eastern Mediterranean region: deduced from GPS, neotectonic and seismicity data

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    R. Reilinger

    1997-06-01

    Full Text Available This paper reviews the main tectonic features of the Eastern Mediterranean region combining the recent information obtained from GPS measurements, seismicity and neotectonic studies. GPS measurements reveal that the Arabian plate moves northward with respect to Eurasia at a rate of 23 ± 1 mm/yr, 10 mm/yr of this rate is taken up by shortening in the Caucasus. The internal deformation in Eastern Anatolia by conjugate strike-slip faulting and E-W trending thrusts, including the Bitlis frontal thrust, accommodates approximately a 15 mm/yr slip rate. The Northeast Anatolian fault, which extends from the Erzincan basin to Caucasus accommodates about 8 ± 5 mm/yr of left-lateral motion. The neotectonic fault pattern in Eastern Anatolia suggests that the NE Anatolian block moves in an E-ENE direction towards the South Caspian Sea. According to the same data, the Anatolian-Aegean block is undergoing a counter-clockwise rotation. However, from the residuals it appears that this solution can only be taken as a preliminary approximation. The Eulerian rotation pole indicates that slip rate along the North Anatolian fault is about 26 ± 3 mm/yr. This value is 10 mm/yr higher than slip rates obtained from geological data and historical earthquake records and it includes westward drift of the Pontides of a few millimetres/year or more. GPS measurements reveal that the East Anatolian fault accommodates an 11 ± 1 mm/yr relative motion. GPS data suggest that Central Anatolia behaves as a rigid block, but from neotectonic studies, it clearly appears that it is sliced by a number of conjugate strike-slip faults. The Isparta Angle area might be considered a major obstacle for the westward motion of the Anatolian block (Central and Eastern Anatolia. The western flank of this geological structure, the Fethiye-Burdur fault zone appears to be a major boundary with a slip rate of 15-20 mm/yr. The Western Anatolian grabens take up a total of 15 mm/yr NE-SW extension

  12. 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.

  13. 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…

  14. 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…

  15. 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

  16. 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…

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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...

  1. 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

  2. Tectonic regimes at the N-Ecuador SW-Colombia active margin from multichannel seismic reflection data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marcaillou, B.; Collot, J.-Y.; Sage, F.

    2003-04-01

    The North Andean convergent margin displays wide lateral variations in structural and sedimentary characters, which reflect the interaction between large sedimentary input derived from the nearby Andes, inherited structures, and the long-term tectonic deformation resulting from the Nazca plate subduction beneath the South America plate at ~5cm/yr. We use Multichannel Seismic Reflection lines as well as bathymetric data collected during the SISTEUR cruise to construct a tectonic and sedimentary model of the margin between latitudes 0°N and 3.5 °N. The margin shows a prominent re-entrant that is cut transversally by a major crustal fault, i.e. the Manglares Fault (MF). The northern and southern walls of the re-entrant together with the MF divide the margin into four morphostructural segments, with distinct tectonic regimes. The Esmeraldas segment, south of the re-entrant, shows a 100m-deep continental shelf, evidences for mass wasting, and a 10° steep innertrench wall underlain by steeply trenchward dipping horizons, suggesting tectonic erosion. The Manglares segment, located between the southern wall of the re-entrant and the MF, exhibits an up to 3-km-thick trench fill thrust beneath possible narrow frontal thrusts, a wide and largely un-deformed fore-arc basin that is split by a major crustal splay fault. Seaward of the splay fault, the fore-arc basin is tilted trenchward and overlays a thinned margin basement, supporting tectonic erosion. The Tumaco segment, between the MF and the reentrant northern wall, exhibits a 2.5-km-thick trench fill, which underthrusts the margin in the south, and shows clear incipient accretionary thrusts in the north. Splay faults across the margin are unclear, but an uplifted, folded and thrust faulted basement ridge and deformed fore-ar basins indicate active deformation across most of the margin width. The Patia segment, to the north of the re-entrant, shows a highly deformed fore-arc basin and outer ridge fronted by growing 30km

  3. 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

  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. Geometry and spatial variations of seismic reflection intensity of the upper surface of the Philippine Sea plate off the Boso Peninsula, Japan

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kono, Akihiro; Sato, Toshinori; Shinohara, Masanao; Mochizuki, Kimihiro; Yamada, Tomoaki; Uehira, Kenji; Shinbo, Takashi; Machida, Yuya; Hino, Ryota; Azuma, Ryousuke

    2017-07-01

    In the region off the Boso Peninsula, Japan, the Pacific plate is subducting westward beneath both the Honshu island arc and Philippine Sea plate, while the Philippine Sea plate is subducting northwestward beneath the Honshu island arc. These complex tectonic interactions have caused numerous seismic events occurred in the past. To better understand these seismic events, it is important to determine the geometry of the plate boundary, in particular the upper surface of the Philippine Sea plate. We conducted an active-source seismic refraction survey in July and August 2009 from which we obtained a 2-D P-wave velocity structure model along a 216-km profile. We used the velocity model and previously published data that indicate a P-wave velocity of 5.0 km/s for the upper surface of the subducting Philippine Sea plate to delineate its boundary with the overriding Honshu island arc. Our isodepth contours of the upper surface of the Philippine Sea plate show that its dip is shallow at depths of 10 to 15 km, far off the Boso Peninsula. This shallow dip may be a result of interference from the Pacific plate slab, which is subducting westward under the Philippine Sea plate. Within our survey data, we recognized numerous seismic reflections of variable intensity, some of which came from the upper surface of the Philippine Sea plate. An area of high seismic reflection intensity corresponds with the main slip area of the Boso slow slip events. Our modeling indicates that those reflections can be explained by an inhomogeneous layer close to the upper surface of the Philippine Sea plate.

  7. 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.

  8. On the spatial distribution of seismicity and the 3D tectonic stress field in western Greece

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kassaras, Ioannis; Kapetanidis, Vasilis; Karakonstantis, Andreas

    2016-10-01

    We analyzed a large number of focal mechanisms and relocated earthquake hypocenters to investigate the geodynamics of western Greece, the most seismically active part of the Aegean plate-boundary zone. This region was seismically activated multiple times during the last decade, providing a large amount of enhanced quality new information that was obtained by the Hellenic Unified Seismological Network (HUSN). Relocated seismicity using a double-difference method appears to be concentrated above ∼35 km depth, exhibiting spatial continuity along the convergence boundary and being clustered elsewhere. Earthquakes are confined within the accreted sediments escarpment of the down-going African plate against the un-deformed Eurasian hinterland. The data arrangement shows that Pindos constitutes a seismic boundary along which large stress heterogeneities occur. In Cephalonia no seismicity is found to be related with the offshore Cephalonia Transform Fault (CTF). Onshore, Nsbnd S crustal extension dominates, while in central and south Peloponnesus the stress field appears rotated by 90°. Shearing-stress obliquity by 30° is indicated along the major strike-slip faults, consistent with clockwise crustal rotation. Within the lower crust, the stress field appears affected by plate kinematics and distributed deformation of the lower crust and upper mantle, which guide the regional geodynamics.

  9. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-12-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1988-01-01

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

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

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    张一伟; 陈发景; 陆克政; 漆家福

    1997-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1988-01-01

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

  14. Reconstructing conjugate margins of the Canada-Amerasian basin: New tectonic constraints from deep seismic data and gravity profiles

    Science.gov (United States)

    Helwig, J.; Ady, B.; Kumar, N.; Granath, J. W.; Dinkelman, M. G.; Bird, D. E.; Emmet, P. A.

    2010-12-01

    -rift geology compatible with reconstructions that restore Point Barrow to the Canadian margin opposite northern Banks Island. The locus of rifting of the entire Amerasian Basin appears to be controlled by the Paleozoic structures of the Siluro-Devonian age Caledonian-Ellesmerian orogen and its hinterland terranes along the Arctic-Pacific margins of Laurentia. Our model, supported by deep seismic and gravity interpretations, refines the anti-clockwise rotational plate tectonic model for the opening of the Canada Basin synthesized by Embry and supported by many studies. But the refined rotational model cannot fully explain the development of the Amerasian Basin beyond Banks Island to the Lomonosov Ridge where large misfits remain. Surveys planned or now in progress aim to further constrain passive margin segmentation and improve the tectonic framework for reconstruction of the Amerasian Basin.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. Full Moment Tensor Inversion as a Practical Tool in Case of Discrimination of Tectonic and Anthropogenic Seismicity in Poland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lizurek, Grzegorz

    2016-08-01

    Tectonic seismicity in Poland is sparse. The biggest event was located near Myślenice in 17th century of magnitude 5.6. On the other hand, the anthropogenic seismicity is one of the highest in Europe related, for example, to underground mining in Upper Silesian Coal Basin (USCB) and Legnica Głogów Copper District (LGCD), open pit mining in "Bełchatów" brown coal mine and reservoir impoundment of Czorsztyn artificial lake. The level of seismic activity in these areas varies from tens to thousands of events per year. Focal mechanism and full moment tensor (MT) decomposition allow for deeper understanding of the seismogenic process leading to tectonic, induced, and triggered seismic events. The non-DC components of moment tensors are considered as an indicator of the induced seismicity. In this work, the MT inversion and decomposition is proved to be a robust tool for unveiling collapse-type events as well as the other induced events in Polish underground mining areas. The robustness and limitations of the presented method is exemplified by synthetic tests and by analyzing weak tectonic earthquakes. The spurious non-DC components of full MT solutions due to the noise and poor focal coverage are discussed. The results of the MT inversions of the human-related and tectonic earthquakes from Poland indicate this method as a useful part of the tectonic and anthropogenic seismicity discrimination workflow.

  19. Full Moment Tensor Inversion as a Practical Tool in Case of Discrimination of Tectonic and Anthropogenic Seismicity in Poland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lizurek, Grzegorz

    2017-01-01

    Tectonic seismicity in Poland is sparse. The biggest event was located near Myślenice in 17th century of magnitude 5.6. On the other hand, the anthropogenic seismicity is one of the highest in Europe related, for example, to underground mining in Upper Silesian Coal Basin (USCB) and Legnica Głogów Copper District (LGCD), open pit mining in "Bełchatów" brown coal mine and reservoir impoundment of Czorsztyn artificial lake. The level of seismic activity in these areas varies from tens to thousands of events per year. Focal mechanism and full moment tensor (MT) decomposition allow for deeper understanding of the seismogenic process leading to tectonic, induced, and triggered seismic events. The non-DC components of moment tensors are considered as an indicator of the induced seismicity. In this work, the MT inversion and decomposition is proved to be a robust tool for unveiling collapse-type events as well as the other induced events in Polish underground mining areas. The robustness and limitations of the presented method is exemplified by synthetic tests and by analyzing weak tectonic earthquakes. The spurious non-DC components of full MT solutions due to the noise and poor focal coverage are discussed. The results of the MT inversions of the human-related and tectonic earthquakes from Poland indicate this method as a useful part of the tectonic and anthropogenic seismicity discrimination workflow.

  20. 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).

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1981-01-01

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

  4. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-09-22

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

  6. Geomorphological features of active tectonics and ongoing seismicity of northeastern Kumaun Himalaya, Uttarakhand, India

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    Vivekanand Pathak; Charu C Pant; Gopal Singh Darmwal

    2015-08-01

    The northeastern part of Kumaun Lesser Himalaya, Uttarakhand, India, lying between the rupture zones of 1905, Kangra and 1934, Bihar–Nepal earthquakes and known as ‘central seismic gap’ is a segment of an active fault known to produce significant earthquakes and has not slipped in an unusually long time when compared to other segments. The studied section forms a part of this seismic gap and is seismically an active segment of the Himalayan arc, as compared to the remaining part of the Kumaun Lesser Himalaya and it is evident by active geomorphological features and seismicity data. The geomorphological features of various river valley transects suggest that the region had a history of tectonic rejuvenation which is testified by the deposition of various levels of terraces and their relative uplift, shifting and ponding of river channels, uplifted potholes, triangular facets on fault planes, fault scarps, etc. Further, the seismic data of five-station digital telemetered seismic network along with two stand alone systems show the distribution of earthquakes in or along the analyzed fault transects. It is observed that the microseismic earthquakes (magnitude 1.0–3.0) frequently occur in the region and hypocenters of these earthquakes are confined to shallow depths (10–20 km), with low stress drop values (1.0–10 bar) and higher peak ground velocity (PGV). The cluster of events is observed in the region, sandwiched between the Berinag Thrust (BT) in south and Main Central Thrust (MCT) in north. The occurrences of shallow focus earthquakes and the surface deformational features in the different river valley transect indicates that the region is undergoing neotectonic rejuvenation. In absence of chronology of the deposits it is difficult to relate it with extant seismicity, but from the geomorphic and seismic observations it may be concluded that the region is still tectonically active. The information would be very important in identifying the areas of

  7. Seismic features of the June 1999 tectonic swarm in the Stromboli volcano region, Italy

    Science.gov (United States)

    Falsaperla, S.; Alparone, S.; Spampinato, S.

    2003-07-01

    Crustal tectonic seismicity in the Southern Tyrrhenian Sea is characterized by the high occurrence rates of earthquakes to the west of the alignment of Salina, Lipari and Vulcano islands in the Aeolian archipelago. Only a few earthquakes affect the crustal region east of these islands, whereas intermediate and deep seismicity plays a relevant role. Based on this evidence, two aspects of the seismic swarm recorded at the Aeolian Island Seismic Network between June 6 and 17, 1999 looked anomalous. The first aspect concerned the number of earthquakes (78) that affected the Stromboli submarine edifice in a short time interval. Secondly, despite the low maximum magnitude Md 3.2 reached, the cumulative strain release was conspicuous in comparison with previous swarms in this region. We localized the swarm about 6 km northeast of Stromboli, at a depth between 8 and 12 km. The source region was identified using standard methods of hypocentral location, as well as azimuth analysis. It is worth noting that the volcanic activity at Stromboli did not change significantly during the swarm nor throughout the following months. Therefore, the seismic swarm had no link with volcanic activity observed at the surface. Most of the earthquakes shared similar waveform and frequency content, and can be divided into families. We identified some earthquakes - with magnitude up to Md 3 - having relatively low frequency content at different seismic stations. This anomalous feature leads us to hypothesize the presence of fluid circulation and/or propagation of seismic waves in a ductile medium. Our hypothesis is in agreement with studies on marine geology, which highlight various forms of submarine volcanism in the southern basin of the Tyrrhenian Sea.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Outer rise seismicity of the subducting Nazca Plate: Plate stress distribution, fault orientation and plate hydration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barama, Louisa

    Subduction of the Nazca plate beneath the South American plate drives frequent and sometimes large magnitude earthquakes. During the past 40 years, significant numbers of outer rise earthquakes have occurred in the offshore regions of Colombia and Chile. In this study, we investigate the distribution of stress due to lithospheric bending and the extent of faults within the subducting plate. To calculate more accurate epicenters and to constrain which earthquakes occurred within the outer rise, we use hypocentroidal decomposition to relocate earthquakes with Global Centroid Moment Tensor (GCMT) solutions occurring after 1976 offshore Colombia and Chile. We determine centroid depths of outer rise earthquakes by inverting teleseismic P-, SH-, and SV- waveforms for earthquakes occurring from 1993 to 2014 with Mw ≥ 5.5. In order to further constrain the results of the waveform inversion, we estimate depths by comparing earthquake duration, amplitude, and arrival times for select stations with waveforms with good signal to noise ratios. Our results indicate that tensional earthquakes occur at depths down to 13 km and 24 km depth beneath the surface in the Colombia and Chile regions, respectively. Since faulting within the outer rise can make the plate susceptible to hydration and mantle serpentinization, we therefore infer the extent of possible hydration of the Nazca plate to extend no deeper than the extent of tensional outer rise earthquakes.

  11. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schillak, S.; Wnuk, E.

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

  14. Thick- and thin-skinned tectonics of the eastern border of the Leinetal Graben, Lower Saxony, Germany, as deduced from reflection seismics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tanner, David C.; Musmann, Patrick; Wawerzinek, Britta; Krawczyk, Charlotte M.; Buness, Hermann; Thomas, Rüdiger

    2014-05-01

    The Leinetal Graben in northern Germany is a N-S striking, intra-plate tectonic graben that, according to the youngest sediments within the graben, occurred post-Jurassic, probably late Cretaceous. We show, by interpreting two (1.8 and 3.2 km long), 2D, P-wave, reflection-seismic profiles which cross the eastern border faults of the Leinetal Graben, that the tectonic evolution began much earlier, probably in the Early Triassic. The profiles show information to a depth of approx. 1 km. Using two deep boreholes to calibrate the seismic, we interpreted the Mesozoic sedimentary layers down to Triassic Zechstein salt and the faults that affect these strata. We recognize two sets of faults: firstly steep, planar faults, that are closely clustered and terminate in the Zechstein salt, and secondly shallow faults that connect between two of the first set of faults and have very variable dip, depending on the lithology they cut at that point. These two systems represent thick- and thin-skinned tectonics, respectively. We envisage the late Triassic pro-Leinetal Graben structure as a salt down-building area or as the result of rafting of sandstone units on the salt layer. The system was later reactivated in the Late Cretaceous during intra-plate N-S compression and E-W extension. By restoring the deformation caused by the thin-skinned fault, we are able to determine the amount of area change in the hanging-wall caused by the fault, due to its undulating geometry. Area change is heterogeneous, but reaches 3-4% locally. This may well be sufficient to allow fluids to flow in the fault damage zone in these areas. It would also account for the different seismic appearance of the fault in the two profiles if fluids were heterogeneously distributed along it. This method of retro-deformation is entirely appropriate to determine the suitability of a brittle fault for, for instance, geothermal applications.

