Sample records for plate tectonic events

  1. Plate TectonicsPlate Tectonics Plate TectonicsPlate Tectonics

    E-print Network

    Siebel, Wolfgang

    Plate TectonicsPlate Tectonics #12;Plate TectonicsPlate Tectonics · Lithosphere ­ strong, rigid, transform boundaries ­ travel 1 to 11 cm/yr relative to one another #12;14 tectonic plates today #12;Mid asthenosphere that flows · 8 large lithospheric plates and 6 smaller ones ­ separated by divergent, convergent

  2. Plate Tectonics

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    Mrs. Walls

    2011-01-30

    Create a poster all about Plate Tectonics! Directions: Make a poster about Plate Tectonics. (20 points) Include at least (1) large picture (15 points) on your poster complete with labels of every part (10 points). (15 points) Include at least three (3) facts about Plate Tectonics. (5 points ...

  3. Plate Tectonics

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    2006-01-01

    In this lesson, students are introduced to the theory of plate tectonics and explore how the theory was developed and supported by evidence. Through class discussion, videos, and activities, students seek connections between tectonic activity and geologic features and investigate how the theory of plate tectonics evolved.

  4. Plate Tectonics

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    Mrs. Rohlfing

    2011-02-03

    Students will go over the main points of plate tectonics, including the theory of continental drift, different types of plate boundaries, seafloor spreading, and convection currents. We have been spending time learning about plate tectonics. We have discussed the theory of continental drift, we have talked about the different types of plate boundaries, we have also learned about seafloor spreading and convection currents. Plate Boundary Diagram Now is your chance ...

  5. Plate Tectonics

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    National Science Teachers Association (NSTA)

    2007-03-21

    The Plate Tectonics SciPack explores the various materials that make up Earth and the processes they undergo to provide a framework for understanding how continents are created and change over time. The focus is on Standards and Benchmarks related to Earth's layers, oceanic and continental plates and the interactions between plates.In addition to comprehensive inquiry-based learning materials tied to Science Education Standards and Benchmarks, the SciPack includes the following additional components:? Pedagogical Implications section addressing common misconceptions, teaching resources and strand maps linking grade band appropriate content to standards. ? Access to one-on-one support via e-mail to content "Wizards".? Final Assessment which can be used to certify mastery of the concepts.Learning Outcomes:Plate Tectonics: Layered Earth? Identify that Earth has layers (not necessarily name them), and that the interior is hotter and more dense than the crust.? Identify the crust as mechanically strong, and the underlying mantle as deformable and convecting.Plate Tectonics: Plates? Identify that the outermost layer of Earth is made up of separate plates.? Choose the correct speed of the motion of plates.? Identify the ocean floor as plate, in addition to the continents (to combat the common idea that only continents are plates, floating around on the oceans).? Recognize that oceans and continents can coexist on the same plate.Plate Tectonics: Plate Interactions? Identify the different interactions between plates.? Discuss what happens as a result of those interactions.Plate Tectonics: Consequences of Plate Interactions? Explain why volcanoes and earthquakes occur along plate boundaries. ? Explain how new sea floor is created and destroyed.? Describe features that may be seen on the surface as a result of plate interactions.Plate Tectonics: Lines of Evidence? Use plate tectonics to explain changes in continents and their positions over geologic time.? Provide evidence for the idea of plates, including the location of earthquakes and volcanoes, continental drift, magnetic orientation of rocks in the ocean floor, etc.

  6. Plate Tectonics

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    Timothy Heaton

    This site contains 25 questions on the topic of plate tectonics, which covers the development of the theory, crustal movements, geologic features associated with tectonics, and plate boundaries (convergent, divergent, transform). This is part of the Principles of Earth Science course at the University of South Dakota. Users submit their answers and are provided immediate verification.

  7. Plate Tectonics

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    Smoothstone

    This interactive Flash explores plate tectonics and provides an interactive map where users can identify plate boundaries with name and velocities as well as locations of earthquakes, volcanoes, and hotspots. The site also provides animations and supplementary information about plate movement and subduction. This resource is a helpful overview or review for introductory level high school or undergraduate physical geology or Earth science students.

  8. Plate Tectonics

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    This data tip from Bridge, the Ocean Sciences Education Teacher Resource Center archive, includes a variety of educational sites to visit on plate tectonic theory. Learners can use underwater earthquake data to identify plate boundaries with links to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Acoustic Monitoring Program Ocean Seismicity data. Data from the Northeast Pacific, eastern Equatorial Pacific, and North Atlantic are examined in more detail.

  9. Plate Tectonics as Expressed in Geological Landforms and Events

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    Jeff Ryan

    This activity seeks to have students analyze global data sets on earthquake and volcano distributions toward identifying major plate boundary types in different regions on the Earth. A secondary objective is to familiarize students with two publicly available resources for viewing and manipulating geologically-relevant geospatial data: Google Earth(TM) and GeoMapApp.

  10. Mapping Plate Tectonic Boundaries

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    Michael Kerwin

    To prepare for this activity, students do background reading on Plate Tectonics from the course textbook. Students also participate in a lecture on the discovery and formulation of the unifying theory of plate tectonics, and the relationship between plate boundaries and geologic features such as volcanoes. Lastly, in lecture, students are introduced to a series of geologic hazards caused by certain plate tectonic interactions. The activity gives students practices at identifying plate boundaries and allows them to explore lesser known tectonically active regions.

  11. External Resource: Plate Tectonics

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    1900-01-01

    This Windows to the Universe interactive webpage connects students to the study and understanding of plate tectonics, the main force that shapes our planets surface. Topics: plate tectonics, lithosphere, subduction zones, faults, ridges.

  12. Tectonic Plates and Plate Boundaries

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    2005-12-17

    This interactive activity adapted from NASA features world maps that identify different sections of the Earth's crust called tectonic plates. The locations of different types of plate boundaries are also identified, including convergent, divergent, and transform boundaries.

  13. Plate Tectonics Animation

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    2002-01-01

    Plate tectonics describes the behavior of Earth's outer shell, with pieces (plates) bumping and grinding and jostling each other about. Explore these maps and animations to get a jump start on understanding plate tectonic processes, history, and how motion of the plates affects our planet today.

  14. Earthquakes and plate tectonics.

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Spall, H.

    1982-01-01

    Earthquakes occur at the following three kinds of plate boundary: ocean ridges where the plates are pulled apart, margins where the plates scrape past one another, and margins where one plate is thrust under the other. Thus, we can predict the general regions on the earth's surface where we can expect large earthquakes in the future. We know that each year about 140 earthquakes of magnitude 6 or greater will occur within this area which is 10% of the earth's surface. But on a worldwide basis we cannot say with much accuracy when these events will occur. The reason is that the processes in plate tectonics have been going on for millions of years. Averaged over this interval, plate motions amount to several mm per year. But at any instant in geologic time, for example the year 1982, we do not know, exactly where we are in the worldwide cycle of strain build-up and strain release. Only by monitoring the stress and strain in small areas, for instance, the San Andreas fault, in great detail can we hope to predict when renewed activity in that part of the plate tectonics arena is likely to take place. -from Author

  15. Caribbean plate tectonics

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    Sting

    This illustration available at Wikimedia Commons shows the plate tectonic setting in the Caribbean. Plate boundaries are color-coded by margin type and plate motions are noted with direction and magnitude in mm/yr.

  16. Earthquakes and Plate Tectonics

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    This article describes the theory of plate tectonics and its relation to earthquakes and seismic zones. Materials include an overview of plate tectonics, a description of Earth's crustal plates and their motions, and descriptions of the four types of seismic zones.

  17. Earth's Decelerating Tectonic Plates

    Microsoft Academic Search

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

    2008-01-01

    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

  18. Plate Tectonics Prof. Thomas Herring

    E-print Network

    Herring, Thomas

    1 Plate Tectonics Prof. Thomas Herring MIT 05/14/02 Lexington HS Plate tectonics 2 Contact/14/02 Lexington HS Plate tectonics 3 Overview · Development of the Plate tectonic theory · Geological Data ­ Sea-floor spreading ­ Fault types from earthquakes ­ Transform faults ­ Today's measurements of plate tectonics 05

  19. Plate Tectonics: Further Evidence

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    The representation depicts the spreading of the sea floor along the mid-ocean ridges. The resource generally describes the theory of plate tectonics, including the movement of plates with regard to one another.

  20. PLATE TECTONICS USING GIS Understanding plate tectonics using real

    E-print Network

    PLATE TECTONICS USING GIS Understanding plate tectonics using real global data sets pertaining OF THE UPSTATE, SC An afternoon field trip to observe the evidences for plate tectonic history, and to witness

  1. An 8--10 Ma tectonic event on the Cocos Plate offshore Costa Rica: Result of Cocos Ridge collision?

    E-print Network

    Fisher, Andrew

    An 8--10 Ma tectonic event on the Cocos Plate offshore Costa Rica: Result of Cocos Ridge collision 2004. [1] Upper oceanic crust within the Cocos Plate offshore northwestern Costa Rica is dominated Costa Rica: Result of Cocos Ridge collision?, Geophys. Res. Lett., 31, L18601, doi:10.1029/2004GL020272

  2. Earthquakes and Plate Tectonics

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    2007-10-04

    This activity, from the Real World Learning Objects Resource Library, allows students to use first-hand data analysis to "determine if there is any pattern to earthquake events and speculate on the causes of earthquakes." Intended to be an introductory activity for a unit of study on earthquakes, this 60-minute activity is complete with learning goals, step-by-step classroom procedures, materials, assessment activities, and resources for further information. The "Content Materials" section contains directions for students and graphics to help students understand earthquakes and plate tectonics. This is an excellent resource for geology and earth science instructors that is ready to use for the classroom.

  3. Geology - Plate Tectonics

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    Visitors to this site can learn about the theory of plate tectonics, the history of its development, and the mechanisms that drive the formation, movement, and destruction of continents and tectonic plates. A selection of animations depicts the movements of crustal plates and continents through time. Each animation is accompanied by an interactive time scale that provides links to descriptions of the geology and paleontology of the selected era or period.

  4. Permian and Pennsylvanian tectonic events in eastern California in relation to major plate motions

    SciTech Connect

    Stevens, C.H.; Sedlock, R. (San Jose State Univ., CA (United States)); Stone, P. (Geological Survey, Reston, VA (United States))

    1993-04-01

    Northwest-trending basins cutting across older northeast-trending facies belts in eastern California opened by Middle Pennsylvanian time and continued to develop and expand into the Early Permian. Basin development was accompanied by east-vergent thrust-faulting in the Early Permian and was followed by development of northeast-trending folds and regional uplift in middle and Late Permian time. These events have been considered products of long-tern sinistral truncation of the western North American continental margin. Later, in the Late Permian, extensional faulting created small northeast-trending basins in which deposition of terrestrial and shallow-marine rocks occurred. The author consider all late Paleozoic tectonism in eastern California to have been driven by plate interactions along the western margin of North America and to be only indirectly related to the late Paleozoic collision between North America and Gondwana. They propose that the truncated part of North America was part of the Paleo-pacific plate. In Nevada the margin of this plate, along which the Havallah assemblage eventually was emplaced, was convergent, but in California the margin bent sharply and became transform. This fault continued as the Mojave-Sonora mega-shear into Mexico where the oceanic part of the Paleopacific plate was subducted under Gondwana, forming an extensive arc now represented by rocks in S. America.

  5. Plate Tectonic Primer

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    Lynn Fichter

    This site gives an in-depth look at the theory of plate tectonics and how it works. The structure of the Earth is discussed, with brief rock type descriptions. The structure of the lithosphere, plate boundaries, interplate relationships, and types of plates are all covered in detail.

  6. Tectonic Plate Movement.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    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)

  7. Earth's Decelerating Tectonic Plates

    SciTech Connect

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

    2008-08-22

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

  8. Plate Tectonics: An Introduction

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    In the early 1900s, most geologists thought that Earth's appearance, including the arrangement of the continents, had changed little since its formation. This video segment describes the impact the theory of plate tectonics has had on our understanding of Earth's geological history, and provides a brief overview of what is currently known about the Earth's tectonic plates and their motions. The segment is two minutes twenty-one seconds in length. A background essay and list of discussion questions are also provided.

  9. Plate tectonics, damage and inheritance.

    PubMed

    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. PMID:24717430

  10. Plate tectonics, damage and inheritance

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bercovici, David; Ricard, Yanick

    2014-04-01

    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.

  11. Review of plate tectonics

    Microsoft Academic Search

    Kevin Burke; A. M. C. Sengor

    1979-01-01

    This article reviews advances in plate tectonics in a variety of different plate environments. Mapping using multibeam echo sounding and deep-water photographic and geophysical packages and understanding of mid-oceanic ridges, the subsidence of sea floor as oceanic lithosphere cools with age, the nature and behavior of oceanic and continental transform faults, and advances in knowledge of subduction zones including the

  12. Plate Tectonics at Work

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    This is a brief description of the results of plate movement according to the Theory of Plate Tectonics. It explains how divergence at the mid-ocean ridges accounts for the discoveries of Harry Hess. The site also refers to the invention of the magnetometer and the discovery of the young age of the ocean floor basalt. It concludes that these are the kinds of discoveries and thinking that ultimately led to the development of the theory of plate tectonics and that in just a few decades, have greatly changed our view of and notions about our planet and the sciences that attempt to explain its existence and development.

  13. Plate tectonics, damage and inheritance

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bercovici, D. A.; Ricard, Y. R.

    2013-12-01

    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 4Ga, evident in geochemical analysis from ancient cratons, to global tectonics by 3-2.7Ga, suggests that plates and plate boundaries spread globally over a 1Gyr period. We hypothesize 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 plate boundaries and eventually fully formed tectonic plates driven by subduction alone. We demonstrate this process with an idealized model of pressure-driven flow (wherein a low pressure zone is equivalent to downwelling suction or slab pull) in a lithosphere that self-weakens according to a mylonitic-type polycrystalline grain-damage mechanism (Bercovici and Ricard, Phys. Earth Planet. Int. v.202-203, pp27-55, 2012). In the simplest case, for Earth-like conditions, four successive orthogonal rotations of the driving pressure field yield relic damage zones that are inherited to form a nearly perfect plate, with passive spreading and strike-slip margins that persist and localize further, even as flow is only driven by subduction. For Venus' hotter surface conditions, accumulation and inheritance of damage is negligible; hence only subduction zones survive and plate tectonics does not spread, which is compatible with observations. After plates are 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 and micro plates.

  14. Tectonic Plates and Plate Boundaries

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    Continents were once thought to be static, locked tight in their positions in Earth's crust. Similarities between distant coastlines, such as those on opposite sides of the Atlantic, were thought to be the work of a scientist's overactive imagination, or, if real, the result of erosion on a massive scale. This interactive feature shows 11 tectonic plates and their names, the continents that occupy them, and the types of boundaries between them.

  15. An Introduction to Plate Tectonics

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    This page is a brief introduction to plate tectonics. It starts with a discussion of the evolution of the theory of plate tectonics and the arguments supporting it. It then discusses the processes associated with tectonics and the types of plate boundaries: divergent, convergent and transform boundaries. It concludes with a discussion of the current hypotheses of what causes plates to move.

  16. Plate Tectonics Learning Module

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    Rita Haberlin

    This plate tectonics unit was designed to be used with a college course in physical geography. Subject matter covered includes: the development of the theory including Wegener's Continental Drift Hypothesis and the existence of Pangaea, Harry Hess and his work on sea-floor spreading, and the final theory. It points out that global features such as deep oceanic trenches, mid-ocean ridges, volcanic activity, and the location of earthquake epicenters can now be related to the story of plate tectonics, since most geological activity occurs along plate boundaries. Divergent, convergent and transform plate boundaries are discussed in detail. This module contains a study guide and outline notes, study questions, and practice quizzes. One feature of the module is a web exploration section with links to twelve outside sites that augment the instruction.

  17. The Plate Tectonics Project

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    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…

  18. Martian plate tectonics

    Microsoft Academic Search

    N. H. Sleep

    1994-01-01

    The northern lowlands of Mars have been produced by plate tectonics. Preexisting old thick highland crust was subducted, while seafloor spreading produced thin lowland crust during late Noachian and Early Hesperian time. In the preferred reconstruction, a breakup margin extended north of Cimmeria Terra between Daedalia Planum and Isidis Planitia where the highland-lowland transition is relatively simple. South dipping subduction

  19. Lesson 3. Plate Tectonics Overview

    E-print Network

    Chen, Po

    Lesson 3. Plate Tectonics #12;Overview · Prior to the 1970s that with the development of the theory of plate tectonics. · Knowledge of the ocean floors of the Earth #12;Overview · Plate tectonics explains the formaBon of the Earth's two

  20. The Biggest Plates on Earth: Plate Tectonics

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    In this lesson, students investigate the movement of Earth's tectonic plates, the results of these movements, and how magnetic anomalies present at spreading centers document the motion of the crust. As a result of this activity, students will be able to describe the motion of tectonic plates, differentiate between three types of plate boundaries, infer what type of boundary exists between two tectonic plates, and understand how magnetic anomalies provide a record of geologic history and crustal motion around spreading centers. As an example, they will also describe plate boundaries and tectonic activity in the vicinity of the Juan de Fuca plate adjacent to the Pacific Northwest coast of North America.

  1. Tectonic Plates, Earthquakes, and Volcanoes

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    According to theory of plate tectonics, Earth is an active planet -- its surface is composed of many individual plates that move and interact, constantly changing and reshaping Earth's outer layer. Volcanoes and earthquakes both result from the movement of tectonic plates. This interactive feature shows the relationship between earthquakes and volcanoes and the boundaries of tectonic plates. By clicking on a map, viewers can superimpose the locations of plate boundaries, volcanoes and earthquakes.

  2. Plate Tectonics and Volcanism

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    2012-08-03

    This is a lesson where learners explore plate movement and the relationship between plate tectonics and volcanoes. The lesson models scientific inquiry using the 5E instructional model and includes teacher notes, prerequisite concepts, common misconceptions, student journal and reading. This is lesson five in the Astro-Venture Geology Training Unit that was developed to increase students' awareness of and interest in astrobiology and the many career opportunities that utilize science, math and technology skills. The lessons are designed for educators to use with the Astro-Venture multimedia modules.

  3. Plate Tectonics: Lines of Evidence

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    National Science Teachers Association (NSTA)

    2006-11-01

    This Science Object is the fifth of five Science Objects in the Plate Tectonics SciPack. It explores the physical, geographical, and geological evidence for the theory of continental drift and plate tectonics. Plate tectonics provide a unifying framework for understanding Earth processes and history, and is supported by many lines of evidence. Over geologic time, plates move across the globe creating different continents (and positions of continents). Learning Outcomes:? Use plate tectonics to explain changes in continents and their positions over geologic time.? Provide evidence for the idea of plates, including the location of earthquakes and volcanoes, continental drift, magnetic orientation of rocks in the ocean floor, etc.

  4. Episodic plate tectonics on Venus

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    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.

  5. Plate Tectonics: Earthquake Epicenter

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    John Pratte

    This lesson provides an overview of destructive earthquakes and their connection to tectonic movements of the Earth's crust. It includes a discussion of some especially destructive historic earthquakes, and a brief introduction to contintental drift and the theory of plate tectonics. There is also discussion of basic seismology (types of waves) and measures of the magnitude of an earthquake (the Richter Scale). The lesson inlcudes an activity in which students use an online simulator to locate the epicenter of an earthquake using readings from three different seismograph stations. After they have completed the simulation, they attempt to locate the epicenter of a real earthquake using data from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) earthquake website.

  6. Dynamics of Tectonic Plates

    E-print Network

    Pechersky, E; Sadowski, G; Yambartsev, A

    2014-01-01

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

  7. Plate Tectonics: Further Evidence

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    Early evidence showing striking similarities between regions on opposite sides of vast oceans suggested that in Earth's distant past what are now separate continents may once have been connected. However, this evidence said nothing about how the continents could have moved to their present positions. This video shows how seafloor spreading creates new oceanic crust and how the crust is destroyed by subduction into Earth's mantle, providing the mechanism and forces that propel tectonic plates across Earth's surface. The segment is two minutes nine seconds in length.

  8. Global Topography and Tectonic Plates

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    David Greene

    The goal of this activity is to investigate global topographic and tectonic features, especially the tectonic plates and their boundaries. Using a double-page size digital topographic map of the Earth that includes both land and sea floor topography, students are asked to draw plate boundaries, deduce plate motions and interactions, and explore the connections between topography and tectonic processes at the global scale.

  9. Plate Tectonics: Lake Mead, Nevada

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    2005-10-21

    Using animations to illustrate the theory of plate tectonics, this video segment adapted from Discovering Women takes you to Lake Mead, Nevada, to see visual evidence of how plate movement has been stretching the North American continent.

  10. A plate tectonic model for the Paleozoic and Mesozoic constrained by dynamic plate boundaries and restored

    E-print Network

    Cerveny, Vlastislav

    A plate tectonic model for the Paleozoic and Mesozoic constrained by dynamic plate boundaries November 2001; accepted 15 November 2001 Abstract We developed a plate tectonic model for the Paleozoic rates and major tectonic and magmatic events. Plates were constructed through time by adding

  11. Intermittent plate tectonics?

    PubMed

    Silver, Paul G; Behn, Mark D

    2008-01-01

    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. PMID:18174440

  12. Plate Tectonics: Layered Earth

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    National Science Teachers Association (NSTA)

    2006-11-01

    This Science Object is the first of five Science Objects in the Plate Tectonics SciPack. It explores the characteristics of the various layers of the Earth, using the way waves travel through the different layers to illustrate the differences in each layer. The interior of the earth is hot, under high pressure from gravitational pull, and more dense than its rocky outer crust. The earth is layered with a relatively thin crust; hot, deformable mantle; liquid outer core; and solid, metallic, and dense inner core. Learning Outcomes:? Identify that Earth has layers (not necessarily name them), and that the interior is hotter and more dense than the crust.? Identify the crust as mechanically strong, and the underlying mantle as deformable and convecting.

  13. The science behind Plate Tectonics

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    John Weber

    Plate tectonics is a quantitative, robust and testable, geologic model describing the surface motions of Earth's outer skin. It is based on real data and assumptions, and built using the scientific method. New space geodesy data provide important quantitative (and independent) tests of this model. In general, these new data show a close match to model predictions, and suggest that plate motion is steady and uniform over millions of years. Active research continues to refine the model and to better our understanding of plate motion and tectonics. The exercise presented here aims to help students experience the process of doing science and to understand the science underlying the plate tectonic theory. Key words: plate tectonics, global plate motion models, assumptions, geologic data (spreading rates, transform fault azimuths, earthquake slip vectors), space geodesy tests.

  14. Initiation of plate tectonics, damage and inheritance

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ricard, Yanick; Bercovici, David

    2014-05-01

    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 4Ga to global tectonics by 3Ga, suggests that plates and plate boundaries became widespread over a 1Gyr period. We hypothesize that during this period, transient mantle flow and migrating proto-subductions lead to lithospheric damage and eventually fully formed tectonic plates driven by subduction alone. We demonstrate this process using a grain evolution and damage mechanism (Bercovici and Ricard, 2012) with a composite rheology, which are compatible with field and laboratory observations of polycrystalline rocks coupled to an idealized model of pressure-driven lithospheric flow (wherein 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 damage zones that are inherited to form a nearly perfect plate, with passive spreading and strike-slip margins that persist and localize further, even as flow is only driven by subduction. For Venus hotter surface conditions, accumulation and inheritance of damage is negligible; hence only subduction zones survive and plate tectonics does not spread, which corresponds to observations. After plates are 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.

  15. Tectonics of the Easter plate

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    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.

  16. Tectonic Plate Movement in Alaska

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    2008-11-04

    In this video adapted from KUAC-TV and the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, learn how tectonic plate movement is responsible for building mountains, such as the Wrangell and St. Elias Mountains.

  17. The Nature of Tectonic Plates

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    Ken Rhinehart

    This lesson provides an overview of the various types of interactions between tectonic plates. The discussion uses the analogy of a cracked egg to describe the tectonic plates composing Earth's crust. Other topics include the concentrated earthquake and volcanic activity associated with plate boundaries, types of interactions at the boundaries, and how plate motions are affecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The lesson includes an activity in which students will use online references to locate a hypothetical nuclear power plant in a geologically safe area, investigate the history of large earthquakes in South Carolina, provide a likely location for a hypothetical geothermal power plant, and others.

  18. Planet Earth: Plate Tectonics

    E-print Network

    Watts, A. B. "Tony"

    , ice and sediment for long periods of geological time (>105 a). · Controlled and passive (e-plate system #12;Relative plate motions on a sphere A In a three-plate system, A, B and C, if AB and BC are known then CA can be found. See GG p23-24. Euler's theorem: motion of any spherical plate can

  19. Plate tectonics hiati as the cause of global glaciations: 1. Early Proterozoic events and the rise of oxygen

    Microsoft Academic Search

    M. F. Osmaston

    2003-01-01

    Plate tectonics is the main way in which the Earth's internal heat is brought to the surface and lost, so it seems that global tectonics should not stop and start. Consequently the long-standing fact that, globally, no orogenic granitoid or greenstone U-Pb ages have been found in the 2.45--2.22 Ga interval has been attributed to defective sampling. Here I argue

  20. Plate Tectonics II: Plates, plate boundaries, and driving forces

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    Anne Egger

    2003-03-18

    The distribution of earthquakes and volcanoes around the world confirmed the theory of plate tectonics first proposed by Wegener. These phenomena also help categorize plate boundaries into three different types: convergent, divergent, and transform.

  1. Plate tectonics on Venus

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    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.

  2. The Theory of Plate Tectonics

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    This is a brief overview of the Theory of Plate Tectonics. According to the theory, the Earth's surface layer, or lithosphere, consists of seven large and 18 smaller plates that move and interact in various ways. Along their boundaries, they converge, diverge, and slip past one another, creating the Earth's seismic and volcanic activities. These plates lie atop a layer of partly molten rock called the asthenosphere. The plates can carry both continents and oceans, or exclusively one or the other. The site also explains interaction at the plate boundaries, which causes earthquakes, volcanoes and other forms of mountain building.

  3. CENOZOIC PLATE TECTONICS OF SE ASIA 11 Cenozoic plate tectonic reconstructions of SE Asia

    E-print Network

    Royal Holloway, University of London

    CENOZOIC PLATE TECTONICS OF SE ASIA 11 Cenozoic plate tectonic reconstructions of SE Asia ROBERT TW20 0EX, UK (e-mail: robert.hall@gl.rhul.ac.uk) Abstract: A new plate tectonic model to present regional tectonics. Plate tectonic reconstructions of SE Asia may help in understanding

  4. MACMA: a Virtual Lab for Plate Tectonics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grigne, C.; Combes, M.; Tisseau, C.

    2013-12-01

    MACMA (Multi-Agent Convective MAntle) is a tool developed to simulate evolutive plate tectonics and mantle convection in a 2-D cylindrical geometry (Combes et al., 2012). The model relies mainly on a force balance to compute the velocity of each plate, and on empirical rules to determine how plate boundaries move and evolve. It includes first-order features of plate tectonics: (a) all plates on Earth do not have the same size, (b) subduction zones are asymmetric, (c) plates driven by subducting slabs and upper plates do not exhibit the same velocities, and (d) plate boundaries are mobile, can collide, merge and disappear, and new plate boundaries can be created. The MACMA interface was designed to be user-friendly and a simple use of the simulator can be achieved without any prerequisite knowledge in fluid dynamics, mantle rheology, nor in numerical methods. As a preliminary study, the simulator was used by a few students from bachelor's degree to master's degree levels. An initial configuration for plate tectonics has to be created before starting a simulation: the number and types of plate boundaries (ridge, subduction, passive margins) has to be defined and seafloor ages must be given. A simple but interesting exercise consists in letting students build such an initial configuration: they must analyze a map of tectonic plates, choose a 2-D section and examine carefully a map of seafloor ages. Students mentioned that the exercise made them realize that the 3-D spherical structure of plate tectonics does not translate directly in a simple 2-D section, as opposed to what is usually shown in books. Physical parameters: e.g. mantle viscosity, number of layers to consider in the mantle (upper and lower mantle, possible asthenosphere), initial time and mantle temperature, have to be chosen, and students can use this virtual lab to see how different scenarios emerge when parameters are varied. Very importantly, the direct visualization of the mobility of plate boundaries is a feature that clearly seems interesting to students. They are used to see dynamic representations of continental drift, but this does not include the dynamics of the oceanic lithosphere and the corresponding fluctuations in seafloor age distribution. The 2-D geometry of the simulator is a simplification that actually brings a clearer view of plate boundary creations, migrations, and collisions, together with global plate tectonics reorganization events.

  5. Plate Tectonics: A Paradigm under Threat.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Pratt, David

    2000-01-01

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

  6. Author's personal copy Plate tectonic reconstructions with continuously closing plates$

    E-print Network

    Bower, Dan J.

    Author's personal copy Plate tectonic reconstructions with continuously closing plates$ Michael May 2011 Keywords: Geodynamics Plate tectonics a b s t r a c t We present a new algorithm for modeling margins and plates, traditional global plate tectonic reconstructions have become inadequate

  7. Learning Assessment #1 - Plate Tectonics

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    Michelle Speta

    In Part 1 of this activity, students are provided with a blank topographic profile and an associated tectonic plate boundary map. Students are asked to draw a schematic cross-section on the profile down to the asthenosphere including tectonic plates (with relative thicknesses of crust etc. appropriately illustrated), arrows indicating directions of plate movement, tectonic features (mid-ocean ridges, trenches and volcanic arcs) and symbols indicating where melting is occurring at depth. In Part 2, students are asked to provide geological and geophysical lines of evidence to support their placement of convergent and divergent boundaries, respectively. A bonus question asks students to predict what would happen if spreading along the Atlantic mid-ocean ridge were to stop. Students are referred to appropriate sections of the textbook to guide them in completing all the parts of this activity. Students are also provided with a checklist of required elements for both parts of the assignment.

  8. Plate Tectonics Jigsaw

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    Anne Egger

    This activity is a slight variation on an original activity, Discovering Plate Boundaries, developed by Dale Sawyer at Rice University. I made different maps, including more detail in all of the datasets, and used a different map projection, but otherwise the general progression of the activity is the same. More information about jigsaw activities in general can be found in the Jigsaws module. The activity occurs in several sections, which can be completed in one or multiple classes. In the first section, students are divided into "specialist" groups, and each group is given a global map with a single dataset: global seismicity, volcanoes, topography, age of the seafloor, and free-air gravity. Each student is also given a map of plate boundaries. Their task in the specialist group is to become familiar with their dataset and develop categories of plate boundaries based only on their dataset. Each group then presents their results to the class. In the second section, students reorganize into groups with 1-2 of each type of specialist per group. Each new group is given a plate, and they combine their different datasets on that one plate and look for patterns. Again, each plate group presents to the class. The common patterns and connections between the different datasets quickly become apparent, and the final section of the activity involves a short lecture from the instructor about types of plate boundaries and why the common features are generated at those plate boundaries. A follow-up section or class involves using a problem-solving approach to explain the areas that don't "fit" into the typical boundary types - intra-plate volcanism, earthquakes in the Eastern California Shear Zone, etc.

  9. Petroleum occurrences and plate tectonics

    SciTech Connect

    Olenin, V.B.; Sokolov, B.A.

    1983-01-01

    This paper analyzes the mechanisms of petroleum formation and petroleum accumulation proposed in recent years by some Russian and foreign investigators from the viewpoint of the new global or plate tectonics. On the basis of discussion and the facts, the authors conclude that the mechanisms proposed are in contradiction to reality and their use in practical application is at least premature.

  10. Comment on "Intermittent plate tectonics?".

    PubMed

    Korenaga, Jun

    2008-06-01

    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. PMID:18535229

  11. Metamorphic Rocks and Plate Tectonics

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    Smoothstone

    This interactive Flash explores the processes and products of metamorphism, including rock examples, types of metamorphism, and facies, and relates them to plate tectonics. It is a useful overview or review suitable for high school or introductory level undergraduate students in Earth science or physical geology courses. It includes diagrams, animations, and supplementary information about metamorphic rocks.

  12. Tectonic Plate Motion

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    The representation shows the direction of motion of the Earth's major plates as measured through NASA's satellite laser ranging (SLR) technology. A series of world maps, accompanying text, and the subsequent links explain this technology in great detail. One can click on the Index Map for Satellite Laser Ranging site Velocity and see the vectors (arrows) that indicate the direction and rate of movement of Earth's plates in much more detail. Accompanying text gives a more detailed explanation of what each sub map is showing.

  13. Plate Tectonics Quiz

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    This quiz for younger students asks them 10 questions about plate motions, rock types in continental and oceanic crust, crustal formation and mountain building, the supercontinent Pangea, and the theory of continental drift. A link to a page on continental drift provides information to answer the questions.

  14. 6, 793830, 2014 Plate tectonic raster

    E-print Network

    Müller, Dietmar

    SED 6, 793­830, 2014 Plate tectonic raster reconstruction in GPlates J. Cannon et al. Title Page if available. Plate tectonic raster reconstruction in GPlates J. Cannon 1 , E. Lau 1, * , and R. D. Müller 1 1 of the European Geosciences Union. 793 #12;SED 6, 793­830, 2014 Plate tectonic raster reconstruction in GPlates J

  15. First Draft 1 April 2003 Plate Tectonics ;

    E-print Network

    Anderson, Don L.

    1 4/18/04 First Draft 1 April 2003 Plate Tectonics ; The General Theory The Complex Earth is difficult to overturn. After more than 20 years some implications of plate tectonics have yet to be fully convective systems. It relies on a theory of plate tectonics unconstrained by assumptions about absolute

  16. From point defects to plate tectonic faults

    Microsoft Academic Search

    K. Regenauer-Lieb; B. Hobbs; D. A. Yuen; A. Ord; Y. Zhang; H. B. Mulhaus; G. Morra

    2006-01-01

    Understanding and explaining emergent constitutive laws in the multi-scale evolution from point defects, dislocations and two-dimensional defects to plate tectonic scales is an arduous challenge in condensed matter physics. The Earth appears to be the only planet known to have developed stable plate tectonics as a means to get rid of its heat. The emergence of plate tectonics out of

  17. 26 ENGINEERING & SCIENCE fall 2011 Tectonic plates

    E-print Network

    26 ENGINEERING & SCIENCE fall 2011 Tectonic plates worldwide have been slipping, sliding such as this one occurs when one tectonic plate is being jammed underneath its neighbor in a region called GPs technology for nationwide tectonic monitoring, and the Geographical Survey Institute of Japan

  18. Musical Plates: A Study of Plate Tectonics

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    2007-01-01

    In this project, students use Real-Time earthquake and volcano data from the Internet to explore the relationship between earthquakes, plate tectonics, and volcanoes. There is a teachers guide that explains how to use real time data, and in the same section, there is a section for curriculum standards, Supplement and enrichment activities, and assessment suggestions. Included on this webpage are four core activities, and three enrichment activities, including an activity where the student writes a letter to the president. There is also a link to reference materials that might also interest you and your students.

  19. Early Planetary Evolution: The Crust and Mantle Before Plate Tectonics

    Microsoft Academic Search

    L. T. Elkins-Tanton

    2009-01-01

    Magma ocean models that include small water contents predict a potentially important redistribution of mantle water, a ``water catastrophe,'' after solidification. This event introduces fluid to the upper mantle and may speed onset of plate tectonics.

  20. Planetary science: Plate tectonics on ice

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Selvans, Michelle M.

    2014-10-01

    Jupiter's icy moon Europa is criss-crossed by extensional features. A tectonic reconstruction suggests that Europa's extension is balanced by subduction -- if so, Earth may not be the only planetary body with a plate tectonic system.