  15. 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...

  16. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-02-01

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

  18. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lenardic, A.; Kaula, W. M.

    1994-01-01

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

  20. Field Observations of Crustal Seismic Anisotropy: Implications for Mapping Tectonic Structure in Metamorphic Terranes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Christensen, N. I.; Okaya, D.; Meltzer, A.; Brocher, T.; Holbrook, W. S.

    2003-12-01

    The study of seismic anisotropy within continental tectonic provinces provides earth scientists with a powerful tool for measuring and quantifying deformation within the crust. Preferred mineral alignment observed in metamorphic terranes produced by recrystallization during metamorphism is associated with planar structures such as slaty cleavage, schistosity, and gneissic layering. These structures are often pervasive for tens to hundreds of kilometers and produce significant compressional wave seismic anisotropy as well as shear wave splitting. Observations of crustal anisotropy within (1) slates of the chlorite subzone of the Haast schist terrane of South Island, New Zealand, (2) lower greenschist facies phyllites and metagraywackes of the Valdez Group Chugach terrane in southern Alaska, (3) amphibolite facies mica schists within the Yukon-Tanana terrane in the eastern Alaska range and (4) amphibolite facies quartzofeldspathic gneisses, approaching granulite grade, within the Nanga Parbat-Haramosh massif demonstrate that crustal anisotropy is not limited to rocks of any particular metamorphic grade and thus can be present at all crustal levels. Two refraction lines at approximately right angles shown up to 10% compressional wave anisotropy in relatively low grade metapelites of the Haast schist terrane. Fast velocities parallel the strike of the upturned slaty cleavage. Measured field velocities in the Chugach terrane, obtained from observed first arrival travel times, demonstrate significant compressional wave anisotropy (~9%) with fastest directions oriented approximately east-west and parallel to foliations observed in outcrops. Within the Alaskan Yukon-Tanana terrane variations in seismic velocities of the first arrivals correlate with field observations of regional dips of foliated schists. A northward shallowing of foliation dips produces an observed northward increasing seismic velocity. The core of the Nanga-Parbat massif forms a large-scale antiformal

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brown, Michael

    2006-11-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nguyen Quang Tuan

    2016-08-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nguyen Quang Tuan

    2016-06-01

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

  4. 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...

  5. Tectonic characteristics and structural styles of a continental rifted basin: Revelation from deep seismic reflection profiles

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yuan Li

    2016-09-01

    Full Text Available The Fushan Depression is a half-graben rifted sub-basin located in the southeast of the Beibuwan Basin, South China Sea. The Paleogene Liushagang sequence is the main hydrocarbon-bearing stratigraphic unit in the sub-basin. Using three-dimensional (3-D seismic data and logging data over the sub-basin, we analyzed structural styles and sedimentary characteristics of the Liushagang sequence. Five types of structural styles were defined: ancient horst, traditional slope, flexure slope-break, faulted slope-break and multiple-stage faults slope, and interpretations for positions, background and development formations of each structural style were discussed. Structural framework across the sub-basin reveals that the most remarkable tectonic setting is represented by the central transfer zone (CTZ which divides the sub-basin into two independent depressions, and two kinds of sequence architectures are summarized: (i the western multi-stage faults slope; (ii the eastern flexure slope break belt. Combined with regional stress field of the Fushan Depression, we got plane combinations of the faults, and finally built up plan distribution maps of structural system for main sequence. Also, we discussed the controlling factors mainly focused on subsidence history and background tectonic activities such as volcanic activity and earthquakes. The analysis of structural styles and tectonic evolution provides strong theoretical support for future prospecting in the Fushan sub-basin and other similar rifted basins of the Beibuwan Basin in South China Sea.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-01-22

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

  7. 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. 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.

  9. Multiple plates subducting beneath Colombia, as illuminated by seismicity and velocity from the joint inversion of seismic and gravity data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Syracuse, Ellen M.; Maceira, Monica; Prieto, Germán A.; Zhang, Haijiang; Ammon, Charles J.

    2016-06-01

    Subduction beneath the northernmost Andes in Colombia is complex. Based on seismicity distributions, multiple segments of slab appear to be subducting, and arc volcanism ceases north of 5° N. Here, we illuminate the subduction system through hypocentral relocations and Vp and Vs models resulting from the joint inversion of local body wave arrivals, surface wave dispersion measurements, and gravity data. The simultaneous use of multiple data types takes advantage of the differing sensitivities of each data type, resulting in velocity models that have improved resolution at both shallower and deeper depths than would result from traditional travel time tomography alone. The relocated earthquake dataset and velocity model clearly indicate a tear in the Nazca slab at 5° N, corresponding to a 250-km shift in slab seismicity and the termination of arc volcanism. North of this tear, the slab is flat, and it comprises slabs of two sources: the Nazca and Caribbean plates. The Bucaramanga nest, a small region of among the most intense intermediate-depth seismicity globally, is associated with the boundary between these two plates and possibly with a zone of melting or elevated water content, based on reduced Vp and increased Vp/Vs. We also use relocated seismicity to identify two new faults in the South American plate, one related to plate convergence and one highlighted by induced seismicity.

  10. On the generation mechanisms of fluid-driven seismic signals related to volcano-tectonics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fazio, Marco; Benson, Philip M.; Vinciguerra, Sergio

    2017-01-01

    The generation mechanics of fluid-driven volcano seismic signals, and their evolution with time, remains poorly understood. We present a laboratory study aiming to better constrain the time evolution of such signals across temperature conditions 25 to 175°C in order to simulate a "bubbly liquid." Simulations used pressures equivalent to volcanic edifices up to 1.6 km in depth using a triaxial deformation apparatus equipped with an array of acoustic emission sensors. We investigate the origin of fluid-driven seismic signals by rapidly venting the pore pressure through a characterized damage zone. During the release of water at 25°C broadband signals were generated, with frequencies ranging from 50 to 160 kHz. However, the decompression of a water/steam phase at 175°C generated a bimodal spectrum of different signals, in the range 100-160 kHz. These new results are consistent with natural signals from active volcanoes, such as Mount Etna, and highlight the role of fluid and gas phases (such as bubbly liquids) in generating different types of volcano-tectonic seismicity.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-07-01

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

  12. Seismicity and Seismic Hazard along the Western part of the Eurasia-Nubia plate boundary

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bezzeghoud, Mourad; Fontiela, João; Ferrão, Celia; Borges, José Fernando; Caldeira, Bento; Dib, Assia; Ousadou, Farida

    2016-04-01

    The seismic phenomenon is the most damaging natural hazard known in the Mediterranean area. The western part of the Eurasia-Nubia plate boundary extends from the Azores to the Mediterranean region. The oceanic part of the plate boundary is well delimited from the Azores Islands, along the Azores-Gibraltar fault to approximately 12°W (west of the Strait of Gibraltar). From 12°W to 3.5°E, including the Iberia-Nubia region and extending to the western part of Algeria, the boundary is more diffuse and forms a wider area of deformation. The boundary between the Iberia and Nubia plates is the most complex part of the margin. This region corresponds to the transition from an oceanic boundary to a continental boundary, where Iberia and Nubia collide. Although most earthquakes along this plate boundary are shallow and generally have magnitudes less than 5.5, there have been several high-magnitude events. Many devastating earthquakes, some of them tsunami-triggering, inflicted heavy loss and considerable economic damage to the region. From 1920 to present, three earthquakes with magnitudes of about 8.0 (Mw 8.2, 25 November 1941; Ms 8.0, 25 February 1969; and Mw 7.9, 26 May 1975) occurred in the oceanic region, and four earthquakes with magnitudes of about 7.0 (Mw 7.1, 8 May 1939, Santa Maria Island and Mw 7.1, January 1980, Terceira and Graciosa Islands, both in the Azores; Ms 7.1, 20 May 1931, Azores-Gibraltar fracture zone; and Mw 7.3, 10 October 1980, El Asnam, Algeria) occurred along the western part of the Eurasia-Nubia plate boundary. In general, large earthquakes (M ≥7) occur within the oceanic region, with the exception of the El Asnam (Algeria) earthquakes. Some of these events caused extensive damage. The 1755 Lisbon earthquake (˜Mw 9) on the Portugal Atlantic margin, about 200 km W-SW of Cape St. Vincent, was followed by a tsunami and fires that caused the near-total destruction of Lisbon and adjacent areas. Estimates of the death toll in Lisbon alone (~70

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1989-01-01

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

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2004-01-01

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

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Seismic anisotropy in localized shear zones versus distributed tectonic fabrics: examples from geologic and seismic observations in western North America and the European Alps

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mahan, Kevin H.; Schulte-Pelkum, Vera; Condit, Cailey; Leydier, Thomas; Goncalves, Philippe; Raju, Anissha; Brownlee, Sarah; Orlandini, Omero F.

    2017-04-01

    Modern methods for detecting seismic anisotropy offer an array of promising tools for imaging deep crustal deformation but also present challenges, especially with respect to potential biases in both the detection methods themselves as well as in competing processes for localized versus distributed deformation. We address some of these issues from the geophysical perspective by employing azimuthally dependent amplitude and polarity variations in teleseismic receiver functions combined with a compilation of published rock elasticity tensors from middle and deep crustal rocks, and from the geological perspective through studies of shear zone deformation processes. Examples are highlighted at regional and outcrop scales from western North America and the European Alps. First, in regional patterns, strikes of seismically detected fabric from receiver functions in California show a strong alignment with current strike-slip motion between the Pacific and North American plates, with high signal strength near faults and from depths below the brittle-ductile transition suggesting these faults have deep ductile roots. In contrast, despite NE-striking shear zones being the most prominent features portrayed on Proterozoic tectonic maps of the southwestern USA, receiver function anisotropy from the central Rocky Mountain region appears to more prominently reflect broadly distributed Proterozoic fabric domains that preceded late-stage localized shear zones. Possible causes for the discrepancy fall into two categories: those that involve a) bias in seismic sampling and/or b) deformation processes that lead to either weaker anisotropy in the shear zones compared to adjacent domains or to a symmetry that is different from that conventionally assumed. Most of these explanations imply that the seismically sampled domains contain important structural information that is distinct from the shear zones. The second set of examples stem from studies of outcrop-scale shear zones in upper

  5. Seismostratigraphy and tectonic architecture of the Carboneras Fault offshore based on multiscale seismic imaging: Implications for the Neogene evolution of the NE Alboran Sea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moreno, Ximena; Gràcia, Eulàlia; Bartolomé, Rafael; Martínez-Loriente, Sara; Perea, Héctor; de la Peña, Laura Gómez; Iacono, Claudio Lo; Piñero, Elena; Pallàs, Raimon; Masana, Eulàlia; Dañobeitia, Juan José

    2016-10-01

    In the SE Iberian Margin, which hosts the convergent boundary between the European and African Plates, Quaternary faulting activity is dominated by a large left-lateral strike-slip system referred to as the Eastern Betic Shear Zone. This active fault system runs along more than 450 km and it is characterised by low to moderate magnitude shallow earthquakes, although large historical events have also occurred. The Carboneras Fault is the longest structure of the Eastern Betic Shear Zone, and its southern termination extends further into the Alboran Sea. Previously acquired high-resolution data (i.e. swath-bathymetry, TOBI sidescan sonar and sub-bottom profiler) show that the offshore Carboneras Fault is a NE-SW-trending upwarped zone of deformation with a length of 90 km long and a width of 0.5 to 2 km, which shows geomorphic features typically found in subaerial strike-slip faults, such as deflected drainage, pressure ridges and "en echelon" folds. However, the neotectonic, depth architecture, and Neogene evolution of Carboneras Fault offshore are still poorly known. In this work we present a multiscale seismic imaging of the Carboneras Fault (i.e. TOPAS, high-resolution multichannel-seismic reflection, and deep penetration multichannel-seismic reflection) carried out during three successive marine cruises, from 2006 to 2010. The new dataset allowed us to define a total of seven seismostratigraphic units (from Tortonian to Late Quaternary) above the basement, to characterise the tectonic architecture and structural segmentation of the Carboneras Fault, and to estimate its maximum seismic potential. We finally discuss the role of the basement in the present-day tectonic evolution of the Carboneras Fault, and explore the northern and southern terminations of the fault and how the strain is transferred to nearby structures.

  6. 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.

  7. Multichannel Seismic Imaging of the Rivera Plate Subduction at the Seismogenic Jalisco Block Area (Western Mexican Margin)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bartolome, Rafael; Górriz, Estefanía; Dañobeitia, Juanjo; Cordoba, Diego; Martí, David; Cameselle, Alejandra L.; Núñez-Cornú, Francisco; Bandy, William L.; Mortera-Gutiérrez, Carlos A.; Nuñez, Diana; Castellón, Arturo; Alonso, Jose Luis

    2016-10-01

    During the TSUJAL marine geophysical survey, conducted in February and March 2014, Spanish, Mexican and British scientists and technicians explored the western margin of Mexico, considered one of the most active seismic zones in America. This work aims to characterize the internal structure of the subduction zone of the Rivera plate beneath the North American plate in the offshore part of the Jalisco Block, to link the geodynamic and the recent tectonic deformation occurring there with the possible generation of tsunamis and earthquakes. For this purpose, it has been carried out acquisition, processing and geological interpretation of a multichannel seismic reflection profile running perpendicular to the margin. Crustal images show an oceanic domain, dominated by subduction-accretion along the lower slope of the margin with a subparallel sediment thickness of up to 1.6 s two-way travel time (approx. 2 km) in the Middle American Trench. Further, from these data the region appears to be prone to giant earthquake production. The top of the oceanic crust (intraplate reflector) is very well imaged. It is almost continuous along the profile with a gentle dip (continental crust presents a well-developed accretionary prism consisting of highly deformed sediments with prominent slumping towards the trench that may be the result of past tsunamis. Also, a bottom simulating reflector (BSR) is identified in the first half a second (twtt) of the section. High amplitude reflections at around 7-8 s twtt clearly image a discontinuous Moho, defining a very gentle dipping subduction plane.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-05-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-12-01

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

  10. The 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-12-01

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

  1. 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.

  2. Multichannel Seismic Imaging of the Rivera Plate Subduction at the Seismogenic Jalisco Block Area (Western Mexican Margin)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bartolome, R.; Gorriz, E.; Danobeitia, J.; Barba, D. C., Sr.; Martí, D.; L Cameselle, A.; Nuñez-Cornu, F. J.; Bandy, W. L.; Mortera, C.; Nunez, D.; Alonso, J. L.; Castellon, A.; Prada, M.

    2016-12-01

    During the TSUJAL marine geophysical survey, conducted in February and March 2014 Spanish, Mexican and British scientists and technicians explored the western margin of Mexico, considered one of the most active seismic zones in America. This work aims to characterize the internal structure of the subduction zone of the Rivera plate beneath the North American plate in the offshore part of the Jalisco Block, to link the geodynamic and the recent tectonic deformation occurring there with the possible generation of tsunamis and earthquakes. For this purpose, it has been carried out acquisition, processing and geological interpretation of a multichannel seismic reflection profile running perpendicular to the margin. Crustal images show an oceanic domain, dominated by subduction-accretion along the lower slope of the margin with a subparallel sediment thickness of up to 1.6 s two way travel time (approx. 2 km) in the Middle American Trench. Further, from these data the region appears to be prone to giant earthquake production. The top of the oceanic crust (intraplate reflector) is very well imaged. It is almost continuous along the profile with a gentle dip (<10°); however, it is disrupted by normal faulting resulting from the bending of the plate during subduction. The continental crust presents a well-developed accretionary prism consisting of highly deformed sediments with prominent slumping towards the trench that may be the result of past tsunamis. Also, a Bottom Simulating Reflector (BSR) is identified in the first half a second (twtt) of the section. High amplitude reflections at around 7-8 s twtt clearly image a discontinuous Moho, defining a very gentle dipping subduction plane.

  3. Multichannel Seismic Imaging of the Rivera Plate Subduction at the Seismogenic Jalisco Block Area (Western Mexican Margin)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bartolome, Rafael; Górriz, Estefanía; Dañobeitia, Juanjo; Cordoba, Diego; Martí, David; Cameselle, Alejandra L.; Núñez-Cornú, Francisco; Bandy, William L.; Mortera-Gutiérrez, Carlos A.; Nuñez, Diana; Castellón, Arturo; Alonso, Jose Luis

    2016-06-01

    During the TSUJAL marine geophysical survey, conducted in February and March 2014, Spanish, Mexican and British scientists and technicians explored the western margin of Mexico, considered one of the most active seismic zones in America. This work aims to characterize the internal structure of the subduction zone of the Rivera plate beneath the North American plate in the offshore part of the Jalisco Block, to link the geodynamic and the recent tectonic deformation occurring there with the possible generation of tsunamis and earthquakes. For this purpose, it has been carried out acquisition, processing and geological interpretation of a multichannel seismic reflection profile running perpendicular to the margin. Crustal images show an oceanic domain, dominated by subduction-accretion along the lower slope of the margin with a subparallel sediment thickness of up to 1.6 s two-way travel time (approx. 2 km) in the Middle American Trench. Further, from these data the region appears to be prone to giant earthquake production. The top of the oceanic crust (intraplate reflector) is very well imaged. It is almost continuous along the profile with a gentle dip (<10°); however, it is disrupted by normal faulting resulting from the bending of the plate during subduction. The continental crust presents a well-developed accretionary prism consisting of highly deformed sediments with prominent slumping towards the trench that may be the result of past tsunamis. Also, a bottom simulating reflector (BSR) is identified in the first half a second (twtt) of the section. High amplitude reflections at around 7-8 s twtt clearly image a discontinuous Moho, defining a very gentle dipping subduction plane.

  4. Seismic tracking of geological hazards related to clay tectonics in the Southern Bight of the North Sea

    OpenAIRE

    1983-01-01

    A joint seismic exploration programme, carried out in recent years by Belgian, British, French and Danish university laboratories in the southern North Sea and Schelde estuary, has revealed various styles of clay tectonics in Eocene and Oligocene deposits. In this paper particular attention is drawn on the remarkable deformation features observed in the Ieper or London clay, which forms the subsoil of the major part of the Thames estuary and the Belgian shelf sector. Those clay structures hav...

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. Reconciling plate kinematic and seismic estimates of lithospheric convergence in the central Indian Ocean

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Bull, J.M.; DeMets, C.; Krishna, K.S.; Sanderson, D.J.; Merkouriev, S.

    these 3 predictions with new shortening estimates from seismic reflection data that are based on rotations of reversely faulted blocks. UPDATED PLATE KINEMATIC ESTIMATE The new India-Capricorn-Somalia rotations (Tables 1-3, electronic supplement... in the accompanying electronic supplement. Interval spreading rates determined from the updated Capricorn-Somalia and India-Somalia rotations (Fig. 1 in the supplement) illustrate the primary kinematic evidence for a change in India and Capricorn plate motions...

  10. Subduction of oceanic plate irregularities and seismicity distribution along the Mexican Subduction Zone

    Science.gov (United States)

    Manea, Marina; Constantin Manea, Vlad; Gerya, Taras; Wong, Raul-Valenzuela; Radulian, Mircea

    2017-04-01

    It is known that oceanic plates morphology is not a simple one, but rather complicated by a series of irregularities as seamounts, fracture zones and mid-ocean ridges. These features present on the oceanic floor form part of the fabric of oceanic crust, and once formed they move together with the oceanic plates until eventually enter a subduction zone. Offshore Mexico the oceanic Cocos plate seafloor is littered with relatively small but numerous seamounts and seamount chains, and also large fracture zones. In this study we investigate the relationship between these oceanic irregularities located in the vicinity of the trench in Mexico and the distribution of subduction seismicity, including the rupture history of large subduction zone earthquakes. Since the interseismic locking degree is influenced by the rheological properties of crustal and mantle rocks, any variations along strike will result in significant changes in seismic behavior due to a change in frictional stability. Our preliminary study shows a direct relationship between the presence of seamounts chains on the incoming oceanic plate and the subduction seismicity distribution. We also found a clear relationship between the subduction of the Tehuantepec fracture zone (TFZ) and the low seismic activity in the region where this fracture zone intersects the trench. This region is also long term conspicuously quiet and considered a seismic gap where no significant large earthquake has occurred in more than 100 years. Using high-resolution three-dimensional coupled petrological-thermomechanical numerical simulations specifically tailored for the subduction of the Cocos plate in the region of TFZ we show that the weakened serpentinized fracture zone is partially scraped out in the forearc region because of its low strength and positive buoyancy. The presence of serpentinite in the fore arc apparently lowers the degree of interseismic locking, producing a seismic gap in southern Mexico.

  11. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Seismic slip on an upper-plate normal fault during a large subduction megathrust rupture

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hicks, Stephen P.; Rietbrock, Andreas

    2016-04-01

    Quantification of stress accumulation and release during subduction zone seismic cycles requires an understanding of the distribution of fault slip during earthquakes. Reconstructions of slip are typically constrained to a single, known fault plane. Yet, slip has been shown to occur on multiple faults within the subducting plate owing to stress triggering, resulting in phenomena such as earthquake doublets. However, rapid stress triggering from the plate interface to faults in the overriding plate has not been documented before. We have analysed seismic data from the magnitude 7.1 Araucania earthquake that occurred in the Chilean subduction zone in January 2011. We find that the earthquake, which was reported as a single event in global moment tensor solutions, was instead composed of two ruptures on two separate faults. We use 3-D full waveform simulations to better constrain the centroid of the second rupture. Within 12 s, a thrust earthquake (Mw 6.8) on the plate interface triggered a second large rupture on a normal fault 30 km away in the overriding plate (Mw 6.7). We define this set of events as a 'closely spaced doublet' (CSD). This configuration of partitioned rupture is consistent with normal-faulting mechanisms in the ensuing aftershock sequence. We conclude that plate interface rupture can trigger almost instantaneous slip in the overriding plate of a subduction zone. This shallow upper-plate rupture may be masked from teleseismic data, posing a challenge for real-time tsunami warning systems.

  17. ACTIVITY AND Vp/Vs RATIO OF VOLCANO-TECTONIC SEISMIC SWARM ZONES AT NEVADO DEL RUIZ VOLCANO, COLOMBIA

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Londoño B. John Makario

    2010-06-01

    Full Text Available An analysis of the seismic activity for volcano-tectonic earthquake (VT swarms zones at Nevado del Ruiz Volcano (NRV was carried out for the interval 1985- 2002, which is the most seismic active period at NRV until now (2010. The swarm-like seismicity of NRV was frequently concentrated in very well defined clusters around the volcano. The seismic swarm zone located at the active crater was the most active during the entire time. The seismic swarm zone located to the west of the volcano suggested some relationship with the volcanic crises. It was active before and after the two eruptions occurred in November 1985 and September 1989. It is believed that this seismic activity may be used as a monitoring tool of volcanic activity. For each seismic swarm zone the Vp/Vs ratio was also calculated by grouping of earthquakes and stations. It was found that each seismic swarm zone had a distinct Vp/Vs ratio with respect to the others, except for the crater and west swarm zones, which had the same value. The average Vp/Vs ratios for the seismic swarm zones located at the active crater and to the west of the volcano are about 6-7% lower than that for the north swarm zone, and about 3% lower than that for the south swarm zone. We suggest that the reduction of the Vp/Vs ratio is due to degassing phenomena inside the central and western earthquake swarm zones, or due to the presence of microcracks inside the volcano. This supposition is in agreement with other studies of geophysics, geochemistry and drilling surveys carried out at NRV.

  18. 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

  19. 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

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

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

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

    2003-01-01

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

  1. Thermal regime from bottom simulating reflectors along the N Ecuador - S Colombia margin: relation between tectonic segmentation, thermal variation and the limit of the seismic rupture zones.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marcaillou, B.; Spence, G.; Collot, J.; Wang, K.; Ribodetti, A.

    2005-12-01

    In the North Ecuador South Columbian (NESC) convergent margin (0°N) three megathrust events, in 1942, 1958 and 1979, present rupture zones that abut one another. Multichannel seismic (MCS) reflection and bathymetric data acquired during the SISTEUR (2000) and AMADEUS (2005) cruises highlighted that the margin comprises four transverse segments (called, from south to north, the Esmeraldas, Manglares, Tumaco and Patia segments), each with clearly different tectonic and structural patterns. The central Manglares and Tumaco segments are separated by the newly discovered NW trending Manglares fault that matches the boundary between the 1958 and 1979 rupture zones. North of the fault, the fore-arc basin is shortened deformed and uplifted, while to the south the fore-arc basin, located landward of a prominent Outer Basement High (OBH), is widely subsiding and undeformed. Moreover, to the north of the Manglares fault, the underthrusting Nazca plate present an intense normal faulting is absent to the south. To investigate the relationships between seismogenesis and thermal structure along the plate boundary, we conducted thermal modelling constrained by sediment heat flow measurements and by heat flow derived from Bottom Simulating Reflectors (BSRs) on MCS lines collected during the SISTEUR and AMADEUS cruises. Just landward of the deformation front in the region of the Tumaco segment, a zone of anomalously low heat flow values is present and results in a thermal segmentation of the margin consistent with the tectonic segmentation. Finite-element thermal models carried out for each thermal segment show that: The along-strike heat flow variations are produced by changes in the age of the oceanic plate, the dip of the decollement and hydrothermal cooling due to the subduction of the strongly faulted part of the Nazca crust. The hypocenters for both the 1958 and 1979 earthquakes occurred at a depth on the interface where the temperature is ~160°C. For the seismogenic zone

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-04-24

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

  4. 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...

  5. 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

  6. Validation of tectonic models for an intraplate seismic zone, Charleston, South Carolina, with GPS geodetic data

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Talwani, P.; Kellogg, J.N.; Trenkamp, R. [South Carolina Univ., Columbia, SC (United States). Dept. of Geological Sciences

    1997-02-01

    Although the average strain rate in intraplate settings is 2--3 orders of magnitude lower than at plate boundaries, there are pockets of high strain rates within intraplate regions. The results of a Global Positioning System survey near the location of current seismicity (and the inferred location of the destructive 1886 Charleston, South Carolina earthquake) suggest that there is anomalous strain build-up occurring there. By reoccupying 1930 triangulation and 1980 GPS sites with six Trimble SST dual frequency receivers, a strain rate of 0.4 {times} 10{sup {minus}7} yr{sup {minus}1} was observed. At the 95% confidence level, this value is not significant; however, at a lower level of confidence ({approximately} 85%) it is about two orders of magnitude greater than the background of 10{sup {minus}9} to 10{sup {minus}10} yr{sup {minus}1}. The direction of contraction inferred from the GPS survey 66{degree} {+-} 11{degree} is in excellent agreement with the direction of the maximum horizontal stress (N 60{degree} E) in the area, suggesting that the observed strain rate is also real. 66 refs.

  7. Recovering physical property information from subduction plate boundaries using 3D full-waveform seismic inversion

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bell, R. E.; Morgan, J. V.; Warner, M.

    2013-12-01

    Our understanding of subduction margin seismogenesis has been revolutionised in the last couple of decades with the discovery that the size of the seismogenic zone may not be controlled simply by temperature and a broad spectrum of seismic behaviour exists from stick-slip to stable sliding. Laboratory and numerical experiments suggest that physical properties, particularly fluid pressure may play an important role in controlling the seismic behaviour of subduction margins. Although drilling can provide information on physical properties along subduction thrust faults at point locations at relatively shallow depths, correlations between physical properties and seismic velocity using rock physics relationships are required to resolve physical properties along the margin and down-dip. Therefore, high resolution seismic velocity models are key to recovering physical property information at subduction plate boundaries away from drill sites. 3D Full waveform inversion (FWI) is a technique pioneered by the oil industry to obtain high-resolution high-fidelity models of physical properties in the sub-surface. 3D FWI involves the inversion of low-frequency (>2 to noise and inverted the windowed transmitted arrivals only. We also ran a suite of resolution tests across the model. The results show that 3D FWI of conventionally collected 3D seismic data across the Muroto Basin would be capable of resolving variations in P-wave velocity along the décollement of the order of half the seismic wavelength at the plate boundary. This is a significant improvement on conventional travel-time tomography which resolves to the Fresnel width. In this presentation we will also postulate on the optimal 3D FWI experiment design for the next generation of 3D seismic surveys across subduction margins as a guide for those embarking on new data collection.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. Upper mantle structure of the Pacific and Philippine Sea plates revealed by seafloor seismic array observations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Isse, Takehi; Shiobara, Hajime; Suetsugu, Daisuke; Sugioka, Hiroko; Ito, Aki

    2016-04-01

    Seismic tomography studies have revealed the structure and dynamics of Earth's interior since the 1980s. However, the spatial resolution of the oceanic region is not good enough caused by sparse distribution of the seismic stations. The observations with broadband ocean-bottom seismographs (BBOBSs) since the 2000s enabled us to obtain seismic tomography models with higher spatial resolution. Our Japanese BBOBS group deployed more than 100 BBOBSs in the Pacific Ocean and obtained a high-resolution (300-500 km) three-dimensional shear wave velocity structure in the upper mantle beneath northwestern and south Pacific Ocean by using surface wave tomography technique. In the northwestern Pacific Ocean, where the Pacific plate subducts beneath the Philippine Sea plate, we found that the shear wave structure in the Philippine sea plate is well correlated with the seafloor age in the upper 120 km, three separate slow anomalies in the mantle wedge at depth shallower than 100 km beneath the Izu-Bonin-Mariana arc, which have a close relationship with the three groups of frontal and rear arc volcanoes having distinct Sr, Nd, and Pb isotope ratios, and that the Philippine Sea plate, which is a single plate, shows very large lateral variations in azimuthal and radial anisotropies compared with the Pacific plate. In the South Pacific Ocean, where midplate hotspots are concentrated, we found that the localized slow anomalies are found near hotspots in the upper mantle, estimated thickness of the lithosphere is about 90 km in average and is thinned by ~20 km in the vicinity of hotspots, which may represent thermal erosion due to mantle plumes.

  16. Along-strike Deformation in Quaternary Valleys of Tropical NW Borneo: Implications for Active Tectonics, Seismicity and Geomorphology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sautter, B.; Mathew, M. J.; Menier, D.; Pubellier, M. F.; Sapin, F.; Siddiqui, N.

    2015-12-01

    tectonics and the associated normal faulting are interpreted as a collapse in response to a post-slab break-off isostatic rebound during (10Myr to 4Myr) and after (1.9Myr to present) the collision. Finally, we propose a simplified tectonic model highlighting the predominant driving mechanism that initiated tectonic rejuvenation and seismicity.

  17. 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.

  18. Seismicity and seismotectonics of the diffusive Iberian/African plate boundary: Horseshoe Abyssal Plain and Gorringe Bank

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grevemeyer, Ingo; Lange, Dietrich; Matias, Luis

    2014-05-01

    In the area to the west of the Gibraltar Arc the plate boundary between Africa and Iberia is poorly defined. The deformation in the area is forced by the slow NW-SE convergence of 4 mm/yr between the oceanic domains of Iberia/Eurasia and Africa and is accommodated over a 200 km broad tectonically-active deformation zone. The region, however, is also characterized by large earthquakes and tsunamis, such as the 1969 Mw=7.9 Horseshoe Abyssal Plain earthquake and the November 1, 1755 Great Lisbon earthquake with an estimated magnitude of Mw~8.5. The exact location of the source of the 1755 Lisbon earthquake is still unknown. Recent work may suggest that the event occurred in the vicinity of the Horseshoe fault, an oblique thrust fault. However, estimates of tsunami arrival times suggested a source near the Gorringe Bank, a ~180 km-long and ~70 km-wide ridge that has a relieve of ~5000 m. Deep Sea Drilling (DSDP) and rock samples indicated that the bank is mainly composed of serpentinized peridotites with gabbroic intrusions, perhaps being created by overthrusting of the Horseshoe Abyssal Plain onto the Tagus Abyssal Plain in NW direction. Further, the Horseshoe Abyssal Plain is marked by the presence of compressive structures with a roughly NE-SW orientation and E-W trending, segmented, crustal-scale, strike slip faults that extend from the Gorringe Bank to the Gibraltar Arc in the eastern Gulf of Cadiz, which were called "South West Iberian Margin" or SWIM faults. The fault system may mark a developing Eurasia-Africa plate boundary. Two local seismic networks were operated in the area. First, a network of 14 ocean-bottom seismometers (OBS) was operated between April and October 2012 in the vicinity of the Horseshoe fault between 10°W to 11°W, and 35°50'N to 36°10'N. From October 2013 to March 2014 a second network of 15 OBS monitored seismicity at the Gorringe Bank. Both networks benefitted from seismic stations operated in Portugal. The first network provided in

  19. Seismicity of the diffusive Iberian/African plate boundary at the eastern terminus of the Azores-Gibraltar Transform fault

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lange, D.; Grevemeyer, I.; Matias, L. M.

    2014-12-01

    The plate boundary at the eastern terminus of the Azores-Gibraltar transform fault between Africa and Iberia is poorly defined. The deformation in the area is forced by the slow NW-SE convergence of 4 mm/yr between the oceanic domains of Iberia/Eurasia and Africa and is accommodated over a 200 km broad tectonically-active deformation zone. The region, however, is also characterized by large earthquakes, such as the 1969 Mw=7.9 Horseshoe event and the November 1, 1755 Great Lisbon earthquake with an estimated magnitude of Mw~8.5. The exact location of the source of the 1755 Lisbon earthquake is still unknown. Recent work may suggest that the event occurred in the vicinity of the Horseshoe fault, an oblique thrust fault. However, estimates of tsunami arrival times suggested a source near the Gorringe Bank, a ~180 km-long and ~70 km-wide ridge that has a relieve of ~5000 m. Deep Sea Drilling (DSDP) and rock samples indicated that the bank is mainly composed of serpentinized peridotites with gabbroic intrusions, perhaps being created by overthrusting of the Horseshoe Abyssal Plain onto the Tagus Abyssal Plain in NW direction. Further, the Horseshoe Abyssal Plain is marked by the presence of compressive structures with a roughly NE-SW orientation and E-W trending, segmented, crustal-scale, strike slip faults that extend from the Gorringe Bank to the Gibraltar Arc in the eastern Gulf of Cadiz, which were called "South West Iberian Margin" or SWIM faults. The fault system may mark a developing Eurasia-Africa plate boundary. Two local seismic networks were operated in the area. First, a network of 14 ocean-bottom seismometers (OBS) was operated between April and October 2012 in the vicinity of the Horseshoe fault between 10°W to 11°W, and 35°50'N to 36°10'N. From October 2013 to March 2014 a second network of 15 OBS monitored seismicity at the Gorringe Bank. Both networks benefitted from seismic stations operated in Portugal. The first network provided in the order of

  20. Structure and Local Seismicity From the Incoming Nazca Plate in the Southern Chile Subduction Zone

    Science.gov (United States)

    Scherwath, M.; Grevemeyer, I.; Flueh, E.; Contreras-Reyes, E.; Tilmann, F.; Kaul, N.; Weinrebe, W.