  1. Continental tectonics in the aftermath of plate tectonics

    Microsoft Academic Search

    Peter Molnar

    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

  2. How Mantle Slabs Drive Plate Tectonics

    Microsoft Academic Search

    Clinton P. Conrad; Carolina Lithgow-Bertelloni

    2002-01-01

    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

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    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)

  4. ConcepTest: Plate Tectonic Theory

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    Which of the following statements is not consistent with plate tectonic theory? a. Continental crust is generally older than oceanic crust. b. The number of plates has changed through time. c. Mountain chains are ...

  5. LETTER doi:10.1038/nature13072 Plate tectonics, damage and inheritance

    E-print Network

    LETTER doi:10.1038/nature13072 Plate tectonics, damage and inheritance David Bercovici1 & Yanick Ricard2 The initiation of plate tectonics on Earth is a critical event in our planet's history. The time and inher- itance of damage is negligible; hence only subduction zones survive and plate tectonics does

  6. A plate tectonic model for the Paleozoic and Mesozoic constrained by dynamic plate boundaries and restored synthetic oceanic isochrons

    Microsoft Academic Search

    G. M Stampfli; G. D. Borel

    2002-01-01

    We developed a plate tectonic model for the Paleozoic and Mesozoic (Ordovician to Cretaceous) integrating dynamic plate boundaries, plate buoyancy, ocean spreading rates and major tectonic and magmatic events. Plates were constructed through time by adding\\/removing oceanic material, symbolized by synthetic isochrons, to major continents and terranes. Driving forces like slab pull and slab buoyancy were used to constrain the

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    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…

  8. The Plate Tectonic Story: A Scientific Jigsaw

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    This activity has students read and answer questions based upon the article 'The plate tectonic story: a scientific jigsaw.' The article starts with the continental drift theory of Alfred Wegener and adds the evidence from the seafloor to arrive at plate tectonics. It concludes with remarks about mantle dynamics and the future ability to predict earthquakes.

  9. Mantle dynamics with induced plate tectonics

    Microsoft Academic Search

    Yanick Ricard; Christophe Vigny

    1989-01-01

    A new model of mantle dynamics and plate tectonics which takes into account the existence of rigid and independent plates has been developed. These plates, which break the spherical symmetry assumed in all earlier models, modify the mantle circulation and hence the predicted surface observables such as displacement and gravity. This paper uses a very simple two-plate model to explain

  10. Continental tectonics in the aftermath of plate tectonics

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    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.

  11. Petrologic implications of plate tectonics.

    PubMed

    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. PMID:17770454

  12. Igneous Rock Compositions and Plate Tectonics

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    Allen Glazner

    In this exercise, students are split into groups to gather whole-rock geochemical data (major-, trace-, and rare-earth elements) from the GEOROC database for igneous rocks sampled from four different plate tectonic settings: mid-ocean ridges, subduction zones, oceanic islands, and oceanic plateaus. Each group is assigned a different plate tectonic setting and collects three datasets from different locations for their tectonic setting. Geochemical data is graphed as major-element variation and REE diagrams to quantify igneous diversity both within the same tectonic setting and between different tectonic settings. The main goal of this exercise is to demonstrate that igneous rock compositions are a strong function of plate tectonic setting.

  13. Hierarchical self-organization of tectonic plates

    E-print Network

    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.

  14. Plate Tectonics-Discover Our Earth

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    Institute for the Study of the Continents (INSTOC)

    This site from Cornell University presents an illustrated and interactive description of plate tectonics. Topics covered include an introduction to plate boundaries and sea floor spreading, and the use of earthquake activity to locate plate boundaries. After each topic is established, it is followed by a series of exercises using the QUEST interactive program.

  15. Google Earth Plate Tectonics File (.kmz)

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    UNAVCO

    This Google Earth .kmz file contains a number of data sets that can be used to help students learn about plate tectonics. These include: earthquake epicenters, plate boundaries, plate motion vectors, GPS station motion vectors, US Array seismic station locations, LiDAR hillshades, strain rates, volcano locations, magnetic anomalies, gravity anomalies (GRACE), geologic map, and meteor crater locations.

  16. Cenozoic plate tectonics of SE Asia 99 The plate tectonics of Cenozoic SE Asia and the distribution of land

    E-print Network

    Sheldon, Nathan D.

    Cenozoic plate tectonics of SE Asia 99 The plate tectonics of Cenozoic SE Asia and the distribution, plate tectonics, Cenozoic Abstract A plate tectonic model for the development of SE Asia and the SW. There are three important periods in regional development: at about 45 Ma, 25 Ma and 5 Ma. At these times plate

  17. Simulation of Evolutive Plate Tectonics: the Size of Plates Depends on Mantle Temperature

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grigne, C.; Combes, M.

    2013-12-01

    We use a dynamic model of plate tectonics based on a multiagent approach, in a 2D cylindrical geometry (Combes et al., 2012), to study how evolutive plate tectonics affect the long term thermal state of the mantle, and in return, to analyze the relationship between the mantle mean temperature and the geometry of plate tectonics. Our model accounts for first-order features of plate tectonics: (a) all plates on Earth do not have the same size, (b) subduction zones are asymmetric, (c) plates driven by subducting slabs and upper plates do not exhibit the same velocities, and (d) plate boundaries are mobile, can collide, merge and disappear, and new plate boundaries can be created. We show that when processes for plate boundary creation (subduction initiation and ridge creation) are relying on a brittle criterion, namely when a fixed yield strength has to be reached, the average size of plates adapts to the mantle thermal state: longer plates are obtained for a hotter mantle, which implies a maximum seafloor age that remains fairly high throughout Earth's thermal history and limits mantle heat loss. This is consistent with petrological and geochemical constraints on Earth's cooling history. Important fluctuations in the mantle heat flux and velocities of plates are obtained on a timescale of a few hundred Myr, but on the long term, the relationship between the average wavelength of plate tectonics and mantle temperature can be explained by a simple scaling law. Recent compilations of geological records infer that passive margins had longer lifespans in the past (e.g. Bradley 2008; 2011), which has been linked to 'sluggish' plate tectonics and slow plates in the Precambrian (Korenaga, 2006). Our simulations outputs include lifespans of tectonic entities such as passive margins, as well as statistical data about events of plates reorganizations. We obtain faster plates in the past than at present day, but counterintuitively we also observe a low episodicity of tectonic reorganization events in the late Archean and Proterozoic: long plates, and therefore a low number of plate boundaries, naturally yield a long timespan between collisions of plate boundaries, and long lifespans for tectonic entities.

  18. FAQ: Earthquakes, Faults, Plate Tectonics, Earth Structure

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    This frequently-asked-questions feature provides answers about earthquakes, faults, plate tectonics, and earth structure. Maps and diagrams are provided with some answers, and links to additional information and to related topics are included.

  19. Investigating Students' Ideas About Plate Tectonics

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    Brent Ford

    2006-09-01

    As part of a project designed to develop, among other tools, an assessment for measuring middle school understanding in plate tectonics, researches from Horizon Research, Inc. (HRI)--a research firm specializing in science and mathematics education--interviewed middle school students about their ideas in plate tectonics and processes that shape the Earth. The purpose of the interviews was to uncover common, incorrect student ideas that could serve as distractors for the multiple-choice test being developed.

  20. Plate Tectonics, The Cause of Earthquakes

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    John Louie

    This page provides an overview of the role of plate tectonics in the generation of earthquakes. It provides a map of plate locations and figures that illustrate fault types and tectonic environments (extensional, transform, and compressional). Examples of surface features in the Pacific Northwest, Nevada, Indonesia, the San Andreas Fault, the Red Sea, the Zagoros Mountains in Iran, and on the planet Venus are provided.

  1. What on Earth is Plate Tectonics?

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    This web site was put together by the U.S.G.S. (United States Geological Survey) and the N.P.S. (National Park Service) and provides an overview of plate tectonics. It begins by explaining about the Earth's core, mantle, and crust. It then discusses the crustal plates and the types of plate boundaries (convergent, divergent and transform). The lesson ends with paleogeographic reconstructions of plate distributions from the past 650 million years.

  2. Tectonic Plates and Plate Boundaries (WMS)

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    Eric Sokolowsky

    2004-06-14

    The earths crust is constantly in motion. Sections of the crust, called plates, push against each other due to forces from the molten interior of the earth. The areas where these plates collide often have increased volcanic and earthquake activity. These images show the locations of the plates and their boundaries in the earths crust. Convergent boundaries are areas where two plates are pushing against each other and one plate may be subducting under another. Divergent boundaries have two plates pulling away from each other and indicate regions where new land could be created. Transform boundaries are places where two plates are sliding against each other in opposite directions, and diffuse boundaries are places where two plates have the same relative motion. Numerous small microplates have been omitted from the plate image. These images have been derived from images made available by the United States Geological Surveys Earthquake Hazards Program.

  3. How mantle slabs drive plate tectonics.

    PubMed

    Conrad, Clinton P; Lithgow-Bertelloni, Carolina

    2002-10-01

    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. PMID:12364804

  4. Plate tectonics on the terrestrial Plate tectonics is largely controlled by the buoyancy distribution in oceanic litho-

    E-print Network

    van Thienen, Peter

    Chapter 4 Plate tectonics on the terrestrial planets Abstract Plate tectonics is largely controlled), and surface temperatures in order to inves- tigate under which conditions plate tectonics is a viable indicates that plate tectonics could only operate on reasonable time scales at a potential mantle

  5. Plate Tectonics: The Scientist Behind the Theory

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    2005-12-17

    This video segment adapted from A Science Odyssey profiles Alfred Wegener, the scientist who first proposed the theory of continental drift. Initially criticized, his theory was accepted after further evidence revealed the existence of tectonic plates and showed that these plates move.

  6. Combining Estimates of Tectonic Plate Rotations

    Microsoft Academic Search

    Bessie H. Kirkwood; Ted Chang

    1998-01-01

    The relative motion between two diverging tectonic plates is a rotation of the sphere. Given measurements of points on the boundaries of the plates, the rotation can be estimated by minimizing a function which is asymptotically (as the concentration parameter of the data distribution goes to infinity) the sum of squared residuals of a linear regression. The linear approximation permits

  7. Whole Earth Structure and Plate Tectonics

    E-print Network

    Whole Earth Structure and Plate Tectonics Earth Structure (2nd Edition), 2004 W.W. Norton & Co, New York Slide show by Ben van der Pluijm © WW Norton; unless noted otherwise #12;© EarthStructure (2nd ed evolution of Earth: from continental drift (early 1900's) to sea-floor spreading (early 1960's) to plate

  8. Plate Tectonics: Moving Middle School Science

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    Carolee Barber

    This resource guide from the Middle School Portal 2 project, written specifically for teachers, provides links to exemplary resources including background information, lessons, career information, and related national science education standards. This wiki page is about plate tectonics and features online resources that were hand-picked for middle school teachers. The resources are organized into three sets: background information (for teachers and students), activities (single-day and multiple-day), and animations. National Science Education Standards related to plate tectonics are also provided. Each resource set begins with a discussion of its strengths. For example, students work with models and data in the activities, many of which are discovery-oriented. Teaching tips and usage suggestions are offered in the set introductions and in the descriptions of individual resources. Together, the resources address topics such as the development of the plate tectonics theory and the types of plate boundaries and their locations.

  9. Spreading continents kick-started plate tectonics.

    PubMed

    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. PMID:25230662

  10. Spreading continents kick-started plate tectonics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rey, Patrice F.; Coltice, Nicolas; Flament, Nicolas

    2014-09-01

    Stresses acting on cold, thick and negatively buoyant oceanic lithosphere are thought to be crucial to the initiation of subduction and the operation of plate tectonics, which characterizes the present-day geodynamics of the Earth. Because the Earth's interior was hotter in the Archaean eon, the oceanic crust may have been thicker, thereby making the oceanic lithosphere more buoyant than at present, and whether subduction and plate tectonics occurred during this time is ambiguous, both in the geological record and in geodynamic models. Here we show that because the oceanic crust was thick and buoyant, early continents may have produced intra-lithospheric gravitational stresses large enough to drive their gravitational spreading, to initiate subduction at their margins and to trigger episodes of subduction. Our model predicts the co-occurrence of deep to progressively shallower mafic volcanics and arc magmatism within continents in a self-consistent geodynamic framework, explaining the enigmatic multimodal volcanism and tectonic record of Archaean cratons. Moreover, our model predicts a petrological stratification and tectonic structure of the sub-continental lithospheric mantle, two predictions that are consistent with xenolith and seismic studies, respectively, and consistent with the existence of a mid-lithospheric seismic discontinuity. The slow gravitational collapse of early continents could have kick-started transient episodes of plate tectonics until, as the Earth's interior cooled and oceanic lithosphere became heavier, plate tectonics became self-sustaining.

  11. Tectonic Plates, Earthquakes, and Volcanoes

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    The representation shows earthquake and volcanic activity corresponds to plate boundaries. This interactive topographical map with the ocean water removed shows the boundaries of major plates and the locations of major volcanic eruptions and earthquakes worldwide.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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 Phanerozoic Eon (< 0.54 Ga).

  13. Tectonic events in Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dahl-Jensen, T.; Voss, P.; Larsen, T.; Pinna, L.

    2012-12-01

    In Greenland a station separation of around 400km mean that many earthquakes are only detected on one or two stations. The development of the seismic monitoring have gone from having only three seismic stations in Greenland up to the late 1990'ies, till today where there are 18 permanent stations. All stations are equipped with broadband sensors and all of the permanent stations transmit data in real time. The recent major improvement of the seismic monitoring is performed by the Greenland ice sheet monitoring network (GLISN, http://glisn.info). The primary goal of GLISN is to provide broadband seismic data for the detection of glacial earthquakes. GLISN is now fully implemented with Iridium real time data transfer is in operation at five stations. In the Ammassalik region in Southeast Greenland, where small earthquakes often are felt, data from a temporary additional station has been utilized for a study covering 9 months in 2008/9. In this period 62 local earthquakes have been analyzed and re-located. Some of the events had formerly been located from distant stations by using a universal earth model. The result of this localization was a scattered distribution of the events in the region. The locations have now been improved by using a local earth model along with phase readings from two local stations not previously included; ANG in Tasiilaq and ISOG in Isortoq. From relocating the events two zones with a higher degree of seismicity than in the rest of the region are observed. The first zone is located by felsic intrusions. The second zone is at the boundary between the Archaean Craton and the Ammasalik region where reworked Archaean gneisses are dominating the geology. During the analysis it was observed that the additional information from the local stations are of great importance for the result. Active broad band stations in Greenland

  14. Plate Tectonics in the Late Paleozoic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Domeier, Mat; Torsvik, Trond

    2014-05-01

    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 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). Although we expect this model to be particularly useful for numerical mantle modeling, we hope that it can also serve as a general framework for understanding late Paleozoic tectonics, one on which future improvements can be built and further tested.

  15. Plate Tectonics Education Website and CD

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    'Learning With Data' is a complete learning package aimed at supporting science process teaching and learning through the exploration of Earth Data. All of the data, tools, activities, background learning materials, homework assignments, and inquiry activities needed to implement data-rich investigations into the theory of Plate Tectonics are described on the website and provided in an accompanying CD-ROM, available for purchase. Students may select and plot earthquakes, recent quakes from USGS, elevation profiles, sea floor age profiles, volcano locations, island ages, and heat flow data, then assemble and annotate the plots to use in writing activities or lab reports. The content contains animated presentations of plate tectonics theory, interior of the Earth, and volcanoes and their role in plate tectonics.

  16. Tectonic Plate Movements and Hotspots

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    Ken Rhinehart

    This lesson introduces the idea that rates and directions of plate movements can be measured. The discussion centers on the use of mantle 'hotspots' to determine plate motions. Examples include the Hawaiian Islands, the Galapagos Islands, and the Yellowstone hotspot. The lesson includes an activity in which students use online resources to answer questions about the Galapagos Islands and measure plate movement rates using online data for the Hawaiian Islands hotspot.

  17. The generation of plate tectonics from mantle convection David Bercovici

    E-print Network

    Frontiers The generation of plate tectonics from mantle convection David Bercovici à Department In the last decade, significant progress has been made toward understanding how plate tectonics is generated changes in plate motion, and the Archaean initiation of the plate-tectonic mode of convection. This paper

  18. Teaching Box: Evidence for Plate Tectonics

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    This Teaching Box is an online assembly of interrelated learning concepts that focuses on finding the evidence for plate tectonics. Digital resources, education standards, and comprehensive lesson plans are combined to provide an inquiry-based exploration of each of three lines of evidence for plate tectonics: fossil distribution, locations, depths, and types of earthquakes; and locations and types of volcanoes. For each line of evidence there is a map showing supporting concepts and their associated standards, preconceptions, lessons organized into teachable units, and a reference section describing the resources used in the box. An introductory activity is also included to engage the students and to provide a segue into the theory.

  19. Plate Tectonics: Recycling the Seafloor

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    Lisa Ayers Lawrence

    2012-12-27

    In this activity, learners work in teams to predict and outline the location of plate boundaries using the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Acoustic Monitoring Program's underwater earthquake data. Then, learners compare their estimates to the USGS's map of the plates and discuss.

  20. Tracking Tectonic Plates Using Two Independent Methods

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    Laurel Goodell

    Students come to this activity familiar with the basic assumptions of plate tectonics. Using a Google Earth platform showing commonly accepted lithospheric plate boundaries as well as locations of GPS stations, students form a hypothesis about motions expected across a particular boundary. They then set about testing their hypotheses by plotting motion vectors using two independent methods. METHOD 1: LONG-TERM "MODEL" RATES OF PLATE MOTION Students use a "Plate Motion Calculator" to determine "model" rates of plate motion averaged over millions of years. METHOD 2: GPS MEASUREMENTS INTERPRETED IN TERMS OF PLATE MOTION Students interpret GPS data as near real-time rates of plate motion. RESULTS Students find that in general, plate tectonic theory holds up. However, they also discover sophisticated detail rates are not constant, internal deformation of plates does occur and some boundaries are "wider" than others. Student evaluations of the activity demonstrate that they feel engaged and empowered as they work with authentic data, and gain a sophisticated understanding of a fundamental theory as well as the process of doing science.

  1. Plate tectonics and hotspots - The third dimension

    Microsoft Academic Search

    Don L. Anderson; Toshiro Tanimoto; Yu-Shen Zhang

    1992-01-01

    An evaluation is made of the constraining influence exerted by high resolution seismic tomographic models of the upper mantle on theories of plate tectonics and hotspots. While extensional, rifting, and hotspot regions are noted to have low velocity anomalies of depth exceeding 200 km, the upper mantle is composed of vast domains of high temperature, rather than small regions surrounding

  2. Plate Tectonics and Continental Drift: Classroom Ideas.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    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)

  3. Plate tectonic raster reconstruction in GPlates

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cannon, J.; Lau, E.; Müller, R. D.

    2014-08-01

    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 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.

  4. Plate tectonic raster reconstruction in GPlates

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cannon, J.; Lau, E.; Müller, R. D.

    2014-03-01

    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 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.

  5. Tour of Park Geology: Plate Tectonics

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    This National Park Service (NPS) site provides links to geology field notes providing information about National Parks, National Monuments, and National Recreation Areas that have to do with plate tectonics. The site also has illustrations and descriptions of different plate boundaries. The parks are divided into categories depending on which type of plate boundary they are located on. This includes divergent boundaries(active and ancient), convergent boundaries (ocean-ocean, continent-continent, continent-ocean), transform faults, hot spots, and accreted terrains. Parks referenced include Virgin Islands National Park, Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, and many more.

  6. Lab 4: Plate Tectonics Locating Geologic Hazards Introduction

    E-print Network

    Chen, Po

    1 Lab 4: Plate Tectonics ­ Locating Geologic Hazards Introduction The likelihood of major that moved around the Earth's surface. Thus, the theory of plate tectonics was developed. This theory of the theory of plate tectonics is useful for understanding the major geologic hazards. (It is also helpful

  7. FUNDAMENTALS OF PLATE TECTONICS Fall Semester 2012-13

    E-print Network

    Polly, David

    FUNDAMENTALS OF PLATE TECTONICS Fall Semester 2012-13 Geological Sciences G454/G554 Section 32565, paleomagnetism, petrology, and structural geology that led to the development of plate tectonic theory student will prepare a paper on some aspect or applica- tion of plate tectonic theory. The paper should

  8. Afrotheria: Plate tectonics meets genomics S. Blair Hedges*

    E-print Network

    Hedges, Blair

    Commentary Afrotheria: Plate tectonics meets genomics S. Blair Hedges* Department of Biology that evolved on Africa when that continent was isolated from others through plate tectonics (1). Although places more importance on plate tectonics in the early evolution of placental mammals (2, 13). However

  9. Global Cretaceous plate tectonics and paleogeography

    SciTech Connect

    Barron, E.J.; Beeson, D.; Chen, P.; Dingle, R.V.; Frakes, L.A; Funnell, B.M.; Kauffman, E.G.; Petri, S.; Reyment, R.A.; Riccardi, A.C.

    1985-01-01

    The International Geologic Correlation Program (IGCP) Project 191, The Cretaceous Paleoclimatic Atlas Project has compiled 89 Cretaceous paleogeographic maps representing ten regions or continents. The map resolution varies from stage by stage (e.g. North America, Europe, USSR, Australia) to four maps (e.g. China, Southern South America) to a compilation of localities (Antarctica). The paleogeography is plotted here on global plate tectonic reconstructions for each stage. The reconstructions include continental positions and latitude. In addition, the oceanic plates are reconstructed including bathymetry based on a thermal age-depth relationship. The compiled paleogeography and plate tectonic base maps represent the most comprehensive framework for plotting and analyzing sedimentologic, geochemical and paleontologic data with respect to geography and latitude for the Cretaceous time period.

  10. Dangerous Earth: A Plate Tectonic Story

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    This article and accompanying questions discusses the fact that several of the Earth's tectonic plates move at about the same speed as fingernails grow - around 35 mm per year - and that the plates are made of lithosphere (crust plus the upper part of the mantle). Students will also learn that beneath the lithosphere is the asthenosphere, part of the upper mantle that is ductile because it contains 1-10 percent molten material as films around the crystals. In addition they will find that the Earth's magnetic field has flipped (the N pole becoming the S pole, and vice versa) many times throughout geological time, resulting in rocks with varying directions of magnetism. They will also find that as tectonic plates move apart, new rock is formed and this locks in the direction of the magnetic field at the time.

  11. Strain weakening enables continental plate tectonics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gueydan, Frédéric; Précigout, Jacques; Montési, Laurent G. J.

    2014-09-01

    Much debate exists concerning the strength distribution of the continental lithosphere, how it controls lithosphere-scale strain localization and hence enables plate tectonics. No rheological model proposed to date is comprehensive enough to describe both the weakness of plate boundary and rigid-like behaviour of plate interiors. Here we show that the duality of strength of the lithosphere corresponds to different stages of microstructural evolution. Geological constraints on lithospheric strength and large strain numerical experiments reveal that the development of layers containing weak minerals and the onset of grain boundary sliding upon grain size reduction in olivine cause strain localisation and reduce strength in the crust and subcontinental mantle, respectively. The positive feedback between weakening and strain localization leads to the progressive development of weak plate boundaries while plate interiors remain strong.

  12. Convection and plate tectonics on extrasolar planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sotin, C.; Grasset, O.; Schubert, G.

    2012-04-01

    The number of potential Earth-like exoplanets is still very limited compared to the overall number of detected exoplanets. But the different methods keep improving, giving hope for this number to increase significantly in the coming years. Based on the relationship between mass and radius, two of the easiest parameters that can be known for exoplanets, four categories of planets have been identified: (i) the gas giants including hot Jupiters, (ii) the icy giants that can be like their solar system cousins Uranus and Neptune or that can have lost their H2-He atmosphere and have become the so-called ocean planets, (iii) the Earth-like planets with a fraction of silicates and iron similar to that of the Earth, and (iv) the Mercury like planet that have a much larger fraction of iron. The hunt for exoplanets is very much focused on Earth-like planets because of the desire to find alien forms of life and the science goal to understand how life started and developed on Earth. One science question is whether heat transfer by subsolidus convection can lead to plate tectonics, a process that allows material to be recycled in the interior on timescales of hundreds of millions of years. Earth-like exoplanets may have conditions quite different from Earth. For example, COROT-7b is so close to its star that it is likely locked in synchronous orbit with one very hot hemisphere and one very cold hemisphere. It is also worth noting that among the three Earth-like planets of the solar system (Earth, Venus and Mars), only Earth is subject to plate tectonics at present time. Venus may have experienced plate tectonics before the resurfacing event that erased any clue that such a process existed. This study investigates some of the parameters that can influence the transition from stagnant-lid convection to mobile-lid convection. Numerical simulations of convective heat transfer have been performed in 3D spherical geometry in order to determine the stress field generated by convection processes in the cold thermal boundary layer that lies under the stagnant lid. Different boundary conditions have been investigated such as the surface temperature, the core temperature, the viscosity of the mantle, and the amount of internal heating. A total of 18 numerical simulations have been carried out from which scaling laws describing the shear stresses affecting the stagnant lid have been have been deduced. Their application to Earth-like exoplanets will be discussed. Different viscous laws have also been investigated. Preliminary results suggest that non-Newtonian deformation favors the transition from stagnant lid to mobile lid. Finally, application to large icy moons and icy giants is being investigated. Part of this work has been performed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract to NASA. Government sponsorship acknowledged.

  13. Caribbean plate tectonics from seismic tomography

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ten Brink, U. S.; Villasenor, A.

    2012-12-01

    New seismic tomography in the Caribbean shows close links between the geometry and dynamics of subducting slabs and the geology of the overriding plate. Unlike most oceanic plates, the Caribbean plate lacks identifiable seafloor magnetic anomalies and fracture zones. The plate's history has therefore been inferred primarily from land geology along the plate boundary, which is complicated by large-scale shear deformation, and from finite rotations of surrounding plates.We used more than 14 million arrival times from 300,000 earthquakes to identify P-wave velocity anomalies. We relate the anomalies to the geometry and dynamics of subducting slabs and to patterns of earthquake activity, volcanism, topographic relief, and tectonic deformation. For example, we detect two separate slabs belonging to the North and South American plates, respectively, which appear to be responsible for morphologic and tectonic differences between the arcs of the Northern (from Guadeloupe northward) and Southern (from Dominica southward) Lesser Antilles. Variations in earthquake activity between Haiti and the Dominican Republic can be explained by a change in slab geometry from an underplated slab beneath Haiti to a subducting slab under the Dominican Republic. A shallow tear in the slab may explain the anomalously deep Puerto Rico Trench and the frequent earthquake swarms there. The westward shift in volcanic activity in the Northern Lesser Antilles from the Miocene Limestone Caribbees to the present arc can be attributed to the limit on convective flow imposed by the 3-D geometry of the slab at depth. A thinned South America slab under the southern Lesser Antilles may result from traction imposed on the slab by a wide forearc wedge. Variations in tectonic deformation of northern South America could be related to the location of the Caribbean Large Igneous Province north of the Maracaibo Block.

  14. Tectonic speed limits from plate kinematic reconstructions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-05-01

    The motion of plates and continents on the planet's surface are a manifestation of long-term mantle convection and plate tectonics. Present-day plate velocities provide a snapshot of this ongoing process, and have been used to infer controlling factors on the speeds of plates and continents. However, present-day velocities do not capture plate behaviour over geologically representative periods of time. To address this shortcoming, we use a plate tectonic reconstruction approach to extract time-dependent plate velocities and geometries from which root mean square (RMS) velocities are computed, resulting in a median RMS plate speed of ? 4 cm /yr over 200 Myr. Linking tectonothermal ages of continental lithosphere to the RMS plate velocity analysis, we find that the increasing portions of plate area composed of continental and/or cratonic lithosphere significantly reduces plate speeds. Plates with any cratonic portion have a median RMS velocity of ? 5.8 cm /yr, while plates with more than 25% of cratonic area have a median RMS speed of ? 2.8 cm /yr. The fastest plates (? 8.5 cm /yr RMS speed) have little continental fraction and tend to be bounded by subduction zones, while the slowest plates (? 2.6- 2.8 cm /yr RMS speed) have large continental fractions and usually have little to no subducting part of plate perimeter. More generally, oceanic plates tend to move 2-3 times faster than continental plates, consistent with predictions of numerical models of mantle convection. The slower motion of continental plates is compatible with deep keels impinging on asthenospheric flow and increasing shear traction, thus anchoring the plate in the more viscous mantle transition zone. We also find that short-lived (up to ? 10 Myr) rapid accelerations of Africa (?100 and 65 Ma), North America (?100 and 55 Ma) and India (? 130 , 80 and 65 Ma) appear to be correlated with plume head arrivals as recorded by large igneous province (LIPs) emplacement. By evaluating factors influencing plate speeds over the Mesozoic and Cenozoic, our temporal analysis reveals simple principles that can guide the construction and evaluation of absolute plate motion models for times before the Cretaceous in the absence of hotspot tracks and seafloor spreading histories. Based on the post-Pangea plate motions, one principle that can be applied to pre-Pangea times is that plates with less than ? 50% continental area can reach RMS velocities of ? 20 cm /yr, while plates with more than 50% continental fraction do not exceed RMS velocities of ? 10 cm /yr. Similarly, plates with large portions of continental or cratonic area with RMS velocities exceeding ? 15 cm /yr for more than ? 10 Myr should be considered as potential artefacts requiring further justification of plate driving forces in such scenarios.

  15. A plate tectonic model of the Palaeozoic tectonic history of New South Wales

    Microsoft Academic Search

    Erwin Scheibner

    1973-01-01

    An updated* tectonic model for the Palaeozoic tectonic history of New South Wales, based on actualistic models of plate tectonics, has resulted from tectonic analyses and syntheses during the compilation of the Tectonic Map of New South Wales.Most emphasis is given to marginal seas, which characterize Pacific marginal mobile zones. Marginal seas form in the regime of lithospheric tension under

  16. Plate Tectonics: The Hawaiian Archipelago

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    Since the Hawaiian Islands were all created by volcanic activity, it is somewhat surprising that only the island of Hawaii now possesses any active volcanoes. Why did the volcanoes that built the other islands stop erupting and why are those on the big island still active? This video segment, adapted from a NOVA television broadcast, shows how plumes of hot material rise from the Earth's interior to create 'hot spots' in the crust which are the locations of volcanic activity. Movement of the Pacific Plate causes volcanic islands to continually form, migrate away from the hot spot, and become extinct, forming chains of islands like the Hawaiian Islands. The segment is four minutes thirty-seven seconds in length.

  17. Generation and Initiation of Plate Tectonics on Terrestrail Planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Foley, Bradford J.

    The question of why plate tectonics occurs on Earth, but not on the other planets of our solar system, is one of the most fundamental issues in geophysics and planetary science. I study this problem using numerical simulations of mantle convection with a damage-grainsize feedback (grain-damage) to constrain the conditions necessary for plate tectonics to occur on a terrestrial planet, and how plate tectonics initiates. In Chapter 2, I use numerical simulations to determine how large a viscosity ratio, between pristine lithosphere and mantle, damage can offset to allow mobile (plate-like) convection. I then use the numerical results to formulate a new scaling law to describe the boundary between stagnant lid and plate-like regimes of mantle convection. I hypothesize that damage must reduce the viscosity of shear zones in the lithosphere to a critical value, equivalent to the underlying mantle viscosity, in order for plate tectonics to occur, and demonstrate that a scaling law based on this hypothesis reproduces the numerical results. For the Earth, damage is efficient in the lithosphere and provides a viable mechanism for the operation of plate tectonics. I apply my theory to super-Earths and map out the transition between plate-like and stagnant lid convection with a "planetary plate-tectonic phase" diagram in planet size-surface temperature space. Both size and surface temperature are important, with plate tectonics being favored for larger, cooler planets. This gives a natural explanation for Earth, Venus, and Mars, and implies that plate tectonics on exoplanets should correlate with size, incident solar radiation, and atmospheric composition. In Chapters 3 and 4 I focus on the initiation of plate tectonics. In Chapter 3, I develop detailed scaling laws describing plate speed and heat flow for mantle convection with grain-damage across a wide parameter range, with the intention of applying these scaling laws to the early Earth in Chapter 4. Convection with grain-damage scales differently than Newtonian convection; whereas the Nusselt number, Nu, typically scales with the Rayleigh number, Ra, to the 1/3 power, for grain-damage this exponent is larger because increasing Ra also enhances damage. In addition, Nu and plate velocity are also functions of the damage to healing ratio, (D/H); increasing D/H increases Nu (or plate speed) because more damage leads to more vigorous convection. In Chapter 4, I demonstrate that subduction can be sustained on the early Earth, that the style of subduction at this time was different than modern day plate tectonics, and that such subduction (or proto-subduction) can initiate rapidly after magma ocean solidification. The scaling laws from Chapter 3 show that, though either higher interior mantle temperatures or higher surface temperatures lead to slower plates, proto-subduction, with plate speeds of at least 1.5 cm/yr, can still be maintained in the Hadean, even if the primordial atmosphere was CO2 rich. Furthermore, when the interior mantle temperature is high (e.g. above ? 2000 K), the mode of subduction switches to a "sluggish subduction" style, where downwellings are more drip-like than slab-like and plate boundaries are more diffuse. Numerical models of post-magma ocean mantle convection, and a scaling analysis based on the results of these models, demonstrate that proto-plate tectonics likely initiates within ˜100 Myrs of magma ocean solidification. Combined with the conclusion that proto-subduction could be maintained on the early Earth, my results are consistent with evidence for Hadean subduction from zircon data, and indicate that the subduction inferred from zircons may have been distinct from modern day plate tectonics. After the initiation of proto-subduction, which occurs as a rapid overturn of the whole lithosphere, mobile lid convection takes place as non-plate tectonic "sluggish subduction" As both the mantle interior and climate cool, modern style plate tectonics develops. The rapid, initial subduction event may help hasten the onset of

  18. What on Earth is Plate Tectonics?

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    This abbreviated explanation of the subject of plate tectonics is divided into several parts. The first section, entitled Into the Earth, describes the crust, mantle and core of the Earth, while the next section shows a world map with the plates delineated. The section called Action at the Edges uses text and diagrams to explain what is occurring at the plate boundaries. Links lead to a detailed discussion of converging boundaries including ocean-ocean, ocean-continental, and continental-continental. A wide range illustration shows both surface and cross-section views of plate interaction and a link leads to a similar diagram with labels. In the Moving through Time section, a series of color-coded maps is shown, illustrating the relative position of the continents over the past 650 million years. The last section shows a paleogeographic reconstruction of the Earth and explains how paleomagnetism, magnetic anomalies, paleobiogeography, paleoclimatology, and geologic history are used to create it.

  19. Seismology: tectonic strain in plate interiors?

    PubMed

    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. PMID:16355163

  20. Plate Tectonics: The Splitting Apart of Pangea

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    After a teacher led discussion (some background provided), students will break into groups and recreate global maps at four different points in earth's history. By completing this exploration activity, the learner will: recognize that continents of the western hemisphere "fit" together, create a model that demonstrates the similarity of the continents, identify the major tectonic plates, and calculate the rate of divergence for the mid-Atlantic ridge. Several key words are linked to images that can further enhance understanding.

  1. Plate tectonic reconstructions with continuously closing plates$ Michael Gurnis a,n

    E-print Network

    Müller, Dietmar

    Plate tectonic reconstructions with continuously closing plates$ Michael Gurnis a,n , Mark Turner: Geodynamics Plate tectonics a b s t r a c t We present a new algorithm for modeling a self-consistent set, traditional global plate tectonic reconstructions have become inadequate for geodynamics. The CCP algorithm

  2. Quantitative tests for plate tectonics on Venus

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    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.