    2005-12-01

    Lithospheric deformation near the Chile Triple Junction is under investigation in the TIPTEQ (from The Incoming Plate to mega-Thrust EarthQuake processes) project. During R/V Sonne cruise SO181 (December 2004 to February 2005) various geophysical and geological data sets along several large transects across differently aged subducting oceanic lithosphere were acquired. TIPTEQ aims at studying the influence of the incoming plate on the seismogenic zone in the area of the 1960 great Chile earthquake (Mw=9.5), in particular the effects of the thermal regime (i.e., age).We compare structure and local seismicity on two of these transects, one where the incoming oceanic Nazca Plate was formed 6.5 Ma ago, the other 14.5 Ma in age at the trench, thus both of different thermal states. New magnetic data show that the older lithosphere was generated at a spreading rate of 40 mm/a compared to 25 mm/a for the younger one, yet the current convergence of both sections with the South American Plate is about the same (~80 mm/a). Bathymetric and vertical incidence seismic data show smooth and thicker sediments at the older transect whereas the rugged basement of the younger line is less covered, though the sedimentary thickness at the trench is ~2 km in both locations. The crust of the older transect is slightly thicker, shows a clear outer rise, and subducts at a slightly steeper angle than the younger line. On the latter, where the outer rise bulge has not yet been developed, the outer rise seismicity rate is higher and more concentrated in the crust. The local seismicity in the older region is less frequent and occurs predominantly in the upper mantle (see also Tilmann et al., this conference).

  1. Anatomy of the western Java plate interface from depth-migrated seismic images

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kopp, H.; Hindle, D.; Klaeschen, D.; Oncken, O.; Reichert, C.; Scholl, D.

    2009-01-01

    Newly pre-stack depth-migrated seismic images resolve the structural details of the western Java forearc and plate interface. The structural segmentation of the forearc into discrete mechanical domains correlates with distinct deformation styles. Approximately 2/3 of the trench sediment fill is detached and incorporated into frontal prism imbricates, while the floor sequence is underthrust beneath the d??collement. Western Java, however, differs markedly from margins such as Nankai or Barbados, where a uniform, continuous d??collement reflector has been imaged. In our study area, the plate interface reveals a spatially irregular, nonlinear pattern characterized by the morphological relief of subducted seamounts and thicker than average patches of underthrust sediment. The underthrust sediment is associated with a low velocity zone as determined from wide-angle data. Active underplating is not resolved, but likely contributes to the uplift of the large bivergent wedge that constitutes the forearc high. Our profile is located 100 km west of the 2006 Java tsunami earthquake. The heterogeneous d??collement zone regulates the friction behavior of the shallow subduction environment where the earthquake occurred. The alternating pattern of enhanced frictional contact zones associated with oceanic basement relief and weak material patches of underthrust sediment influences seismic coupling and possibly contributed to the heterogeneous slip distribution. Our seismic images resolve a steeply dipping splay fault, which originates at the d??collement and terminates at the sea floor and which potentially contributes to tsunami generation during co-seismic activity. ?? 2009 Elsevier B.V.

  2. Statistical Seismology Studies in Central America : b-value, seismic hazard and seismic quiescence

    OpenAIRE

    2003-01-01

    The present thesis collects results of research applying theory and methods of statistical seismology to the seismicity of Central America, a region with a complex tectonic setting controlled by the interaction of four major plates, namely the Caribbean, Cocos, Nazca and North American plates. Three different earthquake catalogues were used for studies focused on stress in a tectonic volume, seismic hazard maps and seismicity patterns (precursors), covering the region 94ºW to 81ºW and 5ºN to ...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-05-01

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

  4. 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.

  5. The northern Caribbean plate boundary in the Jamaica Passage: Structure and seismic stratigraphy

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-04-01

    Multibeam bathymetry data and multichannel seismic reflection profiles have been collected at the end of 2012 along the Enriquillo-Plantain-Garden Fault Zone (EPGFZ) in the Jamaica Passage, between Jamaica and Hispaniola. Analysis of the data set reveals the tectonic evolution and the stratigraphic complexity of the northern Caribbean boundary. Stratigraphic correlations with previous marine and on land studies are proposed to place the identified seismic sequences in their regional tectonic history. Two distinct crustal domains are interpreted. Typical stratigraphic sequences for the rifted blocks of the Eastern Cayman Trough margin are identified in five basins of the Jamaica Passage, highlighting the eastward limit of the Cayman Trough margin. These inherited basins are deformed and folded during a first phase of compression that could correspond to the regional tectonic rearrangement recorded in the early Miocene (about 20 Ma). A distinct crustal domain that we propose to relate to the Carib Beds (Caribbean typical reflectors A″, B″ and V) is identified in the southern part of the Jamaica Passage, indicating that the Caribbean Large Igneous Province could extend up to the extreme northeast part of the Lower Nicaragua Rise. The left-lateral EPGFZ currently cuts across two pre-existing basins, the Morant and Matley basins. During the activity of the EPGFZ, these basins are deformed and folded indicating a second phase of compression. In contrast, the Navassa basin, located in the middle of the Jamaica Passage, results from the strike-slip motion of the EPGFZ and is interpreted as an asymmetrical basin bordered by the EPGFZ only on its northern side.

  6. 板式楼梯抗震分析%Seismic Analysis of Plate Staircase

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    冷雪睿

    2011-01-01

    本文结合算例,对地震力作用下钢筋混凝土框架结构设板式楼梯和不设板式楼梯两种情况进行对比分析,从而得出在地震力作用下板式楼梯构件对钢筋混凝土框架结构的影响和板式楼梯构件在地震力作用下的受力情况.%Combining with the examples,this paper compared and analyzed two cases;seismic force setting up plate staircase in reinforced concrete frames structure and without plate staircase under earthquake force,so that got the impact of plate staircase to the reinforced concrete frames structure and the stress tate of reinforced concrete frames under earthquake force.

  7. Seismicity of the Earth 1900-2010 Mexico and vicinity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rhea, Susan; Dart, Richard L.; Villaseñor, Antonio; Hayes, Gavin P.; Tarr, Arthur C.; Furlong, Kevin P.; Benz, Harley M.

    2011-01-01

    Mexico, located in one of the world's most seismically active regions, lies on three large tectonic plates: the North American plate, Pacific plate, and Cocos plate. The relative motion of these tectonic plates causes frequent earthquakes and active volcanism and mountain building. Mexico's most seismically active region is in southern Mexico where the Cocos plate is subducting northwestward beneath Mexico creating the deep Middle America trench. The Gulf of California, which extends from approximately the northern terminus of the Middle America trench to the U.S.-Mexico border, overlies the plate boundary between the Pacific and North American plates where the Pacific plate is moving northwestward relative to the North American plate. This region of transform faulting is the southern extension of the well-known San Andreas Fault system.

  8. Seismic scattering and absorption mapping of debris flows, feeding paths, and tectonic units at Mount St. Helens volcano

    Science.gov (United States)

    De Siena, L.; Calvet, M.; Watson, K. J.; Jonkers, A. R. T.; Thomas, C.

    2016-05-01

    Frequency-dependent peak-delay times and coda quality factors have been used jointly to separate seismic absorption from scattering quantitatively in Earth media at regional and continental scale; to this end, we measure and map these two quantities at Mount St. Helens volcano. The results show that we can locate and characterize volcanic and geological structures using their unique contribution to seismic attenuation. At 3 Hz a single high-scattering and high-absorption anomaly outlines the debris flows that followed the 1980 explosive eruption, as deduced by comparison with remote sensing imagery. The flows overlay a NNW-SSE interface, separating rocks of significant varying properties down to 2-4 km, and coinciding with the St. Helens Seismic Zone. High-scattering and high-absorption anomalies corresponding to known locations of magma emplacement follow this signature under the volcano, showing the important interconnections between its feeding systems and the regional tectonic boundaries. With frequency increasing from 6 to 18 Hz the NNW-SSE tectonic/feeding trends rotate around an axis centered on the volcano in the direction of the regional-scale magmatic arc (SW-NE). While the aseismic high-scattering region WSW of the volcano shows no evidence of high absorption, the regions of highest-scattering and absorption are consistently located at all frequencies under either the eastern or the south-eastern flank of the volcanic edifice. From the comparison with the available geological and geophysical information we infer that these anomalies mark both the location and the trend of the main feeding systems at depths greater than 4 km.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-12-01

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

  10. Numerical simulations of temperature, dehydration, and flow fields associated with subduction of the Cocos plate, and its relation to the occurrence of interplate seismic events in southern Mexico

    Science.gov (United States)

    Suenaga, N.; Ji, Y.; Yoshioka, S.; Manea, M.; Manea, V. C.

    2016-12-01

    In southern Mexico, tectonic tremors mainly occur in the "flat slab region, and the last three SSEs in southern Mexico occurred in the shallower region. Besides, there are two seismic gaps of megathrust earthquakes in Guerrero and Oaxaca. To investigate generation mechanisms of megathrust earthquakes, tectonic tremors, and slow slip events (SSEs) in southern Mexico, we performed three-dimensional numerical simulations of temperature and mantle flow associated with subduction of the Cocos plate, and estimated dehydrated water content from the subducting plate. Here we considered retreat of the Middle American trench initiating about 16 Ma as one of the generation mechanisms of the slab flattening. In our model, we introduced the trench retreat effect during only a certain period between 16 Ma and present in order to best fit the observed heat flow data (from Global Heat Flow Database) as well as Curie point depths defined by the 580 ° isotherm. Our preliminary results show that trench rollback has a strong influence on temperature distribution. Models with trench rollback induce a weaker mantle wedge convection cell compared with models with stationary trench. Other parameter that is currently investigated in this study is the rate of trench retreat.

  11. Tectonic Inversion Along the Algerian and Ligurian Margins: On the Insight Provided By Latest Seismic Processing Techniques Applied to Recent and Vintage 2D Offshore Multichannel Seismic Data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schenini, L.; Beslier, M. O.; Sage, F.; Badji, R.; Galibert, P. Y.; Lepretre, A.; Dessa, J. X.; Aidi, C.; Watremez, L.

    2014-12-01

    Recent studies on the Algerian and the North-Ligurian margins in the Western Mediterranean have evidenced inversion-related superficial structures, such as folds and asymmetric sedimentary perched basins whose geometry hints at deep compressive structures dipping towards the continent. Deep seismic imaging of these margins is difficult due to steep slope and superficial multiples, and, in the Mediterranean context, to the highly diffractive Messinian evaporitic series in the basin. During the Algerian-French SPIRAL survey (2009, R/V Atalante), 2D marine multi-channel seismic (MCS) reflection data were collected along the Algerian Margin using a 4.5 km, 360 channel digital streamer and a 3040 cu. in. air-gun array. An advanced processing workflow has been laid out using Geocluster CGG software, which includes noise attenuation, 2D SRME multiple attenuation, surface consistent deconvolution, Kirchhoff pre-stack time migration. This processing produces satisfactory seismic images of the whole sedimentary cover, and of southward dipping reflectors in the acoustic basement along the central part of the margin offshore Great Kabylia, that are interpreted as inversion-related blind thrusts as part of flat-ramp systems. We applied this successful processing workflow to old 2D marine MCS data acquired on the North-Ligurian Margin (Malis survey, 1995, R/V Le Nadir), using a 2.5 km, 96 channel streamer and a 1140 cu. in. air-gun array. Particular attention was paid to multiple attenuation in adapting our workflow. The resulting reprocessed seismic images, interpreted with a coincident velocity model obtained by wide-angle data tomography, provide (1) enhanced imaging of the sedimentary cover down to the top of the acoustic basement, including the base of the Messinian evaporites and the sub-salt Miocene series, which appear to be tectonized as far as in the mid-basin, and (2) new evidence of deep crustal structures in the margin which the initial processing had failed to

  12. 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.

  13. Seismicity study of volcano-tectonic in and around Tangkuban Parahu active volcano in West Java region, Indonesia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ry, Rexha V.; Priyono, A.; Nugraha, A. D.; Basuki, A.

    2016-05-01

    Tangkuban Parahu is one of the active volcano in Indonesia located about 15 km northern part of Bandung city. The objective of this study is to investigate the seismic activity in the time periods of January 2013 to December 2013. First, we identified seismic events induced by volcano-tectonic activities. These micro-earthquake events were identified as having difference of P-wave and S-wave arrival times less than three seconds. Then, we constrained its location of hypocenter to locate the source of the activities. Hypocenter determination was performed using adaptive simulated annealing method. Using these results, seismic tomographic inversions were conducted to image the three-dimensional velocity structure of Vp, Vs, and the Vp/Vs ratio. In this study, 278 micro-earthquake events have been identified and located. Distribution of hypocenters around Tangkuban Parahu volcano forms an alignment structure and may be related to the stress induced by magma below, also movement of shallow magma below Domas Crater. Our preliminary tomographic inversion results indicate the presences of low Vp, high Vs, and low Vp/Vs ratio that associate to accumulated young volcanic eruption products and hot material zones.

  14. Detection of Reflected Waves from Plate Boundary Using ACROSS Source and Seismic Array

    Science.gov (United States)

    Soma, T.; Watanabe, T.; Ikuta, R.; Saiga, A.; Miyajima, R.; Yamaoka, K.; Tsuruga, K.; Kunitomo, T.; Hasada, Y.; Kasahara, J.; Satomura, M.; Kumazawa, M.; Fujii, N.

    2005-12-01

    ACROSS (Accurately Controlled and Routinely Operated Signal System) is effective in monitoring temporary changes of Earth's interior. A long-term operation experiment near Nojima fault [Ikuta et al.,2004] detected small temporary changes of travel time of P and S waves at tele-seismic events. Toward Tokai monitoring plan to detect the reflected phases from the top of Philippine Sea Plate and monitor its temporal changes, a mid-term continuous experiment was conducted using ACROSS source and a seismic array. The experiment was operated for the period from Dec. 2004 to Sep.2005 in the Tokai area, Pacific side of the central part of Japan. In this region, the expected Tokai earthquake is a serious concern. In addition, slow slip events and low-frequency tremors are observed in this area. A strong reflected phase from the plate boundary was found by the seismic observation using artificial sources [Iidaka et al.,2003]. The purpose of the experiment is to establish a method to detect and monitor the reflection from the plate boundary using ACROSS. The ACROSS source is located in Toki city and operated by Tono Geoscience Center. The ACROSS source continuously transmits precisely-controlled frequency-modulated signals whose frequency band ranges from 10 to 20 Hz with an interval of 50 seconds. We deployed a short-span seismic array at the distance of 55 km from the ACROSS source. The cross-shaped seismic array spanning 2 km consists of 12 seismometers equipped with an offline data logger, amplifier and solarpanel. We stacked the received signal for a month with an interval of 200 seconds in order to improve signal noise ratio. We extracted a series of line spectrum of ACROSS signal. Transfer function can be obtained by dividing spectrum by the source. Applying inverse Fourier transform, we can obtain the transfer function in time-domain. We identified direct P and S phases by comparing with the standard travel time table by JMA. We also found some coherent later phases

  15. Seismicity and active tectonics at Coloumbo Reef (Aegean Sea, Greece): Monitoring an active volcano at Santorini Volcanic Center using a temporary seismic network

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dimitriadis, I.; Karagianni, E.; Panagiotopoulos, D.; Papazachos, C.; Hatzidimitriou, P.; Bohnhoff, M.; Rische, M.; Meier, T.