  3. Caribbean tectonics and relative plate motions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    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.

  4. Inevitability of Plate Tectonics on Super-Earths

    E-print Network

    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.

  5. Inevitability of Plate Tectonics on Super-Earths

    E-print Network

    Diana Valencia; Richard J. O'Connell; Dimitar D. Sasselov

    2007-10-03

    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.

  6. Geological and plate tectonic setting of the Longitudinal Valley

    E-print Network

    Winfree, Erik

    3 Chapter 1 Geological and plate tectonic setting of the Longitudinal Valley Fault 1.1 Tectonic and the Philippine Sea Plate (Figure 1.1a). South of Taiwan this convergence is absorbed along the Manila trench by the eastward subduction of the oceanic crust of the South China Sea beneath the Philippine Sea Plate, leading

  7. This Dynamic Earth: The Story of Plate Tectonics

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    The US Geological Survey provides an online version of the book, This Dynamic Earth: The Story of Plate Tectonics. Topics discussed in the text are Historical perspective, Developing the theory, Understanding plate motions, "Hotspots":Mantle thermal plumes, and Plate tectonics and people, among others. Each section provides summaries and images of the discussed topic.

  8. Creep of phyllosilicates at the onset of plate tectonics

    Microsoft Academic Search

    Elodie Amiguet; Bruno Reynard; Bertrand Van de Moortele; Nadege Hilairet; Yanbin Wang

    2012-01-01

    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

  9. Tectonic development of the Maya plate

    SciTech Connect

    Charleston, S.; Concit, S.C.; Sanchez, R.

    1985-01-01

    The Maya Plate is located at the southern margin of the North American Plate, it comprises from north to south, the following tectonic provinces: The Yucatan Platform, (including the lowlands of Peten and the oil-rich offshore platform of the Campeche Bank), the Macuspana basin, the Salt Basin, the NW-SE trending Sierra de Chiapas Folded Belt, the Chiapas depression and the Ciapas Massif. During the past, the deformation of the Maya Plate, have been attributed to the Laramide Orogeny. The present study develops a model based on the interaction between the Maya, Caribbean and the oceanic Cocos-plates, assuming that during the Middle Miocene, the development of the left-lateral Motagua Fault between the Maya and Caribbean plates, displaced the Yucatan Platform in a southwestward direction. It is consider that the combine action of two opposite forces, was responsible for the development of most of the Sierra de Chiapas major anticlines and synclines. Finally the model suggests that these structures, were later affected by trans-compressive forces, originated as a secondary response, due to the development of several left-lateral transcurrent faults, associated with the Polochic Fault System.

  10. Musical Plates: A Study of Earthquakes and Plate Tectonics

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    This on-line project is part of the Center for Improved Engineering and Science Education (CIESE) program. As they complete this series of lessons, students will use real-time data to solve a problem, study the correlation between earthquakes and tectonic plates, and determine whether or not there is a relationship between volcanoes and plate boundaries. Musical Plates has four Core Activities that will teach students how to access and interpret real-time earthquake and volcano data and to how use the information to solve a real-world problem. Each of the core activities is designed to be used in a 45-minute class period. This unit also has three enrichment lessons and a final project lesson that can also be used for assessment.

  11. Geology and plate-tectonic development

    SciTech Connect

    Irwin, W.P.

    1990-01-01

    The San Andreas fault is a transform fault along the boundary between the Pacific and North American plates. Bedrock along the fault includes various lithologic units that range in age from Precambrian to Tertiary and younger. Some bedrock units that can be matched across the fault suggest strike-slip displacement of as much as 560 km. This chapter describes geologic formations of northern and central California, including Franciscan rocks, Coast Range ophiolite, Great Valley sequence, Coast Range thrust, Salinian block, displacement of pre-Quaternary rocks by the San Andreas fault, and the relation of geologic structure to seismic behavior. Formations of southern California which are described are the Transverse Ranges and the Salton Trough and displacement of basement rocks by the San Andreas fault. Plate-tectonic development of the San Andreas fault is also discussed.

  12. Plate tectonic history of the Arctic

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    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. Tectonic controls on the stratigraphic architecture and hydrocarbons systems of the Arabian Plate

    SciTech Connect

    Grabowski, G.J. Jr.; Norton, I.O.

    1995-12-31

    Arabian Platform sediments consist of major sequences separated by tectonically controlled unconformities. These tectonic events, at the plate margins, controlled the orientation and distribution of sedimentary facies on the stable platform. Eustacy and subsidence were the principle controls on the actual facies that formed.

  14. External Resource: Plate Tectonics: Diverging, Converging, and Transform Boundaries

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    1900-01-01

    This activity allows learners to explore the meaning of plate tectonics, to distinguish the different layers of the Earth, to model the effects caused by plate movements, to explore the reasons for earthquakes and volcanoes, and to discovering how conver

  15. Catastrophic Plate Tectonics: A Global Flood Model of Earth History

    Microsoft Academic Search

    Steven A. Austin; John R. Baumgardner; D. Russell Humphreys; Andrew A. Snelling; Larry Vardiman; Kurt P. Wise

    In 1859 Antonio Snider proposed that rapid, horizontal divergence of crustal plates occurred during Noah's Flood. Modern plate tectonics theory is now conflated with assumptions of uniformity of rate and ideas of continental \\

  16. Learning Plate Tectonics Using a Pre-Analogy Step

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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.

  17. Could Plate Tectonics Have Operated on Early Mars?

    Microsoft Academic Search

    F. Nimmo; D. J. Stevenson

    2000-01-01

    We consider the likelihood of plate tectonics operating on early Mars and Earth. Crust produced by mid-ocean ridge spreading at the same potential temperature is ~ 3 times thicker on Mars than on Earth; the density contrast between crust and mantle is probably similar on the two planets. Assuming that the radiogenic heat flux is balanced by plate tectonic heat

  18. Endogenous regimes and plate tectonics in Northern Eurasia

    Microsoft Academic Search

    N. I. Pavlenkova

    1998-01-01

    Two concepts, endogenous regimes and plate tectonics are compared for regions of West Siberia, Europe and the North Atlantic. Endogenous regimes concept (Beloussov, 1990) are based on the assumption of permanent vertical relationships or long-term interactions between the crust and upper mantle control crustal evolution. Significant horizontal movements of the lithosphere, as required by global plate tectonics, would destroy these

  19. INTRODUCTION One of the paradigms of plate tectonics is that plate bound-

    E-print Network

    Doglioni, Carlo

    INTRODUCTION One of the paradigms of plate tectonics is that plate bound- aries record the deformation related to the ongoing geodynamic processes, assuming a single tectonic setting. This article that represents the sum of distinct tectonic styles that we may consider independent. The coexistence of four

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

    PubMed

    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. PMID:22256796

  1. Plate tectonics and petroleum potential of the Laptev Sea region

    SciTech Connect

    Savostin, L.; Drachev, S.; Baturin, D. (LARGE International, Moscow (USSR))

    1991-08-01

    About 1,600 km of multichannel seismic data with simultaneous gravity and magnetic measurements were collected in the Laptev Sea during 1989. Additionally, a 100 km onshore seismic reflection profile transected the northern termination of the Verrkoyansky Mountains. Data interpretation showed the following. The tectonic patterns of the Laptev Sea region was formed as a result of two major tectonic phases. The first phase was associated with collisions between the Paleozoic passive margin of Siberia and a number of allochthonous terrains which were previously parts of the North American Paleo-Pacific plate. These tectonic events accompanied the opening of the Canadian basin and ended in the second half of the Early Cretaceous. The second phase was a result of the opening of the Makarov and the Europeo-Asiatic basins, which caused the rifting processes within the Laptev Sea Shelf. Seismic onshore data show that the orogenic sequence consists of allochthonous plates which were thrust onto the thick sedimentary cover the Siberia platform. An underthrusting sedimentary sequence is situated at depths from 3 to 5 km, which present a good possibility to reach by the drill. The geological analogy with Appalachian Mountains United States, permits one to propose a high petroleum potential for this area. A system of offshore Laptev Sea grabens consisting of a series of alternating tilted and thrusted blocks, along with intrablock pre-drift sediments, are promising as potential hydrocarbon traps. This is akin to structural setting within North Sea oil and gas province.

  2. The spots and stains of plate tectonics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Oliver, Jack

    1992-01-01

    This paper describes a synthesis characterized by broad scope, substantial support, and some speculation. The framework for the synthesis is the speculative concept that the process of convergence and collision of large landmasses disrupts the fluid regime of the collision zone and adjoining areas. The disturbed fluids leave a record of their disruption and transport in great spots and stains. Some of these spots and stains persist in the modern geologic record where they are known as mineral deposits, mineral occurrences, oil fields, gas fields, tar sands, diagenesis, authigenesis, metamorphism, dolomitization, fluid inclusions, and paleoremagnetization. Various observed characteristics of these phenomena provide supporting evidence of such diversity and consistency that the concept seems firmly rooted in observation. Nevertheless, many opportunities for further testing remain. If the synthesis is more or less correct, then a major link between plate tectonics, or global-scale geodynamics, and a wide variety of terrestrial geological observations of lesser scale is in hand.

  3. Early plate tectonics versus single-plate tectonics on Mars: Evidence from magnetic field history and crust evolution

    Microsoft Academic Search

    D. Breuer; T. Spohn

    2003-01-01

    The consequences of an early epoch of plate tectonics on Mars followed by single-plate tectonics with stagnant lid mantle convection on both crust production and magnetic field generation have been studied with parameterized mantle convection models. Thermal history models with parameterized mantle convection, not being dynamo models, can provide necessary, but not sufficient, conditions for dynamo action. It is difficult

  4. Silurian to Early Carboniferous plate tectonic model of Central Europe

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Golonka, Jan; Barmuta, Jan; Barmuta, Maria

    2014-05-01

    The presented plate tectonic model focuses on Silurian to Early Carboniferous evolution of Central Europe with special attention given to the Sudetes region (north and north-east part of the Bohemian Massif). During our studies, we tested alternative models focused on the position of the Armorican terranes, known as the Armorican Terrane Assembly (ATA) (e.g.: Matte, 2001) and tried to refine the existing reconstructions, which describe Armorica as an individual continent during the Late Silurian and Devonian (e.g. Lewandowski, 2003, Winchester, 2002). Our plate tectonic model depict that these small blocks were scattered along the northern margin of Gondwana, where they formed the "Armorican Spour" as suggested by Kroner and Romer (2013). The seaways were present between blocks. Because of the north dipping subduction zone along the southern margin of the Laurussia continent the back-arc basin and island arc were formed. The narrowing of the Rheic ocean led to the complicated collision of Gondwana and Laurussia. Three main stages of this event can be distinguished: (1) collision of the Armorican Spour with the Laurussian island arc, (2) back-arc basin closure, (3) final Gondwana and Laurussian collision. Those stages correlate well with Variscan Subduction Zone System proposed by Kroner and Romer (2013). Interactive modeling performed in GPlates, shows that the presented model is valid from kinematic and geometrical point of view. Kroner U., Romer R., L., 2013, Two plates - many subduction zones: the Variscan orogeny reconsidered. Gondwana Research, 24: 298-329. Lewandowski M., 2003, Assembly of Pangea: Combined paleomagnetic and paleoclimatic approach, Advances in Geophysics, 46: 199-236 Matte P., 2001, The Variscan collage and orogeny (480 290 Ma) and the tectonic definition of the Armorica microplate: a review. Terra Nova, 13: 122¨C128. Winchester J., A., The Pace TMR Network Team, 2002, Palaeozoic amalgamation of Central Europe: new results from recent geological and geophysical investigations, Tectonophysics, 360: 5-21

  5. Earthquakes Living Lab: The Theory of Plate Tectonics

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    2014-09-18

    Students gather evidence to explain the theory of plate tectonics. Using the online resources at the Earthquakes Living Lab, students examine information and gather evidence supporting the theory. They also look at how volcanoes and earthquakes are explained by tectonic plate movement, and how engineers use this information. Working in pairs, students think like engineers and connect what they understand about the theory of plate tectonics to the design of structures for earthquake-resistance. A worksheet serves as a student guide for the activity.

  6. Plate tectonics and the Gulf of California region

    SciTech Connect

    Schmidt, N.

    1990-11-01

    The geology and tectonism of California have been influenced greatly by the collision and interaction between the Pacific plate and the North American plate. The forces generated by this interaction caused substantial horizontal movement along the San Andreas fault system and created the Gulf of California rift zone. This article summarizes the unique features of the gulf, describes the theory of plate tectonics, explains how tectonism may have affected the geologic evolution and physiography of the gulf, and illustrates the process by which the Colorado River became linked to the gulf.

  7. Seismic gaps and plate tectonics: Seismic potential for major boundaries

    Microsoft Academic Search

    W. R. McCann; S. P. Nishenko; L. R. Sykes; J. Krause

    1979-01-01

    The theory of plate tectonics provides a basic framework for evaluating the potential for future great earthquakes to occur along major plate boundaries. Along most of the transform and convergent plate boundaries considered in this paper, the majority of seismic slip occurs during large earthquakes, i.e., those of magnitude 7 or greater. The concepts that rupture zones, as delineated by

  8. The Uncertainties of Finite Rotations in Plate Tectonics

    Microsoft Academic Search

    S. J. Hellinger

    1981-01-01

    During the past decade the hypothesis of plate tectonics has successfully explained many of the features of the upper layer of the earth. This hypothesis states that the strong outer layer of the earth is composed of a small number of large rigid plates. It is the interaction of these rigid plates at their boundaries that accounts for most of

  9. Dynamic interaction between tectonic plates, subducting slabs, and the mantle

    Microsoft Academic Search

    Shijie Zhong; Michael Gurnis

    1997-01-01

    Mantle convection models have been formulated to investi- gate the relation between plate kinematics and mantle dynamics. The cylin- drical geometry models incorporate mobile, faulted plate margins, a phase change at 670 km depth, non-Newtonian rheology, and tectonic plates. Models with a variety of parameters indicate that a relatively stationary trench is more likely to be associated with a subducted

  10. Plate Tectonically Modulated Microbial Productivity as a Planetary Phenomenon

    Microsoft Academic Search

    J. R. Delaney

    2001-01-01

    One of the most compelling questions in planetary science today focuses on identifying and quantifying the linkages among a host of plate-tectonic processes and microbial productivity near the seafloor and within the Earth's crust. Deformational and thermal processes that operate most intensely near plate margins and less intensely within plate interiors, result in forced fluid migration within the crust and

  11. Plate tectonic evolution of circum-Antarctic passive margins

    SciTech Connect

    Scotese, C.R.; Lawver, L.A.; Sclater, J.G.; Mayes, C.L.; Norton, I.; Royer, J.

    1987-05-01

    Passive margins that formed during the Late Jurassic and Cretaceous account for approximately 80% of the 15,000-km circumference of Antarctica. There are no passive margins younger than Late Cretaceous. Approximately 28% of these margins are Late Jurassic in age, 24% are Early Cretaceous in age, and the remaining 48% formed during the Late Cretaceous. The tectonic style of the rifting events that formed these margins varies considerably along the perimeter of Antarctica. In several areas the initiation of sea-floor spreading was preceded by a long period of extension and predrift stretching (Wilkes Land). Along other portions of the margin, rifting proceeded rapidly with little evidence for a lengthy phase of pre-drift extension (Queen Maud Land). Though extension is the dominant tectonic style, there is evidence for large-scale strike-slip movement associated with the early phases of continental breakup along the coasts of Crown Princess Martha Land and Victoria Land. Except for a short segment of the margin between the West Antarctic peninsula and Marie Byrdland, the Antarctic passive margins have not been affected by subsequent subduction-related compressive deformation. This presentation will review the plate tectonic evolution of the Circum-Antarctic passive margins during five time intervals: Early Jurassic, Late Jurassic, Early Cretaceous, mid-Cretaceous, and latest Cretaceous. A map illustrating the relative amounts of extension along the margin of Antarctica will be presented, and a computer animation illustrating the breakup of Gondwana from an Antarctic perspective will be shown.

  12. Earth Exploration Toolbook Chapter: Evidence for Plate Tectonics

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    David Smith

    DATA: Sea Floor Age, Volcano and Earthquake Distributions. TOOL: My World GIS. SUMMARY: Identify relationships among sea-floor age, earthquakes, and volcanoes to understand how they support the theory of plate tectonics.

  13. On volcanism and thermal tectonics on one-plate planets

    Microsoft Academic Search

    S. C. Soloman

    1978-01-01

    For planets with a single global lithospheric shell or 'plate', the thermal evolution of the interior affects the surface geologic history through volumetric expansion and the resultant thermal stress. Interior warming of such planets gives rise to extensional tectonics and a lithospheric stress system conductive to widespread volcanism. Interior cooling leads to compressional tectonics and lithospheric stresses that act to

  14. The generation of plate tectonics on a planet

    Microsoft Academic Search

    William Landuyt III

    2009-01-01

    A major question in Earth and planetary science is why does Earth exhibit plate tectonics and the other terrestrial planets do not? The difference in tectonic behavior between Earth and Venus is even more striking given their similarity in size, composition, and average density. While our general knowledge of material behavior suggests that all the terrestrial planets, Earth included, should

  15. An Introduction to the ABCs of Plate Tectonics

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    Donald Blanchard

    This introduction to plate tectonics covers plates and boundaries, subduction zones, colliding continents, plumes, and earthquakes. There is also more advanced material on buoyancy, floating continents, and rates of isostasy; sedimentation, continental growth, rifts and creation of continental margins, passive and active margins, and island arcs and back-arc basins; continental collision, folding of sedimentary layers, and collision of cratons; and the mechanism of plate tectonics including convective mantles, convection models, distribution of plumes, plume driven convection, plate rifting models, and triple junctions.

  16. On the breakup of tectonic plates by polar wandering

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    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).

  17. On volcanism and thermal tectonics on one-plate planets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Solomon, S. C.

    1978-01-01

    For planets with a single global lithospheric shell or 'plate', the thermal evolution of the interior affects the surface geologic history through volumetric expansion and the resultant thermal stress. Interior warming of such planets gives rise to extensional tectonics and a lithospheric stress system conductive to widespread volcanism. Interior cooling leads to compressional tectonics and lithospheric stresses that act to shut off surface volcanism. On the basis of observed surface tectonics, it is concluded that the age of peak planetary volume, the degree of early heating, and the age of youngest major volcanism on the one-plate terrestrial planets likely decrease in the order Mercury, Moon, Mars.

  18. Mesozoic Plate Tectonic Evolution of the Northern Margin of Pangea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Miller, E. L.

    2011-12-01

    Asia joined Laurentia and Baltica during the formation of the Urals in the Early Permian. Subsequently, the northern margin of Pangea shared a paleo-Pacific facing margin. Analysis of events along this (mostly active) margin provides insight into the plate tectonic setting and evolution of the Arctic basins and their temporal links to Pacific margin events. A 3-phase tectonic evolution characterizes the northern margin of Pangea during the Mesozoic: 1. Permo-Triassic rifting (Siberian Trap magmatism)was linked to rifting in a series of back-arc basins developed along the northern margin of Pangea. Triassic-Jurasic deep-water sedimentary seqences deposited in these basins were subsequently deformed during phase 2 events. 2. Lithospheric shortening/convergence across this margin deformed these basinal sediments and shed syn-orogenic deposits cratonward in the Jura-Cretaceous. Syn-orogenic basinal successions are widespread from the Verkoyansk margin of Siberia to the Brooks Range fold and thrust belt. Their sources are well-characterized by U-Pb ages of detrital zircon suites and include Pennsylvanian-Permian, Triassic and Jurassic magmatic belts, implying convergence and emplacement of a long-lived arc system onto the continental margin. 3. Structures related to phase 2 are cut and overprinted by voluminous, syn-extensional, slab-related magmatism that developed during southward or Pacific-ward migration of a N-dipping subducting slab. It is inferred that the earliest part of the Amerasia Basin likely opened during part of this magmatic event, 135 to 90 Ma. The final culmination of this magmatic event is the Ohotsk-Chukotsk volcanic belt, ~90-75 Ma;after this, magmatism continues to migrate Pacific-ward in a series of steps. Utilizing plate models of the Arctic by Lawver et al.(2002) it can be shown that some of the differences in the timing and style of Mesozoic orogenesis along the northern paleo-Pacific margin of Pangea (and especially the differences between the Canadian margin and the Arctic-Siberian margin) might be explained by along-strike differences in the nature of motion of the overriding (continental) plate with respect to paleo-Pacific subduction zones (towards vs. away).

  19. Measuring electrical resistivity to interpret tectonic plate coupling

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schultz, Colin

    2013-12-01

    The coupling of tectonic plates—the degree to which the plates are locked together or free to move—is controlled by factors ranging from temperature and pressure to the shear stress between the plates as well as the shape of the interface between the plates. At subduction margins, GPS observations can be used to identify places where the subducting plates are locked or unlocked. At the Hikurangi margin, a subduction zone that runs north to south off New Zealand's eastern coast, a strong longitudinal gradient in plate coupling is present that is unexplained by any of the familiar factors.

  20. GEOPHYSICAL JOURNAL INTERNATIONAL, 133, 379389, 1998 1 A continuous plate-tectonic model using geophysical data

    E-print Network

    GEOPHYSICAL JOURNAL INTERNATIONAL, 133, 379­389, 1998 1 A continuous plate-tectonic model using kinetic energy in the continuous plate model. Short title: The continuous model of plate tectonics Keywords: Plate-tectonics; plate boundaries; intraplate deformation, toroidal-poloidal partitioning. 1 Now

  1. Computational methods for calculating geometric parameters of tectonic plates

    Microsoft Academic Search

    Antonio Schettino

    1999-01-01

    Present day and ancient plate tectonic configurations can be modelled in terms of non-overlapping polygonal regions, separated by plate boundaries, on the unit sphere. The computational methods described in this article allow an evaluation of the area and the inertial tensor components of a polygonal region on the unit sphere, as well as an estimation of the associated errors. These

  2. Inferences of mantle viscosity from tectonic plate velocities

    Microsoft Academic Search

    A. M. Forte; W. R. Peltier; A. M. Dziewonski

    1991-01-01

    The present-day velocities of the Earth's tectonic plates provide direct constraints on the absolute value of the mantle viscosity. We present the results of a formal inversion of plate motion data and demonstrate its utility in constraining the depth variation of absolute viscosity.

  3. Inferences of mantle viscosity from tectonic plate velocities

    Microsoft Academic Search

    A. M. Forte; A. M. Dziewonski; W. R. Peltier

    1991-01-01

    The present-day velocities of the earth's tectonic plates provide direct constraints on the absolute value of the mantle viscosity. This paper presents the results of a formal inversion of plate motion data and demonstrates its utility in constraining the depth variation of absolute viscosity.

  4. The conditions for plate tectonics: what went wrong everywhere else

    Microsoft Academic Search

    M. Jellinek; C. O'Neill; A. Lenardic

    2005-01-01

    A necessary precursor for the onset of plate tectonics on a terrestrial planet is that the intrinsic system stresses, generally associated with buoyancy anomalies, are great enough to overcome the resistance of the lithosphere to deformation. On Earth, these stresses are generally associated with the subduction of oceanic lithosphere - leading to the notion that the plates drive themselves. On

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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 and regulation of gases relevant for life. This allows for the first time to discuss the tectonic mode of a rocky planet from a practical astrophysical perspective.

  6. Spherical shell models of mantle convection with tectonic plates

    Microsoft Academic Search

    Marc Monnereau; Sandrine Quéré

    2001-01-01

    A simple three-dimensional spherical model of mantle convection, where plates are taken into account in the top boundary condition, allows to investigate the plate tectonics–mantle convection coupling in a self-consistent way. Avoiding the strong difficulties inherent in the numerical treatment of rheology, the plate condition appears efficient in reproducing the Earth-like features as subduction, mid-oceanic ridges and hotspots. Whereas the

  7. Is plate tectonics a case of non-extensive thermodynamics?

    Microsoft Academic Search

    Filippos Vallianatos; Peter Sammonds

    2010-01-01

    Bird (2003) [5] proposed that the distribution of areas of the tectonic plates follows a power law and that this distribution fitted well with the concepts of a few major plates and a hierarchical self-similar organization of blocks at the boundary scale, a fractal plate distribution and a self-organized system. Here we apply the concepts of non-extensive statistical mechanics (NESM)

  8. Organization of the tectonic plates in the last 200 Myr Gabriele Morra a,n

    E-print Network

    Müller, Dietmar

    Organization of the tectonic plates in the last 200 Myr Gabriele Morra a,n , Maria Seton b reconstructions global geodynamics plate size top­down tectonics mantle convection bottom­up tectonics a b s t r a c t The present tessellation of the Earth's surface into tectonic plates displays a remarkably

  9. Plate tectonic modelling: virtual reality with GMAPp Trond Helge Torsvika, b,

    E-print Network

    Torsvik, Trond Helge

    Plate tectonic modelling: virtual reality with GMAPp Trond Helge Torsvika, b, *, Mark Andrew an integral part of global tectonic research since the advent of the plate tectonic paradigm, and GMAP with the generation of palaeogeographic reconstructions and plate tectonic modelling. GMAP is menu-driven and easy

  10. Growth of the hemispheric dichotomy and the cessation of plate tectonics on Mars

    E-print Network

    Nimmo, Francis

    Growth of the hemispheric dichotomy and the cessation of plate tectonics on Mars A. Lenardic 2004. [1] Although Mars is currently not tectonically active, it may have experienced plate tectonics for the Earth predict that it should operate in the plate tectonic regime now but that it may have experienced

  11. Punctuated equilibria plate tectonics and exploration strategies: Examples from Australia and South America

    Microsoft Academic Search

    M. I. Ross; V. Abreu; P. R. Vail

    1996-01-01

    Understanding the interplay between plate tectonic events, subsidence, flexure, and depositional systems is critical to successful exploration, play concept development, and maturation modelling in frontier exploration. Conventional exploration techniques (seismic\\/well log mapping, geohistory, geophysical, and forward modelling) are used to quantitatively describe the stratigraphic packages observed in basins, but the driving force creating and destroying the packages has typically been

  12. Your Mission: To become familiar with the major plate boundaries through exploration of plate tectonic features using Google Earth.

    E-print Network

    Smith-Konter, Bridget

    boundaries through exploration of plate tectonic features using Google Earth. Your Supplies: (1) A computer with internet access and the Google Earth program of Earth's tectonic plates using Google Earth. To do this, login

  13. Plate-tectonic evolution of the western U.S.A.

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    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.

  14. Archean magmatism and deformation were not products of plate tectonics

    Microsoft Academic Search

    Warren B. Hamilton

    1998-01-01

    The granite-and-greenstone terrains that dominate upper crust formed from about 3.6 to about 2.6 Ga, and record magmatic and tectonic processes very different from those of a younger time. They indicate heat loss by the Archean Earth primarily by voluminous magmatism from a mantle much hotter than that of the present. Plate-tectonic processes were not then operating. The distinctive array

  15. Plate Tectonics as a Far-From-Equilibrium Self-Organized System Don L. Anderson

    E-print Network

    Anderson, Don L.

    Plate Tectonics as a Far- From- Equilibrium Self-Organized System By Don L. Anderson Word Count: 3 and other forces at the top. Plate tectonics was once regarded as passive motion of plates on top of mantle convection cells but it now appears that continents and plate tectonics organize the flow in the mantle

  16. The influence of tectonic plates on mantle convection patterns, temperature and heat flow

    E-print Network

    Gable, Carl W.

    The influence of tectonic plates on mantle convection patterns, temperature and heat flow Julian P, mantle, plate tectonics. 1 I N T R O D U C T I O N Calculations based on boundary layer theory by the geometry of tectonic plates. In comparison with a small plate, less heat per unit area must be lost through

  17. Author's personal copy Plate tectonics and net lithosphere rotation over the past 150 My

    E-print Network

    Torsvik, Trond Helge

    Author's personal copy Plate tectonics and net lithosphere rotation over the past 150 My Trond H online 27 January 2010 Editor: Y. Ricard Keywords: plate tectonics global digital palaeo-plate boundaries (Wegener 1915) into Sea-Floor Spreading (Hess 1962) and to the theory of Plate Tectonics (Wilson, 1966, Mc

  18. Tectonic stresses in the African plate: Constraints on the ambient lithospheric stress state

    E-print Network

    Sandiford, Mike

    Tectonic stresses in the African plate: Constraints on the ambient lithospheric stress state David. Predicted tectonic stresses in the oceanic regions of the African plate range from tension along the mid surrounded by mid-ocean ridges. Thus, of Earth's tectonic plates, these two plates can be expected to best

  19. Mantle convection models featuring plate tectonic behaviour: an overview of methods

    E-print Network

    Wells, Mathew G. - Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences, University of Toronto

    convection models featuring plate tectonic behaviour: an overview of methods and progress Julian P. Lowman ,1 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 Abstract Arguably, the presence of plate-tectonic-type surface observations of plate tectonics as well as how the plates and deep mantle interact. Fledgling studies

  20. Evolution of plate tectonics, secular cooling of the Earth, and the global water cycle

    Microsoft Academic Search

    J. Korenaga

    2004-01-01

    Plate tectonics is a surface manifestation of solid-state convection in the Earth's mantle. How plate tectonics has evolved through time is thus intimately connected to how the Earth has been cooled by mantle convection. The energetics of plate tecotnics is not simply that of thermal convection, because it is most likely affected by chemical differentiation processes associated with plate tectonics.

  1. Caribbean tectonics and relative plate motions

    Microsoft Academic Search

    K. Burke; J. F. Dewey; C. Cooper; P. Mann; J. L. Pindell

    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

  2. Tectonic plate motions derived from Lageos

    Microsoft Academic Search

    R. Biancale; A. Cazenave; K. Dominh

    1991-01-01

    Five years of laser data (1984-88) between the Lageos satellite and the ground station network based on precise monthly computations of the Lageos satellite are analyzed to recover tectonic motions affecting the stations. A global inversion over this period provides solutions for absolute velocities in latitude and longitude of a selected subset of 14 stations. Relative horizontal velocities are derived

  3. Teaching about Plate Tectonics and Faulting Using Foam Models

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    Larry Braile

    This demonstration of plate tectonic principles, plate boundary interactions, and the geometry and relative motions of faulting of geologic layers uses 3-D foam models. The models aid in visualization and understanding of plate motions and faulting because they are three-dimensional, concrete rather than abstract descriptions or diagrams, can be manipulated by the instructor and the students, and can show the motions of the plates and faults through time in addition to the three-dimensional configuration of the plates or layers. The models illustrate relatively simple motions and geologic structures, including faulting and plate boundaries, compressional motion and resulting reverse (also called thrust) faults, horizontal slip or strike-slip fault motion, slip or strike-slip fault motion, transform or strike-slip plate boundaries, and elastic rebound.

  4. Plate Tectonics: Diverging, Converging, and Transform Boundaries

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    In this lesson, students will learn to distinguish the different layers of the Earth, observe the effects of plate movements, and explore the reasons for earthquakes and volcanoes. They will label and measure the thicknesses of each layer of the Earth (lithosphere, asthenosphere, etc.) and record their results, construct models from sand and clay to illustrate what happens at the three types of plate boundaries (transform, diverging, and converging), and investigate convergent plate boundaries to see which scenarios may create earthquakes and/or volcanoes.

  5. Recent tectonic plate decelerations driven by mantle convection

    Microsoft Academic Search

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

    2009-01-01

    We explore recent changes in tectonic plate velocities using a model of mantle flow that is based on a new high-resolution global tomography model derived from simultaneous inversions of global seismic, geodynamic and mineral physical data sets. This plate-coupled mantle convection model incorporates a viscosity structure that reconciles both glacial isostatic adjustment and global convection-related data sets. The convection model

  6. INTRODUCTION Unlike Earth, Venus apparently lacks plate tectonics. Thus

    E-print Network

    Jurdy, Donna M.

    INTRODUCTION Unlike Earth, Venus apparently lacks plate tectonics. Thus plumes may be an important at different scales has been attributed to plume or diapiric activ- ity on Venus. Examples of these include activity in the Beta-Atla-Themis region, Venus Audeliz Matias Donna M. Jurdy* Department of Geological

  7. Intraplate Stress as an Indicator of Plate Tectonic Driving Forces

    Microsoft Academic Search

    Randall M. Richardson; Sean C. Solomon; Norman H. Sleep

    1976-01-01

    To test driving force models for plate tectonics, the global intraplate stress fields predicted by various force systems are compared with the long-wavelength features of the observed stress field as determined by midplate earthquake mechanisms, in situ measurements, and stress-induced geolo, gic structures. The calculated stresses are obtained by a finite difference solution to the equilibriumequations for thin elastic spherical

  8. On the Breakup of Tectonic Plates by Polar Wandering

    Microsoft Academic Search

    Han-Shou Liu

    1974-01-01

    The observed boundary system of the major tectonic plates on the surface of the earth lends fresh sup- port to the hypothesis of polar wandering. In this paper a dynamic model of the outer shell of the earth under the influence of polar shift is developed. The analysis falls into tw o parts: (1) deriving equations for stresses caused by

  9. Assessment of the cooling capacity of plate tectonics and

    E-print Network

    van Thienen, Peter

    , but requires global eruption rates two orders of magnitude greater than those of known Phanerozoic flood basaltChapter 5 Assessment of the cooling capacity of plate tectonics and flood volcanism, based on buoyancy considerations, require an alternative means of cooling the planet from its original

  10. Scaling of plate tectonic convection with pseudoplastic rheology

    Microsoft Academic Search

    Jun Korenaga

    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.

  11. EUREKALERT KEY WORDS Earth Science: Geology/Soil, Plate Tectonics

    E-print Network

    EUREKALERT KEY WORDS Earth Science: Geology/Soil, Plate Tectonics SCINEWS KEY WORDS California against each other without giving rise to damaging quakes. The relatively smooth movement, called creep. The question of why some fault zones creep slowly and steadily while others lock for a time and then shift

  12. Hands On Science with NOAA TITLE: Plate Tectonics and Lava Lamps

    E-print Network

    move. SCIENCE BACKGROUND: Tectonic plates are portions of the Earth's outer crust (the lithosphere). These convection currents cause the tectonic plates to move several centimeters per year relative to each other

  13. Toward Understanding the Conditions Required for Plate Tectonics to Occur on Earth-like Planets

    Microsoft Academic Search

    V. S. Solomatov

    2003-01-01

    Life may not evolve to higher forms without plate tectonics. Analysis of the conditions required for plate tectonics to occur on a planet points out to a nearly lithostatic pore pressure in the lithosphere and large amounts of water.

  14. Inversion for the driving forces of plate tectonics

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    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.

  15. Numerical modelling of instantaneous plate tectonics

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    1974-01-01

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

  16. Investigation of Newtonian Forces on Plate Tectonics

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    This model-making activity gives students an opportunity visualize Newtonian forces acting on a single point as well as combined forces acting to produce synclines and anticlines in Earth's crust. Students will analyze models to interpret findings of plate movements.

  17. A New Test of Plate Tectonics.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Shea, James Herbert

    1989-01-01

    Discussed are two techniques that can be used to directly test the theory that the plates which make up the crust of the earth are still moving. Described are the use of satellite laser ranging and very long baseline interferometry. Samples of data and their analysis are provided. (CW)

  18. Recent tectonic plate decelerations driven by mantle convection A. M. Forte,1

    E-print Network

    Long, Bernard

    Recent tectonic plate decelerations driven by mantle convection A. M. Forte,1 R. Moucha,1 D. B in tectonic plate velocities using a model of mantle flow that is based on a new high- resolution global of these predicted plate decelerations using space geodetic and oceanic magnetic anomaly constraints on tectonic

  19. The problem of fitting of the zero-range model of the tectonic plate under

    E-print Network

    The problem of fitting of the zero-range model of the tectonic plate under a localized boundary of fitting of the zero-range model of the tectonic plate under the boundary stress based on comparison on the boundary of the tectonic plate and estimate the risk of a powerful earthquake at this zone. Key-words Thin

  20. Self-consistent generation of tectonic plates in time-dependent, three-dimensional mantle

    E-print Network

    Tackley, Paul J.

    Self-consistent generation of tectonic plates in time-dependent, three-dimensional mantle, some of which display an approximation of plate tectonic behavior that is continuous in space and time dependence than three-dimensional models. Keywords: Mantle convection; plate tectonics; rheology; lithosphere

  1. Can Earth's rotation and tidal despinning drive plate tectonics? Federica Riguzzi a,c,

    E-print Network

    Doglioni, Carlo

    Can Earth's rotation and tidal despinning drive plate tectonics? Federica Riguzzi a,c, , Giuliano January 2009 Accepted 10 June 2009 Available online xxxx Keywords: Plate tectonics Earth's rotation Tidal tectonics on the basis of the following observations: 1) plates move along a westerly polarized flow

  2. The Quest for Self-Consistent Generation of Plate Tectonics in Mantle Convection Models

    E-print Network

    Tackley, Paul J.

    The Quest for Self-Consistent Generation of Plate Tectonics in Mantle Convection Models Paul J. Tackley Department of Earth and Space Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles Plate tectonics do not exhibit plate tectonic behavior unless it is imposed by the modeler. This paper explores

  3. Mechanisms for the generation of plate tectonics by two-phase grain-damage and pinning

    E-print Network

    Mechanisms for the generation of plate tectonics by two-phase grain-damage and pinning David localization in the lithosphere are essential ingredients for understanding how and whether plate tectonics tectonics on Earth and other planets. Keywords: Keywords: Plate generation; mantle convection; damage

  4. Mechanisms for the generation of plate tectonics by two-phase grain-damage and pinning

    E-print Network

    Mechanisms for the generation of plate tectonics by two-phase grain-damage and pinning David for understanding how and whether plate tectonics is generated from mantle convection on terrestrial planets. We therefore provides a key ingredient and predictive theory for the generation of plate tectonics on Earth

  5. Science to understand our land: terranes, tectonic plates and how BC came to be

    E-print Network

    Pedersen, Tom

    Science to understand our land: terranes, tectonic plates and how BC came to be What's it about the land we call BC came to be. The science is about tectonic plates and pieces of land from elsewhere the tectonic plates interact in the western part of North America and offshore. 3. But how did the bits of land

  6. Plate Tectonics and the Long-Term Global Water Cycle of Mars

    Microsoft Academic Search

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

    2001-01-01

    The surface environment of the Earth has been largely controlled by plate tectonics and superplume activity since plate tectonics started ca. 4.0 Ga. We propose that the Mars surface environment was also strongly affected by plate tectonics in the Noachian, but subsequently the Tharsis superplume played the key role for the surface environment. The mantle-controlled surface environment would have been

  7. Scaling of plate-tectonic convection with pseudoplastic rheology

    E-print Network

    Korenaga, Jun

    2010-01-01

    The scaling of plate-tectonic convection is investigated by simulating thermal convection with pseudoplastic rheology and strongly temperature-dependent viscosity. The effect of mantle melting is also explored with additional depth-dependent viscosity. Heat-flow scaling can be constructed with only two parameters, the internal Rayleigh number and the lithospheric viscosity contrast, the latter of which is determined entirely by rheological properties. The critical viscosity contrast for the transition between plate-tectonic and stagnant-lid convection is found to be proportional to the square root of the internal Rayleigh number. The relation between mantle temperature and surface heat flux on Earth is discussed on the basis of these scaling laws, and the inverse relationship between them, as previously suggested from the consideration of global energy balance, is confirmed by this fully dynamic approach. In the presence of surface water to reduce the effective friction coefficient, the operation of plate tec...

  8. Tectonic and Plate Tectonic Units at the North Gondwana Margin: Evidence from the Central European Variscides

    Microsoft Academic Search

    WOLFGANG FRANKE

    In Middle Devonian time, the following plate-tectonic units can be recognized in the Variscides of Central Europe: ? Old Red Continent, consisting of Laurentia + Baltica + Avalonia, with •a Silurian arc (resulting from the closure of the Rheic ocean) and • stranded Armorican fragments accreted to its southern margin. ? Rhenohercynian narrow ocean ? Saxothuringian terrane or terrane(s) (basement

  9. Punctuated equilibria plate tectonics and exploration strategies: Examples from Australia and South America

    SciTech Connect

    Ross, M.I.; Abreu, V.; Vail, P.R. [Rice Univ., Houston, TX (United States)

    1996-12-31

    Understanding the interplay between plate tectonic events, subsidence, flexure, and depositional systems is critical to successful exploration, play concept development, and maturation modelling in frontier exploration. Conventional exploration techniques (seismic/well log mapping, geohistory, geophysical, and forward modelling) are used to quantitatively describe the stratigraphic packages observed in basins, but the driving force creating and destroying the packages has typically been qualitatively described as subsidence/uplift events. In order to predict depositional systems patterns, the driving force of these events must be more quantitatively understood. We observe that the tectonic history of plates is characterized by long periods of fairly constant motion interrupted by short events of re- organization ({open_quotes}punctuated equilibria{close_quotes}). We also observe that these events are usually regional in nature and cause changes in regional subsidence patterns. Furthermore, these changes cause changes in major depositional system locations and characteristics. Analysis of-the plate tectonic history of motion predicts times of quiescence and times of rapid change in basin stratigraphy and therefore produce more effective exploration strategies. We have performed integrated sequence stratigraphic analysis in three basins (Barrow/Dampier, Otway, Santos-Pelotas), on two widely displaced continents (Australia and South America), spanning the Cretaceous Period. Although the tectonic histories are different, each basin responds to its tectonic history in a similar fashion: slow (or negative) subsidence diminishes volume and recognizability of transgressive and highstand systems tract and increases the volume and recognizability of lowstand systems tracts. The alternate case (rapid subsidence) produces the alternate result.

  10. Punctuated equilibria plate tectonics and exploration strategies: Examples from Australia and South America

    SciTech Connect

    Ross, M.I.; Abreu, V.; Vail, P.R. (Rice Univ., Houston, TX (United States))

    1996-01-01

    Understanding the interplay between plate tectonic events, subsidence, flexure, and depositional systems is critical to successful exploration, play concept development, and maturation modelling in frontier exploration. Conventional exploration techniques (seismic/well log mapping, geohistory, geophysical, and forward modelling) are used to quantitatively describe the stratigraphic packages observed in basins, but the driving force creating and destroying the packages has typically been qualitatively described as subsidence/uplift events. In order to predict depositional systems patterns, the driving force of these events must be more quantitatively understood. We observe that the tectonic history of plates is characterized by long periods of fairly constant motion interrupted by short events of re- organization ([open quotes]punctuated equilibria[close quotes]). We also observe that these events are usually regional in nature and cause changes in regional subsidence patterns. Furthermore, these changes cause changes in major depositional system locations and characteristics. Analysis of-the plate tectonic history of motion predicts times of quiescence and times of rapid change in basin stratigraphy and therefore produce more effective exploration strategies. We have performed integrated sequence stratigraphic analysis in three basins (Barrow/Dampier, Otway, Santos-Pelotas), on two widely displaced continents (Australia and South America), spanning the Cretaceous Period. Although the tectonic histories are different, each basin responds to its tectonic history in a similar fashion: slow (or negative) subsidence diminishes volume and recognizability of transgressive and highstand systems tract and increases the volume and recognizability of lowstand systems tracts. The alternate case (rapid subsidence) produces the alternate result.

  11. Creep of phyllosilicates at the onset of plate tectonics

    SciTech Connect

    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 the surface of the Earth.

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-02-01

    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. PMID:25653000

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-02-01

    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.

  15. Senonian basin inversion and rejuvenation of rifting in Africa and Arabia: synthesis and implications to plate-scale tectonics

    Microsoft Academic Search

    René Guiraud; William Bosworth

    1997-01-01

    The late Paleozoic to Tertiary stratigraphic record of much of the African plate reflects the effects of continental rifting and passive margin development. Several short-lived, but widespread and tectonically important, compressional or wrench-dominated events occurred, however, during the Permian to Recent evolution of Africa. We focus here on the best documented of these events, which occurred during the late Santonian.

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    1982-01-01

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

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

    E-print Network

    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.

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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., <660km depth). Some of the deeply subducted material may indeed be buoyant subducted AUS continental margin (to depths of ~250-300 km), as well as subducted continental material that has reached the point of no return (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.

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

    Microsoft Academic Search

    Thomas H. Jordan; J. Bernard Minster

    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

  1. The transpressive tectonics and large earthquake distribution along the plate boundary in North Africa

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Meghraoui, Mustapha; Pondrelli, Silvia

    2010-05-01

    The Tell Atlas and Rif Mountains of northern Africa have been the site of several large and moderate seismic events in the last decades. However, the thrust and fold system of NW Algeria experienced the largest earthquakes in the last centuries along the Africa-Eurasia plate boundary. This shallow seismic activity was very often associated with surface faulting and deformation as for the Mw 7.3 El Asnam (10/10/1980) and the Mw 6.8 Zemmouri-Boumerdes (21/05/2003) earthquakes. We study the active tectonics along the plate boundary in North Africa from the seismicity database, individual large and moderate earthquakes, the seismic moment tensor summation, the geodetic measurements (GPS and InSAR) and the structural and kinematic of active faults. Neotectonic structures and significant seismicity (Mw>5) indicate that coeval east-west trending right-lateral faulting and NE-SW thrust-related folding result from the oblique convergence at the plate boundary. A simple modeling of block tectonics suggests that transpression and block rotation govern the mechanics of the Africa - Eurasia plate boundary in the Tell Atlas and Rif Mountains. The tectonic restraining bend of NW Algeria combined with the ~ 5 mm/yr convergence between Africa and Eurasia justify the large seismic activity on the thrust and fold system of the Tell Atlas and the relatively passive active deformation along the adjacent sections of the plate boundary.

  2. One Effect of Plate Tectonics on the Hydrosphere

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    Mr. Woolley

    2007-11-27

    We have studied many ways that the movement of tectonic plates affects different systems on the Earth. Today, we are going to be talking about how that movement of plates affects the Earth's water, the hydrosphere. This is really an easy assignment. Make sure that you have both of your names on the top of your document. There are several different sites that you will be using. Please remember that you are only allowed to use the sites that are referenced in this website. Your ...

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

    Microsoft Academic Search

    YongFei Zheng; Kai Ye; LiFei Zhang

    2009-01-01

    The studies of continental deep subduction and ultrahigh-pressure metamorphism have not only promoted the development of solid\\u000a earth science in China, but also provided an excellent opportunity to advance the plate tectonics theory. In view of the nature\\u000a of subducted crust, two types of subduction and collision have been respectively recognized in nature. On one hand, the crustal\\u000a subduction occurs

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

    Microsoft Academic Search

    C. Sotin; G. Schubert

    2009-01-01

    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),

  5. Plate tectonics and crustal deformation around the Japanese Islands

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    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. Plate tectonics and the development of sedimentary basins of the dextral regime in western Southeast Asia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Packham, Gordon H.

    The western part of Southeast Asia is comprised of three tectonic plates: the Southeast Asia Plate, the Burma Plate, and the Australia-India Plate. The present regime of oblique subduction and partial coupling of the combined Australia-India Plate to the Southeast Asian part of the Eurasia Plate was initiated in the Middle Eocene. Resulting dextral shear interacting with the inertia of the largely continental plate were the driving forces of basin genesis and development, setting in train a sequence of temporally and spatially variable tectonic events, diminishing in intensity away from the active plate boundary. The effects can be identified in the east from the Malay Basin to Central Thailand. A Late Eocene to Oligocene rifting phase formed rift troughs in central Sumatra, later spreading north to the Mergui Basin and south to the Sunda Basin. The Sunda Volcanic Arc was initiated. As subduction proceeded, deformation spread out from the vicinity of the plate boundary. In the Oligocene, dextral shear, substantially along preexisting faults and consequential extensional faulting initiated the Thailand basins and the Malay Basin. Subsidence and extension continued until late Middle Miocene time, possibly with some thermal relaxation. In the Late Oligocene to Early Miocene, the back arc basins close to the plate boundary began to subside, extending out from the initial rift troughs during a quiescent interval transition between the rifting and later wrenching phases. Subsidence may have been the result of the withdrawal of heat from the asthenosphere beneath the basins by the cold subducted slab. As the Sunda arc-forearc developed by accretion and magmatism, partial coupling in the plate boundary region was enhanced and transpressional deformation commenced in the Sumatra basins in the Middle Miocene. This Sea defining the northern part of the Burma Plate. South of the Andaman Sea, deformation persisted in a broad zone along the margin of the Southeast Asia Plate. Dextral wrenching in the late Middle Miocene phase affected much of the eastern region, extending south into the Natuna Basin. Deformation diminished markedly at the end of the Middle Miocene with the inception of the Burma Plate. Transpressional tectonics continued through Late Miocene and Pliocene time in Sumatra, in a broad zone as an ill defined southern extension of the Burma Plate. The continuing movement resulted in the uplift of the Barisan Mountains and the deformation of the onshore Sumatra basins. The Sumatra forearc was transferred to the Burma Plate with the establishment of the dextral Sumatra Fault probably in the Pliocene.

  7. Your Mission: (1) Investigate the relationship between tectonic plates, earthquakes, volcanoes, and other geophysical data through a computer mapping

    E-print Network

    Smith-Konter, Bridget

    Your Mission: (1) Investigate the relationship between tectonic plates, earthquakes, volcanoes tectonic plates move. Your Supplies: (1) Earth's Tectonic Plates map handout (2) Protractor Your Task: In this lab we are going to explore the nature of Earth's tectonic plates by using a new web-based mapping

  8. Plate tectonics simulations using reduced viscosity contrasts - The simple approach?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Noack, L.; Breuer, D.

    2012-04-01

    In the last decades, more and more studies focussed on the simulation of plate tectonics for Earth and other terrestrial planets inside and outside the solar system. But only the recent development of new robust codes (e.g. GAIA [1] or RHEA [2]) and the usage of super-computers shifted the investigation of planetary mantles into more realistic regimes. One of the problems that many codes still cannot handle is the large viscosity contrast (global or local cell-to-cell contrasts) expected for terrestrial planets and the viscosity is typically simplified [3]. On Earth, the expected contrast varies with 10 or more orders of magnitude. On planets with higher mantle temperatures (e.g. as can be expected for young super-Earths), this viscosity contrast may be even higher with steeper viscosity gradients at the lower boundary of the lithosphere. To solve this problem one can either use a larger nondimensional surface temperature in the Arrhenius viscosity law (or analogously a smaller activation energy) or linearize the exponent of the viscosity, leading to the so-called Frank-Kamenetskii approximation. Several codes use one of these two approximations to be able to simulate terrestrial planets and try to investigate the trend of the likeliness of processes like plate tectonics, depending on factors as surface temperature, internal heating, or mantle thickness. However, our findings propose that the trends observed with these viscosity approximations differ from the ones obtained with the Newtonian Arrhenius law. The first observation is that the approximations lead more easily to plate tectonics than the Arrhenius law. In addition, the dependence of the critical yield stress (i.e. where the transition from plate-tectonics regime to stagnant-lid regime takes place) on the Rayleigh number strongly differs, and the plate tectonics regime is much more easily obtained than for the Arrhenius viscosity. The difference increases with planetary radius. Note, that a more realistic rheology using a mixed Newtonian/non-Newtonian viscosity law including an elastic surface regime is expected to further differ from the Newtonian Arrhenius law.

  9. Plate tectonics on the early Earth: limitations imposed by strength and buoyancy of subducted lithosphere

    Microsoft Academic Search

    Jeroen van Hunen; Arie P. van den Berg

    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 mod- eling results that address for a hotter Earth the viability of subduction, one of

  10. Revised tectonic boundaries in the Cocos Plate off Costa Rica: Implications for the segmentation of the convergent margin and for plate tectonic models

    Microsoft Academic Search

    Udo Barckhausen; Cesar R. Ranero; R. von Huene; Steven C. Cande; Hans A. Roeser

    2001-01-01

    The oceanic Cocos Plate subducting beneath Costa Rica has a complex plate tectonic history resulting in segmentation. New lines of magnetic data clearly define tectonic boundaries which separate lithosphere formed at the East Pacific Rise from lithosphere formed at the Cocos-Nazca spreading center. They also define two early phase Cocos-Nazca spreading regimes and a major propagator. In addition to these

  11. Plate tectonic history of the Arctic

    SciTech Connect

    Burke, K.

    1985-02-01

    The Arctic Ocean represents the last great challenge in establishing the broad outlines of the histories of the present oceans of the earth. The rotation of the Lomonosov Ridge away from the Barents Shelf during the Cenozoic is well established, and a unique present relationship has been demonstrated between the Gakkel Ridge and the Poloussnoye graben system. Earlier history of the Arctic is poorly known, but a possible and testable scenario involves rifting of the North Slope Alaska-Chukotsk block (NSAC) from the Canadian Arctic islands during the Early Cretaceous and rifting of the New Siberian block (NSB) along strike on the same margin a little later. Both NSAC and NSB were involved, after rapid rotation, in the assembly of northeastern Asia with such other blocks as Greater Japan (much of Kyushu, Honshu, Hokkaido, Sakhalin, Sikhote Alin, Kamchatka, and Koryak) and Omolon. During earlier Mesozoic, Permian, and Carboniferous times, NSB and NSAC occupied one Atlantic-type margin of the triangular Boreal embayment of the Pacific, while the Verkhoyansk Atlantic-type margin of Siberia (with the prominent Vilyuy rift embayment) occupied the other. These 2 rifted margins, which are now caught up respectively in the Brooks Range-South Anyui-Sviatory Nos suture zone and the Sette Daban-Chirskiy suture zone, had formed during the Late Devonian close to the site of and shortly after the Innuitian suturing event between Siberia and North America.

  12. Gondwana Tales: an inquiry approach to plate tectonics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Domènech Casal, Jordi

    2014-05-01

    Plate tectonics and its effects on the constitution of seas and continents are key models in science education. Fossil evidences are usually taught in demostrative key when Wegener's discoverings about Pangea are introduced. In order to introduce inquiry-based science education (IBSE) approaches to this topic, we propose "Gondwana Tales", an activity where students are asked to use fossil data to reconstruct the geologic history of an imaginary planet. Grouped in independent teams, each team is furnished with stratigraphic columns from several sites containing faunistic successions of real organisms existing in the past in Earth. Students are told to reconstruct a model of the evolution of the continents, by making calculations of relative ages of the fossils, and relating each fossil to a geologic era. The different teams have incomplete and complementary information. After a first step where they have to propose a partial model based on incomplete data, each team receives a "visitor scientist" from another team, this implying an informal scientific communication event. This process is performed several times, engaging a discussion in each team and getting a final consensus model created by the whole class. Correct answer is not given to the students, even at the end of the activity, to keep the activity under the parameters of real scientific experience, where there is not a "correct answer" to compare. Instead of this, and following the IBSE standards, a reflection on the process is proposed to students. The lack of complete information and the need to collaborate are part of classroom dynamics focused to the understanding of the process of creation of the scientific knowledge. This activity is part of the C3 Project on Creation of Scientific Knowledge that is being applied in the school.

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    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.

  14. Plate tectonic evolution of the Mediterranean-Middle East region

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gealey, W. K.

    1988-12-01

    An interpretive model for the Mesozoic-Cenozoic plate tectonic evolution of the Mediterranean and adjacent areas is illustrated by a series of paleoposition maps at selected intervals between the Late Triassic and Recent. This interval witnessed an important period of tensional development during the Triassic and Jurassic that fragmented Pangea after its Late Paleozoic consolidation. A number of oceanic areas evolved through Jurassic time, all of which have since been consumed during the Alpine orogeny. During the Cretaceous and Tertiary, sea-floor spreading geometry in the North and South Atlantic resulted in convergence between Africa and Eurasia that controlled the evolution of the Mediterranean and adjacent Middle East areas from the Late Mesozoic to Recent. The interpretation departs from several previous ones in the following respects: (1) The Eastern Mediterranean and adjacent Middle East area are interpreted to have developed as two seaways with an intervening continental sliver derived from Africa that now comprises Central Turkey and West Iran. These seaways persisted from the Late Triassic to Late Cretaceous, by which time they were largely consumed by northward subduction. (2) Spreading that produced the present Eastern Mediterranean Sea developed during the Late Cretaceous, driving the Tripolitza-Eratosthenes-Iskenderun continental fragments northward from Africa to collision with Central Turkey as the preceding southern arm of the Mesozoic Tethys sea-floor was entirely consumed. Initial block faulting in this zone occurred during the Jurassic and Early Cretaceous but without subsidence reaching clearly bathyal depths until the Cenomanian-Turonian. This differs from the timing of events in the "Ionian" sequence of the Pindic Nappe of Crete, which shows a change from shallow carbonate shelf in the Triassic to deep basin in the Liassic to the north of equivalent platform facies of the Tripolitza Nappe. (3) Moesia and Rhodope are concluded to have been a single plate until a rifting event that started during the Late Jurassic. The Balkan Mountains are interpreted to represent an Alpine inversion of this Mesozoic rift system that extended west from the Black Sea Basin. (4) The Eastern Carpathian microcontinental sliver is concluded as continuing southward as the Serbo-Macedonian Massif that separates Rhodope from the Vardar Zone rather than as Rhodope itself. (5) The Scutari-Pec Lineament is considered as representing a major discontinuity between the Apulia-Pannonian plate and adjacent Greece and Turkey. Ophiolites to the northwest of this lineament originated in a single oceanic area, the Vardar Zone. Ophiolites to the southeast of this lineament evolved from two oceanic areas, those of interior Greece and northern Anatolia and the associated Ankara melange relating to the Vardar Zone, the former north arm of Tethys. and the Pindos-southern Anatolia-Zagros-Oman Ophiolites relating to a former south arm of Mesozoic Tethys. (6) Based on the history of development of various elements of the Alpine system, there is a strong suggestion that important dextral movement took place along a major strike-slip fault system reaching from the Middle East to the Central Alps between Late Cretaceous and Middle Eocene times. Sestini (1984).

  15. Plate Tectonic Evolution of Eastern Australian Marginal Ocean M. Sdrolias1

    E-print Network

    Müller, Dietmar

    Plate Tectonic Evolution of Eastern Australian Marginal Ocean Basins M. Sdrolias1 , R.D. Müller2-arc ridge (remnant arc) on the other (Keary & Vine 1996). Plate tectonic reconstructions accounting exploration target is an accurate and self-consistent plate kinematic reconstruction of the region of interest

  16. How do tectonic plates deform? A case study from eastern Anatolia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schultz, Colin

    2014-05-01

    The theory of plate tectonics, despite all its accomplishments, still has some sizeable gaps. For instance, scientists are not sure whether to treat tectonic plates as rigid elastic slabs or more as viscous wafers overlain by a thin brittle layer. A new study of the Anatolian plate by Cavalié and Jónsson should bring researchers a step closer to settling this debate.

  17. Cenozoic plate tectonic reconstructions and plate boundary processes in the Southwest Pacific

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Keller, William R.

    The Australia-Pacific-Antarctic plate circuit has long been a weak link in global plate reconstruction models for Cenozoic time. The time period spanning chron 20 to chron 7 (43-25 Ma) is particularly problematic for global plate models because seafloor spreading was occurring in two poorly constrained regions in the Southwest Pacific - the Macquarie Basin southwest of New Zealand, and the Adare Basin north of the Ross Sea, Antarctica. I present a new shipboard dataset collected aboard several recent geophysical cruises which places important constraints on the tectonic evolution of these two regions. Utilizing multibeam bathymetry, magnetic, gravity, and seismic data in the Macquarie Basin, I am able to locate tectonic features and magnetic anomalies with greater accuracy than was previously possible. These tectonic features and magnetic anomalies are then used to calculate relative motion between the Australia and Pacific Plates for chrons 18-11 (40-30 Ma). I use revised locations of the rifted margins along the boundary of the Macquarie Basin to determine a best-fit pre-rift reconstruction for this region. During this same time period, seafloor spreading between East and West Antarctica was occurring along the Adare Trough, an extinct spreading center located north of the Ross Sea. Motion along the Adare Trough accounts for roughly 180 km of previously unrecognized motion between East and West Antarctica. I present multibeam and seismic data in the Adare Basin that place constraints on the timing and character of motion along this plate boundary.

  18. The ERESE Project: Modeling Inquiry-Based Plate Tectonic Lessons

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Symons, C. M.; Helly, M.; Helly, J.; Miller, S. P.; Staudigel, H.; Koppers, A.

    2004-12-01

    The Enduring Resources for Earth Science Education (ERESE) project is a collaborative effort between earth scientists, educators, librarians and data archive managers. Its goal is to develop and maintain a persistent online research and education archive in a digital library environment that supports earth science education in plate tectonics. A key to the library's effectiveness as an educational tool is the efficiency with which educators can access, use and contribute to the library. We have created a master template that educators use to develop inquiry-based curriculum. The central components of the master template include a teacher log, a student log and resource matrices. The teacher's log is divided into stages that reflect our approach to inquiry. This approach was used during a workshop as scientists worked with the teachers to model a reasonable pedagogical analog to scientific inquiry. The student log is similar in structure to a scientific method lab report. There are currently 17 resource matrices that directly access canonical education objects in the digital library, 3 of which relate to expedition planning and 14 to plate tectonics. The structure of the resource matrices allows teachers and students to traverse manageable packets of information relating to a specific topic by expert level (rows) and information type (columns). Teachers download and customize the master template using any web composer and are then invited to upload their lessons through a simple interface at Earthref.org. Once uploaded the lessons become part of the ERESE digital library collection. The upload process allows teachers to define keywords and metadata to allow useful searches by topic, concept or educational standard. The use of a single master template for inquiry lesson design means library contributions will share a common format as well as exploit identical plate tectonic resources.

  19. Tectonic database and plate tectonic model of the former USSR territory

    SciTech Connect

    Bocharova, N.Yu.; Scotese, C.R.; Pristavakina, E.I.; Zonenshain, L.P. (Univ. of Texas, Arlington, TX (United States). Center for Russian Geology and Tectonics)

    1993-02-01

    A digital geographic database for the former USSR was compiled using published geologic and geodynamic maps and the unpublished suture map of Lev Zonenshain (1991). The database includes more than 900 tectonic features: strike-slip faults, sutures, thrusts, fossil and active rifts, fossil and active subduction zones, boundaries of the major and minor Precambrian blocks, ophiolites, and various volcanic complexes. The attributes of each structural unit include type of structure, name, age, tectonic setting and geographical coordinates. Paleozoic and Early Mesozoic reconstructions of the former USSR and adjacent regions were constructed using this tectonic database together with paleomagnetic data and the motions of continent over fixed hot spots. Global apparent polar wander paths in European and Siberian coordinates were calculated back to Cambrian time, using the paleomagnetic pole summaries of Van der Voo (1992) and Khramov (1992) and the global plate tectonic model of the Paleomap Project (Scotese and Becker, 1992). Trajectories of intraplate volcanics in South Siberia, Mongolia, Scandinavia and data on the White Mountain plutons and Karoo flood basalts were also taken into account. Using new data, the authors recalculated the stage and finite poles for the rotation of the Siberia and Europe with respect to the hot spot reference frame for the time interval 160 to 450 Ma.

  20. Plate Tectonics GEY 443/643 -Fall 2005 Room LFG 202 MW 2:30 3:45 pm

    E-print Network

    Ahmad, Sajjad

    Plate Tectonics ­ GEY 443/643 - Fall 2005 Room LFG 202 ­ MW 2:30 ­ 3:45 pm Instructors: Michael@unlv.nevada.edu Required Text: Global Tectonics by Philip Kearey and Frederick J. Vine Supplementary Text: Plate Tectonics and Policies GEY 443/643 ­ Plate Tectonics ­ Fall 2005 ­ Wells & Snelson 1 #12;1. Participation: You

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    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.…

  2. On the breakup of tectonic plates by polar wandering

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Liu, H. S.

    1973-01-01

    The observed boundary system of the major tectonic plates on the surface of the earth lends fresh support to the hypothesis of polar wandering. A dynamic model of the outer shell of the earth under the influence of polar shift is developed. The analysis falls into two parts: (1) deriving equations for stresses caused by polar shifting; and (2) deducing the pattern according to which the fracture of the shell can be expected. For stress analysis, the theory of plates and shells is the dominant feature of this model. In order to determine the fracture pattern, the existence of a mathematical theorem of plasticity is recalled: it says that the plastic flow begins to occur when a function in terms of the differences of the three principal stresses surpasses a certain critical value. By introducing the figures for the geophysical constants, this model generates stresses which could produce an initial break in the lithosphere.

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    1985-01-01

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

  4. G141 Earthquakes & Volcanoes Lab 2 Plate Tectonics Name _____________________________ G141 Lab 2: Exploring Plate Motion and Deformation in California Using GPS Data

    E-print Network

    Polly, David

    G141 Earthquakes & Volcanoes Lab 2 ­ Plate Tectonics Name _____________________________ 1 G141 Lab of modern GPS technology, we can actually observe the process of plate tectonics as the plates are moving of that segment of the Earth's tectonic plate. We will be using data recorded by UNAVCO consort- ium (www

  5. Episodic tectonic plate reorganizations driven by mantle convection

    Microsoft Academic Search

    Scott D. King; Julian P. Lowman; Carl W. Gable

    2002-01-01

    Periods of relatively uniform plate motion were interrupted several times throughout the Cenozoic and Mesozoic by rapid plate reorganization events [R. Hey, Geol. Soc. Am. Bull. 88 (1977) 1404–1420; P.A. Rona, E.S. Richardson, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 40 (1978) 1–11; D.C. Engebretson, A. Cox, R.G. Gordon, Geol. Soc. Am. Spec. Pap. 206 (1985); R.G. Gordon, D.M. Jurdy, J. Geophys. Res.

  6. Plate tectonics from VLBI and SLR global data

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    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.

  7. Paleomap PC: Plate tectonic reconstructions on IBM compatible computers

    SciTech Connect

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

    1993-02-01

    PALEOMAP-PC (PMAPPC) allows users to interactively view Phanerozoic plate reconstructions on IBM compatible personal computers. This software compliments Macintosh and Unix software developed to conjunction with the PALEOMAP Project at the University of Texas at Arlington. The past positions of the continents can be viewed on the PC monitor in a variety of map projections including the spherical projection which gives a 3-D perspective of the Earth. Once a reconstruction time has been entered, the total finite rotations for over 150 independently moving plates are calculated and the plates are rotated back through time and drawn in reconstructed coordinates. The user can zoom in and out focusing on particular areas of interest. Hard copy output is available to a variety of output devices, both as a screen dump utility and as a selected option within the program. Although visualizing continental configurations through time is the core of the program, its primary strength is that user-defined data, such as stratigraphic or structural data, can be incorporated and plotted on reconstructed basemaps. This allows the time aspect of all geological data to be united with other user-supplied data within the plate tectonic framework.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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.

  9. Multi-Agent Modelling of Earth's Dynamics: Towards a Virtual Laboratory of Plate Tectonics Cecile Grigne(1)

    E-print Network

    Paris-Sud XI, Université de

    Multi-Agent Modelling of Earth's Dynamics: Towards a Virtual Laboratory of Plate Tectonics C-Agent Convective MAntle) is a new tool developed to simulate plate tectonics and mantle convection in a 2-D). Evolutive plate tectonics We obtain an evolutive system where the geometry and the number of plates

  10. Generation of plate tectonics with two-phase grain-damage and pinning: Source-sink model and toroidal flow

    E-print Network

    Generation of plate tectonics with two-phase grain-damage and pinning: Source-sink model theory therefore readily satisfies key plate-tectonic metrics of localized toroidal motion and plate-boundary inheritance, and thus provides a predictive theory for the generation of plate tectonics on Earth and other

  11. Geophys. J. Int. (1994) 119,595-610 A continuous kinematic model of plate-tectonic motions

    E-print Network

    1994-01-01

    Geophys. J. Int. (1994) 119,595-610 A continuous kinematic model of plate-tectonic motions David of mantle dynamics-which involves continuum physics-and the theory of plate tectonics-which employs to adjust the plate-tectonic model to allow for continuous surface motions. Here we present a model of plate

  12. The stepwise growth of tectonic plates across Earth's evolving supercontinent cycle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Van Kranendonk, M. J.; Kirkland, C. L.

    2012-04-01

    Plate tectonics both creates and recycles crust, but the rate of continental growth over Earth history remains contentious: some believe it formed fast and early, others more gradually and, perhaps, episodically, through the supercontinent cycle. Time constrained analysis of both oxygen and hafnium isotopes in zircon grains and incompatible elements (Zr, Th) from magmatic rocks confirms the importance of Earth's supercontinent cycle not only on the degree of crustal recycling rates that arises from the aggregation and dispersal of supercontinents, but also on mantle temperatures, crustal growth rates, and climatic conditions. These changes are used to infer a conditioned duality of the Earth system between alternating periods of hot and cold mantle that arise in response to the supercontinent cycle. Hot mantle periods that accompany supercontinent aggregation events are characterised by mantle superplume events, increased crustal recycling and warm, reducing climatic conditions. Cool mantle periods during supercontinent rifting result from core insulation by slab graveyards and are characterised by low rates of crust production and cool, more oxidizing conditions. Changes in the intensity of the orogenic cycle through time since its inception at c. 3.2 Ga are ascribed to self-reorganisation of progressively larger tectonic plates (tessellation of a sphere) that accommodate the secular decrease in planetary heat. Bursts of crust extraction during Neoarchean and Mesoproterozoic supercontinent assembly led to overstep periods of large plates on subduction-cooled, melt-depleted mantle, accompanied by global ice ages. Optimal packing (pentagonal dodecahedron) of the plates was attained on dispersal of Nuna at 1.4 Ga, leading to a peak in geochemical and isotopic proxies of orogenic intensity during c. 1.2 Ga assembly of Rodinia (large plates on warmer Earth), with declining intensity thereafter as a function of decreasing heat with same-size plates.

  13. Lessons learned while playing with the Arctic plate tectonic puzzle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Skogseid, J.; Meisling, K. E.; Miller, E. L.; Nikishin, A. M.

    2013-12-01

    The plate tectonic evolution of the Amerasia Basin in the Arctic Ocean is controversial, and a number of models have been suggested in which the common denominator is that they are all poorly constrained. In general the Canada Basin and the Makarov-Podvodnikov Basin, are separated by the Alpha-Mendeleev Ridge, which has a bathymetric and geophysical signature indicating either over-thickened oceanic crust or magmatically overprinted continental fragments. Both interpretations imply that the ridge has a connection to the High Arctic Large Igneous Province probably associated with a mantle plume emplacement beneath the lithosphere, causing excess magmatism in the region starting at about 125 Ma. It is widely accepted that the ';windshield wiper' model of Lawver et al. (2002) is applicable for the Canada Basin proper, yet it is still debated whether the boundary transform is located close to the Lomonosov Ridge, beneath the Alpha-Mendeleev Ridge, or on the Alaskan side of the Chukchi Borderland and Northwind Ridge. It remains a major uncertainty where large offset regional shear zones required by some models could be hidden beneath the Arctic continental shelves and how they were linked into the South Anhui Paleo-Ocean. The approach taken in this study is to dissect the Chukotka terranes, formed by long-lived compressional tectonism associated with the Pacific subduction system, to explore different scenarios for South Anhui Ocean evolution and consider potential Paleo-Pacific driving mechanisms for Amerasia Basin opening. The Chukotka terranes represent a complex of magmatic and sedimentary units younging towards the subduction zone, thus allowing restoration by ';undocking' them one by one. The remaining elements of the Alaskan and Siberian shelves are subsequently linked to conjugate elements on the North American and Eurasian plates based on correlation of geochemical and stratigraphic ';tie-points'. The study utilizes available geological markers, crustal cross sections, gravity and magnetic data, and mantle tomography models, seeking to discover pros and cons for different plate tectonic scenarios, with the ultimate goal of a unified model.