    2009-02-01

    The volcanic center of Santorini Island is the most active volcano of the southern Aegean volcanic arc. Α dense seismic array consisting of fourteen portable broadband seismological stations has been deployed in order to monitor and study the seismo-volcanic activity at the broader area of the Santorini volcanic center between March 2003 and September 2003. Additional recordings from a neighbouring larger scale temporary network (CYCNET) were also used for the relocation of more than 240 earthquakes recorded by both arrays. A double-difference relocation technique was used, in order to obtain optimal focal parameters for the best-constrained earthquakes. The results indicate that the seismic activity of the Santorini volcanic center is strongly associated with the tectonic regime of the broader Southern Aegean Sea area as well as with the volcanic processes. The main cluster of the epicenters is located at the Coloumbo Reef, a submarine volcano of the volcanic system of Santorini Islands. A smaller cluster of events is located near the Anydros Islet, aligned in a NE-SW direction, running almost along the main tectonic feature of the area under study, the Santorini-Amorgos Fault Zone. In contrast, the main Santorini Island caldera is characterized by the almost complete absence of seismicity. This contrast is in very good agreement with recent volcanological and marine studies, with the Coloumbo volcanic center showing an intense high-temperature hydrothermal activity, in comparison to the corresponding low-level activity of the Santorini caldera. The high-resolution hypocentral relocations present a clear view of the volcanic submarine structure at the Coloumbo Reef, showing that the main seismic activity is located within a very narrow vertical column, mainly at depths between 6 and 9 km. The focal mechanisms of the best-located events show that the cluster at the Coloumbo Reef is associated with the "Kameni-Coloumbo Fracture Zone", which corresponds to the

  16. Topography and tectonics of the central New Madrid seismic zone: Results of numerical experiements using a three-dimensional boundary element program

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gomberg, Joan; Ellis, Michael

    1994-01-01

    We present results of a series of numerical experiments designed to test hypothetical mechanisms that derive deformation in the New Madrid seismic zone. Experiments are constrained by subtle topography and the distribution of seismicity in the region. We use a new boundary element algorithm that permits calcuation of the three-dimensional deformation field. Surface displacement fields are calculated for the New Madrid zone under both far-field (plate tectonics scale) and locally derived driving strains. Results demonstrate that surface displacement fields cannot distinguish between either a far-field simple or pure shear strain field or one that involves a deep shear zone beneath the upper crustal faults. Thus, neither geomorphic nor geodetic studies alone are expected to reveal the ultimate driving mechanism behind the present-day deformation. We have also tested hypotheses about strain accommodation within the New Madrid contractional step-over by including linking faults, two southwest dipping and one vertical, recently inferred from microearthquake data. Only those models with step-over faults are able to predict the observed topography. Surface displacement fields for long-term, relaxed deformation predict the distribution of uplift and subsidence in the contractional step-over remarkably well. Generation of these displacement fields appear to require slip on both the two northeast trending vertical faults and the two dipping faults in the step-over region, with very minor displacements occurring during the interseismic period when the northeast trending vertical faults are locked. These models suggest that the gently dippling central step-over fault is a reverse fault and that the steeper fault, extending to the southeast of the step-over, acts as a normal fault over the long term.

  17. Topography and tectonics of the central New Madrid seismic zone: Results of numerical experiements using a three-dimensional boundary element program

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gomberg, Joan; Ellis, Michael

    1994-01-01

    We present results of a series of numerical experiments designed to test hypothetical mechanisms that derive deformation in the New Madrid seismic zone. Experiments are constrained by subtle topography and the distribution of seismicity in the region. We use a new boundary element algorithm that permits calcuation of the three-dimensional deformation field. Surface displacement fields are calculated for the New Madrid zone under both far-field (plate tectonics scale) and locally derived driving strains. Results demonstrate that surface displacement fields cannot distinguish between either a far-field simple or pure shear strain field or one that involves a deep shear zone beneath the upper crustal faults. Thus, neither geomorphic nor geodetic studies alone are expected to reveal the ultimate driving mechanism behind the present-day deformation. We have also tested hypotheses about strain accommodation within the New Madrid contractional step-over by including linking faults, two southwest dipping and one vertical, recently inferred from microearthquake data. Only those models with step-over faults are able to predict the observed topography. Surface displacement fields for long-term, relaxed deformation predict the distribution of uplift and subsidence in the contractional step-over remarkably well. Generation of these displacement fields appear to require slip on both the two northeast trending vertical faults and the two dipping faults in the step-over region, with very minor displacements occurring during the interseismic period when the northeast trending vertical faults are locked. These models suggest that the gently dippling central step-over fault is a reverse fault and that the steeper fault, extending to the southeast of the step-over, acts as a normal fault over the long term.

  18. 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

  19. Seismic Tomography of the Arabian-Eurasian Collision Zone and Surrounding Areas

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-05-20

    current tectonics of the region are controlled by the collision and continuing convergence of the Arabian and Eurasian plates . The Arabian and...in the Arabian Plate and surrounding regions, Geophys. J. Int. 157: 775–795. Alinaghi, A., I. Koulakov, and H. Thybo (2007). Seismic tomographic...Tectonophysics 50: 307–336. Brune, J. N. (1970). Tectonic stress and the spectra of seismic shear waves from earthquakes, J. Geophys. Res. 75, 4997-5009. Cong

  20. Holocene Pacific North American plate interaction in southern Alaska: Implications for the Yakataga seismic gap

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lahr, John C.; Plafker, George

    1980-10-01

    The St. Elias, Alaska, earthquake (magnitude 7.1 Ms) on February 28, 1979, occurred along the complex Pacific North American plate boundary between Yakutat Bay and Prince William Sound, rupturing only a fraction of the seismic gap identified in that region. To aid in evaluating the potential for, and likely site of, a future earthquake occurring in the remainder of the gap, we have formulated a kinematic model of neotectonic deformation in southern Alaska from available geologic and seismic data. In this model the part of the North American plate bordering on the Gulf of Alaska is divided into three subblocks, which are partially coupled to the Pacific plate. On the basis of the model, the gap-filling rupture or ruptures would most likely be along the north-dipping thrust faults of the Pamplona zone between Icy Bay and the eastern end of the Aleutian Trench. If the accumulated strain of 3.8 m postulated for this region were released suddenly in one event involving the remainder of the gap, the result would be an earthquake as large as magnitude 8.

  1. Holocene Pacific - North American plate interaction in southern Alaska: implications for the Yakataga seismic gap.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lahr, J.C.; Plafker, G.

    1980-01-01

    The St. Elias, Alaska, earthquake (magnitude 7.1 MS) on February 28, 1979, occurred along the complex Pacific-North American plate boundary between Yakutat Bay and Prince William Sound, rupturing only a fraction of the seismic gap identified in that region. To aid in evaluating the potential for, and likely site of, a future earthquake occurring in the remainder of the gap, we have formulated a kinematic model of neotectonic deformation in southern Alaska from available geologic and seismic data. In this model the part of the North American plate bordering on the Gulf of Alaska is divided into three subblocks, which are partially coupled to the Pacific plate. On the basis of the model, the gap-filling rupture or ruptures would most likely be along the north-dipping thrust faults of the Pamplona zone between Icy Bay and the eastern end of the Aleutian Trench. If the accumulated strain of 3.8 m postulated for this region were released suddenly in one event involving the remainder of the gap, the result would be an earthquake as large as magnitude 8. -Authors

  2. Tectonics and seismicity of the Apulian Ridge south of Salento peninsula (Southern Italy)

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Argnani, A.; Ligi, M. [Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Istituto per la Geologia Marina, Bologna (Italy); Frugoni, F. [Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Rome (Italy); Cosi, R. [Coastal Consulting and Exploration Srl, Gallipoli, LE (Italy); Favali, P. [Chieti Univ. G. D' Annunzio, Chieti (Italy). Dipt. di Scienze della Terra

    2001-06-01

    Multichannel reflection seismic data were acquired south of the Salento peninsula, in an area where crustal seismicity has been recorded. Seismic profiles show the presence of small grabens bounded by extensional faults with NW-SE direction. These grabens are filled with Plio-Quaternary sediments and represent the prolongation of the grabens located onshore in the Salento peninsula. Outer arc extension due to flexuring of the Adriatic-Apulian lithosphere under the double load of the Hellenides and Apennines-Calabrian arc is thought to have originated these grabens. The Adriatic-Apulian continental lithosphere presents a very small radius of curvature and a decoupling between upper crust and mantle lithosphere is expected. Inner arc compression within the upper crust may be responsible for the seismicity recorded in the area.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lenardic, A.; Kaula, W. M.

    1993-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bercovici, David

    1995-01-01

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

  5. Neoarchaean tectonic history of the Witwatersrand Basin and Ventersdorp Supergroup: New constraints from high-resolution 3D seismic reflection data

    CSIR Research Space (South Africa)

    Manzi, MSD

    2013-04-01

    Full Text Available of thrusts and faults, the gross structural architecture and Neoarchaean tectonic evolution of the West Rand and Bank fault zones, which offset the gold-bearing reefs of the basin. The merging of several 3D seismic surveys made clear the gross strato...

  6. Features of Seismicity in the Northeastern China Region and Their Relation to the Subduction of the Japan Sea Plate

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Sun Wenbin; He Yueshi

    2004-01-01

    Based on the analyses of grouped activity features of deep-focus (M ≥ 6.0) and shallow-focus(Ms ≥ 5.0) earthquakes in the Northeast China region, the time-space correlation betweendeep focus "strong earthquake group" and shallow focus "strong earthquake group" have beenstudied. The study was mainly on the characteristics of earthquake distribution on the collisionzone between the west Pacific plate and the Eurasian plate and on its relations to themorphological feature of the western Pacific subduction zone. Moreover, emphasis was laid onanalysis of the effect of the west Pacific plate on the seismicity of Eurasian plate. It is shownthat in the region where the west Pacific plate subducts at low angles, the seismicity on theplate collision zone is strong, the effect of plate subduction on Eurasian continent is strong too,and the subduction zone is under a state of high compressional stress. However, in the regionwhere the west Pacific plate subducts at high angles, the seismicity along the plate collision zoneis weak, the effect of plate subduction on Eurasian continent is weak too, and the tensile stressproduced by the subduction zone at depth is enhanced. We therefore propose that the seismicityin the northeast China region will enter an active period of shallow "strong earthquake group"in the future 10 years. In the period, six earthquakes of Ms ≥5.0 may occur. Therefore, the work of earthquake monitoring and prediction in this region shall be strengthened.

  7. Seismicity and structure of Nazca Plate subduction zone in southern Peru

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lim, H.; Kim, Y.; Clayton, R. W.

    2015-12-01

    We image the Nazca plate subduction zone system by detecting and (re)locating intra-slab earthquakes in southern Peru. Dense seismic arrays (PeruSE, 2013) were deployed along four lines to target geophysical characterization of the subduction system in the transition zone between flat and normal dipping segments of the Nazca plate (2-15°S). The arc volcanism is absent near the flat slab segment, and currently, the correlation between the location of the active volcanic front and corresponding slab depth is neither clear nor consistent between previously published models from seismicity. We detect 620 local earthquakes from August 2008 to February 2013 by manually picking 6559 and 4145 arrival times for P- and S-phases, respectively. We observe that the S-phase data is helpful to reduce the trade-off between origin time and depth of deeper earthquakes (>100 km). Earthquake locations are relocated to constrain the Nazca slab-mantle interface in the slab-dip transition zone using 7322 measurements of differential times of nearby earthquake pairs by waveform cross-correlation. We also employ the double-difference tomography (Zhang and Thurber, 2003) to further improve earthquake source locations and the spatial resolution of the velocity structure simultaneously. The relocated hypocenters clearly delineate the dipping Wadati-Benioff zone in the slab-dip transition zone between the shallow- (25°) to-flat dipping slab segment in the north and the normal (40°) dipping segment in the south. The intermediate-depth seismicity in the flat slab region stops at a depth of ~100 km and a horizontal distance of ~400 km from the trench. We find a significant slab-dip difference (up to 10°) between our relocated seismicity and previously published slab models along the profile region sampling the normal-dip slab at depth (>100 km).

  8. Seismic Structure Related to the Philippine Sea Plate Subduction beneath the Nansei-Shoto (Ryukyu) Trench

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nishizawa, A.; Kaneda, K.; Oikawa, M.; Horiuchi, D.; Fujioka, Y.; Okada, C.

    2016-12-01

    The Philippine Sea plate (PHS) subduction develops a trench-arc-backarc system at the Nansei-Shoto island arc, southwest of Japan. Its backarc basin, the Okinawa Trough, is the only area around Japan where rifting has been observed at present. In the north of the Nansei-Shoto island arc, the PHS with large bathymetric highs (e.g. the Amami Plateau and the Daito Ridge) subducts approximately perpendicularly to the trench axis. In the southwest, the PHS obliquely subducts with linear seafloor topographies such as the Okinawa-Luzon fracture zone and the Gagua Ridge. We conducted multichannel seismic reflection and wide-angle seismic surveys to obtain inhomogeneous crustal structures related to such complex features of the plate subduction. The seismic lines that we shot across the Nansei-Shoto arc, consisted of two lines in the north and five lines in the southwest. We also shot two along-arc lines in the island arc and forearc areas in the southwest. Since we could not constrain the crustal structure deeper than 10 km precisely by a tomographic inversion of first arrival traveltimes, we carried out two-dimensional forward modeling using several reflection signals from the inner crust and Moho discontinuity. As a result, a middle crust with P wave velocity (Vp) of 5.9-6.5 km/s was detected between an upper and lower crust beneath the arc for all the seismic lines. However, the inner crustal structure largely differs depending on the survey lines. Distribution of low Vp forearc accretionary wedge also varies regionally along the trench axis. High Vp of 4-5 km/s within 2 km below the seafloor and Vp larger than 6 km/s just on the subducting plate boundary characterize the forearc at 125-127 E in the southwest region, which corresponds distinctive high free-air gravity anomaly. We could also obtain clear seismic images of the subducting bathymetric highs in the north and the Okinawa-Luzon fracture zone in the southwest.

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 3-D thermo-mechanical laboratory modeling of plate-tectonics: modeling scheme, technique and first experiments

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    D. Boutelier

    2011-05-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Solomon, S. C.

    1980-01-01

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

  13. The flat to normal subduction transition study to obtain the Nazca plate morphology using high resolution seismicity data from the Nazca plate in Central Chile

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nacif, Silvina; Triep, Enrique G.; Spagnotto, Silvana L.; Aragon, Eugenio; Furlani, Renzo; Álvarez, Orlando

    2015-08-01

    Data from 45 seismological stations mostly temporary were used to obtain an accurate data set of intraslab seismicity of the Nazca subducted plate between 33°S and 35°S. The interest zone located in the transition section where the Nazca plate changes from flat slab north of ~ 33° to normal slab south of that latitude. In addition, the study region is located where the active volcanic arc appears. From a set of earthquakes which were relocated using a grid-search multiple events algorithm we obtained the plate geometry from latitudes of 33°S to 34.5°S and from 60 km to 120 km in depth. The obtained morphology shows notable similarity in its structure to Maipo Orocline revealing some possible strong connection between the overriding plate and the subducting plate. We suggest that the subducted plate at the trench has been deformed in its shape consistently with the Maipo Orocline pattern and its deformation is observed below the interface zone. Our results are consistent with van Keken et al., 2011 models, and based on this the seismicity located between 70 and 120 km is probably related with dehydration processes rather than mechanical processes. From our precise earthquake locations we observed a complete lack of intraslab seismicity below 120 km depth. This valuable finding can be used to better constrain thermal models for the subduction region of Central Chile.

  14. Seismicity of the Earth 1900-2010 eastern margin of the Australia plate

    Science.gov (United States)

    Benz, Harley M.; Herman, Matthew; Tarr, Arthur C.; Hayes, Gavin P.; Furlong, Kevin P.; Villaseñor, Antonio; Dart, Richard L.; Rhea, Susan

    2011-01-01

    The eastern margin of the Australia plate is one of the most seismically active areas of the world due to high rates of convergence between the Australia and Pacific plates. In the region of New Zealand, the 3,000 km long Australia-Pacific plate boundary extends from south of Macquarie Island to the southern Kermadec Island chain. It includes an oceanic transform (the Macquarie Ridge), two oppositely verging subduction zones (Puysegur and Hikurangi), and a transpressive continental transform, the Alpine Fault through South Island, New Zealand. Since 1900, there have been 15 M7.5+ earthquakes recorded near New Zealand. Nine of these, and the four largest, occurred along or near the Macquarie Ridge, including the 1989 M8.2 event on the ridge itself, and the 2004 M8.1 event 200 km to the west of the plate boundary, reflecting intraplate deformation. The largest recorded earthquake in New Zealand itself was the 1931 M7.8 Hawke's Bay earthquake, which killed 256 people. The last M7.5+ earthquake along the Alpine Fault was 170 years ago; studies of the faults' strain accumulation suggest that similar events are likely to occur again.

  15. S-Local-Wave Seismic Anisotropy in the Forearc Above the Subducted Nazca Plate Between 33°S and 34.5°S

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nacif, Silvina; Triep, Enrique G.

    2016-04-01

    S-wave splitting from local earthquakes within the Nazca plate that are deeper than the interplate seismogenic zone enabled the determination of the fast velocity direction, Φ, and the lag time, δt, in the forearc of the overriding plate. Data were collected from 20 seismic stations, most of which were temporary, deployed between ~33.5°S and ~34.5°S and included part of the normal subduction section to the south and part of the transitional section to flat subduction to the north. The fast velocity direction has a complex pattern with three predominant directions northwest-southeast, north-south and northeast-southwest and relatively high δt. A quality evaluation of the highest measurements enabled us to identify possible cycle skipping in some of the measurements, which could be responsible for the large observed lag time. We consider that most of the anisotropy that was observed in the forearc is probably located in the mantle wedge, and a minor part is located in the crust. The complex pattern of splitting parameters when the anisotropy is associated at the mantle wedge could be the result of three-dimensional variations in the subducting Nazca plate at these latitudes. Also, similarities between the splitting parameters and the principal compressional stress direction from Pliocene and Quaternary rocks suggest that the anisotropy in the crust could originate by tectonic local stress.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-06-01

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

  17. 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.

  18. Mapping of crustal scale tectonic boundaries in the Ossa-Morena Zone using reprocessed IBERSEIS reflection seismic data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kashubin, A. S.; Juhlin, C.