  14. Linking continental drift, plate tectonics and the thermal state of the Earth's mantle

    E-print Network

    Tackley, Paul J.

    Linking continental drift, plate tectonics and the thermal state of the Earth's mantle T. Rolf a between continental drift, oceanic plate tectonics and the thermal state of the Earth's mantle, by using Arthur Holmes proposed that continental drift and seafloor kinematics are surface expressions of large

  15. Numerical Modeling Of Plate Tectonics Initiation And Its Style In The Early Earth

    Microsoft Academic Search

    E. Sizova; T. Gerya

    2008-01-01

    Plate tectonics is an outstanding example of a self organizing complex system, driven by the negative buoyancy of the thermal boundary layer resulting in subduction. Although the signature of plate tectonics is recognized with some confidence in the Phanerozoic geologic record of the continents, its action becomes less certain further back in time. The best way to improve our understanding

  16. Plate tectonics and the detection of land-based biosignatures on Mars and extrasolar planets

    Microsoft Academic Search

    John Parnell

    2005-01-01

    On Earth, surface detritus has a quartz-rich mineralogy as a consequence of plate tectonics. Rocky planets without plate tectonics, like Mars, have surface detritus derived from volcanic rocks. There is a marked contrast in the transmission of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) through the upper few millimetres of the two sediment types. Quartz-rich sediment allows PAR to penetrate below the level

  17. Conditions for the onset of plate tectonics on terrestrial planets and moons

    E-print Network

    Jellinek, Mark

    Conditions for the onset of plate tectonics on terrestrial planets and moons C. O'Neill a,, A to the terrestrial planets. Whereas Earth is expected to be in a plate-tectonic regime over its full thermal oceanic lithosphere into the underlying mantle. For such a regime to exist on any planet, stresses

  18. Plate tectonics on super-Earths: Equally or more likely than on Earth

    Microsoft Academic Search

    H. J. van Heck; P. J. Tackley

    2011-01-01

    The discovery of extra-solar super-Earths has prompted interest in their possible mantle dynamics and evolution, and in whether their lithospheres are most likely to be undergoing active plate tectonics like on Earth, or be stagnant lids like on Mars and Venus. The origin of plate tectonics is poorly understood for Earth, likely involving a complex interplay of rheological, compositional, melting

  19. Conditions for the onset of plate tectonics on terrestrial planets and moons

    Microsoft Academic Search

    C. O'Neill; A. M. Jellinek; A. Lenardic

    2007-01-01

    Plate tectonics on Earth is driven by the subduction and stirring of dense oceanic lithosphere into the underlying mantle. For such a regime to exist on any planet, stresses associated with mantle convection must exceed the strength of the lithosphere. This condition is sufficiently restrictive that plate tectonics currently operates only on Earth, and mantle convection in most terrestrial planets

  20. On the Likelihood of Plate Tectonics on Super-Earths: Does Size Matter?

    Microsoft Academic Search

    Jun Korenaga

    2010-01-01

    The operation of plate tectonics on Earth is essential to modulate its atmospheric composition over geological time and is thus commonly believed to be vital for planetary habitability at large. It has been suggested that plate tectonics is very likely for super-Earths, with or without surface water, because a planet with a larger mass tends to have sufficient convective stress

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

    PubMed

    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. PMID:18092990

  2. Plate Tectonics: From Initiation of Subduction to Global Plate Motions (Augustus Love Medal Lecture)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gurnis, Michael

    2013-04-01

    Plates are driven by buoyancy forces distributed in the mantle, within cooling oceanic plates (ridge push) and within subducted slabs. Although the case is often made that subducted slabs provide the principle driving force on plate motion, consensus has not been achieved. This is at least partially due to the great difficulty in realistically capturing the role of slabs in observationally-constrained models as slabs act to drive and resist plate motions through their high effective viscosity. Slab buoyancy acts directly on the edge of the plate (slab pull), while inducing mantle flow that tends to drag both subducting and overriding plates toward the trench. While plates bend during subduction they undergo a form of 'plastic failure' (as evident through faulting, seismicity and reduction of flexural parameters at the outer trench wall). The birth of a new subduction zone, subduction initiation, provides important insight into plate motions and subduction dynamics. About half of all subduction zones initiated over the Cenozoic and the geophysical and geological observations of them provide first order constraints on the mechanics of how these margins evolved from their preexisting tectonic state to self-sustaining subduction. We have examples of subduction initiation at different phases of the initiation process (e.g. early versus late) as well as how margins have responded to different tectonic forcings. The consequences of subduction initiation are variable: intense trench roll back and extensive boninitic volcanism followed initiation of the Izu-Bonin-Mariana arc while both were absent during Aleutian arc initiation. Such differences may be related to the character of the preexisting plates, the size of and forces on the plates, and how the lithosphere was initially bending during initiation. I will address issues associated with the forces driving plate tectonics and initiating new subduction zones from two perspectives. A common thread is the origin and evolution of intense back arc spreading and rapid roll back associated with some ocean-ocean subduction zones. I will look at the dynamics driving global plate motions and the time-dependence of trench rollback regionally. Capitalizing on advances in adaptive mesh refinement algorithms on parallel computers with individual plate margins resolved down to a scale of 1 kilometer, observationally constrained, high-resolution models of global mantle flow now capture the role of slabs and show how plate tectonics is regulated by the rheology of slabs. Back-arc extension and slab rollback are emergent consequences of slab descent in the upper mantle. I will then describe regional, time-dependent models, address the causes and consequences of subduction initiation, and show that most back arc extension follows subduction initiation. Returning to the global models, inverse models using the full adjoint of the variable viscosity, Stokes equation are now possible and allow an even greater link between present-day geophysical observations and the dynamics from local to global scales.

  3. Self-consistent generation of tectonic plates in three-dimensional mantle convection

    Microsoft Academic Search

    Paul J. Tackley

    1998-01-01

    Despite the fundamental importance of plates in the Earth's mantle convection, plates have not generally been included in numerical convection models or analog laboratory experiments, mainly because the physical properties which lead to plate tectonic behavior are not well understood. Strongly temperature-dependent viscosity results in an immobile rigid lid, so that plates, where included at all in 3-D models, have

  4. Plate tectonic reconstruction of the Carpathian-Pannonian region

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Csontos, L.; Vörös, A.

    2003-04-01

    Plate tectonics of the Carpathian area is controlled by microcontinents between the European and African margins and the relative movements of these margins. Beside the generally accepted Apulian (Austroalpine, West Carpathian, Dinaric) microcontinents two others: the Bihor-Getic (Tisza) and Drina-Ivanjica are introduced. The first was attached to the European margin, the second to the Apulian microcontinent. During Permian a major ocean was obliquely subducted south of the Apulian microcontinents. Drina-Ivanjica rifted off the Apulian microcontinent in the Late Permian-Middle Triassic, as a consequence of back-arc rifting. Short-lived oceans subducted by the end of Jurassic, causing Drina-Ivanjica to collide with the internal Dinaric-West Carpathian and Bihor-Getic margins. An external Penninic-Váhic ocean tract began opening in the Early Jurassic, separating the East Alpine-West Carpathian microcontinent (and its fauna) from the European shelf. Further south, the Severin-Ceahlau-Magura also began opening in the Early Jurassic, but final separation of the Bihor-Getic (and its fauna) from the European shelf did not take place until the Middle-Late Jurassic. Two oroclinal bends: the Alcapa on the Dinaric margin and the Tisza-Dacia on the South Carpathian-Getic margin are essential elements of these reconstructions. Their bending (Aptian and Albian-Maastrichtian, respectively) are suggested by paleomagnetic and tectonic transport data. The two oroclinal bends are finally opposed and pushed into the Carpathian embayment by the Paleogene. In Miocene a back-arc basin develops on older tectonic elements. Differential rotations affect the wealded microcontinents.

  5. Plate Tectonics: The Rocky History of an Idea

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    Information on this site about the early history of the Theory of Plate Tectonics begins in 1912 with Alfred Wegener (1880-1930), who noticed that most of the continents seem to fit together like a puzzle. The west African coastline seems to fit nicely into the east coast of South America and the Caribbean sea, and a similar fit appears across the Pacific. He proposed that the continents were once compressed into a single protocontinent, which he called Pangaea, and over time they have drifted apart into their current distribution. The site includes further information that convinced Wegener of his theory and also the suggestion of Arthur Holmes that there were convection currents in the mantle. Lastly there is mention of sea floor spreading as suggested by Harry Hess and R. Deitz.

  6. Relationship of Seismic Events and Divergent Plate Motion In Iceland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Heinert, M.; Perlt, J.

    The hotspot-ridge interaction under Iceland creates complex tectonic structures of the earth surface. One element of the tectonic system is the transform zone in the south of the island, the so-called South Icelandic Seismic Zone (SISZ). To explain the dynamical importance of this tectonic element in relation to the whole system it is necessary to compare the impact of seismic events in the transform zone with the daily results of continuous geodetical measurements. Such results are avail- able for the two IGS permanent GPS stations in Reykjavík and Höfn since 1998. Instead of approaching the displacements of these IGS stations with linear regression we reduced the noise on processed GPS co-ordinates using an adapted KALMAN filter model. After this thorough statistical analysis it is possible to get daily station positions with an accuracy of a few millimetres. The so filtered displacement curves enable to inter- pret short-time changes of the movements. In addition, the statistical analysis of the loss of seismic energy in the SISZ in depen- dence of time shows a significant periodical distribution as well as a high correlation with short-time divergent plate motion of the whole island. This is essential to fully understand the complex tectonic system of Iceland.

  7. Application of plate tectonics concepts in hydrocarbon exploration: Hokkaido Corner

    SciTech Connect

    Sabitay, A.; Shirley, J.

    1986-07-01

    An area prospective for hydrocarbon production is located offshore from south-central Hokkaido in northern Japan. The sediments there are contained in a forearc basin associated with the Japan-Kurile subduction system to the east. At the juncture of the Japan and Kurile Trenches, a major change in direction, associated with a transverse fault, is referred to as the Hokkaido Corner. The transverse fault is known to disrupt the subducting slab from measurements and studies of earthquake foci and focal mechanisms. The prospective forearc basin overlies the disrupted subducting slab, establishing a probable wrench-fault system. The history of deformation in the basin has been related to the northwesterly movement of the Pacific oceanic plate and its subduction under the Japanese Island arc. Seaward-dipping, stacked thrust sheets were found in wells drilled in the forearc basin. These sheets have been explained as resulting as resulting from gravity sliding of mountains at the eastern basin margin. The mountains formed as an uplifted belt above the toe of the continental mass overlying the subducting slab west of the Japan-Kurile Trenches. Further complications involve a history of submarine canyon erosion, wrench faulting, volcanic activity, and rapid uplift and subsidence with consequent complex sedimentation. Gravity, magnetics, seismic, well, and petrophysics information were integrated in order to interpret this area. Several localities in and near Australia are described where an interpretation using plate tectonics concepts is indicated.

  8. Initiation of plate tectonics from post-magma ocean thermochemical convection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Foley, Bradford J.; Bercovici, David; Elkins-Tanton, Linda T.

    2014-11-01

    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 ?1.75 cm/yr, can still be maintained in the Hadean, even with a CO2 rich primordial atmosphere. Furthermore, when the mantle potential temperature is high (e.g., above ?2000 K), the mode of subduction switches to a "sluggish subduction" style, where downwellings are drip like and plate boundaries are diffuse. Finally, numerical models of post-magma ocean mantle convection demonstrate that proto-plate tectonics likely initiates within ˜100 Myr of magma ocean solidification, consistent with evidence from Hadean zircons. After the initiation of proto-subduction, non-plate-tectonic "sluggish subduction" prevails, giving way to modern style plate tectonics as both the mantle interior and climate cool. Hadean proto-subduction may hasten the onset of modern plate tectonics by drawing excess CO2 out of the atmosphere and cooling the climate.

  9. How plate tectonics is recorded in chalk deposits along the eastern English Channel in Normandy (France) and Sussex (UK)

    E-print Network

    Boyer, Edmond

    01/12/2011 - 1 - How plate tectonics is recorded in chalk deposits along the eastern English provides an excellent record of brittle tectonics generated by far-field stresses of plate tectonics re Kutzenhausen, France Abstract Intra-plate stresses that occurred in the Anglo-Paris Basin and English Channel

  10. The original kinematic plate tectonic model proposed that the outer shell (lithosphere) of the Earth is divided into a small

    E-print Network

    Sandwell, David T.

    The original kinematic plate tectonic model proposed that the outer shell (lithosphere driver of plate tectonics and mantle convection, but much of the energy dissipation may be in this part rele- vant to plate tectonics. Here we have compiled a series of global maps that help to confirm

  11. Cenozoic geological and plate tectonic evolution of SE Asia and the SW Pacic: computer-based reconstructions, model and animations

    E-print Network

    Royal Holloway, University of London

    Cenozoic geological and plate tectonic evolution of SE Asia and the SW Paci®c: computer A plate tectonic model for the Cenozoic development of the region of SE Asia and the SW Paci the driving force of tectonics in most of SE Asia. The most important Cenozoic plate boundary reorganisation

  12. Rifting beneath Antarctica's ice sheet: A plate tectonic Supervisors: Graeme Eagles (RHUL) & Fausto Feraccioli (British Antarctic Survey)

    E-print Network

    Royal Holloway, University of London

    Rifting beneath Antarctica's ice sheet: A plate tectonic approach Supervisors: Graeme Eagles (RHUL rapid sea level changes by more than 100 m; it forms a crucial plate tectonic link between the African traditional geological techniques. Instead, studies of the circuit of plate tectonic motions in the South

  13. Z .Earth and Planetary Science Letters 154 1998 139151 Generation of plate tectonics from lithospheremantle flow and

    E-print Network

    Z .Earth and Planetary Science Letters 154 1998 139­151 Generation of plate tectonics from The formation of plate tectonics from mantle convection necessarily requires nonlinear rheological behavior has long been suspected to be a key ingredient for the existence of plate tectonics, i.e., water. q

  14. Your Mission: Investigate the relationship between tectonic plates, earthquakes, volcanoes, and other geophysical data through a computer mapping

    E-print Network

    Smith-Konter, Bridget

    Your Mission: Investigate the relationship between tectonic plates, earthquakes, volcanoes, and other geophysical data through a computer mapping program. Your Supplies: (1) Earth's Tectonic Plates (2) map handouts Your Task: In this lab we are going to explore the nature of Earth's tectonic plates

  15. Pliocene eclogite exhumation at plate tectonic rates in eastern Papua New Guinea.

    PubMed

    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. PMID:15372021

  16. New insights on 3-D plates interaction near Taiwan from tomography and tectonic implications

    E-print Network

    Demouchy, Sylvie

    New insights on 3-D plates interaction near Taiwan from tomography and tectonic implications Serge trenches, respectively. In particular, the 3-D plates interaction beneath Taiwan is discussed based of Hualien, (2) the Eurasian plate subducts beneath most part of the Taiwan island down to the 670 km

  17. Plate tectonic constraints on the cessation of subduction beneath the Baja California peninsula, Mexico

    Microsoft Academic Search

    J. M. Stock

    2007-01-01

    I review published models, existing global plate tectonic data and published marine geophysical observations west of Baja California to assess the timing and conditions under which subduction ceased along the W margin of Baja California. The relative motion of the Farallon microplate fragments can be reconstructed using Pacific- North America global plate motions (from the Pacific-Antarctica-Nubia-North America plate circuit) added

  18. Strain weakening enables continental plate tectonics Frdric GUEYDAN (1), Jacques PRCIGOUT (2) and Laurent G.J. MONTESI (3)

    E-print Network

    Paris-Sud XI, Université de

    1 Strain weakening enables continental plate tectonics Frédéric GUEYDAN (1), Jacques PRÉCIGOUT (2-scale strain localization and hence enables plate tectonics. No rheological model proposed to date is comprehensive enough to describe both the weakness of plate boundary and rigid-like behaviour of plate interiors

  19. Initiation of plate tectonics from post-magma ocean thermo-chemical convection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Foley, B. J.; Bercovici, D. A.

    2013-12-01

    We investigate the initiation of plate tectonics on Earth from scaling laws for plate tectonic style convection with grain-damage, and from numerical models of mantle convection immediately after magma ocean solidification. Using scaling laws for convection with grain-damage we constrain the likelihood of plate tectonics on the early Earth. Both mantle temperature and surface temperature play key roles in how plate speed and heat flow scale, and thus whether plate tectonics would be likely on the early Earth. Specifically either high mantle temperatures or high surface temperatures decrease plate speed because grain-growth (or healing) increases in lithospheric shear zones, causing viscosity to go up in these regions. When applied to the early Earth, we find that while higher mantle temperatures decrease plate speed, it is not enough to shut off plate tectonics; plate speed only decreases by a factor of 2 going from the present day to Hadean mantle temperatures. Surface temperature has a bigger influence as it more directly controls the temperature in lithospheric shear zones; at a Venusian surface temperature plate tectonics can be effectively shut off. Earth's surface temperature in the Hadean is unknown, however, given that Hadean zircons show evidence for liquid water, the surface temperature was lower than that of present day Venus. Even under hot greenhouse conditions plate speeds on the order of 1 cm/yr could exist in the Hadean. Therefore early Earth conditions were favorable for plate tectonics, even with a higher surface temperature, although Hadean plate tectonics would be sluggish (slower plate speed and thicker lithosphere) compared to the present day. We perform numerical convection experiments to constrain the timescales over which plate tectonics would initiate in the early Earth, starting from post-magma ocean conditions. Rapid solidification of the magma ocean leaves behind a solid mantle with a temperature profile following the solidus. There is also the possibility of chemical differentiation which would lead to an initially unstable compositional density profile in the newly solidified mantle. We thus perform numerical models with an initially unstable temperature profile (approximating the silicate solidus) both with and without an initially unstable compositional density profile. All models show an initial overturn beneath a stagnant lid, followed by stagnant lid convection and the eventual onset of plate tectonic style convection. The timescale for initiating plate tectonics depends on the Rayleigh number, parameters for healing and damage, and on the degree of chemical differentiation during magma ocean solidification. Similar to the results of the scaling analysis, higher surface temperature retards the initiation of plate tectonics, due to the effects of lithospheric healing. Compositional buoyancy significantly reduces the timescale for initiating plate tectonics due to the increased negative buoyancy of the lithosphere (i.e. including both thermal and chemical buoyancy). Thus chemical differentiation during magma ocean solidification provides a significant boost to initiating plate tectonics in the Hadean Earth.

  20. Tectonic escape of the Caribbean plate since the Paleocene: a consequence of the Chicxulub meteor impact?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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 complexes, but also the relatively recent motion along the Cayman Fault zone (Miocene instead of Eocene). These results are part of a cooperative research-industry programm conducted by CEREGE/EGERIE, Aix-en-Provence and GeoAzur, Nice, with Frontier Basin study group, TOTAL S.A., Paris.

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    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)

  2. Connecting Cross-Sectional Data from the Red Sea to Plate Tectonics

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    Laura Guertin

    Students will use map views and cross-sectional profiles across the Red Sea to determine plate tectonic processes in the region. Google Earth is a technological tool used to facilitate the investigation.

  3. Plate tectonic evolution of the southern margin of Eurasia in the Mesozoic and Cenozoic

    Microsoft Academic Search

    J. Golonka

    2004-01-01

    Thirteen time interval maps were constructed, which depict the Triassic to Neogene plate tectonic configuration, paleogeography and general lithofacies of the southern margin of Eurasia. The aim of this paper is to provide an outline of the geodynamic evolution and position of the major tectonic elements of the area within a global framework. The Hercynian Orogeny was completed by the

  4. Present-day kinematics of Eastern African Rift tectonic plates using continuous and episodic GPS data

    Microsoft Academic Search

    R. M. Fernandes; J. P. Ferreira; J. L. Quembo; L. Combrinck; C. M. Kamamia; A. Al-Aydrus; Y. Boodhoo

    2009-01-01

    This paper focuses on the tectonic setup of the East African Rift, a complex system that extends from the Afar region where the triple junction between Somalia, Nubia and Arabia plates is located to the South West Indian Ridge where the Nubia and Antarctica meets with a third tectonic unit - possibly the so-called Lwandle block which is considered by

  5. Hadean Crustal Processes and the Transition to Phanerozoic-style Plate Tectonics

    Microsoft Academic Search

    K. Andreasen; J. W. Shervais

    2006-01-01

    Tectonic processes on the early Earth were controlled largely by heat transfer from the deep Earth to the surface. Thermal modeling shows that convective heat transfer driven by heating from below results in hot material rising in columns, which is thought to be the dominant mode of Hadean heat transfer. In contrast, Phanerozoic-style plate tectonics probably requires liquid water to

  6. Vernal Point and Plate Tectonics: Indo-Australian

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chavez C, Teodosio; Chavez-Sumarriva, Israel; Chavez S, Nadia

    2013-04-01

    A precession coordinate system (eccentricity -100Ka, obliquity -40Ka and precession -25Ka) developed by Milankovicht was the precession of the equinoxes, where the vernal point retrograde 1° every 72 years approximately and enter (0°) into the Aquarius constellation on March 20, 1940. On earth this entry was verify through: a) stability of the magnetic equator in the south central zone of Peru and in the north zone of Bolivia, b) the greater intensity of equatorial electrojet (EEJ) in Peru and Bolivia since 1940. The vernal point is a maximum conductivity sensitive axis in the EEJ given at the equinoxes. There was a relationship between the equatorial electrojet - magnetic equator - crust, and besides there was a long history of studies of coupling between earthquake-ionosphere that can be founded in the following revisions: Liperovsky et al. (1990); Gaivoronskaya (1991); Liperovsky et al. (1992); Parrot et al. (1993); Pulinets et al. (1994) and Gokhberg et al. (1995). In IUGG (2007), Cusco was propose as a prime meridian (72° W == 0°) that was parallel to the Andes; the objective was to synchronize the earth sciences phenomena (e.g. geology, geophysics, etc.). The coordinate system had the vernal point from meridian (72° W == 0°) and March 20, 1940. The retrograde movement of the vernal point was the first precessional degree (2012 = 1940 + 72); from the new prime meridian (72° W == 0°) it has obtained the opposite meridian (72° E == 180°). The first precessional degree (2012) near the meridian (72 ° E) was related to the date of April 11, 2012 where a massive earthquake of 8.6 on the Richter scale, followed by several aftershocks, one of 8.2 degrees struck Indonesia with epicenter near Banda Aceh. Five months after that date, Matthias Delescluse et.al (2012), Han Yue et.al (2012), and Fred F. Pollitz et.al, (2012), explained that the two violent earthquakes would be evidence of a break in the Indo-Australian Plate Tectonics caused earthquakes around the world. It is noted that in one of the opposite meridian there was a correlation between the vernal point and the indo-australian plate.

  7. EVIDENCE FOR EARLY PROTEROZOIC PLATE TECTONICS FROM SEISMIC REFLECTION PROFILES IN THE BALTIC SHIELD

    Microsoft Academic Search

    T. Dahl-Jensen; R. W. Hobbs; SL Klemperer; DH Matthews; DB Snyder; R Long; T Matthews; DJ Blundell; CE Lund; H Palm; LB Pedersen; RG Roberts; SA Elming; P Heikkinen; H Korhonen; U Luosto; SE Hjelt; K Komminaho; J Yliniemi; R Meissner; P Sadowiak; T Wever; T Dickmann; ER Fleuh; A Berthelsen; H Thybo; N Balling; E Normark

    1990-01-01

    Plate tectonics provides the linking framework for all tectonic and\\u000a magmatic activity seen today, but it is not known when plate tectonics\\u000a first developed on Earth. New deep seismic reflection and coincident\\u000a refraction profiles across an exposed, 1.89-Gyr-old volcanic arc complex\\u000a show a 10-km-thick offset in the Moho and bivergent reflectors in the\\u000a crust, which were most probably created by

  8. The Spherical Block Model: Dynamics of the Global System of Tectonic Plates and Seismicity

    Microsoft Academic Search

    V. L. Rozenberg; P. O. Sobolev; A. A. Soloviev; L. A. Melnikova

    2005-01-01

    The spherical block model is used to study dynamics of the global system of tectonic plates and seismicity by means of numerical simulation. A brief description of the model is presented. Two block structures are considered: The first is characterized by specifying the largest plates as boundary blocks, whereas the second is the closed spherical structure without boundary blocks. Results

  9. Models of convection-driven tectonic plates - A comparison of methods and results

    Microsoft Academic Search

    Scott D. King; Carl W. Gable; Stuart A. Weinstein

    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

  10. Sediment subduction - A probable key for seismicity and tectonics at active plate boundaries

    Microsoft Academic Search

    Vladimir Kostoglodov

    1988-01-01

    A model involving extensive occurrence of sediment subduction and viscous interaction of lithospheric plates at convergent zones is applied to derive simple relations between extremal values of seismic and global tectonic parameters. The strength of mechanical coupling at the interface zone is defined as the maximum shear stress at the base of the over-thrusting plate. A test of these relations

  11. Present-day tectonic plate motions and crustal deformations from the DORIS space system

    Microsoft Academic Search

    Jean-François Crétaux; Laurent Soudarin; Anny Cazenave; Florence Bouillé

    1998-01-01

    Doppler Orbitography and Radiopositioning Integrated by Satellite (DORIS) data acquired between January 1993 and December 1996 from the SPOT-2, SPOT-3, and TOPEX\\/Poseidon satellites have been analyzed to determine velocities for 45 sites on eight major tectonic plates. For 28 sites far from deformation zones, the velocity estimates agree with plate model predictions. Least squares computation of poles of rotation, which

  12. Speculations on the Mesozoic Plate Tectonic Evolution of Eastern China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Klimetz, Michael P.

    1983-04-01

    Several orogenic belts transecting eastern China are the sites of former convergent plate margins, although there have been varying views on the collisional framework of individual continental blocks, styles of convergence at these zones, and the timing of respective collisions. A tectonic study of eastern China, Mongolia and the southern Soviet Far East indicates the collision of the South China Block with a combined North China-Northeast China Fold Zone Block in the Late Triassic-Early Jurassic, their collective suturing to Eurasia in the Late Jurassic-Early Cretaceous, followed by the Sikhote Alin-Japan Block in the Mid to Late Cretaceous. The evidence is as follows: (1) A linear belt of Late Triassic-Early Cretaceous granites and granodiorites trends east from the Qinlingshan through the Dabieshan to the Huaiyang massif. Ophiolites, flysch, subduction zone mélange, a paired metamorphic belt indicating north dipping subduction and marine strata of Carboniferous to Late Triassic age from the Qinlingshan define the suture between the North and South China Blocks, (2) A sinuous belt of ultramafics, blueschists, silicic to intermediate magmatism and west and north vergent folds and thrusts trend from the west margin of the Ordos Basin through central Inner Mongolia and along the east Great Khingan Range to the Amur River. Coupled with a Mid Jurassic-Early Creataceous unconformity a suturing of eastern Chinese blocks to Eurasia along this zone is suggested, (3) A fold and thrust belt with ultramafics, flysch, blueschists and subduction zone mélange along the Ussuri River in northeast China indicates the suturing of the Sikhote Alin-Japan Block to Eurasia along a west dipping subduction zone in the Mid to Late Cretaceous. Similarly, a tectonic study of southern China and Southeast Asia has revealed a complex regional mosaic of suture-bounded terrains which nucleated about the eastern, western and southern margins of the Yangtze Craton during the Late Triassic and Early Jurassic. The evidence is as follows: (4) A north-south trending belt of ophiolites, blueschists, calc-alkaline volcanics and subduction zone mélange, including granites, granodiorites and strongly deformed marine strata all of Late Triassic age exposed in the Longmenshan of Sichuan merge with the Kekexilishan ophiolite zone into the Ailaoshan-Tengtiaohe ophiolite and blueschist belt in central Yunnan along which the Songban-Ganzi Complex and the Shan-Thai-Malaya Block join the Craton, and (5) A southeastern prolongation of the Ailaoshan-Tengtiaohe belt bifurcates into the southeast trending Konvoi zone of northern Vietnam and the north-south trending Pak Lay-Luang Prabang zone of Laos and eastern Thailand. Zones of ophiolite, calc-alkaline volcanics and strong Late Triassic deformation, they separate the Indosinia and Shan-Thai-Malaya Blocks from the Craton respectively. These findings differ significantly from previous interpretations of a Late Paleozoic consolidation of South-Eastern Asia as well as disputing the existence of a true Pangea.

  13. Tectonic plate generation and two-phase damage: Void growth versus grain size reduction

    Microsoft Academic Search

    David Bercovici; Yanick Ricard

    2005-01-01

    The generation of plate tectonics from mantle convection requires shear localization in order to yield narrow, weak plate boundaries separating broad strong plates. A plausible shear-localizing mechanism involves damage (e.g., distributed microcracking), one theoretical model of which involves two-phase mechanics. Two-phase damage theory employs a nonequilibrium relation between interfacial surface energy, pressure, and viscous deformation, thereby providing a description of

  14. The Arctic Eurekan Orogen : A plate tectonic conundrum

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Guest, B.; Hill, M.; Beauchamp, B.

    2011-12-01

    The Eurekan orogen is a fold and thrust belt that extends from West Spitsbergen across northernmost Greenland and into Ellesmere Island and the eastern Canadian Arctic Archipelago. The favored mechanisms for generating this orogenic belt are: 1. Counterclockwise rotation of Greenland; subduction and collision between Greenland and Ellesmere Island along Nares Straight and transpression between Greenland and Spritbergen along Fram Straight. 2. Wedge-like northward indentation of Greenland into Spitsbergen and Ellesmere island driven by seafloor spreading to the southeast and southwest, and accommodated along the dextral Spitsbergen transform to the northeast and the Wegener transform to the northwest. Both of these models have problems. The widely accepted rotation and collision model requires that Nares Straight is the final remnant of a former oceanic trough and that enough old, cold oceanic crust was present so as to initiate foundering of the oceanic lithosphere and negative buoyancy driven rotation and collision between Greenland (lower plate) and Ellesmere Island. However, evidence of an accretionary complex, clear collisional suture or a subduction-related volcanic edifice are lacking. The second, Greenland indentor, model lacks a viable source of potential energy. Contractional deformation of continental crust is usually associated with continental collision which is a process driven by the subduction of oceanic crust attached to or surrounding a continent (the potential energy of a sinking oceanic slab is converted into the kinetic energy of collision). Calling on "ridge push" to induce continental deformation and uplift is problematic because the ridge lacks the potential energy required to deform high standing continental crust. Further, the extensional stresses at ridges are significantly lower than the stresses required to break rocks in compression so it is hard to envision a scenario whereby ridge push could have much effect. Adding to the troubles of the above models are geological and geophysical observations from southern Nares Straight where a clear "linchpin" has been driven into the Smith Sound region. Here the geology of western Greenland can be clearly linked to Ellesmere Island on the west side of the sound. The Smith Sound Linchpin effectively requires that southeastern Ellesmere Island is attached to Greenland, thereby pushing any suture between Greenland and Ellesmere Island off to the west, into the interior of the Island. This linchpin is used as evidence to argue that the Wegener transform, commonly drawn through Smith Sound, does not exist. Our new work in the northern interior of Ellesmere Island is in part focused on developing a revised model to explain the presence of the Eurekan orogenic belt and its latest Cretaceous to Paleogene evolution. A key observation from our recent fieldwork is that many of the large E-W striking faults previously mapped as normal faults or thrust faults are in fact dextral strike slip or dextral oblique reverse faults. These findings suggest that the Eurekan Orogen may be a transpressional belt rather than a classical fold and thrust belt. Clarifying the internal kinematics of the belt may help resolve some of the large-scale plate tectonic questions

  15. Initiation of Plate Tectonics from Post-Magma Ocean Thermo-Chemical Convection

    E-print Network

    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...

  16. Earth science: The slippery base of a tectonic plate

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rychert, Catherine A.

    2015-02-01

    High-resolution imaging of the base of the Pacific plate as it descends beneath New Zealand discloses a 10-kilometre-thick channel that decouples the plate from underlying upper mantle. See Letter p.85

  17. Models of convection-driven tectonic plates - A comparison of methods and results

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    King, Scott D.; Gable, Carl W.; Weinstein, Stuart A.

    1992-01-01

    Recent numerical studies of convection in the earth's mantle have included various features of plate tectonics. This paper describes three methods of modeling plates: through material properties, through force balance, and through a thin power-law sheet approximation. The results obtained are compared using each method on a series of simple calculations. From these results, scaling relations between the different parameterizations are developed. While each method produces different degrees of deformation within the surface plate, the surface heat flux and average plate velocity agree to within a few percent. The main results are not dependent upon the plate modeling method and herefore are representative of the physical system modeled.

  18. Focal Mechanisms and Plate Tectonics of the Southwest Pacific

    Microsoft Academic Search

    Tracy Johnson; Peter Molnar

    1972-01-01

    Ninety-six new focal mechanisms were determined for earthquakes on the belt of seismic activity separating the Pacific and Australian plates. The direction of convergence of these plates varies from Ntg-SW to E-W. The Australian plate underthrusts the Pacific plate to the ENE under the Solomon and New Hebrides islands and overthrusts the Pacific to the east along the Tonga-Kermadec arc

  19. Pacific Rim and Pacific Plate Tectonism Associated With the Hawaiian Emperor Bend

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sterling, A.; Kroenke, L. W.; Wessel, P.; Harada, Y.

    2002-12-01

    Widespread Pacific Rim and Pacific plate tectonism both appear to be closely associated with a pronounced change in Pacific absolute plate motion (APM) that occurred about 43 Ma as revealed by the Hawaiian Emperor Bend. In the Western Pacific prior to the change, as the Pacific plate moved toward the north, Proto Izu -- Bonin -- Mariana (IBM) subduction was already occurring by 49 Ma, perhaps as early as 52 Ma near the northern end of the Proto IBM, evidenced by the emplacement of boninites in the forearc (Cosca et al., 1998). If the Philippine Basin -- Pacific plate circuit is traced though the Coral Sea basin after closing the Ayu and Sorel troughs, it is evident that the alignment of the Proto IBM (Kyushu -- Palau) subduction zone roughly paralleled the Pacific APM during the initiation of subduction. At ~ 43 Ma, Proto-IBM Trench subduction rapidly increased, possibly causing the major change in Pacific (and Australia) APM that produced the prominent bend in the Hawaiian-Emperor chain. This change also produced a the minor bend in the Louisville chain, as the Pacific plate began to move west-northwestward, as well as at least five more noticeable bends in other seamount chains across the Central Pacific. In the Northeastern Pacific, the expansive magmatic activity, which occurred during the early stage of Aleutian Arc growth between 55--50 Ma, began to wane between 45 and 40 Ma (Scholl et al., 1987). After the 43 Ma change in Pacific APM, the Aleutian subduction zone began to accommodate dextral slip at its western end, as well as continuing convergence at its eastern end. To the south, in the Eastern Pacific, Ridge propagation began about 43 Ma both north and south of the Murray FZ (extending southward to the Clarion FZ). Much farther to the south, changes are also apparent in the Pacific -- Antarctic spreading pattern at ~43 Ma. In the Central Pacific, following the 43 Ma change in Pacific plate motion, intraplate subduction began along the Manus -- North Solomon -- Vitiaz (Melanesian) Trench, which was aligned parallel to the post 43 Ma Pacific APM. Subduction was heralded by metamorphic events in the Solomon Islands' Florida Group and Eastern Belt Islands that occurred between ~44 and ~35 Ma (Neef and McDougal, 1976), after which the earliest Lemau Intrusives were emplaced between 38 and 32 Ma in New Ireland (Stewart and Sandy, 1988) near the western end of the Melanesian Arc. To the southwest, on the Australia Plate, the Louisiade Plateau also formed over the Lord Howe Hotspot about 43 Ma as a concomitant change in Australia APM also occurred.

  20. The driving force of plate tectonics evaluated in spherical coordinates

    E-print Network

    Donahue, John Michael

    1985-01-01

    (above) and the resulting vertical pressure gradients (below). 3 The slab-pull model 4 Trench segmentation scheme. 13 5 Torque vector geometry. 14 95Z confidence ovals for the Nazca plate torque pole and the instantaneous rotation pole (Minster... and Jordan, 1978) 20 Magnetic lineat iona (from Raff and Mason, 1961) and trench segmentation of the Juan de Puca plate. . . . . . 25 The 952 confidence ellipses for the Juan de Fuca plate torque pole and rotation pole (Riddihough, 1984). 28 LIST OP...

  1. Plate Tectonics: Geodynamic models of evolution of oil and gas bearing basins of Kazakhstan

    SciTech Connect

    Zholtayev, G. (Kazakhpolitecnic Institute, Almaty (Kazakhstan))

    1994-07-01

    Five types of sedimentary basins in Kazakhstan have been recognized by using plate tectonics to reinterpret geological and geophysical data: (1) intracontinental, central pre-Caspian, above rift, south pre-Caspian; (2) passive margin, east pre-Caspian; (3) back-arc, Turgan and Sir-Daria; (4) intra-arc, north Kisil-Koum, interior, Tengis and Chu-Sarisiu; and (5) marginal, north Usturt. Paleozoic history of these basins was connected with the spreading and collision of two lithospheric plates: east European and Kazakhstanian, which were separated by the paleo-Ural Ocean. Different tectonic positions of sedimentary basins were the reason for their different oil and gas potential.

  2. Identifying Plate Tectonic Boundaries for a Virtual Ocean Basin

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    Stephen Reynolds

    Students observe a virtual ocean basin and two adjacent continental margins. From the characteristics of the sea floor and adjacent land, students infer where plate boundaries might be present. They then predict where earthquakes and volcanoes might occur. Finally, they draw their inferred plate boundaries in cross section.

  3. Mesozoic plate tectonic reconstruction of the Carpathian region

    Microsoft Academic Search

    László Csontos; Attila Vörös

    2004-01-01

    Palaeomagnetic, palaeobiogeographic and structural comparisons of different parts of the Alpine–Carpathian region suggest that four terranes comprise this area: the Alcapa, Tisza, Dacia and Adria terranes. These terranes are composed of different Mesozoic continental and oceanic fragments that were each assembled during a complex Late Jurassic–Cretaceous–Palaeogene history. Palaeomagnetic and tectonic data suggest that the Carpathians are built up by two

  4. Generation of plate tectonics from lithosphere–mantle flow and void–volatile self-lubrication

    Microsoft Academic Search

    David Bercovici

    1998-01-01

    The formation of plate tectonics from mantle convection necessarily requires nonlinear rheological behavior. Recent studies suggest that self-lubricating rheological mechanisms are most capable of generating plate-like motion out of fluid flows. The basic paradigm of self-lubrication is nominally derived from the feedback between viscous heating and temperature-dependent viscosity. Here, we propose a new idealized self-lubrication mechanism based on void (e.g.,

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    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.

  6. Absence of plate tectonics in Venus is supported from deformation experiments and numerical simulation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Azuma, S.; Katayama, I.; Nakakuki, T.

    2013-12-01

    Plate tectonics is one of the most important mechanism for material and heat circulation in Earth (Turcotte et al., 1999), however it does not exist on Venus for unknown reasons. The strength of planetary materials is a key control on plate tectonics because temperature, pressure, stress, and chemical composition produce strong rheological layering (Kohlstedt et al., 1995). We conducted two-phase deformation experiments to consider the reason of absence of plate tectonics on Venus in terms of rheological structure. Our deformation experiments show that mantle olivine is much stronger than crustal plagioclase under conditions corresponding to Venusian Moho (i.e. Venus has a large strength contrast between the crust and mantle at the Moho.). Consequently, this strength contrast may cause the mechanical decoupling between crust and mantle convection in Venus. One-dimensional simulations using our experimental results show that strength contrast at the Moho prevent the motion of Venusian crust. This is an important factor to explain the absence of plate tectonics on Venus. Also, we conduct the two-dimensional simulation comprising the weak zone and our experimental data to verify the effect of the strength contrast on subduction. In our presentation, we will report these specific results of deformation experiments and numerical simulations.

  7. Middle Miocene to present plate tectonic history of the southern Central American Volcanic Arc

    Microsoft Academic Search

    Ian MacMillan; Phillip B. Gans; Guillermo Alvarado

    2004-01-01

    New mid Miocene to present plate tectonic reconstructions of the southern Central American Volcanic Arc (CAVA) reveal that the inception of Cocos Ridge subduction began no earlier than 3 Ma, and possibly as late as 2 Ma. The Cocos Ridge has been displaced from the Malpelo Ridge to the southeast since ?9 Ma along the Panama Fracture Zone (PFZ) system.

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    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…

  9. A new class of ``pseudofaults'' and their bearing on plate tectonics: A propagating rift model

    Microsoft Academic Search

    Richard Hey

    1977-01-01

    The pattern of magnetic anomaly offsets striking obliquely to the Blanco fracture zone near the Juan de Fuca spreading center appears to be incompatible with the rigid-plate hypothesis. Previous workers have thus called upon complex, or anomalous, mechanisms to explain the tectonic evolution of this area. According to the ``propagating rift'' model developed here, the basic observations that previous hypotheses

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    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…

  11. Influence of early plate tectonics on the thermal evolution and magnetic field of Mars

    Microsoft Academic Search

    F. Nimmo; D. J. Stevenson

    2000-01-01

    Recent magnetic studies of Mars suggest that (1) it possessed a periodically reversing magnetic field for the first ~500 Myr of its existence and (2) plate tectonics may have been operating during this time. On Earth the geodynamo is thought to occur because of convection in the outer core. This paper estimates the amount of heat the Martian core can

  12. Developing packages and integrating ontologies for Volcanoes, Plate Tectonics and Atmospheric Science Data Integration

    Microsoft Academic Search

    K. Sinha; R. Raskin; D. McGuinness; P. Fox

    2007-01-01

    In support of a NASA-funded scientific application (SESDI; Semantically Enabled Science Data Integration Project; that needs to share volcano and climate data to investigate relationships between volcanism and global climate, we have generated a volcano and plate tectonic ontologies and leveraged and augmented the existing SWEET (Semantic Web for Earth and Environmental Terminology) ontoloy. Our goal is to create a

  13. The ERESE Project: Enactment of Digital Library Inquiry-Based Plate Tectonic Lessons

    Microsoft Academic Search

    M. Helly; C. M. Symons; N. Dow; S. P. Miller; J. Helly; H. Staudigel; A. Koppers

    2004-01-01

    The Enduring Resources for Earth Science Education (ERESE) project is a collaborative effort between earth scientists, educators, librarians and data archive managers. Its goal is to develop and maintain a persistent online research and education archive in a digital library environment that supports earth science education in plate tectonics. A major contribution from educators has been the development of inquiry

  14. Plate Tectonics and Sea-Floor Spreading: Maps and Graphics, etc.

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    This page offers access to maps and graphics of earthquakes, active volcanoes and plate tectonics for the world, the Cascade Range , Juan de Fuca Ridge, Gorda Ridge and Axial Seamount in North America, South America, and Western Canada. The Ring of Fire is noted in some maps, and others offer data for the years 1994-1999.

  15. a subduction-related andesite that was not used to promote plate tectonics on Mars.

    E-print Network

    Savage, Van M.

    a subduction-related andesite that was not used to promote plate tectonics on Mars. The classification of "andesite" rocks at the Mars Pathfinder landing site is tenuous: this name (actually icelandite occurrences of type-2 materials in the southern highlands. These might be either andesites formed by igneous

  16. Plate Tectonics Hasn't Changed, We Have Bill Menke, April 17, 2010

    E-print Network

    Menke, William

    Plate Tectonics Hasn't Changed, We Have Bill Menke, April 17, 2010 With killer earthquakes this year in Haiti, Chile and China, and with an Icelandic volcano1 shutting down European air traffic after flying through a cloud from an Alaskan volcano. Fortunately the crew was able to restart

  17. Deep Water Cycle: its Role in Earth's Thermal Evolution and Plate Tectonics

    Microsoft Academic Search

    T. W. Becker; J. W. Crowley; M. Gérault; T. Höink; A. J. Schaeffer; P. H. Barry; J. Frost; J. Girard; M. Nunez-Valdez; M. Hirschmann; S. Hier-Majumder; R. J. O'Connell

    2010-01-01

    Earth is unique among the terrestrial planets in our solar system because it has plate tectonics and abundant surface water. It has long been suggested that these two salient features are intimately related. New constraints on water concentrations in the Earth's interior and on mechanisms for mantle degassing and regassing have improved our knowledge of Earth's deep water cycle; however,

  18. Himalaya—the collided orogen: a plate tectonic evolution on geological evidences

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Srikantia, S. V.

    1987-03-01

    The Lesser Himalaya and the Tethys Himalaya constitute two contrasting and distinct geotectonic zones within the realm of the Himalaya separated from each other by the Main Central Thrust (MCT), and of these two zones, the former is continuous with Northern Peninsular India whereas the latter is demarcated by zones of ophiolitic mélange of the Indus Tectonic zone. The MCT constitutes a zone of greatest overthrusting with a horizontal translation of over 130 km and this dislocation possibly represents a continental suture. The Tethys Himalayan zone has all the elements of a micro-continent independent of the Tibetan block (Karakorum-Lhasa) in the north and Gondwanic India-Lesser Himalaya in the south. The upper Carboniferous—Permian period probably withnessed the first event, a drift of the Proto-Tethys plate and its suturing with the Proto-Karakorum—Tibet plate as substantiated by a Permian-Triassic marine sedimentation all along the northern boundary of the Tethys zone and in Karakorum, volcanic activity and emplacement of ophiolite. The second event occurred during the early Cretaceous, that is the drift of Gondwanic India and its collision with the Proto-Tethys along the Proto-MCT. As a consequence opening occurred along the old suture boundary between the Proto-Tethys and the Proto-Karakorum as documented by the development of the Sangeluma and Shyok rift basins, extensive volcanic activity, granitoid emplacement and development of oceanic crust related to slow spreading along a ridge. Simultaneously Gondwanic India became tensile and there was reactivation along the Narmada-Son zone leading to extensive Deccan volcanism. As compression increased there was closing of the Sangeluma and Shyok seas, subduction, dismemberment and obduction of newly formed oceanic crust and development of deltaic Indus basin on the Ladakh Batholith. Along the southern margin of the Proto-Lesser Himalaya the Tertiary basins evolved due to migration of crustal buckle of the Indian Peninsula. With widespread regression of sea and uplift there was divergent tectonic overlap of the Tethys zone over Gondwanic India-Lesser Himalaya in the south and onto the Indus ophiolite belt-Ladakh batholith in the north, leading to the formation of the Himalaya.

  19. Role of structural heritage and global tectonics events in evolution of Algerian Triassic basin: Tectonic inversion and reservoir distribution

    SciTech Connect

    Boudjema, A.; Tremolieres, P.

    1988-01-01

    Fieldwork and subsurface studies (350 bore holes and more than 100 seismic profiles) show the structural evolution of the Triassic Saharian basin. This evolution is controlled by the successive motions of ancient faults of the Paleozoic basement during the different compressional and distensional tectonic phases. These movements led to some tectonic inversions. Depending on the strike of the faults, the present results correspond to normal throw or reverse throw at the level of hydrocarbon reservoirs. These tectonic phases clearly result from relative motions between African, American, and European lithospheric plates. The Triassic basin, a mobile zone between two rigid shields, constitutes a very good indication of the successive motions. The distribution and the nature of hydrocarbon fields are clearly related to the proximity of the faults, the post-tectonic erosion of a part of the source rocks, the burial and maturation of the organic matter, and the age of structural traps.

  20. The dynamics of plate tectonics and mantle flow: from local to global scales.

    PubMed

    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. PMID:20798311

  1. A model of convergent plate margins based on the recent tectonics of Shikoku, Japan

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bischke, R. E.

    1974-01-01

    A viscoelastic finite element plate tectonic model is applied to displacement data for the island of Shikoku, Japan. The flow properties and geometry of the upper portions of the earth are assumed known from geophysical evidence, and the loading characteristics are determined from the model. The nature of the forces acting on the Philippine Sea plate, particularly in the vicinity of the Nankai trough, is determined. Seismic displacement data related to the 1946 Nankaido earthquake are modeled in terms of a thick elastic plate overlying a fluidlike substratum. The sequence of preseismic and seismic displacements can be explained in terms of two independent processes operating on elastic lithospheric plates: a strain accumulation process caused by vertical downward forces acting on or within the lithosphere in the vicinity of the trench, and a strain release process caused by plate failure along a preexisting zone on weakness. This is a restatement of Reid's elastic rebound theory in terms of elastic lithospheric plates.

  2. Tectonics of the Nazca-Antarctic plate boundary

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    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.

  3. A diffuse plate boundary model for Indian Ocean tectonics

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    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.

  4. Self-Consistent Generation of Tectonic Plates in Time Dependent Three-Dimensional Mantle Convection

    Microsoft Academic Search

    Paul J. Tackley

    Abstract. Presented here are the first three-dimensional simulations of mantle convection,to display self-consistently-generated plate tectonic-like behavior which,is continuous,in space and,time. Plate behavior,arises through,a reasonable material description of silicate deformation, with a simple yield stress being sufficient to give first-order plate-like behavior. Toroidal:poloidal ratios are within geologically-observed limits. The sensitivity of the system to yield strength and,the form,of strength envelope,is systematically

  5. Seismicity and plate tectonics in south central Alaska

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Van Wormer, J. D.; Davies, J.; Gedney, L.

    1974-01-01

    Hypocenter distribution shows that the Benioff zone associated with the Aleutian arc terminates in interior Alaska some 75 km north of the Denali fault. There appears to be a break in the subducting Pacific plate in the Yentna River-Prince William Sound area which separates two seismically independent blocks, similar to the segmented structure reported for the central Aleutian arc.

  6. Plate Tectonics of the Red Sea and East Africa

    Microsoft Academic Search

    D. P. McKenzie; D. Davies; P. MOLNAR

    1970-01-01

    The relative motion between the plates on each side of the East African Rift Valley can be obtained from the opening of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. The calculated direction of relative motion agrees well with fault plane solutions for earthquakes north of the equator.

  7. The rapid drift of the Indian tectonic plate

    Microsoft Academic Search

    Prakash Kumar; Xiaohui Yuan; M. Ravi Kumar; Rainer Kind; Xueqing Li; R. K. Chadha

    2007-01-01

    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

  8. Are Oceans Required for Earth-Like Plate Tectonics?

    Microsoft Academic Search

    G. Hirth

    2001-01-01

    A combination of rheological and geophysical observations suggest that the physical properties of the oceanic asthenosphere are strongly influence by the presence of small amounts of dissolved water, and that the oceanic plates may be defined by a dehydration boundary that is formed as a result of melting at oceanic spreading centers (e.g., Hirth and Kohsltedt, 1996; Karato and Jung,

  9. Plate tectonics on super-Earths: Equally or more likely than on Earth H.J. van Heck , P.J. Tackley

    E-print Network

    Tackley, Paul J.

    Plate tectonics on super-Earths: Equally or more likely than on Earth H.J. van Heck , P.J. Tackley 29 July 2011 Available online xxxx Editor: Y. Ricard Keywords: super-Earths plate tectonics mantle and evo- lution, and in whether their lithospheres are most likely to be undergoing active plate tectonics

  10. 578 R. J. STERN Chinese Science Bulletin | March 2007 | vol. 52 | no. 5 | 578-591 When and how did plate tectonics begin? Theoretical

    E-print Network

    Stern, Robert J.

    plate tectonics begin? Theoretical and empirical considerations R. J. STERN Geosciences Department mantle (asthenosphere) and is mostly driven by lithosphere sinking in subduction zones. Plate tectonics and viscous mantle. Plate tectonics is an unusual way for a silicate planet to lose heat, as it exists on only

  11. From point defects to plate tectonic faults K. REGENAUER-LIEB*y, B. HOBBSz, D. A. YUEN}, A. ORDz, Y. ZHANGz, H. B. MULHAUS and G. MORRA

    Microsoft Academic Search

    Understanding and explaining emergent constitutive laws in the multi-scale evolution from point defects, dislocations and two-dimensional defects to plate tectonic scales is an arduous challenge in condensed matter physics. The Earth appears to be the only planet known to have developed stable plate tectonics as a means to get rid of its heat. The emergence of plate tectonics out of

  12. Proterozoic plate tectonics, glaciation and iron-formations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Young, Grant M.

    1988-08-01

    Glacigenic diamictites and associated rocks are common in Early and Late Proterozoic sequences. Most of the preserved Proterozoic glacigenic rocks formed in marine basins in an extensional tectonic regime at or close to the rift-drift transition. The reasons for glaciation in this tectonic setting are not known but two possible contributing factors, given an initially cool climatic regime, are the formation of new seaways by continental fragmentation and uplift of the rift shoulders during early stages of breakup. The absence of such glacigenic deposits in the classical miogeoclines of the peri-Atlantic region may be due to an anomalously warm global climatic regime in the late Mesozoic. Iron-formations in the Archean and Early Proterozoic formed in many different environments; the critical factor was a dearth of siliciclastic deposition. Starved basins commonly developed during the transition from miogeocline to foreland basin in the Wilson cycle of ocean opening and closure, when drainage from the craton was replaced by that from a rising orogen. Early Proterozoic iron-rich sediments in the Great Lakes region, in southeast Wyoming and in the Northwest Territories of Canada are interpreted as the earliest deposits of such foreland basins. They are considered to be chemical precipitates from iron-rich sea water. Late Proterozoic iron-formations formed under an extensional regime, possibly in small Red Sea-type ocean basins where hydrothermal circulation produced metal-rich brines. These brines were displaced by movement of cold waters derived from sea-going glaciers, leading to dilution and precipitation of Fe and Si. Thus, in the Late Proterozoic, there was a critical association of continental rifting, glaciation and hydrothermal circulation. This combination of environmental parameters led to the production of the unique Late Proterozoic class of hydrothermal iron-formations.

  13. A combined rigid/deformable plate tectonic model for the evolution of the Indian Ocean

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Watson, J. G.; Glover, C. T.; Adriasola Munoz, A. C.; Harris, J. P.; Goodrich, M.

    2012-04-01

    Plate tectonic reconstructions are essential for placing geological information in its correct spatial context, understanding depositional environments, defining basin dimensions and evolution, and serve as a basis for palaeogeographic mapping and for palaeo-climate modelling. Traditional 'rigid' plate reconstructions often result in misfits (overlaps and underfits) in the geometries of juxtaposed plate margins when restored to their pre-rift positions. This has been attributed to internal deformation pre- and/or syn- continental break-up. Poorly defined continent-ocean boundaries add to these problems. To date, few studies have integrated continental extension within a global model. Recent plate tectonic reconstructions based on the relative motions of Africa, Madagascar, India and Antarctica during the break-up of eastern Gondwana have not taken into account the effects of deformation; particularly between India and Madagascar, and India and the Seychelles. A deformable plate model is in development that builds on the current rigid plate model to describe the complex multiphase break-up history between Africa, Madagascar, Seychelles and India, the associated magmatic activity and subsequent India/Eurasia collision. The break-up of eastern Gondwana occurred in the mid Jurassic by rifting between Africa and the India-Madagascar-Australian-Antarctica plates, followed by the Late Jurassic drift of India away from Australia and the Cretaceous break-up of Australia and Antarctica. The northwards drift of the Seychelles-India block in the Tertiary was accommodated by the opening of the Laxmi Basin. This was followed by the eruption of the extensive Deccan flood basalts and the separation of India and the Seychelles. Crustal domains on volcanic margins can be very difficult to define due to the accretion of magmatic material. On these margins, there is much speculation on the position of the continent-ocean boundary and the timing of rifting and sea-floor spreading. The presence of magnetic anomalies indicating variable rates of seafloor spreading and 'jumps' in the axis of seafloor spreading have not as yet been satisfactorily resolved by existing plate models. Integration of detailed geophysical and geological datasets, combined with published data will be used to produce an enhanced plate tectonic model. This will be coupled with deformable modelling of the extensional margins, incorporating stretching (?) factors and deformation trajectories to calculate the extent of crustal deformation for the main episodes of continental break-up. This will result in more accurate plate tectonic reconstructions for the determination of pre-rift geometries, palaeo-positions of the plates and exploration datasets intersected with them, to aid hydrocarbon exploration in the region.

  14. Correlation between plate motions and tectonic subsidence of sedimentary basins in Africa

    SciTech Connect

    Janssen, M.E. (Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam (Netherlands))

    1993-09-01

    From the early Mesozoic until the Holocene, the African continent was generally in a state of extension, based on plate tectonic reconstructions and sedimentary basin subsidence studies. Beginning with the breakup of Gondwana in the Permian-Triassic, this resulted in the formation of the present-day African continental margins and a series of intracontinental rift basins, located mainly on older (late Proterozoic) shear zones. Numerous wells from marginal, as well as intracontinental rift basins, have been backstripped to elucidate their Mesozoic and Tertiary tectonic histories. They show a generally consistent patterns of subsidence and uplift phases in all basins. During the evolution of these basins, the direction of African plate motion changed several times. This was related to the differential opening of the central and south Atlantic oceans, changes in spreading rates in both the Atlantic and Indian oceans, and the collision between Africa and Europe. Episodes of compressional deformation related to these plate tectonic changes are revealed in backstripped tectonic subsidence curves.

  15. The rapid drift of the Indian tectonic plate.

    PubMed

    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. PMID:17943128

  16. Numerical modelling of tectonic plates subduction using X-FEM

    Microsoft Academic Search

    Sergio Zlotnik; Pedro Díez; Manel Fernández; Jaume Vergés

    2007-01-01

    The numerical modelling of plate subduction requires solving a coupled thermo-mechanical highly-nonlinear transient problem. The mechanical description of the phenomenon results in a multiphase quasi-static Stokes flow, where the inertia terms are neglected. The transient thermal problem is dominated by the advection term. Here, the representation and evolution of the different phases are described using level sets. The phase tracking

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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.

  18. This dynamic planet: A world map of volcanoes, earthquakes, and plate tectonics

    SciTech Connect

    Simkin, T.; Tilling, R.I.; Taggart, J.N.; Jones, W.J.; Spall, H. (comp.)

    1989-01-01

    The Earth's physiographic features overlain by its volcanoes, earthquake epicenters, and the movement of its major tectonic plates are shown in this map. This computer-generated map of the world provides a base that shows the topography of the land surface and the sea floor; the additions of color and shaded relief help to distinguish significant features. From the Volcano Reference file of the Smithsonian Institution, nearly 1,450 volcanoes active during the past 10,000 yr are plotted on the map in four categories. From the files of the National Earthquake Information Center (US Geological Survey), epicenters selected from 1,300 large events (magnitude {>=} 7.0) from 1987 onward and from 140,000 instrumentally recorded earthquakes (magnitude {>=} 4.0) from 1960 to the present are plotted on this map according to two magnitude categories and two depth categories. This special map is intended as a teaching aid for classroom use and as a general reference for research. It is designed to show prominent global features when viewed from a distance; more detailed features are visible on closer inspection.

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    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.

  20. The class material is designed to address fundamental yet extremely interesting questions about earthquakes and plate tectonic activity and their cyclicity. For example: Just why and how are earthquakes generated at plate edges and

    E-print Network

    earthquakes and plate tectonic activity and their cyclicity. For example: Just why and how are earthquakes? Ideas about interactions of the various components of the plate tectonic model and its attendant of crustal deformation produced during complex plate tectonic interactions. Earth is a gigantic heat engine

  1. in press, AGU Monograph on The History and Dynamics of Global Plate Motions, ed. M. Richards, 1999 The Quest for Self-Consistent Generation of Plate Tectonics in Mantle

    E-print Network

    Tackley, Paul J.

    1 The Quest for Self-Consistent Generation of Plate Tectonics in Mantle Convection Models Paul J. Tackley Department of Earth and Space Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles Plate tectonics do not exhibit plate tectonic behavior unless it is imposed by the modeler. This paper explores

  2. Plate tectonics on rocky exoplanets: Influence of initial conditions and mantle rheology

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Noack, Lena; Breuer, Doris

    2014-08-01

    Several numerical studies have been published in the past years speculating about the existence of plate tectonics on large exoplanets. They focus on aspects like the mass of a planet, the interior heating rate and the occurrence of water in the mantle. Different trends in the propensity for plate tectonics have been observed in particular when varying the planetary mass: with increasing mass the surface mobilization is found to be either more, equally or less likely than on Earth. These studies and their implications are, however, difficult to compare as they assume different initial conditions and parameter sets, and either neglect the pressure effect on the viscosity or assume a rather small influence of the pressure on the rheology. Furthermore, the thermal evolution of the planets (i.e. cooling of core and decrease in radioactive heat sources with time) is typically neglected. In our study, we use a 2D finite volume code and apply a pseudo-plastic rheology. We investigate how a strong pressure-dependence of the viscosity influences not only the convective regime in the lower mantle, but also in the upper mantle and hence the likelihood to obtain plate tectonics. We examine how our results change when either assuming a wet or a dry rheology or when employing different initial conditions, focussing on the initial temperature in the lower mantle and at the core-mantle boundary. We find that the initial temperature conditions have a first-order influence on the likelihood of plate tectonics on large exoplanets. For standard literature values for initial temperatures of super-Earths, surface mobilization is less likely than on Earth, for warm initial temperature the result is vice versa. Simulations that neglect the time-dependence of internal heat sources on the other hand tend to lead to an increasing likelihood of plate tectonics with increasing mass. Finally, our investigations suggest that a wet rheology does not necessarily favor plate tectonics, but - depending on the reference viscosity - may rather lead to a stagnant-lid regime.

  3. Cenozoic plate tectonic reconstructions and plate boundary processes in the Southwest Pacific

    Microsoft Academic Search

    William R. Keller

    2005-01-01

    The Australia-Pacific-Antarctic plate circuit has long been a weak link in global plate reconstruction models for Cenozoic time. The time period spanning chron 20 to chron 7 (43-25 Ma) is particularly problematic for global plate models because seafloor spreading was occurring in two poorly constrained regions in the Southwest Pacific - the Macquarie Basin southwest of New Zealand, and the

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    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.

  6. Global plate tectonics and the secular motion of the pole

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    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.

  7. Petroleum formation by Fischer-Tropsch synthesis in plate tectonics

    SciTech Connect

    Szatmari, P. (Petrobras Research Center, Rio de Janeiro (Brazil))

    1989-08-01

    A somewhat speculative hypothesis of petroleum genesis in the upper lithosphere is proposed, based on Fischer-Tropsch synthesis. This hypothesis is distinct from both the organic (biogenic) model and the inorganic model of hydrocarbon degassing from the Earth's interior. The hypothesis presented in this paper proposes that petroleum liquids form by Fischer-Tropsch synthesis on magnetite and hematite catalysts when carbon dioxide (derived by massive metamorphic or igneous decarbonation of subducted sedimentary carbonates) reacts with hydrogen generated by the serpentinization (in the absence of air) of shallow-mantle lithosphere and ophiolite thrust sheets. Oblique plate movements may favor hydrocarbon formation by creating deep faults that aid fluid flow and serpentinization. The world's richest oil provinces, including those of the Middle East, may be tentatively interpreted to have formed by this mechanism. 8 figs., 1 tab.

  8. High-resolution global upper mantle structure and plate tectonics

    Microsoft Academic Search

    Yu-Shen Zhang; Toshiro Tanimoto

    1993-01-01

    A global high-resolution S wave velocity model RG5.5 is obtained for the upper 500 km of Earth's mantle using a 5 x 5 deg equal-area block parameterization. The data set consists of some 18,000 seismograms associated with 971 events with magnitudes larger than 5.5. Fundamental modes are used with periods from 75 to 250 s. The horizontal resolution length is

  9. Plate Tectonics and Sea-Floor Spreading, Subduction Zones, "Hot Spots", and the "Ring of Fire"

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    This site is part of the United States Geological Survey, Cascade Volcano Observatory web site. It provides general information about the theory of plate tectonics. It correlates specific landform types and physical processes with the types of plate boundaries where they occur. The explanation of each boundary type includes real world examples and links to United States Geological Survey web pages about each example. The links between volcanism, earthquakes, and plate boundaries is also discussed. There is a section of the site that explores the types of volcanism that occur at spreading ridges, subduction zones, and hot spots (intraplate volcanism). Links are also provided to information on specific areas. These areas include: Cascade Range Volcanoes, Gorda Ridge, Juan de Fuca Plate, Juan de Fuca Ridge, North Cascades, Olympic Mountains, and the Yellowstone Caldera.

  10. The birth of the Rheic Ocean — Early Palaeozoic subsidence patterns and subsequent tectonic plate scenarios

    Microsoft Academic Search

    Jürgen F. von Raumer; Gérard M. Stampfli

    2008-01-01

    New plate-tectonic reconstructions of the Gondwana margin suggest that the location of Gondwana-derived terranes should not only be guided by the models, but should also consider the possible detrital input from some Asian blocks (Hunia), supposed to have been located along the Cambrian Gondwana margin, and accreted in the Silurian to the North-Chinese block. Consequently, the Gondwana margin has to

  11. Tectonic plate under a localized boundary stress: fitting of a zero-range solvable model

    Microsoft Academic Search

    L. Petrova; B. Pavlov

    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 h, on the background seismic process, in case of

  12. Goringe-Alboran-Tell tectonic zone: A transpression system along the Africa-Eurasia plate boundary

    Microsoft Academic Search

    Jean Luc Morel; Mustapha Meghraoui

    1996-01-01

    Neotectonic structures distributed from the Goringe bank to the Tell Atlas mountains show that the Africa-Eurasia plate boundary in the western Mediterranean corresponds to an east-west trending deforming zone (Goringe-Alboran-Tell). Main Pliocene and Quaternary tectonic structures of the northern Atlas Mountains are northeast-southwest striking fault-related folds, similar to that of El Asnam, and are related to north-south to northwest-southeast compressional

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

    Microsoft Academic Search

    D. H. Green; T. Falloon

    2010-01-01

    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.

  14. Stability of active mantle upwelling revealed by net characteristics of plate tectonics.

    PubMed

    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. PMID:23803848

  15. Relationship between tectonic evolution of North China craton and Pacific plate subduction slab evolution since ~47 Ma

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    An, M.

    2011-12-01

    The Pacific plate movement happened some obviously changes at ~47 Ma. If we only consider the Pacific plate subduction just since this time, we can find that the subduction slab can reach eastern North China after ~20My (at ~27 Ma), and the slab may be destructed completely when it reach this position (An et al., 2009, G-cubed, doi:10.1029/2009GC002562). In the 20-My-movement processes, the evolution of the cold slab can be divided into several stages with the slab is heated and destructed. In different evolution stages, the slab also can result in different effects on the overlying asthenosphere and lithosphere. The slab evolution showed some temporal consistence with the tectonic activities in the eastern North China, and also with the Japan Sea opening; Furthermore, the possible effects acted on the overlying lithosphere by the slab in different stages can interpret the tectonic events happened in eastern North China since the early Paleogene (An et al., 2011, Earth Science Frontiers, 18(3)(in Chinese with English abstract), http://www.earthsciencefrontiers.net.cn/CN/abstract/abstract4277.shtml). For example, regional lithosphere seems to be thickening, Tangshan-Xingtai faults became active but the activities of the Taihangshan Piedmont faults decreased.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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.

  17. Complex Faulting in the Pacific-North America Transform Offshore Southern California And Implications on Plate Boundary Tectonics and Tsunamigenesis

    Microsoft Academic Search

    M. R. Legg; A. Barberopoulou

    2007-01-01

    Complexity in the tectonic model for Pacific-North America transform motion in the offshore southern California region is demonstrated by earthquakes near San Clemente Island and Fortymile Bank. Observed focal mechanisms show movements opposite to those predicted by the plate tectonic theory for right-slip on NW- trending transform faults and observed in other parts of the California Continental Borderland. Also, there

  18. Cenozoic geological and plate tectonic evolution of SE Asia and the SW Pacific: computer-based reconstructions, model and animations

    Microsoft Academic Search

    Robert Hall

    2002-01-01

    A plate tectonic model for the Cenozoic development of the region of SE Asia and the SW Pacific is presented and its implications are discussed. The model is accompanied by computer animations in a variety of formats, which can be viewed on most desktop computers. GPS measurements and present seismicity illustrate the high rates of motions and tectonic complexity of

  19. Rubidium-strontium geochronology and plate-tectonic evolution of the southern part of the Arabian Shield

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    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 differences in magmatic and tectonic. styles of Hijaz orogenesis from those of the Pan-African and the temporal break between them in much of the southern part of the Arabian Shield support division into at least two events. As defined by the ages of major plutonic units, the axis of magmatic and tectonic activity migrated eastward or northeastward during the Hijaz cycle, the predominantly dioritic plutonic rocks becoming younger and more siliceous to the east. Granodiorite to granite pl}.1tonism of the Pan-African event, however, shows no geographic bias, being distributed throughout the Arabian Shield. Although the Hijaz diorites and Pan-African granitic rocks exhibit strong contrasts in composition and age differences as great as 250 m.y. in the westernmost parts of the area, the two groups are less distinct compositionally and nearly the same age in the eastern part.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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.

  1. A plate-tectonic model for the Mesozoic and Early Cenozoic history of the Caribbean plate

    Microsoft Academic Search

    Martin Meschede; Wolfgang Frisch

    1998-01-01

    We present a model in which the Caribbean plate is an intra-American feature formed along the Caribbean spreading center as opposed to the current model that considers the Caribbean plate as a far-travelled crustal segment that formed in the Pacific region. Paleomagnetic data, which cover an age range from Jurassic through Paleocene, indicate the ophiolite complexes in Costa Rica and

  2. This Dynamic Planet: World map of volcanoes, earthquakes, impact craters and plate tectonics

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    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 be. The map is designed to show the most prominent features when viewed from a distance, and more detailed features upon closer inspection. The back of the map zooms in further, highlighting examples of fundamental features, while providing text, timelines, references, and other resources to enhance understanding of this dynamic planet. Both the front and back of this map illustrate the enormous recent growth in our knowledge of planet Earth. Yet, much remains unknown, particularly about the processes operating below the ever-shifting plates and the detailed geological history during all but the most recent stage of Earth's development.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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.

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    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.