    2010-06-01

    The IBERSEIS deep seismic reflection profile imaged crustal scale structures in the SW Iberian Variscan belt, crossing the South Portuguese Zone, the Ossa-Morena Zone and the Central Iberian Zone in Spain. Two subsets of the profile, corresponding to the South Portuguese Zone-Ossa-Morena Zone and the Ossa-Morena Zone-Central Iberian Zone tectonic contacts, have been reprocessed with the aim of investigating the influence of cross-dip and to better image steeply dipping features. Alternative strategies for binning midpoints into common depth point (CDP) bins using different azimuths were examined for synthetic data. We show that the choice of the CDP-processing line and the bin azimuth orientation has a significant impact on the normal moveout and dip-moveout velocities and is crucial to optimizing the quality of the stacked seismic image along the crooked profile. Multi-azimuth binning, normal moveout/dip-moveout, and migration velocity analysis on synthetic and real data show the presence of clear sub-vertical upper crustal structures near the South Portuguese Zone-Ossa-Morena Zone suture, the Aroche fault. This sub-vertical reflectivity that was not imaged earlier, projects into a location in the lower crust with low reflectivity.

  19. Water, oceanic fracture zones and the lubrication of subducting plate boundaries—insights from seismicity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schlaphorst, David; Kendall, J.-Michael; Collier, Jenny S.; Verdon, James P.; Blundy, Jon; Baptie, Brian; Latchman, Joan L.; Massin, Frederic; Bouin, Marie-Paule

    2016-03-01

    We investigate the relationship between subduction processes and related seismicity for the Lesser Antilles Arc using the Gutenberg-Richter law. This power law describes the earthquake-magnitude distribution, with the gradient of the cumulative magnitude distribution being commonly known as the b-value. The Lesser Antilles Arc was chosen because of its along-strike variability in sediment subduction and the transition from subduction to strike-slip movement towards its northern and southern ends. The data are derived from the seismicity catalogues from the Seismic Research Centre of The University of the West Indies and the Observatoires Volcanologiques et Sismologiques of the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris and consist of subcrustal events primarily from the slab interface. The b-value is found using a Kolmogorov-Smirnov test for a maximum-likelihood straight line-fitting routine. We investigate spatial variations in b-values using a grid-search with circular cells as well as an along-arc projection. Tests with different algorithms and the two independent earthquake cataloges provide confidence in the robustness of our results. We observe a strong spatial variability of the b-value that cannot be explained by the uncertainties. Rather than obtaining a simple north-south b-value distribution suggestive of the dominant control on earthquake triggering being water released from the sedimentary cover on the incoming American Plates, or a b-value distribution that correlates with on the obliquity of subduction, we obtain a series of discrete, high b-value `bull's-eyes' along strike. These bull's-eyes, which indicate stress release through a higher fraction of small earthquakes, coincide with the locations of known incoming oceanic fracture zones on the American Plates. We interpret the results in terms of water being delivered to the Lesser Antilles subduction zone in the vicinity of fracture zones providing lubrication and thus changing the character of the

  20. Analysis and seismic tests of composite shear walls with CFST columns and steel plate deep beams

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dong, Hongying; Cao, Wanlin; Wu, Haipeng; Zhang, Jianwei; Xu, Fangfang

    2013-12-01

    A composite shear wall concept based on concrete filled steel tube (CFST) columns and steel plate (SP) deep beams is proposed and examined in this study. The new wall is composed of three different energy dissipation elements: CFST columns; SP deep beams; and reinforced concrete (RC) strips. The RC strips are intended to allow the core structural elements — the CFST columns and SP deep beams — to work as a single structure to consume energy. Six specimens of different configurations were tested under cyclic loading. The resulting data are analyzed herein. In addition, numerical simulations of the stress and damage processes for each specimen were carried out, and simulations were completed for a range of location and span-height ratio variations for the SP beams. The simulations show good agreement with the test results. The core structure exhibits a ductile yielding mechanism characteristic of strong column-weak beam structures, hysteretic curves are plump and the composite shear wall exhibits several seismic defense lines. The deformation of the shear wall specimens with encased CFST column and SP deep beam design appears to be closer to that of entire shear walls. Establishing optimal design parameters for the configuration of SP deep beams is pivotal to the best seismic behavior of the wall. The new composite shear wall is therefore suitable for use in the seismic design of building structures.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-12-01

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

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. Structure of the San Fernando Valley region, California: implications for seismic hazard and tectonic history

    Science.gov (United States)

    Langenheim, V.E.; Wright, T.L.; Okaya, D.A.; Yeats, R.S.; Fuis, G.S.; Thygesen, K.; Thybo, H.

    2011-01-01

    Industry seismic reflection data, oil test well data, interpretation of gravity and magnetic data, and seismic refraction deep-crustal profiles provide new perspectives on the subsurface geology of San Fernando Valley, home of two of the most recent damaging earthquakes in southern California. Seismic reflection data provide depths to Miocene–Quaternary horizons; beneath the base of the Late Miocene Modelo Formation are largely nonreflective rocks of the Middle Miocene Topanga and older formations. Gravity and seismic reflection data reveal the North Leadwell fault zone, a set of down-to-the-north faults that does not offset the top of the Modelo Formation; the zone strikes northwest across the valley, and may be part of the Oak Ridge fault system to the west. In the southeast part of the valley, the fault zone bounds a concealed basement high that influenced deposition of the Late Miocene Tarzana fan and may have localized damage from the 1994 Northridge earthquake. Gravity and seismic refraction data indicate that the basin underlying San Fernando Valley is asymmetric, the north part of the basin (Sylmar subbasin) reaching depths of 5–8 km. Magnetic data suggest a major boundary at or near the Verdugo fault, which likely started as a Miocene transtensional fault, and show a change in the dip sense of the fault along strike. The northwest projection of the Verdugo fault separates the Sylmar subbasin from the main San Fernando Valley and coincides with the abrupt change in structural style from the Santa Susana fault to the Sierra Madre fault. The Simi Hills bound the basin on the west and, as defined by gravity data, the boundary is linear and strikes ~N45°E. That northeast-trending gravity gradient follows both the part of the 1971 San Fernando aftershock distribution called the Chatsworth trend and the aftershock trends of the 1994 Northridge earthquake. These data suggest that the 1971 San Fernando and 1994 Northridge earthquakes reactivated portions of

  5. Basement configuration of the West Bengal sedimentary basin, India as revealed by seismic refraction tomography: its tectonic implications

    Science.gov (United States)

    Damodara, N.; Rao, V. Vijaya; Sain, Kalachand; Prasad, A. S. S. S. R. S.; Murty, A. S. N.

    2017-03-01

    Understanding the sedimentary thickness, structure and tectonics of the West Bengal basin is attempted using pseudo 3-D configuration derived from the first arrival seismic refraction data. Velocity images of the West Bengal basin are derived using traveltime tomography along four profiles. The models are assessed for their reliability through chi-squares estimates, rms residual, traveltime fit, rays traced through the models and resolution by checkerboard tests. Tomographic images depict smooth velocity variations of Recent, Quaternary and Tertiary sediments of velocity 1.8-4.3 km s-1 deposited over the Rajmahal trap of 4.8 km s-1 velocity and the basement (5.9 km s-1) down to a maximum depth of 16 km. The present study indicates a south-easterly dip of basin as evidenced from the pseudo 3-D configuration. The basement depth along the seismic profiles varies from 1 to 16 km depending on its location in the basin. It is shallow in the north & west and deep in the east & south. The depth of the basement on the stable shelf of the basin in the west gently increases to about 8 km and dips to a maximum depth of 16 km in the deep basin part within a short distance in the east. The study identifies a regional feature, known as the Shelf break or the Hinge zone, where stable Indian shield ends and a sharp increase in sediment thickness occurs. The Hinge zone may represent the relict of continental and proto-oceanic crustal boundary formed during the rifting of India from Antarctica. The regional gravity map of the Bengal basin prepared in this study clearly brings out the Hinge zone with a linear gravity high that is compatible with seismic data. Presence of Shelf break/Hinge zone and Rajmahal volcanism in the basin suggests the influence of rifting of India from the combined Antarctica-Australia at ˜130 Ma due to mantle plume activity on the structure and tectonics of the West Bengal basin. These features along with the elevated rift shoulder are in agreement with the

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-06-01

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

  7. On the predictability of volcano-tectonic events by low frequency seismic noise analysis at Teide-Pico Viejo volcanic complex, Canary Islands

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M. Tárraga

    2006-01-01

    Full Text Available The island of Tenerife (Canary Islands, Spain, is showing possible signs of reawakening after its last basaltic strombolian eruption, dated 1909 at Chinyero. The main concern relates to the central active volcanic complex Teide - Pico Viejo, which poses serious hazards to the properties and population of the island of Tenerife (Canary Islands, Spain, and which has erupted several times during the last 5000 years, including a subplinian phonolitic eruption (Montaña Blanca about 2000 years ago. In this paper we show the presence of low frequency seismic noise which possibly includes tremor of volcanic origin and we investigate the feasibility of using it to forecast, via the material failure forecast method, the time of occurrence of discrete events that could be called Volcano-Tectonic or simply Tectonic (i.e. non volcanic on the basis of their relationship to volcanic activity. In order to avoid subjectivity in the forecast procedure, an automatic program has been developed to generate forecasts, validated by Bayes theorem. A parameter called 'forecast gain' measures (and for the first time quantitatively what is gained in probabilistic terms by applying the (automatic failure forecast method. The clear correlation between the obtained forecasts and the occurrence of (Volcano-Tectonic seismic events - a clear indication of a relationship between the continuous seismic noise and the discrete seismic events - is the explanation for the high value of this 'forecast gain' in both 2004 and 2005 and an indication that the events are Volcano-Tectonic rather than purely Tectonic.

  8. High resolution seismic reflection profiles of Holocene volcanic and tectonic features, Mono Lake, California

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jayko, A. S.; Hart, P. E.; Bursik, M. I.; McClain, J. S.; Moore, J. C.; Boyle, M.; Childs, J. R.; Novick, M.; Hill, D. P.; Mangan, M.; Roeske, S.

    2009-12-01

    The Inyo-Mono Craters of Long Valley and Mono Basin, California are the youngest eruptive vents of the Great Basin, USA and the second youngest in California. They are one of two seismically active volcanic centers with geothermal power production in the Walker Lane, western Great Basin, the other being the Coso Volcanic Field to the south. High resolution seismic reflection data collected from the northern tip of the Mono Craters eruptive centers in Mono Lake delinates two structural zones proximal to the active volcanic centers in Mono Lake. A growth structure drapped by ~30 m or more of bedded sediment shows increasing deformation and offset of clastic deposits on the northwest margin of the basin. Coherent thin-bedded stratigraphic sections with strong reflectors to 30-100m depth are preserved on the western and northern margins of the basin. The southern and southeastern areas of the lake are generally seismically opaque, due to extensive ash and tephra deposits as well as widespread methane. Thin pockets of well-bedded, poorly consolidated sediment of probable Holocene and last glacial age are present within intrabasin depressions providing some local age constraints on surfaces adjacent to volcanic vents and volcanically modified features.

  9. Seismicity pattern: an indicator of source region of volcanism at convergent plate margins

    Science.gov (United States)

    Špičák, Aleš; Hanuš, Václav; Vaněk, Jiří

    2004-04-01

    The results of detailed investigation into the geometry of distribution of earthquakes around and below the volcanoes Korovin, Cleveland, Makushin, Yake-Dake, Oshima, Lewotobi, Fuego, Sangay, Nisyros and Montagne Pelée at convergent plate margins are presented. The ISC hypocentral determinations for the period 1964-1999, based on data of global seismic network and relocated by Engdahl, van der Hilst and Buland, have been used. The aim of this study has been to contribute to the solution of the problem of location of source regions of primary magma for calc-alkaline volcanoes spatially and genetically related to the process of subduction. Several specific features of seismicity pattern were revealed in this context. (i) A clear occurrence of the intermediate-depth aseismic gap (IDAG) in the Wadati-Benioff zone (WBZ) below all investigated active volcanoes. We interpret this part of the subducted slab, which does not contain any teleseismically recorded earthquake with magnitude greater than 4.0, as a partially melted domain of oceanic lithosphere and as a possible source of primary magma for calc-alkaline volcanoes. (ii) A set of earthquakes in the shape of a seismically active column (SAC) seems to exists in the continental wedge below volcanoes Korovin, Makushin and Sangay. The seismically active columns probably reach from the Earth surface down to the aseismic gap in the Wadati-Benioff zone. This points to the possibility that the upper mantle overlying the subducted slab does not contain large melted domains, displays an intense fracturing and is not likely to represent the site of magma generation. (iii) In the continental wedge below the volcanoes Cleveland, Fuego, Nisyros, Yake-Dake, Oshima and Lewotobi, shallow seismicity occurs down to the depth of 50 km. The domain without any earthquakes between the shallow seismically active column and the aseismic gap in the Wadati-Benioff zone in the depth range of 50-100 km does not exclude the melting of the mantle

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Near-Surface Seasonal Creeping and Subsurface Repeated Seismicity on the Plate-Suture Thrust Fault in Chihshang, Eastern Taiwan

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lee, J.; Chu, H.; Angelier, J.; Hu, J.; Rau, R.

    2002-12-01

    The Chihshang fault is one of the most active segments of the Longitudinal Valley Fault, the plate suture between the converging Philippine and Eurasian plates. A destructive earthquake of M 6.2 with substantial surface scarps resulted from rupturing of the Chihshang fault in 1951. From that on, no big earthquake greater than M 6 occurred in this area. Instead, the Chihshang fault reveals a creeping behavior at least during the past 18 observation years. The creepmeter data of daily basis at Chihshang since 1998 revealed different behaviors of surface fault motion at two sites but similar annual shortening rates, 16.2 mm at Tapo site and 15.0 mm at Chinyuan site. Four of five creepmeters showed a seasonal variation, in which the fault only moved, as steadily rapid creeping, during the rainy season, generally from April to October, and remained quite during the rest of year. The only exception is due to the creepmeter located on the mélange-composed slope, where local gravitational landslide played a significant role combined with the tectonic faulting. Comparing to the precipitation data, we inferred that the relatively moderate rainfall is seemingly enough for triggering or facilitating slippages on the surface fault, one or two months before the heavy rains dropped in the wet season. During this observation period from 1998 to 2001, the subsurface seismicity exhibited clusters of micro-earthquakes occurred on the Chihshang fault at the depth of 15-25 km. The repeated earthquakes continuously occurred regardless the wet or the dry seasons, indicating the stress on the Chihshang fault in the shallow crust level of less than 10 km released only by creeping during the wet season. Combination of the near-surface creeping and the subsurface repeated earthquakes provided insights on the mechanical behaviors of the Chihshang fault, which are likely related to the geological materials of the converging island-arc: week mélange in the near-surface fault zone and strong

  13. Along-trench variations in the seismic structure of the incoming Pacific plate at the outer rise of the northern Japan Trench

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fujie, Gou; Kodaira, Shuichi; Sato, Takeshi; Takahashi, Tsutomu

    2016-01-01

    To investigate along-trench variations in the seismic structure of the incoming oceanic plate and their effect on water transportation by the oceanic plate, we conducted a wide-angle seismic survey of a trench-parallel transect 270 km long on the outer rise of the northern Japan Trench. The resulting seismic structure models show that the central part of the transect is characterized by rough topography, thick oceanic crust, low seismic velocities, and high Vp/Vs ratios, suggesting pervasive fracturing and high water content (hydration) there. These observations are consistent with the presence of an ancient fracture zone associated with ridge propagation. The trenchward extension of this fracture zone corresponds to an area of low interplate seismicity, low seismic velocities, and high Vp/Vs ratio around the depth of the subduction interface. Our results suggest that this ancient scar on the oceanic plate influences along-trench variations in interplate seismic coupling through its effect on water transportation.

  14. 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…

  15. 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

  16. 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. ...

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Sissingh, W.

    2008-01-01

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

  18. 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…

  19. 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.

  20. Microseismicity, Tectonics and Seismic Potential in the Western Himalayan Segment, NW Himalaya (india) Region

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kumar, S.; Parija, M. P.; Biswal, S.

    2016-12-01

    The NW Himalaya (India) region covering Garhwal and Himachal province of India is characterised by sustained seismicity during the past decades. We have relocated 423 earthquakes in the NW Himalaya between 2004 and 2013 using more than 4495 P and 4453 S accurate P and S differential travel-times. We also have determined moment tensors for 8 (Mw >= 4.0) of these earthquakes using their broadband regional waveforms. The geometry of the MHT plane has also been deduced in this study which varies along the strike of the Himalaya in flat and ramp segments with a dip range from 4° to 19° below the HFT in south to STD in the north. There are also two crustal ramps reported from this study having a depth variance below the MCT and STD between 12 to 22 km and 28 to 40 km depth respectively. The earthquake potential prevailing in the western Himalaya seismic gap that lies between the epicentral zone of the 1905 Kangra earthquake and the 1975 Kinnaur earthquake has also been estimated and it is inferred that the total amount of energy released since the last great event is only a fraction (3-5%) of the accommodated energy (95-98%) i.e. if an earthquake hits this NW Himalayan segment in future it's magnitude can be equivalent to a Mw³ 8.0. So the energy dissipated through previous earthquakes is not sufficient to prevent an upcoming giant event.

  1. Tectonic evolution of the Salton Sea inferred from seismic reflection data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brothers, D.S.; Driscoll, N.W.; Kent, G.M.; Harding, A.J.; Babcock, J.M.; Baskin, R.L.

    2009-01-01

    Oblique extension across strike-slip faults causes subsidence and leads to the formation of pull-apart basins such as the Salton Sea in southern California. The formation of these basins has generally been studied using laboratory experiments or numerical models. Here we combine seismic reflection data and geological observations from the Salton Sea to understand the evolution of this nascent pull-apart basin. Our data reveal the presence of a northeast-trending hinge zone that separates the sea into northern and southern sub-basins. Differential subsidence (10 mm yr 1) in the southern sub-basin suggests the existence of northwest-dipping basin-bounding faults near the southern shoreline, which may control the spatial distribution of young volcanism. Rotated and truncated strata north of the hinge zone suggest that the onset of extension associated with this pull-apart basin began after 0.5 million years ago. We suggest that slip is partitioned spatially and temporally into vertical and horizontal domains in the Salton Sea. In contrast to previous models based on historical seismicity patterns, the rapid subsidence and fault architecture that we document in the southern part of the sea are consistent with experimental models for pull-apart basins. ?? 2009 Macmillan Publishers Limited.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-12-01

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

  3. 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...

  4. 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

  5. Deep crustal structure of the northeastern margin of the Arabian plate from seismic and gravity data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pilia, Simone; Ali, Mohammed; Watts, Anthony; Keats, Brook; Searle, Mike

    2017-04-01

    The United Arab Emirates-Oman mountains constitute a 700 km long, 50 km wide compressional orogenic belt that developed during the Cainozoic on an underlying extensional Tethyan rifted margin. It contains the world's largest and best-exposed thrust sheet of oceanic crust and upper mantle (Semail Ophiolite), which was obducted onto the Arabian rifted continental margin during the Late Cretaceous. Although the shallow structure of the UAE-Oman mountain belt is reasonably well known through the exploitation of a diverse range of techniques, information on deeper structure remains little. Moreover, the mechanisms by which dense oceanic crustal and mantle rocks are emplaced onto less dense and more buoyant continental crust are still controversial and remain poorly understood. The focus here is on an active-source seismic and gravity E-W transect extending from the UAE-mountain belt to the offshore. Seismic refraction data were acquired using the survey ship M/V Hawk Explorer, which was equipped with a large-volume airgun array (7060 cubic inches, 116 liters). About 400 air gun shots at 50-second time interval were recorded on land by eight broadband seismometers. In addition, reflection data were acquired at 20 seconds interval and recorded by a 5-km-long multichannel streamer. Results presented here include an approximately 85 km long (stretching about 35 km onshore and 50 km offshore) P-wave velocity crustal profile derived by a combination of forward modelling and inversion of both diving and reflected wave traveltimes using RAYINVR software. We employ a new robust algorithm based on a Monte Carlo approach (VMONTECARLO) to address the velocity model uncertainties. We find ophiolite seismic velocities of about 5.5 km/s and a thick sedimentary package in the offshore. Furthermore, the velocity model reveals a highly stretched crust with the Moho discontinuity lying at about 20 km. A prestack depth-migrated profile (about 50 km long) coincident with the offshore part

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-09-01

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

  7. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jain, Charitra; Rozel, Antoine; Tackley, Paul

    2014-05-01

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

  9. Seismic event, sequence and tectonic significance in Canglangpu Stage in Paleo-Tanlu Fault Zone

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    QIAO; Xiufu(乔秀夫); GAO; Linzhi(高林志); PENG; Yang(彭阳); LI; Haibing(李海兵)

    2002-01-01

    The Canglangpu Stage of Lower Cambrian Series is widely distributed along both sides of the Tanlu (Tancheng-Lujiang) Fault Zone in the Jiao-Liao-Xu-Huai regions. In the Liaodong Peninsula, the Canglangpu Stage consists of three formations, i.e. Gejiatun, Dalinzi and Jianchang formations in ascending order (lying on the eastern side of the Tanlu Fault Zone). The Dalinzi Formation, developing in a littoral Sabkha environment, is full of catastrophic event records of violent seism, such as liquefied muddy-sandy veins, hydroplastic folds, hydroplastic micro-faults (three forming an organic whole), liquefied crinkled deformations, liquefied breccia and sandy dikes. Based on such records, the seismic liquified sequence of argillaceous rocks in Sabkha is built up. In northern Jiangsu and Anhui provinces, however, there hardly observe seismic records in the Canglangpu Stage, which consists of Jinshanzhai and lower Gouhou and upper Gouhou formations (lying on the western side of the Tanlu Fault Zone). Even if the Gouhou Formation, developing in a lagoon-dry environment, is in the same climate zone as the Dalinzi Formation, and 4 depositional sequences have been identified in the Canglangpu Stage in Northern Jiangsu and Anhui provinces, however, in the same stage in the Liaodong Peninsula, there exist only 3 ones. Therefore, it is not supported by the above mentioned evidence (such as catastrophic events, sequences stratigraphy and lithologic correlation of formations) that the Canglangpu Stage in the Liaodong Peninsula came from northern Jiangsu and Anhui provinces through a long-distance, about hundreds kilometers, left-hand displacement of the Tanlu Fault in the Mesozoic era.

  10. Probabilistic Hazard for Seismically-Induced Tsunamis in Complex Tectonic Contexts: Event Tree Approach to Seismic Source Variability and Practical Feasibility of Inundation Maps

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lorito, Stefano; Selva, Jacopo; Basili, Roberto; Romano, Fabrizio; Tiberti, Mara Monica; Piatanesi, Alessio

    2014-05-01

    Probabilistic Tsunami Hazard Analysis (PTHA) rests on computationally demanding numerical simulations of the tsunami generation and propagation up to the inundated coastline. We here focus on tsunamis generated by the co-seismic sea floor displacement, which constitute the vast majority of the observed tsunami events, i.e. on Seismic PTHA (SPTHA). For incorporating the full expected seismic source variability, aiming at a complete SPTHA, a very large number of numerical tsunami scenarios is typically needed, especially for complex tectonic contexts, where SPTHA is not dominated by large subduction earthquakes only. Here, we propose a viable approach for reducing the number of simulations for a given set of input earthquakes representing the modelled aleatory uncertainties of the seismic rupture parameters. Our approach is based on a preliminary analysis of the SPTHA of maximum offshore wave height (HMax) at a given target location, and assuming computationally cheap linear propagation. We start with defining an operational SPTHA framework in which we then introduce a simplified Event Tree approach, combined with a Green's functions approach, for obtaining a first controlled sampling and reduction of the effective source parameter space size. We then apply a two-stage filtering procedure to the 'linear' SPTHA results. The first filter identifies and discards all the sources producing a negligible contribution at the target location, for example the smallest earthquakes or those directing most of tsunami energy elsewhere. The second filter performs a cluster analysis aimed at selecting groups of source parameters producing comparable HMax profiles for each earthquake magnitude at the given test site. We thus select a limited set of sources that is subsequently used for calculating 'nonlinear' probabilistic inundation maps at the target location. We find that the optimal subset of simulations needed for inundation calculations can be obtained basing on just the

  11. 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.

  12. Lithosphere-asthenosphere system in the Mediterranean region in the framework of polarized plate tectonics

    CERN Document Server

    Raykova, Reneta Blagoeva; Doglioni, Carlo

    2015-01-01

    Velocity structure of the lithosphere-asthenosphere system, to the depth of about 350 km, is obtained for almost 400 cells, sized 1 degree by 1 degree in the Mediterranean region. The models are obtained by the following sequence of methods and tools: surface-wave dispersion measurements and collection; 2D tomography of dispersion relations; non-linear inversion of cellular dispersion relations; smoothing optimization method to select a preferred model for each cell. The 3D velocity model, that satisfies Occam razor principle, is obtained as a juxtaposition of selected cellular models. The reconstructed picture of the lithosphere-asthenosphere system evidences the, globally well known, asymmetry between the W- and E-directed subduction zones, attributed to the westward drift of the lithosphere relative to the mantle. Different relationship between slabs and mantle dynamics cause strong compositional differences in the upper mantle, as shown by large variations of seismic waves velocity, consistent with Polari...

  13. Crustal and upper mantle seismic structure of the Australian Plate, South Island, New Zealand

    Science.gov (United States)

    Melhuish, Anne; Holbrook, W. Steven; Davey, Fred; Okaya, David A.; Stern, Tim

    2005-01-01

    Seismic reflection and refraction data were collected west of New Zealand's South Island parallel to the Pacific-Australian Plate boundary. The obliquely convergent plate boundary is marked at the surface by the Alpine Fault, which juxtaposes continental crust of each plate. The data are used to study the crustal and uppermost mantle structure and provide a link between other seismic transects which cross the plate boundary. Arrival times of wide-angle reflected and refracted events from 13 recording stations are used to construct a 380-km long crustal velocity model. The model shows that, beneath a 2-4-km thick sedimentary veneer, the crust consists of two layers. The upper layer velocities increase from 5.4-5.9 km/s at the top of the layer to 6.3 km/s at the base of the layer. The base of the layer is mainly about 20 km deep but deepens to 25 km at its southern end. The lower layer velocities range from 6.3 to 7.1 km/s, and are commonly around 6.5 km/s at the top of the layer and 6.7 km/s at the base. Beneath the lower layer, the model has velocities of 8.2-8.5 km/s, typical of mantle material. The Mohorovicic discontinuity (Moho) therefore lies at the base of the second layer. It is at a depth of around 30 km but shallows over the south-central third of the profile to about 26 km, possibly associated with a southwest dipping detachment fault. The high, variable sub-Moho velocities of 8.2 km/s to 8.5 km/s are inferred to result from strong upper mantle anisotropy. Multichannel seismic reflection data cover about 220 km of the southern part of the modelled section. Beneath the well-layered Oligocene to recent sedimentary section, the crustal section is broadly divided into two zones, which correspond to the two layers of the velocity model. The upper layer (down to about 7-9 s two-way travel time) has few reflections. The lower layer (down to about 11 s two-way time) contains many strong, subparallel reflections. The base of this reflective zone is the Moho. Bi

  14. Tectonic dynamics of the Lipari-Vulcano islands revealed by geodetic and seismic data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gambino, S.; Alparone, S.; Bonforte, A.; Gresta, S.; Guglielmino, F.; Obrizzo, F.; Puglisi, G.

    2009-12-01

    Ground deformations measured during the last two GPS surveys carried out in March 2006 and September 2007 on the Lipari-Vulcano network are analyzed. Through this period, the monitoring seismic network measured an increase of seismic strain release around the Lipari-Vulcano complex with respect to the previous years. GPS surveys measured a significant N-ward motion of Vulcano island with respect to the ITRF05. This motion abruptly decreases in the N part of Vulcano, suggesting a decoupling of the main Vulcano island from the rest of the volcanic complex. By assuming a local reference frame, we observed that the Lipari island and the northernmost part of the Vulcano island are moving SSE-ward with respect to the central and southernmost part of the Vulcano island. GPS data also highlighted a local uplift of the “La Fossa” cone superimposed on the general subsidence of the island, increasing towards N. The vertical movements measured by GPS are compared with the results of the leveling surveys carried out on the network installed and managed by the INGV - Osservatorio Vesuviano for monitoring vertical ground movements on Volcano island. Height variations are computed with respect to a reference benchmark located on the southern part of the island, which is a relatively stable area compared to the northern part. The comparison between the two most recent surveys (October 2003 and October 2008) indicates a significant subsidence of the centre-northern area of the island (bottom Fossa Crater and Vulcanello). We also analyzed the long-term tilt observations through the same period. The tilt network at Vulcano Island currently has five borehole stations, four of which are installed at depth of 8-10 m, allowing recording stable and highly accurate signals with low noise. Tilt vectors concur well with leveling and GPS data, highlighting a deflection towards the central-northern part of the island. Geodetic strain tensor analysis derived by GPS data was performed over

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Medaris, L G; Dott, R H

    1970-09-04

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

  16. Plate tectonics and the origin of the Juan Fernández Ridge: analysis of bathymetry and magnetic patterns

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Cristián Rodrigo

    2014-10-01

    Full Text Available Juan Fernández Ridge (JFR is a cα. 800 km long alignment of seamounts and islands which is thought to be fed by a deep mantle plume. JFR includes the Friday and Domingo seamounts in the western active edge close to the active hotspot, and the O'Higgins Seamount and Guyot at the eastern limit just in front of the Chile-Perú trench. Recent bathymetric (Global Topography and magnetic (EMAG-2 datasets were interpreted both qualitatively and quantitatively by means of 3D inverse modeling and 2D direct modeling for geometry and susceptibility, together with an interpretation of the synthetic anomalies related to the classical hypothesis of deep seafloor spreading. Topographic and magnetic patterns are used to understand the tectonic evolution and origin of the JFR, especially in the western segment. Results show a continuous corridor with a base at ~3900 m depth formed by four groups of seamounts/islands with a number of summits. The deep ocean floor is ~22 to ~37 Myr old and is younger to the south of the Challenger Fracture Zone that runs in a SW-NE direction. The magnetic pattern of the western JFR segment, which is different than the eastern one, has no correlation with bathymetry and does not present a common polarity nor fit with magnetic models for isolated bodies. This superposition of magnetic patterns indicates a role of the faults/fractures of the Nazca Plate. Geological evidence supports the hypothesis of a fixed mantle plume for the origin of JFR but our data suggest that tectonic processes play a role, thus fueling the global controversy about these competing processes.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Houston, H.

    2015-12-01

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

  18. Crustal stress, seismicity, acoustic emission (AE), and tectonics: the Kefallinì;a (Greece) case study

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gregori, G. P.; Poscolieri, M.; Paparo, G.; Ventrice, G.; de Simone, S.; Rafanelli, C.

    2009-04-01

    New inferences - confirming previous results (see references)- are presented dealing with a few years Acoustic Emission (AE) records collected at Kefallinìa (Ionian Islands, Greece). A physical distinction between HF (high frequency) vs. LF (low frequency) AE is required. Step-wise changes of the AE underground conductivity are evidenced, and can be suitably handled. "Smooth" results concern (i) the annual variation, (ii) some long-lasting stress "solitons" crossing through the area, and (iii) tidal effects. In particular, every AE station can be operated like a monitoring station both for Earth's tides and for the free oscillations of the Earth. In addition, Kefallinìa exhibits a much peculiar groundwater circulation, in which conduit flow is dominant, that originates a specific (and unique) AE effect. By means of AE time-series analysis, "extreme" or "catastrophic" events can be also monitored and possibly related to relevant tectonic occurrences (either earthquakes, or maybe other occasional phenomena). They can be investigated, and have a regional - rather than local - character. Therefore, every interpretation based on a single station record - being biased by some arbitrariness - can only result indicative. A standardized procedure and software is proposed for routine AE data handling and analysis. References.: Lagios et al., 2004. In Proc. SCI 2004 (The 8th World Multi-Conference on Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatic), Orlando, Florida, July 1004, 6 pp. Poscolieri et al., 2006. In. G. Cello and B. D. Malamud, (eds), 2006. Geol. Soc. London, Special Publ., 261, 63-78. Poscolieri et al., 2006a. Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 6, 961-971.

  19. Analysis of the seismicity in central Tibet based on the SANDWICH network and its tectonic implications

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhu, Gaohua; Liang, Xiaofeng; Tian, Xiaobo; Yang, Hongfeng; Wu, Chenglong; Duan, Yaohui; Li, Wei; Zhou, Beibei

    2017-04-01

    We have located a total of 232 local earthquakes using data recorded by the SANDWICH seismic network from November 2013 to October 2014 in central Tibet across the Bangong-Nujiang suture (BNS). The focal depths of all earthquakes are shallower than 30 km and therefore are in the upper crust. The absence of lower crust earthquakes may imply a weak, ductile lower crust in central Tibet. Moreover, these earthquakes are dispersed throughout conjugate strike-slip fault zones, indicating that evenly distributed upper crustal deformation might predominate in central Tibet. This observation agrees with the hypothesis that conjugate fault zones accommodate coeval east-west extension and north-south contraction via continuous deformation. Moreover, the focal mechanisms show that strike-slip and normal faulting are the dominant types of deformation and that the extension in central Tibet is oriented approximately east-west. Despite some anomalies, the kinematics implied by most of the focal mechanisms correlate well with those of the surface structures.

  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. Evidence for fast seismic lid structure beneath the Californian margin and its implication on regional plate deformation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lai, V. H.; Graves, R. W.; Wei, S.; Helmberger, D. V.

    2015-12-01

    The lithospheric structure of the Pacific and North American plates play an important role in modulating plate deformation along the California margin. Pure path models indicate that the Pacific plate has a fast thick (80km) lid overlaying a strong low velocity zone (LVZ) extending to beyond 300 km depth. In contrast, the North America structure is characterized by a relatively thin (25-35km) lid and a shallow LVZ. Vertical ray paths have similar travel times across the plate boundary for the two models, making resolution of the transitional structure difficult. Earthquakes such as the 2014 March 10 Mw 6.8 Mendocino and 2014 August 25 Mw 6.0 Napa events recorded at regional distances across California provide an opportunity to study horizontal paths and track the lateral variation in the lower crust-uppermost mantle structure under the Californian margin. Observations from both Napa and Mendocino events show direct SH-wave arrivals at Southern California Seismic Network (SCSN) stations are systematically earlier (up to 10 s) for coastal and island stations relative to inland sites. The shift in SH arrival times may be due to features such as varying crustal thickness, varying upper mantle velocity and the presence of a fast seismic lid. To test the different hypotheses, we perform extensive forward modeling using both 1-D frequency-wavenumber and 3-D finite-difference approaches. The model that best fits the SH arrival times has a fast lid (Vs = 4.7 km/s) underlying the whole California margin, with the lid increasing in thickness from east to west to a maximum thickness about 70 km in the western offshore region. The fast, thick seismic lid lends strength and rigidity to the Pacific plate lithosphere in contrast with the weaker North American continental plate, which influences the overall plate deformation along the Californian margin and is in agreement with GPS measurements.