  5. Neogene tectonic stress fields of northeast Honshu Arc and implications for plate boundary conditions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Otsuki, Kenshiro

    1990-09-01

    More than 3300 metalliferous veins were analyzed to reconstruct the Neogene tectonic stress field of the northeast Honshu Arc using basic fracture mechanics. The veins are grouped into a dominant NE system and subordinate E-W, N-S and NW systems. The NE system is associated with assemblages of conjugate strike-slip faults and extension joints or normal faults which were formed during a period from 15 to 5 Ma. The fractures suggest that ?1or?2 was oriented ENE and ?3 was oriented NNW. ?3 is thought to have been tensional, because no veins are associated with thrust faults. This stress orientation is neither perpendicular nor parallel to the axis of the Japan Trench where the Pacific plate was moving west-northwest and was subducted under the northeast Honshu Arc. The inconsistency between the stress orientation and the plate kinematics can be explained by the dynamic effects related to other plate boundaries surrounding the northeast Honshu Arc, namely compression on the Hokkaido Axial Zone and the Itoigawa-Shizuoka Tectonic Line. In addition, the triple junction of the Japan Trench, Izu-Bonnin Trench and the Sagami Trough was probably located 300-400 km northeast from its present position and the subduction zone of Nankai Trough-Sagami Trough is assumed to have been a tensional plate boundary. The reconstructed stress field is consistent with transtensional backarc rifting at about 15 Ma.

  6. Connecting Top to Bottom: The Relationship Between Tectonic Plates and Mantle Plumes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lenardic, A.; Jellinek, A. M.; Robin, C. M.; Thayalan, V.

    2007-05-01

    Some 15 years ago Nataf noted that thermal convection in purely temperature dependent fluids could not produce thermal upwellings of the type invoked by mantle plume theories of the day. Since then there have been bursts of investigations addressing the question of how active overturn of the lithosphere, which does not happen in purely temperature-dependent viscosity convection, might influence the dynamics and morphology of mantle upwellings. The first wave of these investigations made specific theoretical predictions and conjectures that went largely untested. Recent advance in numerical techniques and computer power have allowed for the exploration of convection simulations with very large viscosity contrasts. At the same time, advances in laboratory methods have allowed for fluid tank experiments that can mimic active plate subduction. These two expanded research tools have allowed us to revisit the connection between plates and plumes. As well as launching new investigations we have also made efforts to confirm or refute previous theoretical speculations regarding the influence of plate tectonics on the dynamics of the core-mantle boundary region. We will briefly review the history of the problem and present our recent numerical and laboratory results that explore the potential connections between tectonic plate, mantle plumes, and the structure of the core mantle boundary region.

  7. Tectonic implications of post-30 Ma Pacific and North American relative plate motions

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bohannon, R.G.; Parsons, T.

    1995-01-01

    The Pacific plate moved northwest relative to North America since 42 Ma. The rapid half rate of Pacific-Farallon spreading allowed the ridge to approach the continent at about 29 Ma. Extinct spreading ridges that occur offshore along 65% of the margin document that fragments of the subducted Farallon slab became captured by the Pacific plate and assumed its motion proper to the actual subduction of the spreading ridge. This plate-capture process can be used to explain much of the post-29 Ma Cordilleran North America extension, strike slip, and the inland jump of oceanic spreading in the Gulf of California. Much of the post-29 Ma continental tectonism is the result of the strong traction imposed on the deep part of the continental crust by the gently inclined slab of subducted oceanic lithosphere as it moved to the northwest relative to the overlying continent. -from Authors

  8. MANTLE CONVECTION, PLATE TECTONICS, AND VOLCANISM ON HOT EXO-EARTHS

    SciTech Connect

    Van Summeren, Joost; Conrad, Clinton P.; Gaidos, Eric, E-mail: summeren@hawaii.edu [Department of Geology and Geophysics, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI 96822 (United States)

    2011-07-20

    Recently discovered exoplanets on close-in orbits should have surface temperatures of hundreds to thousands of Kelvin. They are likely tidally locked and synchronously rotating around their parent stars and, if an atmosphere is absent, have surface temperature contrasts of many hundreds to thousands of Kelvin 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 (1) pattern of mantle convection, (2) tectonic regime, and (3) 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 {approx}>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 dichotomy, with plate-like tectonics on the night side and a continuously evolving mobile lid on the day side with diffuse surface deformation and vigorous volcanism. If volcanic outgassing establishes an atmosphere and redistributes heat, plate tectonics is globally replaced by diffuse surface deformation and volcanism accelerates and becomes distributed more uniformly across the planetary surface.

  9. A unit of instruction on the plate tectonic evolution of New England

    SciTech Connect

    Reusch, D. (Maine Geological Survey, Augusta, ME (United States))

    1993-03-01

    A unit of instruction has been developed which enables high school students to decipher the plate tectonic evolution of a typical mountain belt, the New England segment of the Appalachian Orogen. It integrates a wide variety of geological topics including: geological time, the fossil record, global tectonics, geological environments, rocks, minerals, and representative sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic processes. Students are provided with a simplified tectonic map of the New England area and data cards on each of 12 units. They use fossils and radiometric dates to sort the units chronologically and the map to sort them geographically. Next, they compare the fossil and geological data for each unit with modern tectonic settings and interpret each unit as either oceanic crust [+-] mantle, volcanic arc, arc margin, continental crust, passive margin (rift, shelf, or slope), granite system, or collision margin. Finally, they reconstruct the paleogeography for each time period which reveals the cycle of Iapetus Ocean growth and destruction and the initiation of the Atlantic Ocean cycle.

  10. Conception and realisation of educational models for an exhibition explaining the plate tectonics theory

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ouerghi, S.; Harchi, M.; Riadh chebbi, M.

    2012-04-01

    Alfred Wegener suggested in 1915 that the seven continents were once one large land mass that broke apart creating the continents, which then drifted to their current locations. The Atlantic Ocean was created by this process. The mid-Atlantic Ridge is an area where new sea floor is being created. The sea floor continues to spread and the plates get bigger and bigger. Therefore, when plates diverge and form new crust in one area, the plates must converge in another area and be destroyed. When two continental plates meet each other this results in the formation of a mountain. As the subducting oceanic crust melts as it goes deeper into the Earth, the newly-created magma rises to the surface and forms volcanoes. So, the plates move towards each other. The amount of crust on the surface of the earth remains relatively constant. In this context, the aim of this study is to elaborate some educational models to facilitate the comprehension of plate tectonics and there results for pupils and science city visitors.

  11. Tectonics

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    Alec Bodzin

    Tectonics is a series of geospatial investigations designed to augment existing middle school Earth science curriculum. Students use Web GIS to investigate important tectonics concepts. The investigations include scientific practices, crosscutting concepts, and core ideas from the National Research Council (2012) Framework for K-12 Science Education.

  12. Tectonomagmatic evolution of the Earth: from the primordial crust to plate tectonics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sharkov, E. V.; Bogatikov, O. A.

    2009-12-01

    There are two dominating hypotheses about composition of the primordial Earth’s crust now: basic or sialic. Both models require a global melting of primary chondritic material, and final result would depend on degree of melt differentiation during hardening of global magmatic ocean. Such a solidification, due to difference in adiabatic and melting point gradients proceeded in bottom-top direction and resulted in accumulation of low-temperature derivates in outer shell of the planet. Geological data, namely granite-dominated Archean crust, composed mainly by tonalite-trondhjemite-granodiorite (TTG) rocks, and Hadean detrital zircons from Australia with U-Pb age 4.4-4.2 Ga supports the primordial-sialic crust hypothesis. Formation of the sialic crust was responsible for the depletion of the upper mantle matter. The early Precambrian (Archean, Early Paleoproterozoic) tectonomagmatic activity was rather different from the Phanerozoic: the major structures were granite-greenstone terranes and their separating granulite belts; high-Mg melts (komatiite-basaltic and boninite-like), derived from a depleted source of the first generation mantle superplumes, predominated. Situation can be described in terms of plume-tectonics. Cardinal change of tectonomagmatic processes occurred in the period of 2.3 to 2.0 Ga, which was characterized by voluminous eruption of Fe-Ti picrites and basalts similar to the Phanerozoic within-plate magmas, derived from geochemical-enriched mantle source. Simultaneously, important compositional changes occurred in the atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere (Melezhik et al., 2005). The first Phanerozoic-type orogens (Svecofennian of the Baltic Shield, Trans-Hudson and others of the Canadian Shield, etc.) appeared ca. 2 Ga. Since then, subduction of the ancient sialic continental crust (together with newly-formed oceanic crust) is a permanent process and the crustal material has stored in the “slab graveyard”, estimated in the mantle by seismic tomography. We believe that the ascending of the second generation mantle plumes (thermochemical), enriched in Fe, Ti, P, LREE, etc., was responsible for those changes. Those plumes were generated at the core-mantle boundary in D" layer and this process is active so far. The thermochemical plume matter possessed less density and could reach shallower depths; triggering plate tectonics processes. So, previously absent geochemical-enriched material started to involve from ~2.3 Ga in the Earth’s tectonomagmatic processes. Where such material was “conserved” and how it was activated? The established succession of events could be provided by a combination of two independent factors: (1) the Earth originally was heterogeneous, and (2) the downward heating of the Earth (from the surface to the core) was followed by the cooling of its outer shells. The most evidently cause of the centripetal heating of the Earth was a zone/wave of heat-generating deformation, appeared after it’s accretion completion, which moved inside the planet as a result of acceleration of the body’s rotation around axis due to momentum conservation law as a result of material compaction and it’s radius shortening.

  13. Thrust -wrench interference tectonics in the Gulf of Cadiz (Africa -Iberia plate boundary in the North-East Atlantic): insights from

    E-print Network

    Paris-Sud XI, Université de

    Thrust - wrench interference tectonics in the Gulf of Cadiz (Africa - Iberia plate boundary to a segment of the Africa- Eurasia plate boundary previously described as tectonically diffuse (e.g. Sartori key segment of the Africa-Iberia plate boundary (North- East Atlantic ocean), three main different

  14. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 157 (1998) 9-22 Self-consistent generation of tectonic plates in three-dimensional

    E-print Network

    Tackley, Paul J.

    1998-01-01

    Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved. Ke~uorcls: plate tectonics: plates: mantle; convection: modelsEPSL Earth and Planetary Science Letters 157 (1998) 9-22 Self-consistent generation of tectonic plates in three-dimensional mantle convection Paul J. Tackley * Department of Earth and Space Scirrm

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    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.

  16. A preliminary numerical study on water-circulation in convecting mantle with magmatism and tectonic plates

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fujita, Kunihiro; Ogawa, Masaki

    2013-03-01

    We present a preliminary self-consistent numerical model of solid-state convection in a wet mantle with magmatism and tectonic plates to understand how magmatism and tectonic plates affect circulation of water injected into deep mantle. The solidus temperature of mantle materials depends on water-content, but their water-saturation limit is assumed to be constant and water-content dependence of viscosity is neglected. When the mantle is mildly heated by heat producing elements, plate tectonics steadily occurs, and subducted basaltic crusts accumulate on the core-mantle boundary. Water injected into deep mantle is mostly transported to basaltic accumulation areas, which serve as a major storage of injected water. The characteristic time for the water-circulation is 2-6 Gyr. Water significantly enhances magmatism. When the mantle is more strongly heated and the internal heating rate exceeds a threshold, however, basaltic accumulations become convectively unstable, cause vigorous magmatism, and split the lithosphere into smaller fragments. Water transported into deep mantle by subducting lithospheric fragments distributes more uniformly, and the water storage capacity of the mantle becomes much smaller than that under the mild internal heating below the threshold. The characteristic time for water-circulation is 1-2 Gyr. The characteristic time of water-circulation in the mantle is comparable to the age of the Earth under mild internal heating, and the water-circulation depends on the regime of magmatism and mantle convection, which in turn depends on the internal heating rate; a full understanding of dynamics of magmatism and mantle convection is crucial for understanding water-circulation in the mantle and the effect of water on mantle evolution.

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    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. Earth Exploration Toolbook: Writing to Support the Theory of Plate Tectonics

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    How does one write about plate tectonics? It's an important question for those studying the earth sciences. This resource from the Earth Exploration Toolbook was created by Sabina F. Thomas and William A. Prothero and is designed to help students use a range of images of earthquakes, volcanoes, and seafloor ages to craft just such a paper. On this site, visitors can take advantage of teaching notes, step-by-step instructions, and a range of tools. Instructors will find this material quite useful and it's important to note that students are encouraged to use these resources for improving their own skills of scientific inquiry and synthesis.

  19. Tectonic plate under a localized boundary stress: fitting of a zero-range solvable model

    E-print Network

    L. Petrova; B. Pavlov

    2008-01-18

    We suggest a method of fitting of a zero-range model of a tectonic plate under a boundary stress on the basis of comparison of the theoretical formulae for the corresponding eigenfunctions/eigenvalues with the results extraction under monitoring, in the remote zone, of non-random (regular) oscillations of the Earth with periods 0.2-6 hours, on the background seismic process, in case of low seismic activity. Observations of changes of the characteristics of the oscillations (frequency, amplitude and polarization) in course of time, together with the theoretical analysis of the fitted model, would enable us to localize the stressed zone on the boundary of the plate and estimate the risk of a powerful earthquake at the zone.

  20. Tectonic plate under a localized boundary stress: fitting of a zero-range solvable model

    E-print Network

    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.

  1. The effect of plate movements in the northern region of South America on tectonics and sedimentation in the Eastern Llanos Basin

    SciTech Connect

    Pena, L.E. (Empresa Colombiana de Petroleos, Santafe de Bogota (Colombia))

    1993-02-01

    The geological configuration of the Eastern Llanos pericratonic mega-basin has been directly affected by the overall tectonic regime experienced in the Northern part of South America. Interaction between the Pacific (Cocos), South American and Caribbean Plates generated a regional compressional dextral rotational force expressed as a regional North-South striking structural trend in the southern part of the basin and an east-west striking trend in portion nearest the Caribbean Plate Boundary. Nearly 90% of the strike-slip faults in this northern area show right lateral displacement. The majority of the structures in the East Llanos basin are related to the Late Miocene uplift of the Eastern Andes. Nevertheless we can subdivide the structures into two major groups: pre-Miocene and post-Miocene. By being able to recognize pre-Miocene Cretaceous age structures, much altered by later movements, we can envision remigration of hydrocarbons out of early traps into those created more recently. Plate tectonic events in the north of South America have produced a general regional structure strike directional through time. Sedimentary-tectonic relationships depend upon regional phenomena which, if interpreted correctly, help to sub-divide the mega-basin into genetically related parts. By understanding the mechanism that creates large scale structural features, the geologist is thus provided with an important tool that can aid him in exploring the Eastern Llanos basin.

  2. Thermochronology and tectonics of the Leeward Antilles: Evolution of the southern Caribbean Plate boundary zone

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    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.

  3. Tectonic plates, difficulties for pupils to link models and scientific data.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    David-Ameline, Jacques

    2014-05-01

    In a secondary school in the west of France, I teach Biology and Geology to young pupils from 12 to 15 years old. This poster deals with the difficulties that pupils have to link the scientific data concerning the plate tectonics and the models. I choose to reproduce for pupils some situations that faced some first scientific people as they discovered arguments for the plate tectonics. For example, they have to discover the thickness of the plates by studying the speed of the seismic waves regarding the deepness. That means that they have to construct a curve starting with a table and then to analyze it. The first step is linked to math lessons and is quite easy for them. But the second one needs to mix the curve with its signification. This point is particularly hard and as we correct it, it appears like one moment of « pure science » because they seem to discover something none did before, with the power of their brain ! The second work on this subject is to study the representations of the subduction at an oceanic trench and of the mid-ocean ridge. They first look for drawing explaining what happens for the plates in those places and then they look for proofs that permitted to create those drawings. They really need help to make the difference between scientific data (pictures, curves...) and other drawings similar to the one they choose. For this subject working with documents is not easy because pupils have to ask themselves « what kind of document is it ?» before going further into their thinking. Nevertheless, they often succeed in those works because the teacher helps them a little. Those subjects open their eyes on what science is for a geological theme. It's also a good method to make them having fun doing science and to make them being seduced by making science.

  4. Learning by exploring planets, plate tectonics, and the process of inquiry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bartlett, M. G.

    2006-12-01

    Inquiry-based instruction should be question driven, involve good triggers for learning, emphasize researchable questions, build research skills, provide mechanisms for students to monitor their progress, and draw on the expertise of the instruction to promote inquiry and reflection. At Brigham Young University Hawaii, we have implemented an inquiry based approach to teaching introductory Earth science which provides students with little or no background in the sciences immediate access to participation in current research of genuine scientific interest. An example of this process is presented in which students are engaged in reflecting on whether plate tectonics is a general theory of planetary organization and evolution. Students use topographic, magnetic, spectral, and other data from NASA and ESA missions to determine whether "Earth-style" plate tectonics is functional on planets and moons elsewhere in the solar system. Students are engaged in a data- rich environment from which they must formulate and test multiple hypotheses. Throughout the process, students are engaged in small groups to identify what they need to learn to answer their questions, what resources are available to them, how best to report their findings, and how they can assess the amount of learning that is taking place. Students' responses to the course have been overwhelmingly positive and suggest that many of the students are internalizing the meta-cognitive skills the course is designed to inculcate.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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 (near Burma) causing anticlockwise rotation/retreat of the margin until collision between the main portion of Greater India and central Eurasian margin took place ~36 Ma. This relatively young collision between India and Eurasia is supported by subduction-related magmatism, which continued into the Late Eocene. The Upper Eocene Pengqu Formation also suggests that marine conditions prevailed south of the suture zone until that time, while the Upper Oligocene to Lower Miocene Gangrinboche conglomerates mark the initial mixing and deposition of both Eurasian and Indian-sourced sediments.

  6. Marine Magnetic Anomaly Compilations in the Indian Ocean for Plate Tectonics and Beyond (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dyment, J.; Bhattacharya, G. C.; Vadakkeyakath, Y.; Bissessur, D.; Jacob, J.; Kattoju, K. R.; Ramprasad, T.; Royer, J.; Patriat, P.; Chaubey, A. K.; Srinivas, K.; Choi, Y.

    2009-12-01

    The French territories in the western and southern parts of the Indian Ocean (i.e. Reunion and Mayotte islands, islands in the Mozambique Channel, Kerguelen and Crozet archipelagos, Saint Paul and Amsterdam islands…) have triggered significant scientific activities, including marine geophysics, by French scientists in this area. French marine magnetic data in this ocean span more than four decades, with records as old as 1966 and as recent as early 2009. Similarly, Indian scientists have collected a large amount of geophysical data in the northern Indian Ocean, with a focus on the Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal, the Central Indian Basin, and surrounding areas. To take advantage of the obvious complementarity of the French and Indian data sets for plate tectonics studies, we have conducted two projects funded by the Indo-French Centre for the Promotion of Advanced Research, the first one regarding the Arabian and eastern Somali basins, the second one the Central Indian, Madagascar and Crozet basins. These projects have been complemented by more localized work over the Mascarene Basin and Wharton basins, both characterized by an abandoned spreading centre. The purpose of this presentation is to show how such a compilation is being used to conduct plate tectonic studies, from the identification of the magnetic anomalies to their unambiguous picking using the analytic signal, the construction of isochrons and tectonic chart, and the paleogeographic reconstructions. Beyond this classical use, the compiled data can be used to produce magnetic anomaly grids and maps in areas with sufficient data coverage: such grids may help to improve and/or complement future versions of the World Digital Magnetic Anomaly Map (WDMAM).

  7. C:/ITOOLS/WMS/CUP-NEW/2476231/WORKINGFOLDER/KKE/9780521897150C07.3D 95 [95114] 10.1.2011 9:06PM Next-generation plate-tectonic reconstructions

    E-print Network

    Torsvik, Trond Helge

    Next-generation plate-tectonic reconstructions using GPlates james a. boyden, r. dietmar mu¨ ller s. cannon 7.1 Introduction Plate tectonics is the kinematic theory that describes the large and interactions of large, rigid, interlocking fragments of lithosphere called tectonic plates. Plates form

  8. Some remarks on the models of plate tectonics on terrestrial planets: From the view-point of mineral physics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Karato, Shun-ichiro

    2014-09-01

    Some mineral physics-related issues are reviewed that are closely related to the operation of plate tectonics on terrestrial planets with different mass. Plate tectonic style of convection would occur when the surface layer has only modest strength relative to the stress generated by mantle convection so that it can deform and subduct into the mantle. Both the stress on the lithosphere generated by mantle convection and the resistance of the lithosphere for subduction depend on the relevant materials properties. A review is presented on the scaling relationships between relevant physical properties and planet mass and on the strength of the lithosphere. It is shown that if physically plausible scaling is made both for the relevant materials properties and the macroscopic energy balance, a large Earth-like planet may not necessarily have plate tectonics. In addition to the internal processes, the surface conditions such as the surface temperature may also play an important role via its effects on the thickness of thermal or chemical lithosphere, making it difficult for plate tectonics to operate on small planets. Therefore, in this model, plate tectonics would operate on planets with modest size like Earth, but the validity of this conclusion hinges on the characterization of (i) the influence of pressure-dependent properties on the vigor of convection and of (ii) the resistance for subduction. In particular, the processes determining the resistance for subduction have an important influence on the operation of plate tectonics. Key issues are highlighted that require further studies including the influence of depth-dependent properties on convection and the formulation of the resistance of the lithosphere for subduction.

  9. Micro-plate tectonics and kinematics in Northeast Asia inferred from a dense set of GPS observations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jin, Shuanggen; Park, Pil-Ho; Zhu, Wenyao

    2007-05-01

    The plate tectonics of Northeast Asia are very complex with diffuse and sparse seismicity in the broad plate deformation zones embedded by a number of micro-plates, particularly the controversial Amurian plate. Now the increasingly dense GPS networks in this area provide an important tool to investigate plate tectonic kinematics and to identify the approximate plate tectonic geometries. In this paper, we have processed GPS data (1998-2005) collected by an extensive GPS network (China and South Korea) with more than 85 continuous sites and about 1000 campaign GPS stations. The kinematics of Northeast Asia is studied by modeling GPS-derived velocities with rigid block rotations and elastic deformation. We find that the deformation in Northeast Asia can be well described by a number of rotating blocks, which are independent of the Eurasian plate motion with statistical significance above the 99% confidence level. The tectonic boundary between the North China and Amuria plates is the Yin Shan-Yan Shan Mountain belts with about 2.4 mm/yr extension. Along the boundary between North China and South China, the Qinling-Dabie fault is moving left laterally at about 3.1 mm/yr. The Amuria and South Korea blocks are extending at about 1.8 mm/yr. The Baikal Rift between the Amurian and Eurasian plates is spreading at about 3.0 mm/yr. The 9-17 mm/yr relative motion between the Amuria and Okhotsk blocks is accommodated at the East Sea-Japan trench zone. Localized deformation near the Qinling-Dabie fault and Yin Shan-Yan Shan Mountain belts may be elastic strain accumulation due to interseismic locking of faults.

  10. The boundary between the Indian and Asian tectonic plates below Tibet.

    PubMed

    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. PMID:20534567

  11. The boundary between the Indian and Asian tectonic plates below Tibet

    PubMed Central

    Zhao, Junmeng; Yuan, Xiaohui; Liu, Hongbing; Kumar, Prakash; Pei, Shunping; Kind, Rainer; Zhang, Zhongjie; Teng, Jiwen; Ding, Lin; Gao, Xing; Xu, Qiang; Wang, Wei

    2010-01-01

    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. PMID:20534567

  12. Interactive Ocean Observatories are Essential for Global Assessment of Plate-tectonically Modulated Microbial Input to the Deep Ocean

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Delaney, J.; Team, K.

    2004-12-01

    A major new planetary-scale research thrust can only be addressed with interactive, next-generation ocean-observatory capabilities. These new research opportunities arise from the possibility that input into the ocean of chemosynthetically derived microbial biomass from below the seafloor rivals the biomass from primary photosynthetic productivity near the top of the ocean. All three types of plate boundaries and many plate interiors vent microbe-bearing fluids into the deep ocean continuously AND episodically. Unpredicted episodes increase nutrient output and venting volume by as much as a factor of 100 for weeks to months at a time (Lilley et al.,2003, Nature). Because of the highly non-linear nature of these fluxes, quantification of such processes represents essential, but unconstrained, variables in equations for carbon budgets and bio-flux in the deep ocean. Triggering events and their induced fluxes must be detected, located, responded to, and quantified before their relative importance to the global-ocean system can be evaluated. Addressing these issues requires an essential new capability in the ocean sciences. High-power and high-bandwidth cabled systems will enable remote and long-term experimentation with processes via thousands of stationary and/or mobile sensor platforms on, below, and above the seafloor. The Ocean Research Interactive Observatory Networks (ORION) program is currently working with NEPTUNE Canada to produce a plate-tectonic-scale, regional cabled ocean observatory (RCO), an ideal platform for adaptive surveillance and quantitative response to fluid-flux generating events at the margins and interior of the Juan de Fuca (JdF) Plate. The W. M. Keck Foundation is supporting a pre-NEPTUNE exploration of the linked processes involved in the deformation-fluid/microbial flux concept. Thirteen seismometers (3 broadband, 10 short-period) and 45 fluid-movement/chemical sensors are co-deployed on three different, but adjacent, plate boundaries at the northern end of the JdF Plate: the Endeavour spreading segment, the Nootka transform fault, and the convergent margin at the toe of the Cascadia subduction complex. All sensors are capable of measuring time-varying behavior for a year. A novel deep-sea remote sensor capable of autonomous detection of microbial output at the seafloor will be added to the existing ensemble in 2005-6. These instrument systems will be phased into NEPTUNE, scheduled to come on line in 2007-8. As of September 2004, we also have a live satellite-mooring link from a seismometer and flow meter at a cold-seep site near the intersection of the Nootka transform and the Cascadia prism. The ultimate goal is to utilize the power of NEPTUNE-like installations to quantitatively assess the regional, and eventually, the global, fluxes and biodiversity associated with this newly recognized tectonically-generated phenomenon of subseafloor microbial productivity. Fully characterizing this planetary-scale process requires establishing a permanent presence on the seafloor to continuously observe, document, and interact with co-varying processes driving fluid expulsion, the chemical consequences, and the microbial responses. Similar phenomena may operate on other planets; we might even export approaches learned on earth. *The Keck Team includes more than 25 scientists and engineers from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Inst., Scripps Inst. of Oceanography, Woods Hole Oceanographic Inst., Univ. of Victoria, Inst. of Ocean Sciences in Sidney, BC, and Univ. of Washington.

  13. Break-up of Gondwana and opening of the South Atlantic: Review of existing plate tectonic models

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Ghidella, M.E.; Lawver, L.A.; Gahagan, L.M.

    2007-01-01

    each model. We also plot reconstructions at four selected epochs for all models using the same projection and scale to facilitate comparison. The diverse simplifying assumptions that need to be made in every case regarding plate fragmentation to account for the numerous syn-rift basins and periods of stretching are strong indicators that rigid plate tectonics is too simple a model for the present problem.

  14. Evidence for relative motions between the Indian and Australian Plates during the last 20 m.y. From plate tectonic reconstructions: Implication for the deformation of the Indo-Australian plate

    Microsoft Academic Search

    Jean-Yves Royer; Ted Chang

    1991-01-01

    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 complication of magnetic anomalies and fracture zone traces from the Southeast, Southwest, Central Indian and the Carlsberg ridges. Additional reconstructions

  15. Constraints of the topography, gravity and volcanism on Venusian mantle dynamics and generation of plate tectonics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Huang, Jinshui; Yang, An; Zhong, Shijie

    2013-01-01

    Venus's mantle convection model was studied in a three-dimensional spherical shell domain with depth- and temperature-dependent viscosity. Numerical results show that key observations of Venus including the number of major "hotspot" volcanic systems, spectral patterns of the surface topography and geoid at long- and intermediate-wavelengths can be explained in models that have a spinel-to-post-spinel endothermic phase change of -3.5 MPa/K Clapeyron slope and averaged mantle viscosity of 2×1021 Pa s (i.e., convective Rayleigh number of 1.8×107). Our models with the endothermic phase change show relatively weak time-dependence, suggesting that the phase change may not be the primary cause for "catastrophic" resurfacing on Venus. Our calculations also show that Venus cannot have a weak asthenosphere that is similar to that on the Earth, in order to match the observations, thus supporting a key role of asthenosphere in producing plate tectonics.

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Vonfrese, R. R. B.; Hinze, W. J.; Braile, L. W.; Lidiak, E. G.; Keller, G. R. (principal investigators); 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.

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

    E-print Network

    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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jura, M.; Klein, B.; Xu, S.; Young, E. D.

    2014-08-01

    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.

  19. The effect of melting and crustal production on plate tectonics on terrestrial planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Louro Lourenço, D. J.; Tackley, P. J.

    2013-12-01

    Within the Solar System, Earth is the only planet to be in a mobile-lid regime, whilst it is generally accepted that all the other terrestrial planets are currently in a stagnant-lid regime, showing little or no surface motion. A transitional regime between these two, showing episodic overturns of an unstable stagnant lid, is also possible and has been proposed for Venus (Armann and Tackley, JGR 2012). Using plastic yielding to self-consistently generate plate tectonics on an Earth-like planet with strongly temperature-dependent viscosity is now well-established, but such models typically focus on purely thermal convection, whereas compositional variations in the lithosphere can alter the stress state and greatly influence the likelihood of plate tectonics. For example, Rolf and Tackley (GRL, 2011) showed that the addition of a continent can reduce the critical yield stress for mobile-lid behaviour by a factor of around 2. Moreover, it has been shown that the final state of the system (stagnant- or mobile-lid) can depend on the initial condition (Tackley, G3 2000 - part 2); Weller and Lenardic (GRL, 2012) found that the parameter range in which two solutions are obtained increases with viscosity contrast. We can also say that partial melting has a major role in the long-term evolution of rocky planets: (1) partial melting causes differentiation in both major elements (like Fe and Si) and trace elements, which are generally incompatible (Hofmann, Nature 1997). Trace elements may contain heat-producing isotopes, which contribute to the heat loss from the interior; (2) melting and volcanism are an important heat loss mechanism at early times that act as a strong thermostat, buffering mantle temperatures and preventing it from getting too hot (Xie and Tackley, JGR 2004b; Armann and Tackley, JGR 2012); (3) mantle melting dehydrates and hardens the shallow part of the mantle (Hirth and Kohlstedt, EPSL 1996) and introduces viscosity and compositional stratifications in the shallow mantle due to viscosity variations with the loss of hydrogen upon melting (Faul and Jackson, JGR 2007; Korenaga and Karato, JGR 2008). In this work we present a set of 2D spherical annulus simulations (Hernlund and Tackley, PEPI 2008) using StagYY (Tackley, PEPI 2008), which uses a finite-volume scheme for advection of temperature, a multigrid solver to obtain a velocity-pressure solution at each timestep, tracers to track composition, and a treatment of partial melting and crustal formation. We address the question whether melting-induced crustal production changes the critical yield stress needed to obtain mobile-lid behaviour as a function of governing parameters. Our results show that melting and crustal production strongly influence plate tectonics on terrestrial planets, by making plate tectonics both easier and harder; i.e., for the same yield stress and reference viscosity the use or not of a treatment for melting and crustal production may result in a change from a stagnant-lid regime into an episodic-lid regime or a change from mobile-lid regime to an episodic-lid regime. Several factors can play a role on these, namely lateral heterogeneities and differences in the lid thickness induced by melting and crustal production, the maximum depth of melting, etc.

  20. Jules Verne Voyager, Jr: An Interactive Map Tool for Teaching Plate Tectonics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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 simultaneously and does not require any special software installation on users' systems. In addition, a javascript-based educational interface, dubbed "Exploring our Dynamic Planet", incorporates the map tool, explanatory material, background scientific material, and curricular activities that encourage users to explore Earth processes using the Jules Verne Voyager, Jr. tool. Exploring our Dynamic Planet can be viewed at http://www.dpc.ucar.edu/VoyagerJr/. Because of its flexibility, the map utilities can be used for hands-on exercises exploring plate interaction in a range of academic settings, from high school science classes to entry-level undergraduate to graduate-level tectonics courses.

  1. The ERESE Project: Enactment of Digital Library Inquiry-Based Plate Tectonic Lessons

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Helly, M.; Symons, C. M.; Dow, N.; Miller, S. P.; Helly, J.; Staudigel, H.; Koppers, A.

    2004-12-01

    The Enduring Resources for Earth Science Education (ERESE) project is a collaborative effort between earth scientists, educators, librarians and data archive managers. Its goal is to develop and maintain a persistent online research and education archive in a digital library environment that supports earth science education in plate tectonics. A major contribution from educators has been the development of inquiry lessons included in the digital library. Fourteen middle and high school teachers from across the country participated in the ERESE Workshop in July 2004. The goal of the workshop was three-fold: to provide the teachers with a research experience based on the digital library materials, to model an inquiry process and to support teachers as they develop inquiry lessons for their students. This process was led by a team of scientists and expert educators. The team used a master template to facilitate the teacher's lesson development. The pedagogical approach outlined in the template reflects a model of scientific thinking the goal of which is to shift from direction by the teacher at the onset of a lesson to a self-directed experience on the part of the student as they engage in the inquiry process and complete the lesson. Two examples of inquiry lessons produced as part of the workshop are reported here. The first investigates the symmetry of magnetic stripes at the northern East Pacific Rise using real marine geophysical data from the digital library. The second inquiry lesson was developed by a participant teacher and has been implemented this academic year by a high school marine science teacher. The lesson investigates the evidence that supports plate tectonics on the basis of the Pangea model. Having already been implemented in the classroom this lesson provides a rigorous testing of the inquiry process and the robustness of the scientific content of the digital library.

  2. Assessment of the cooling capacity of plate tectonics and flood volcanism in the evolution of Earth, Mars and Venus

    Microsoft Academic Search

    P. van Thienen; N. J. Vlaar; A. P. van den Berg

    2005-01-01

    Geophysical arguments against plate tectonics in a hotter Earth, based on buoyancy considerations, require an alternative means of cooling the planet from its original hot state to the present situation. Such an alternative could be extensive flood volcanism in a more stagnant-lid like setting. Starting from the notion that all heat output of the Earth is through its surface, we

  3. Real-Time, Long-Term Ocean and Earth Studies at the Scale of a Tectonic Plate

    Microsoft Academic Search

    John Delaney; Alan Chave; G. Ross Heath; Bruce Howe; Patricia Beauchamp; William Wilcock; Andrew Maffei

    The NEPTUNE project will establish a linked array of undersea observatories on the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate. The NEPTUNE infrastructure, consisting of fiber-optic\\/power cable and junction boxes, will provide significant amounts of power and an Internet communications link to sensors and sensor networks on, above, and below the seafloor. This observatory will provide a new kind of research platform

  4. NEPTUNE: real-time, long-term ocean and Earth studies at the scale of a tectonic plate

    Microsoft Academic Search

    John Delaney; G. R. Heath; Alan Chave; Harold Kirkham; Bruce Howe; William Wilcock; Patricia Beauchamp; Andrew Maffei

    2001-01-01

    The NEPTUNE project will establish a linked array of undersea observatories on the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate. The NEPTUNE infrastructure, consisting of fiber-optic\\/power cable and junction boxes, will provide significant amounts of power and an Internet communications link to sensors and sensor networks on, above, and below the seafloor. This observatory will provide a new kind of research platform

  5. Opening of the Aden Gulf Ridge Derived from GPS Constraints and Plate Tectonic Models

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fernandes, R. M.; Rolandone, F.; Leroy, S.; Alothman, A.; Al-Aydrus, A.; Khalil, H.; Ahmed, A.; Khanbari, K.; Bos, M. S.; Nicolon, P.; Heydel, L.