  2. 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

  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. Background seismicity rate at subduction zones linked to slab-bending-related hydration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nishikawa, Tomoaki; Ide, Satoshi

    2015-09-01

    Tectonic properties strongly control variations in seismicity among subduction zones. In particular, fluid distribution in subduction zones influences earthquake occurrence, and it varies among subduction zones due to variations in fluid sources such as hydrated oceanic plates. However, the relationship between variations in fluid distribution and variations in seismicity among subduction zones is unclear. Here we divide Earth's subduction zones into 111 regions and estimate background seismicity rates using the epidemic type aftershock sequence model. We demonstrate that background seismicity rate correlates to the amount of bending of the incoming oceanic plate, which in turn is related to the hydration of oceanic plates via slab-bending-related faults. Regions with large bending may have high-seismicity rates because a strongly hydrated oceanic plate causes high pore fluid pressure and reduces the strength of the plate interface. We suggest that variations in fluid distribution can also cause variations in seismicity in subduction zones.

  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. Active tectonics and earthquake potential of the Myanmar region

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-04-01

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

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

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    刘玉虎; 刘兴旺; 郑建京; 赵丹丹; 杨鑫; 王亚东

    2011-01-01

    天山造山带南北分别于塔里木盆地和准噶尔盆地相接,经历古生代时期超级大陆裂解、南北天山洋裂开、洋盆持续扩张、洋壳俯冲消减、陆陆碰撞缝合过程及中新生代陆内再造山构造调整,是现今世界上较为活跃的陆内造山带,成为国内外大陆动力学研究的热点地带.在综合分析地质学、地球物理(地震剖面、重力异常、地震层析)、地球化学、岩石学及天文学等资料基础上,结合天山造山带大地构造演化历史、地表构造变形、盆地基底构造样式,以及对5种地幔对流模式的深入探究,基于全地幔对流和上地幔小尺度对流模式,提出天山地区板块构造演化与地幔对流的耦合动力机制,总体呈现为“启动-同步-超越-消减”模式,中间过程则伴随微观振荡旋回动力模式向前发展,该模式可与经典威尔逊旋回比较,同时现今地球深部板决演化痕迹及地幔对流数值模拟一定程度上支持了该模式.总之,将板块构造演化历史与地幔对流结合起来、纳入统一的动力学模型中,对于今后研究地球各子系统之间的耦合状态、相互作用有十分重要的意义.%Tianshan orogenic belt connects with the Tarim basin and Junggar basin from south to north respectively. Through a joint Paleozoic continental breakup, the South Tianshan Ocean and the North Tianshan ocean cracked, the continued expansion of ocean basins, oceanic crust subduction, continental collision and suture and Cenozoic tectonic adjustments, now it is the world's more active orogenic belt and become a domestic hot zone of continental dynamics. Based on comprehensive analysis of geological, geophysical ( seismic profiles, gravity anomalies, seismic tomography), geochemical, petrological, and astronomy, etc. , combined with the tectonic evolution history of the Tianshan orogenic belt, the surface structural deformation, base tectonic style of the basin, and the deeply

  8. New CHIRP Seismic Images of Submarine Terraces Around San Clemente Island Constrain its Tectonic Evolution and Geomorphology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Derosier, B.; Driscoll, N. W.; Graves, L. G.; Holmes, J. J.; Nicholson, C.

    2015-12-01

    New High-resolution CHIRP data acquired on the R/V Point Loma in 2015 imaged flights of submarine Terraces off of San Clemente Island. Outboard terraces at ~90 to 115 m below sea level (using a nominal water column velocity of 1500 m/s) may correlate with the Marine Isotope Stage 2 (MIS2); the last glacial maximum (LGM). Submarine terraces were mapped on both the gentle sloping windward (west) and the steeper sloping leeward (east) sides of San Clemente Island. The submarine terrace's depths are roughly the same on both sides of the island and suggest uniform uplift. These findings are consistent with the onshore mapping of terraces on San Clemente Island. The island exhibits a marked asymmetry both onshore and offshore, with a steeply dipping eastern margin and a gentle dipping western margin. This marked asymmetry cannot be explained by the uniform uplift of San Clemente Island based on the observed onshore and offshore terraces. In our model, the asymmetry of San Clemente Island records an early phase of predominantly extensional deformation during the middle to late Miocene, with San Clemente Island being the footwall block. Such asymmetry is also observed across the 30-mile bank and the Coronado Bank with steeply dipping eastern margins and gently dipping western margins. New regional multichannel seismic data and reprocessed industry data show no sediment divergence along the hangingwall blocks, which suggests that extensional deformation predated sedimentation. Finally, the elevations of the terraces on San Clemente Island are similar to those observed on the mainland from Baja California to Newport Beach, requiring any tectonic model fitting the uplift pattern of mainland terraces to account for the similar elevations not only along the margin but also across the margin out to 70 nautical miles offshore.

  9. Evidence of a plate-wide tectonic pressure pulse provided by extensometric monitoring in the Balkan Mountains (Bulgaria

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Briestenský Miloš

    2015-10-01

    Full Text Available The EU-TecNet monitoring network uses customized three-dimensional extensometers to record transient deformations across individual faults. This paper presents the first results from two newly established monitoring points in the Balkan Mountains in Bulgaria. The data from Saeva Dupka, recorded across an EEN-WWS striking fault, show sinistral strike-slip along the fault and subsidence of the southern block. Much of the subsidence occurred around the time of the distal MW = 5.6 Pernik Earthquake. An important transient deformation event, which began in autumn 2012, was reflected by significant compression and following extension, across the monitored fault. The data from Bacho Kiro, recorded across a NE–SW striking fault, show sinistral strike-slip along the fault and subsidence of the north-western block. The same important deformation event was reflected by changes in the strike-slip, dip-slip, and horizontal opening/closing trends. These results have been compared to data from other monitoring points in the Western Carpathians, External Dinarides, and Tian Shan. Many of the sites show evidence of simultaneous displacement anomalies and this observation is interpreted as a reflection of the plate-wide propagation of a tectonic pressure pulse towards the end of 2012.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-02-01

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

  11. The Wisconsin magmatic terrane: An Early Proterozoic greenstone-granite terrane formed by plate tectonic processes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schulz, K. J.; Laberge, G. L.

    1986-01-01

    The Wisconsin magmatic terrane (WMT) is an east trending belt of dominantly volcanic-plutonic complexes of Early Proterozoic age (approx. 1850 m.y.) that lies to the south of the Archean rocks and Early Proterozoic epicratonic sequence (Marquette Range Supergroup) in Michigan. It is separated from the epicratonic Marquette Range Supergroup by the high-angle Niagara fault, is bounded on the south, in central Wisconsin, by Archean gneisses, is truncated on the west by rocks of the Midcontinent rift system, and is intruded on the east by the post-orogenic Wolf river batholith. The overall lithologic, geochemical, metallogenic, metamorphic, and deformational characteristics of the WMT are similar to those observed in recent volcanic arc terranes formed at sites of plate convergence. It is concluded that the WMT represents an evolved oceanic island-arc terrane accreated to the Superior craton in the Early Proterozoic. This conclusion is strengthened by the apparent absence of Archean basement from most of the WMT, and the recent recognition of the passive margin character of the epicratonic Marquette Range Supergroup.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1982-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1982-01-01

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

  14. Reidar Løvlie and Plate Tectonic consequences of sedimentary inclination shallowing

    Science.gov (United States)

    Torsvik, Trond H.

    2014-05-01

    Reidar Løvlie was my mentor and supervisor in the early 1980s and he thought me all about laboratory experiments and palaeomagnetic methods, but also various aspects of science philosophy. My first fieldworks were together with him and I enjoyed memorable trips to the Bear Island, Spitsbergen and Scotland. Acquisition of magnetism in sediments was always a favourite topic of Reidar and in the early 1980s he was particularly interested in sedimentary inclination shallowing. From one of our fieldtrips to Spitsbergen we sampled unconsolidated flood-plain deposits of hematite-bearing Devonian red sand/siltstone from Dicksonfjorden. These were used for redeposition experiments in a coil system that could simulate different latitudes (field inclinations) and in 1994 we published a paper entitled"Magnetic remanence and fabric properties of laboratory-deposited hematite-bearing red sandstone" that demonstrated the tangent relationship between inclinations of detrital remanent magnetization and the ambient magnetic field. Inclination (I) error in sediments is latitude dependent, antisymmetric and the bias closely mimics errors produced by octupole fields of the same sign as the dipole field. Inclination shallowing is commonly predicted from tan (Observed Inclination) = f * tan (Field Inclination) where f is the degree of inclination error. In our study we calculated a f value of 0.4 and this laboratory value (and many others) is significant lower than those estimated from the E/I or the magnetic fabric methods developed in the past decade (f typically around 0.6). There is now little doubt that inclination shallowing in detrital sediments is a serious problem that affects plate reconstructions and apparent polar wander paths. As an example, a f value of 0.6 amounts to a latitude error of 1600 km at around 50 degrees N or S (comparable to the effects of octupole contributions as high as 22%) and this have led to erroneous Pangea reconstructions.

  15. Study on Seismic Performance of a Stiffened Steel Plate Shear Wall with Slits

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jin-yu Lu

    2015-01-01

    Full Text Available To determine the force mechanism for the steel plate shear wall with slits, the pushover analysis method was used in this study. An estimated equation for the lateral bearing capacity which considered the effect of edge stiffener was proposed. A simplified elastic-plastic analytical model for the stiffened steel slit wall composed of beam elements was presented, where the effects of edge stiffeners were taken into account. The wall-frame analysis model was established, and the geometric parameters were defined. Pushover analysis of two specimens was carried out, and the analysis was validated by comparing the results from the experiment, the shell element model, and a simplified model. The simplified model provided a good prediction of the lateral stiffness and the strength of the steel slit wall, with less than 10% error compared with the experimental results. The mutual effects of the bearing wall and the frame were also predicted correctly. In the end, the seismic performance evaluation of a steel slit wall-frame structure was presented. The results showed that the steel slit wall could prevent the beams and columns from being damaged by an earthquake and that the steel slit wall was an efficient energy dissipation component.

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. Potential seismic hazards and tectonics of the upper Cook Inlet basin, Alaska, based on analysis of Pliocene and younger deformation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Haeussler, Peter J.; Bruhn, Ronald L.; Pratt, Thomas L.

    2000-01-01

    The Cook Inlet basin is a northeast-trending forearc basin above the Aleutian subduction zone in southern Alaska. Folds in Cook Inlet are complex, discontinuous structures with variable shape and vergence that probably developed by right-transpressional deformation on oblique-slip faults extending downward into Mesozoic basement beneath the Tertiary basin. The most recent episode of deformation may have began as early as late Miocene time, but most of the deformation occurred after deposition of much of the Pliocene Sterling Formation. Deformation continued into Quaternary time, and many structures are probably still active. One structure, the Castle Mountain fault, has Holocene fault scarps, an adjacent anticline with flower structure, and historical seismicity. If other structures in Cook Inlet are active, blind faults coring fault-propagation folds may generate Mw 6–7+ earthquakes. Dextral transpression of Cook Inlet appears to have been driven by coupling between the North American and Pacific plates along the Alaska-Aleutian subduction zone, and by lateral escape of the forearc to the southwest, due to collision and indentation of the Yakutat terrane 300 km to the east of the basin.

  20. The alternative concept of global tectonics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anokhin, Vladimir; Kholmyansky, Mikhael

    2016-04-01

    The existing plate tectonic paradigm becomes more questionable in relation to the new facts of the Earth. The most complete to date criticism of plate tectonics provisions contained in the article (Pratt, 2000). Authors can recall a few facts that contradict the idea of long-range movement of plates: - The absence of convection cells in the mantle, detected by seismic tomography; - The presence of long-lived deep regmatic network in the crust, not distorted by the movement of plates; - The inability of linking the global geometry of the of mutual long-distance movement of plates. All this gives reason to believe that correct, or at least a satisfactory concept of global tectonics are not exist now. After overcoming the usual inertia of thinking the plate paradigm in the foreseeable future will replace by different concept, more relevant as the observable facts of the Earth and the well-known physical laws. The authors suggest that currently accumulated sufficient volume of facts and theoretical ideas for the synthesis of a new general hypothesis of the structure and dynamics of the Earth. Analysis of the existing tectonic theory suggests that most of their provisions are mutually compatible. Obviously, plume tectonics perfectly compatible with any of classical models. It contradicts the only plate tectonics (movement of hot spots in principle not linked either with each other or with the general picture of the plate movements, the presence of mantle convection and mantle streams are mutually exclusive, and so on). The probable transfer of the heated material down up within the Earth may occur in various forms, the simplest of which (and, consequently, the most probable) are presented plumes. The existence in the mantle numerous large volumes of decompressed substances (detected seismic tomography), can be correlated with the bodies of plumes at different stages of uplift. Plumes who raise to the bottom of the lithosphere, to spread out to the sides and form a set

  1. Tectonic erosion and consequent collapse of the Pacific margin of Costa Rica: Combined implications from ODP leg 170, seismic offshore data, and regional geology of the Nicoya Peninsula

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vannucchi, P.; Scholl, D. W.; Meschede, M.; McDougall-Reid, K.

    2001-01-01

    The convergent margin off the Pacific coast of the Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica exhibits evidence for subduction erosion caused by the underthrusting Cocos plate. Critical evidence for efficacy of this process was recovered at the Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) drilling Site 1042 (Leg 170), positioned ???7 km landward of the Middle America trench axis off the Nicoya Peninsula. The primary drilling objective at this site was to identify the age and origin of a regionally extensive and prominent seismic discontinuity, the so-called base-of-slope sediment (BOSS) horizon or surface. The BOSS horizon, which can be traced landward from near the trench to the Nicoya coastal area and parallel to it for hundreds of kilometers, separates a low-velocity (??? 2.0-2.5 km s-1) sequence of slope sediment, from an underlying sequence of much higher-velocity (> 4-4.5 km s-1) rock. Site 1042 reached the acoustically defined BOSS horizon at a below sea level depth of ??? 3900 m and yielded a carbonate-cemented calcarenitic breccia of early-middle Miocene age. Sedimentological, geochemical, paleontological, and cement paragenesis data document that the breccia accumulated in a shallow water depositional environment. On the basis of coastal exposures, the BOSS horizon, as a margin-wide geologic interface, can be temporally and lithostratigraphically correlated to a regional angular unconformity. This unconformity, known as the Mal Pais unconformity, separates Neogene and younger shelf-to-littoral beds from the underlying mafic units of the Mesozoic Nicoya Complex and Cretaceous and early Tertiary sedimentary sequences. At Site 1042 it is inferred that tectonism caused the vertical subsidence of the early Neogene breccia from a shallow to a deep water setting. The Mal Pais unconformity of the BOSS horizon thus connects the rock fabric of the outermost part of margin to that of coastal Nicoya and implies that in the early Neogene the Nicoya shelf extended seaward to near the present

  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. Refined Views of Strike-slip Fault Zones, Seismicity, and State of Stress Associated With the Pacific-North America Plate Boundary in Southern California

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hauksson, E.; Nicholson, C.; Shaw, J. H.; Plesch, A.; Shearer, P. M.; Sandwell, D. T.; Yang, W.

    2013-12-01

    The mostly strike-slip plate boundary in southern California is expressed as a system of late Quaternary faults or principal slip zones (PSZs), with numerous adjacent smaller slip surfaces. It is complex, even after large cumulative displacements, and consists of major fault systems with multi-stranded, non-planar fault geometry, including some in close proximity to each other. There are also secondary cross faults and low-angle detachments that interact with the PSZs accommodating main plate boundary motion. The loading of plate-tectonic strain causes the largest earthquakes along PSZs, moderate-sized events in their immediate vicinity, and small earthquakes across the whole region. We apply relocated earthquake and refined focal mechanism (1981-2013) catalogs, as well as other geophysical datasets to provide refined views of the 3D fault geometry of these active fault systems. To determine properties of individual fault zones, we measure the Euclidian distance from every hypocenter to the nearest PSZ. In addition, we assign crustal geophysical parameters such as heat flow value and shear or dilatation strain rates to each epicenter. We investigate seismogenic thickness and fault zone width as well as earthquake source processes. We find that the seismicity rate is a function of location, with the rate dying off exponentially with distance from the PSZ. About 80% of small earthquakes are located within 5 km of a PSZ. For small earthquakes, stress drops increase in size with distance away from the PSZs. The magnitude distribution near the PSZs suggests that large earthquakes are more common close to PSZs, and they are more likely to occur at greater depth than small earthquakes. In contrast, small quakes can occur at any geographical location. An optimal combination of heat flow and strain rate is required to concentrate the strain along rheologically weak fault zones, which accommodate the crustal deformation processes, causing seismicity. The regional trend of

  7. 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)

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