    2012-12-01

    The Aden Gulf Ridge forms, together with the Red Sea and the Ethiopian Rift, the only emerged RRR-type (Ridge/Ridge/Ridge) triple junction in the globe: the Afar Triple Junction. The Aden Gulf Ridge defines the boundary between two major tectonic blocks: Arabia and Somalia, being Nubia the third unit in the triple junction (bordering Arabia along the Red Sea and Somalia along the Ethiopian Rift). Although the extensional behaviour of these structures are well known, the present-day magnitudes of their opening rates are still under evaluation, in particular for the opening rate between the Arabia and Somalia plates. This work uses GPS observations acquired in campaign and continuous mode in order to better constrain the opening rates of the three plate boundaries. For the Nubia-Arabia and Nubia-Somalia boundary plates, we use solely the velocity predictions given by our computed angular velocity models using the available continuous stations in Nubia, Somalia and Arabia. The available data set is augmented here with several stations in Saudi Arabia, which allow us to better constrain the angular velocity for the stable part of the Arabia plate. We estimate the angular velocity model with respect to ITRF2008 (the latest realization of the International Terrestrial Reference System) using the value of 2.5 years (although most of the stations have already a significantly longer time-series) as threshold data span for the processed time-series. Temporal correlations are used to properly estimate the uncertainty of the time-series and derived angular velocity model. In addition, to study the near-field in the Aden Gulf, data acquired in denser campaign networks in Yemen and Oman are used to also directly compute the extension rate in the Red Sea. We show that most of the Arabian Peninsula is stable (within the uncertainties) but the southwest part (Yemen) is influenced by the proximity with the Afar Triple Junction.

  6. Reconstruction of multiple tectonic events in continental margins by integrated tectonostratigraphic and geochronological analysis: the Mesozoic to Paleogene Caribbean-South American interaction in northeastern Colombia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cardona, Agustin; Montes, Camilo; Bayona, German; Valencia, Victor; Ramirez, Diego; Zapata, Sebastian; Lara, Mario; Lopez-Martinez, Margarita; Thomson, Stuart; Weber, Marion

    2013-04-01

    Although the older record and successive tectonic scenarios experienced by a continental margin is commonly fragmentary, integrated field, petrological and geochronological analysis can reconstruct the long term tectonic evolution of continental margins and characterized major controls on the orogenic style. We present new geochronological constraints from igneous and low to very low grade metasedimentary rocks from the Caribbean continental margin of northeastern Colombia (Guajira region) in order to reconstruct the different tectonic events recorded by the margin before, during and following the arc-continent collision with the front of the Caribbean plate. Zircon U-Pb LA-ICP-MS geochronology results from leucogranites associated with garnet amphibolites, tonalites and volcanic rocks that made the continental basement of northeastern Colombia reveals and Early to Middle Mesozoic tectonic activity with peaks at ca. 220-230 Ma and 170-180 Ma. This magmatic record is related to a collisional belt link to the final agglutination of Pangea and was followed by an overimposed far field back-arc setting associated to the subduction of the Pacific (Farrallon) plate under the Pangea supercontinent. Muscovite and biotite Ar-Ar geochronology from basement rocks and low grade Mesozoic metasediments also reveals the existence of Middle Jurassic to Early Cretaceous thermal events link to the final opening of the proto-Caribbean ocean. The South American continental margin was subsequently affected by an arc-continent collisional event with the front of the Caribbean plate. This event is recorded by the growth of a Banda-type collisional melange that mixed South American continental margin sediments with mafic and ultramafic blocks of intra-oceanic arc origin, the formation of a coherent metasedimentary belt also made of South American margin sediments, and the mylonitization of the continental basement. Ar-Ar temporal constraints on the low grade metasedimentary rocks and detrital apatite fission track ages from younger sedimentary sequences suggest a Late Campanian age for this deformational event. Continuous convergence and the formation of a new subduction zone in the South American margin were responsible for the remobilization of inland extensional structures and the associated growth of an Early Paleocene mylonitic belt. During the Eocene the installation of a short duration magmatic arc and a widespread cooling event record the final installation of an oblique subduction setting. We argue that the pre-collisional tectonic evolution of the South American continental margin have prepare a warm continental margin with significant weakness zone that determined an arc-continent collisional style characterized by frontal accretion of the South American plate over the intra-oceanic Caribbean domain, and in which the younger compressional and thermal events are link to the remobilization of older structures.

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

    PubMed

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

    2007-09-01

    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. PMID:17720806

  8. Tectonic lineaments in the cenozoic volcanics of southern Guatemala: Evidence for a broad continental plate boundary zone

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Baltuck, M.; Dixon, T. H.

    1984-01-01

    The northern Caribbean plate boundary has been undergoing left lateral strike slip motion since middle Tertiary time. The western part of the boundary occurs in a complex tectonic zone in the continental crust of Guatemala and southernmost Mexico, along the Chixoy-Polochic, Motogua and possibly Jocotan-Chamelecon faults. Prominent lineaments visible in radar imagery in the Neogene volcanic belt of southern Guatemala and western El Salvador were mapped and interpreted to suggest southwest extensions of this already broad plate boundary zone. Because these extensions can be traced beneath Quaternary volcanic cover, it is thought that this newly mapped fault zone is active and is accommodating some of the strain related to motion between the North American and Caribbean plates. Onshore exposures of the Motoqua-Polochic fault systems are characterized by abundant, tectonically emplaced ultramafic rocks. A similar mode of emplacement for these off shore ultramafics, is suggested.

  9. Supercontinents, mantle dynamics and plate tectonics: A perspective based on conceptual vs. numerical models

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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 assembly which erodes the continental crust. Ongoing subduction erosion also occurs at the leading edges of dispersing plates, which also contributes to crustal destruction, although this is only a temporary process. The previous numerical studies of mantle convection suggested that there is a significant feedback between mantle convection and continental drift. The process of assembly of supercontinents induces a temperature increase beneath the supercontinent due to the thermal insulating effect. Such thermal insulation leads to a planetary-scale reorganization of mantle flow and results in longest-wavelength thermal heterogeneity in the mantle, i.e., degree-one convection in three-dimensional spherical geometry. The formation of degree-one convection seems to be integral to the emergence of periodic supercontinent cycles. The rifting and breakup of supercontinental assemblies may be caused by either tensional stress due to the thermal insulating effect, or large-scale partial melting resulting from the flow reorganization and consequent temperature increase beneath the supercontinent. Supercontinent breakup has also been correlated with the temperature increase due to upwelling plumes originating from the deeper lower mantle or CMB as a return flow of plate subduction occurring at supercontinental margins. The active mantle plumes from the CMB may disrupt the regularity of supercontinent cycles. Two end-member scenarios can be envisaged for the mantle convection cycle. One is that mantle convection with dispersing continental blocks has a short-wavelength structure, or close to degree-two structure as the present Earth, and when a supercontinent forms, mantle convection evolves into degree-one structure. Another is that mantle convection with dispersing continental blocks has a degree-one structure, and when a supercontinent forms, mantle convection evolves into degree-two structure. In the case of the former model, it would take longer time to form a supercontinent, because continental blocks would be trapped by different downwellings thus inhibiting collis

  10. Plate motions: fundamentals

    E-print Network

    Déverchère, Jacques

    lithospheric plates" · Plate tectonics = a kinematic theory ­ Rigid plates (no intraplate deformation") · Convergent = subductions ("trenches") · Strike-slip = transform faults · Plate tectonics describesPlate motions: fundamentals · Assume a pie-shaped wedge plate B, rotating around E (=rotation pole

  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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    PubMed

    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. PMID:24616495

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

    PubMed Central

    Van Der Meer, Douwe G.; Zeebe, Richard E.; van Hinsbergen, Douwe J. J.; Sluijs, Appy; Spakman, Wim; Torsvik, Trond 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 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. PMID:24616495

  14. On the Generation of Supercontinent Cycles from Mantle Convection with Self-Consistent Plate Tectonics and Mobile Continents

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rolf, T.; Tackley, P. J.; Coltice, N.

    2012-12-01

    Kenorland, Columbia, Rodinia, Pangaea : there is some evidence in the geologic record that continental blocks have been assembled into a large landmass during some periods of Earth's history. These periods were interrupted by continental break-up events and subsequent dispersal of the fragments. The alternation between assembled and dispersed continent configurations is often called the supercontinent cycle. Plate reconstruction techniques allow for looking back into Earth's tectonic history, but only for the last 200 Ma is the necessary data well accessible, such that only the existence of the last supercontinent, Pangaea, is well documented. Especially for the first supercontinents only poor evidence exist: one of them is the correlation of peaks in the production rate of continental crust that can be detected by analyzing the osmium decay system [1] and the suggested assembly times of some of the older supercontinents. These are derived from the argument that almost all cratons that stabilized at a certain time were located next to each other in Pangaea, which is very unlikely if they have not formed in a single continental block [2]. Supercontinents are thought to generate a large-scale thermal anomaly by insulation beneath them, which enhances melting processes and with that the growth of continental crust. However, although some progress has been made, the details of the dynamic origin of the supercontinent cycle are still not well understood. What causes continental fragments to assemble into a single unit? What causes the breakup of the supercontinent? On which timescales do these processes occur? Here we use fully dynamic models of mantle convection that feature self-consistently generated plate-like behavior and buoyant, rheologically distinct continents that drift over the surface, eventually colliding or splitting. In contrast to our previous models [3] the continents in this study consist of a rheologically strong interior surrounded by a weaker exterior. The former represents the Archaean cratons on Earth, which hardly deform and are thought be tectonically stable since > 2.5 Ga. The weak material represents the mobile belts from the Proterozoic or Phanerozoic. In the present study we investigate in 2D and 3D numerical models how the properties of the mobile belts as well as those of the convective flow (mode of heating, yield strength of the lithosphere) control the existence of a supercontinent cycle and its periodicity. In order to generate a supercontinent cycle a harmonic degree-1 convection pattern is needed to assemble the continental fragments, which is disturbed by the onset of higher degree structures when a supercontinent splits. References [1] D. G. Pearson, S. W. Parman, G. M. Nowell (2007), A link between large scale mantle melting and continent growth seen in osmium isotopes, Nature, 449, 202-205. [2] J. J. W. Rogers, M. Santosh (2003), Supercontinents in Earth History, Gondwana Res., 6, 357-368. [3] T. Rolf, N. Coltice, P. J. Tackley (2012), Linking continental drift, plate tectonics and the thermal state of the Earth's mantle, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2012.07.011

  15. Neogene tectonic and stratigraphic events in the Gulf of Suez rift area, Egypt

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Evans, Andrew L.

    1988-10-01

    The Gulf of Suez Neogene (syn-rift) section contains at least five datable intra-basinal unconformities or stratigraphie hiatuses. These events and associated changes in sedimentary sequences seen in the basin can be related to changes in Suez rift subsidence, Miocene eustasy, and the tectonic effects of adjacent Red Sea and Dead Sea rifting. The first hiatus spans Oligocène to earliest Miocene time and separates syn-rift from pre-rift strata throughout the region. This erosional event resulted from regional emergence during the Oligocene and the initiation of Suez rifting. A second hiatus, from ~ 21-19 Ma, separates the poorly dated, shallow-marine Nukhul Formation of Aquitanian to early Burdigalian age from the overlying upper bathyal shales of the middle Burdigalian to Langhian (NN3-5) Rudeis Formation. This hiatus resulted from both a brief lowstand in early Burdigalian sea level and increased Suez rift-related tectonism. This event climaxed with the rapid tectonic subsidence that established deep-marine conditions by 19 Ma. A third major event occurs within the Rudeis at ~ 17 Ma (NN4, N7) and marks the initiation of uplift of I he rift shoulders and margins, and decelerated subsidence, or even minor uplift, in the axial trough. Hiatuses are seen over paleohighs e.g. tilted fault blocks, whereas coarse elastics are deposited in more basinal areas in submarine fans and as turbidites. A fourth unconformity, at ~ 14 Ma, separates the Middle Miocene Kareem Formation from overlying anhydrites and open marine shales of the Belayim Formation. Minor tectonic uplift throughout the Suez region resulted from this event, and a sill was established between the Mediterranean and Suez basins, allowing cyclic anhydrite-marl deposition from ~ 14 to 11 Ma. This "post-Kareem event" may be the sedimentary response to initiation of movement along the Dead Sea-Aqaba transform. A sharp drop in sea level at ~ 11 Ma restricted the Suez basin even more, and marked the initiation of massive halite precipitation in the central and southern Suez, well south of the sill area. A final major Neogene event occurs at the Miocene-Pliocene boundary, and is marked by a major unconformity caused by tectonic uplift. This tectonic pulse is related to initiation of Red Sea sea-floor spreading, and acceleration of sinistral motion along the Dead Sea-Aqaba transform at ~ 5 Ma. This event establishes the marine connection with the Red Sea and the sedimentary environments seen in the Gulf of Suez today.

  16. GIS-based Reconstruction of Pangaea with Recent Progresses in Plate Tectonics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kwon, O.-H.; Cheong, H.-B.; Lee, Y.-W.

    2012-04-01

    It is now widely accepted that the continents or land masses are constantly, slowly moving, or drifting over the asthenosphere as the sea floors spread in response to the mantle convection. These continents were joined together at one time, some 250 million years ago, in a single giant landmass called Pangaea. Alfred Wegener, who proposed originally the hypothesis of continental drift, succeeded in reconstructing the Pangaea in early 20th century, by gathering evidences such as land features, fossils, and climate change. The shape of Pangaea shown by Wegener is a huge landmass which is in rounded shape close to an oval. The Pangaea of Wegener was found to be in good agreement with the supercontinent which was reconstructed by modern scientists in late 1960s based on concrete and sophisticated sciences such as the plate tectonics. There are a couple of shapes describing the Pangaea by now, other than the Wegener's, that are recognized by the geological community. In spite of profound geological data and development of related-area sciences, uncertainties still remains on the precise shape of Pangaea before the stage of breaking up and drifting apart. In this study, the Pangaea is reconstructed taking the recent progresses of plate tectonics into full consideration with the use of an elaborate Geographical Information System (GIS) mapping technique. For a better visualization of the shape of the supercontinent the equidistant map projection is incorporated to display the Pangaea, where the central point of Pangaea is placed on the center of the map. The Pangaea reconstructed in this way appears in an almost circular shape, which has never been seen in previous studies (Fig. 1). The radius of the circle which circumscribes the Pangaea is about 9 000 km, giving the total area slightly above that of continents and lands of present day, because some of the continental margins were considered as a part of continents. This result suggests us that the Pangaea might have existed in an exact circular shape until it started to break into parts. Comparing the Pangaea to the present geography reveals that the Pangaea's geometric center falls on somewhere in Sinai Peninsula. One of notable features of the Pangaea reconstructed in this study is that there are two inland seas in circular shape: One is small and corresponds to Tethis sea, and the other corresponding to present Arctic ocean is several times larger than Tethis. From the geological viewpoint, these inland seas seem to be the oceanic crusts located inside the continental crusts, and it is likely that they were connected to the Panthalassa by sea. The main result of the present study that the Pangaea appears to be a circle may give us much more important implication than just being in a beautiful geometric configuration. Figure 1 Pangaea on a equidistant projection map, reconstructed with the use of GIS technique incorporating recent progresses in plate tectonics.

  17. Plate tectonics began in Neoproterozoic time, and plumes from deep mantle have never operated

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hamilton, Warren B.

    2011-04-01

    Archean, Paleoproterozoic, and Mesoproterozoic rocks, assemblages, and structures differ greatly both from each other and from modern ones, and lack evidence for subduction and seafloor spreading such as is widespread in Phanerozoic terrains. Most specialists nevertheless apply non-actualistic plate-tectonic explanations to the ancient terrains and do not consider alternatives. This report evaluates popular concepts with multidisciplinary information, and proposes options. The key is fractionation by ca. 4.45 Ga of the hot young Earth into core, severely depleted mantle, and thick mafic protocrust, followed by still-continuing re-enrichment of upper mantle from the top. This is opposite to the popular assumption that silicate Earth is still slowly and unidirectionally fractionating. The protocrust contained most material from which all subsequent crust was derived, either directly, or indirectly after downward recycling. Tonalite, trondhjemite, and granodiorite (TTG), dominant components of Archean crust, were derived mostly by partial melting of protocrust. Dense restitic protocrust delaminated and sank into hot, weak dunite mantle, which, displaced upward, enabled further partial melting of protocrust. Sinkers enriched the upper mantle, in part maintaining coherence as distinct dense rocks, and in part yielding melts that metasomatized depleted-mantle dunite to more pyroxenic and garnetiferous rocks. Not until ca. 3.6 Ga was TTG crust cool enough to allow mafic and ultramafic lavas, from both protocrust and re-enriched mantle, to erupt to the surface, and then to sag as synclinal keels between rising diapiric batholiths; simultaneously upper crust deformed ductily, then brittly, above slowly flowing hot lower TTG crust. Paleoproterozoic and Mesoproterozoic orogens appear to be largely ensialic, developed from very thick basin-filling sedimentary and volcanic rocks on thinned Archean or Paleoproterozoic crust and remaining mafic protocrust, above moderately re-enriched mantle. Subduction, and perhaps the continent/ocean lithospheric dichotomy, began ca. 850 Ma - although fully modern plate-tectonic processes began only in Ordovician time - and continued to enrich the cooling mantle in excess of partial melts that contributed to new crust. "Plumes" from deep mantle do not operate in the modern Earth and did not operate in Precambrian time.

  18. The Proto Southern Gulf of California represented by GIS Plate Tectonic Reconstructions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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.

  19. Dating upper plate normal fault slip events in Late Pleistocene and Holocene sediments of northern Chile

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Robinson, R. A.; Binnie, S.; Gonzalez, G.; Cortés, J.

    2011-12-01

    In order to understand how subduction earthquakes along the Nazca-South America plate boundary affect upper plate faults in the coastal forearc of northern Chile, we are developing the first detailed paleoseismological study to characterize the Late Quaternary activity of the Mejillones and Salar del Carmen faults, located around 40 km north and 15 km east of Antofagasta, respectively. There is currently a lack of basic palaeo-seismological data on these and other upper plate faults, such as long term slip rates, amount of slip per event, palaeo-earthquake magnitude and recurrence intervals. This lack of knowledge impedes understanding of how large subduction earthquakes, occurring at depths of around 50 km in this region, relate to upper plate seismicity and deformation. We have used OSL dating of fault-related sediments, and cosmogenic-ray nuclide dating of terrace surfaces, to constrain slips rates over the last 45 ka. Several trenches were excavated across both faults in order to expose and log the most recent fault-related sediments. In the hanging wall of these normal faults, vertically stacked colluvial wedges and hillslope deposits are the product of discrete slip events and post-slip fault scarp degradation. Multiple trenches along each fault permit the spatial variability in slip amount and fault-related sedimentation to be investigated. Long-term slip rates have been measured using cosmogenic-ray nuclide exposure dating of the alluvial terraces offset by the Mejillones Fault. OSL dating of the fault-related sediments in the trenches has been used to compare the ages of individual slip events on both faults, and the age of events recorded along the trace of each fault. The application of both cosmogenic-ray nuclide and OSL methods in this type of setting (hyper-arid with low erosion rates, yet tectonically active) is non-trivial, due to cosmogenic inheritance accumulated in cobbles on the terrace surfaces, low sensitivity of the quartz for OSL dating, and the potential for partial bleaching in both quartz and feldspar. However, we have established that slip events occur about the same time (within uncertainty) on both faults, but that fault slip rate and the estimated earthquake magnitudes are greater on the Mejillones Fault than the Salar del Carmen Fault. Since 13 ka, there have been 3 - 4 slip events on both faults and the recurrence interval of the largest predicted palaeo-earthquake (Mw ~7) on the Mejillones Fault is about 4.8 ka.

  20. Large Igneous Provinces and supercontinents: Toward completing the plate tectonic revolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ernst, Richard E.; Bleeker, Wouter; Söderlund, Ulf; Kerr, Andrew C.

    2013-08-01

    Regional groupings of a majority, or all, of Earth's crustal blocks have occurred several times in Earth history, but only the most recent supercontinent Paleozoic Pangea/Gondwana, is well characterized. Prior Precambrian supercontinents are postulated: Rodinia (ca. 1 to 0.7 Ga), Nuna/Columbia (ca. 1.8 to 1.3 Ga) and Kenorland/supercratons (ca. > 2.7 to 2.0 Ga), but the configuration of each is poorly known. A new methodology using Large Igneous Provinces (LIPs) offers an opportunity for fast-tracking progress toward robust Precambrian reconstructions. Comparison of the LIP ‘barcode' record between crustal blocks allows identification of which blocks were likely to have been nearest neighbors in past supercontinents. Restoration of the primary geometry (radiating or linear) of regional dyke swarms (the plumbing system of LIPs) offers another reconstruction criterion. A consortium of companies is providing funding for dating of essentially all major regional dyke swarms and sill provinces to complete the ‘barcoding of all major crustal blocks, and 13 of the papers in this special issue provides examples of this progress. Seven additional papers provide overviews of important LIPs. Together these 20 papers illustrate the potential for rapid progress using the LIP record for Precambrian supercontinent reconstructions toward completing the plate tectonic revolution which began nearly five decades ago.

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

    E-print Network

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

    2012-01-01

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

  2. Tectonic and depositional model of the Arabian and adjoining plates during the Silurian-Devonian

    SciTech Connect

    Husseini, M.I. (Aramco, Dhahran (Saudi Arabia))

    1991-01-01

    During the Late Ordovician and Early Silurian, the western part of the Arabian Peninsula was covered by polar glaciers that advanced from the south pole in African Gondwana. During this period, nondeposition, erosion, or marginal marine conditions prevailed in eastern and northern Arabia. When the glaciers melted in the Early Silurian, sea level rose sharply and the paleo-Tethys Ocean transgressed the Arabian and adjoining plates depositing a thick, organic-rich shale directly over the glaciogenic and periglacial rocks and related unconformities. The post-glacial sequence coarsens upward reflecting the passage of a coastline prograding northward from African and Arabian Gondwana to northern Arabia. A sea level drop in the Late Silurian placed the study area in a terrestrial environment; however, as sea level recovered in the Early Devonian, a carbonate sequence blanketed most of the area. The transgression, however, was interrupted by regional uplift and local orogenic movements in the Middle and Late Devonian. These movements constitute the onset of Hercynian tectonism, which resulted in erosion of the older sequences, depositional hiatuses, and regional facies changes.

  3. Plate Tectonic Consequences of competing models for the origin and history of the Banda Sea subducted oceanic lithosphere

    E-print Network

    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...

  4. Tectonic events recorded in the sediments and crust of the Caribbean sea floor

    SciTech Connect

    Holcombe, T.L.

    1985-01-01

    A reconnaissance review of reflection-seismic sections from the Caribbean, together with limited information derived from dredged rocks, sediment cores, and drillholes, yields or contributes to first-order conclusions regarding the tectonic history of the water-covered Caribbean. Broadly speaking, tectonic episodes for which there is some evidence are: (1) late Cenozoic convergence and accretion along deformed continental or island margins off Panama, Colombia/Venezuela, and Hispaniola/Puerto Rico; (2) late Cenozoic generation of oceanic crust within the Cayman Trough; (3) late Cenozoic secondary deformation along the Caribbean-North American plate boundary zone, in the form of small pull-apart basins, transcurrent faults, tensional rift basins, and compressional features; (4) late Cenozoic slow disintegration of the western part of the Caribbean plate; (5) Cenozoic rift-basin formation on the upper Nicaraguan rise; (6) early Cenozoic or late Cretaceous opening of the Yucatan Basin; (7) late Cretaceous through early Cenozoic island arc formation; and (8) late Cretaceous and earlier emplacement of flow basalts in the northwestern Venezuelan Basin and possibly beneath large areas of the Caribbean. There is no evidence that except along their active margins, the Venezuelan Basin, Beata Ridge, Colombian Basin, and Nicaraguan rise areas have been sites for large-scale relative movements which created or destroyed plate material since late Cretaceous time - or earlier.

  5. 3-D thermo-mechanical laboratory modeling of plate-tectonics: modeling scheme, technique and first experiments

    Microsoft Academic Search

    D. Boutelier; O. Oncken

    2011-01-01

    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,

  6. Mesozoic and Cenozoic plate tectonics in the High Arctic: new 2D seismic data and geodynamic models

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nikishin, Anatoly; Kazmin, Yuriy; Glumov, Ivan; Petrov, Eugene; Poselov, Viktor; Burov, Evgueni; Gaina, Carmen

    2014-05-01

    Our paper is mainly based on the interpretation of 2D seismic lines, obtained from Arctic-2001 and Arctic-2012 projects. We also analyzed all available open-source data concerning Arctic geology. Three domains are distinguished in the abyssal part of Arctic Ocean: (1) Canada Basin, (2) Lomonosov-Podvodnikov-Alpha-Mendeleev-Nautilus-Chukchi Plateau (LPAMNCP) area, (3) Eurasia Basin. Canada Basin has oceanic and transitional crust of different structure. The formation time of this oceanic basin is probably 134-117 Ma. New seismic data for LPAMNCP area shows numerous rift structures parallel to the Lomonosov Ridge and Mendeleev Ridge. These rift structures are also nearly orthogonal to the Canada Basin spreading axis, and this may indicate either a different mechanism for the formation of the LPAMNCP region and Canada Basin, or a very complicated basin architecture formed by processes we do not yet understand. We also observe at the base of the LPAMNCP area sedimentary cover packages of bright reflectors, they were interpreted as basalt flows probably related to the Cretaceous plume volcanism. Approximate time of the volcanism is about 125 Ma. After this event, the area experienced stretching and transtension as documented by large scale rifting structures. The younger Eurasian Basin has oceanic crust of Eocene to Recent age, and our new seismic data confirms that Gakkel Ridge has typical ultraslow-spreading zone topography. Perhaps, Eurasia Basin crust was partly formed by exhumed and serpentinized mantle. Lomonosov and Alpha-Mendeleev Ridges has typical present-day basin and range topography with Oligocene to Recent faults. It means, that all LPAMNCP area was subjected to regional intra-plate stretching during Neogene to Recent time. We assume, that this intra-plate stretching was related to the Gakkel Ridge extension. We suppose, that the deep-water part of Arctic Ocean was formed during three main stages: (1) Valanginian - Early Aptian: formation of Canada Basin; (2) 125 Ma - Large-scale magmatism at Alpha-Mendeleev Ridge area, followed by large-scale rifting at LPAMNCP area; (3) Eocene to present: Eurasian Basin formation, ultraslow spreading. This process is accompanied by LPAMNCP area stretching. These three stages are connected with main phases of the plate tectonic reorganization.

  7. Tectonics changes in NW South American Plate and their effect on the movement pattern of the Boconó Fault System during the Mérida Andes evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Javadi, Hamid Reza; Foroutan, Mohammad; Ashtiani, Marzieh Esterabi; Urbina, Jose Angel; Saidi, Abdollah; Faridi, Mohammad

    2011-07-01

    The NE-SW trending Mérida-Andes fold-and-thrust belt, in the southern boundary of the Maracaibo Block, formed by a collisional event in Late Miocene at the boundary of the Maracaibo Block and Guyana Shield in the northwestern South American plate. The 500 km long, NE-SW striking right-lateral strike-slip Boconó Fault System lies in the Mérida-Andes area. Mylonitic fault rocks along the Boconó Fault System developed during pre-Late Miocene-Early Pliocene. Microscopic and mesoscopic structures such as mica fish, asymmetrical porphyroclasts, S-C shear bands, and asymmetrical ductile folds in Boconó Fault mylonite indicate a sinistral movement along the fault. The movement is probably related to pre-collision extensional tectonics that began in the Late Triassic-Jurassic interval, and continued until the Late Cretaceous or Middle Eocene. Following the collision of the Panamá Arc and the South American plate in the Late Miocene, and the change from extensional to contractional tectonic regime, the Boconó was reactivated as a dextral fault system.

  8. Effect of Rheology on Mantle Dynamics and Plate Tectonics in Super-Earths

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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 by intersticial diffusion may become more effective than by vacancy diffusion, possibly causing in a decrease of viscosity with pressure along an adiabat. This would allow ~adiabatic temperatures in the deepest mantle. (iii) In the context of planetary evolution: If, as is likely, a super-Earth was extremely hot/molten after its formation, it is thus likely that even after billions of years its deep interior is still extremely hot and possibly substantially molten with a "super basal magma ocean" - a larger version of the proposal of [6] that would affect outgassing history, although this depends on presently unknown melt-solid density contrast and solidus. [1] Valencia, D., R. J. O'Connell and D. D. Sasselov (2007) Astro. J. 670, L45-L48. [2] van Heck, H. and P. J. Tackley (2011) Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., submitted. [3] Ammann, M.W., Brodholt, J.P., Wookey, J., Dobson, D.P. (2010) Nature 465, 462-465. [4] Tackley P. J. (2008) PEPI 171, 7-18. [5] Karato, S. (2011) Icarus, 212, 14-23. [6] Labrosse, S., Hernlund, J.W., Coltice, N. (2007) Nature 450, 866-869.

  9. Formation of the world's largest molybdenum metallogenic belt: a plate-tectonic perspective on the Qinling molybdenum deposits

    Microsoft Academic Search

    Cong-Ying Li; Fang-Yue Wang; Xi-Luo Hao; Xing Ding; Hong Zhang; Ming-Xing Ling; Ji-Bin Zhou; Yi-Liang Li; Wei-Ming Fan; Wei-Dong Sun

    2012-01-01

    Qinling ore belt is the largest known molybdenum belt in the world with a total reserve of >5 Mt of Mo metal. Based on the geochemical behaviour of Mo, the structural settings of the Qinling orogenic belt, and geological events in eastern China, we propose that tectonic settings are of critical importance to the formation of these ore deposits. Molybdenum

  10. Formation of the world's largest molybdenum metallogenic belt: a plate-tectonic perspective on the Qinling molybdenum deposits

    Microsoft Academic Search

    Cong-Ying Li; Fang-Yue Wang; Xi-Luo Hao; Xing Ding; Hong Zhang; Ming-Xing Ling; Ji-Bin Zhou; Yi-Liang Li; Wei-Ming Fan; Wei-Dong Sun

    2011-01-01

    Qinling ore belt is the largest known molybdenum belt in the world with a total reserve of >5 Mt of Mo metal. Based on the geochemical behaviour of Mo, the structural settings of the Qinling orogenic belt, and geological events in eastern China, we propose that tectonic settings are of critical importance to the formation of these ore deposits. Molybdenum

  11. From subduction to collision: constraining the early history of the Taiwan Mountain Belt by plate tectonic reconstructions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    von Hagke, Christoph; Philippon, Mélody; Avouac, Jean-Philippe

    2014-05-01

    Understanding formation of the Taiwan orogen is important, because it is an active case-example to test geodynamic theories of mountain building processes, such as the critical wedge model, or of subduction zone reversal. Nevertheless, large uncertainties exist regarding the pre-collisional architecture of the orogen, timing of collision, as well as peak metamorphic conditions of the Cenozoic orogeny. The goal of this contribution is to re-evaluate existing models in the light of recent geophysical datasets, and constrain the evolution towards the present day plate tectonic configuration with a comprehensive reconstruction of plate movements since the Late Cretaceous. To this end, we present a revised analysis of the plate tectonic framework of Southeast Asia since the Late Cretaceous, a time when subduction polarity was still opposite to what is observed at present (westward subduction of the Pacific Plate, as opposed to eastward subduction of Eurasia at present). This is independent of the subduction zone reversal thought to occur at present in the northern part of the Taiwan orogen. We place our reconstructions within a global plate tectonic frame, and discuss (1) the consequences of subduction zone reversal for the evolving passive margin, (2) the influence of opening on the (proto-) South China Sea on the pre-collisional architecture. This yields a new model for the collisional history of Taiwan, which reconciles the pre-collisional architecture with the metamorphic conditions of the Cenozoic orogeny, and makes predictions about timing of peak-pressures, as well as the timing of collision and present subduction zone reversal.

  12. TOPSIDE TECTONICS Don L. Anderson

    E-print Network

    Anderson, Don L.

    Science #12;07/19/01 2 TABLE 1: Convection and Plate Tectonics Style of Convection Successful ? Problems-forming plates TBD Freely-evolving plates TBD #12;07/19/01 3 Abstract Plate tectonics is a far in and between the plates. Without plate tectonics and with simple boundary conditions the mantle would

  13. The Jan Mayen Microcontinent: Computers animations of the plate tectonic history

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Roest, W. R.; Lundin, E. R.; Torsvik, T. H.; Olesen, O.

    2002-12-01

    Local reinterpretation of magnetic seafloor anomalies in the NE Atlantic (e.g. Gaina et al., EPSL, 2002), and the Arctic (Oakey et al, GSC-Open File, 1999) has led to a revised Tertiary plate model for the region. Our model suggests complete separation between the North American and Eurasian plates was established first in the Oligocene, when a southward propagating Arctic spreading system linked with a northward propagating Atlantic spreading system. The Arctic system consisted of the Nansen, Mohns, and Aegir Ridges, with a series of left-lateral offsets, around the Greenland craton. The Atlantic system consisted of the Reykjanes and Kolbeinsey Ridges and stepped right around Greenland for the same reason. The final configuration became one of opposed and overlapping propagating spreading systems, where both the Aegir and the Kolbeinsey spreading ridges were active, a concept discussed by Vogt (1986). This configuration resembles that seen for microcracks, mode 1 fractures, normal faults, rifts, and minor offsets along spreading axes (e.g. Macdonald and Sempere, JGR, 1984). The interaction of the spreading ridge system with the Iceland Hotspot, likely influenced the timing and style of rifting and break-up (e.g. Mueller et al., Geology, 2001). As a result of the overlapping tips of the Arctic and Atlantic spreading axes, the Jan Mayen microcontinent gradually became separated from East Greenland and rotated c. 50° counter clockwise in the process. Our reconstructions indicate that this separation and rotation started approximately at Chron 22 (49 Ma) and ended approximately at Chron 12 (30 Ma) when the Aegir Ridge became extinct. During its rotation, the Jan Mayen microcontinent formed a bridge between NW Europe (the Faroes area) and southern East Greenland for quite some time. Clearly, the presence of the Jan Mayen continental sliver must have influenced oceanic circulation patterns between the NE Atlantic and Norwegian-Greenland Sea. We present a series of computer graphic animations, using magnetic, gravity and bathymetric data, to illustrate this complex tectonic history and its implications.

  14. Plate tectonics and offshore boundary delimitation: Tunisia-Libya case at the International Court of Justice

    SciTech Connect

    Stanley, D.J.

    1983-03-01

    Advances in the technology for exploiting resources of the oceans, particularly recovery of hydrocarbons and minerals in deep water, is benefiting a growing number of nations. At the same time, however, economic and political pressures have induced concern and there is now a much increased emphasis on jurisdiction to divide the offshore areas between the 132 coastal nations. Negotiations affect research operations at sea and, in consequence, marine scientists have been made aware of offshore problems as highlighted by the Law of the Sea Treaty (UNCLOS III) and complications arising from the legal versus scientific definitions of continental shelves and margins. The first major offshore boundary case of international scope where plate tectonics has constituted a significant argument is the one recently brought before the International Court of Justice by Libya and Tunisia concerning the delimitation of their continental shelves. Of the two parties, Libya placed the greatest emphasis on this concept as a means to determine natural prolongation of its land territory into and under the sea. Tunisia contested Libya's use of the whole of the African continental landmass as a reference unit; in Tunisia's view, considerations of geography, geomorphology, and bathymetry are at least as relevant as are those of geology. In its landmark judgment (February 1982) - which almost certainly will have far-reaching consequences in future such boundary delimitation cases - the court pronounced that It is the outcome, not the evolution in the long-distant past, which is of importance, and that it is the present-day configuration of the coasts and sea bed which are the main factors to be considered, not geology.

  15. Dynamic Digital Maps: On-line Publication of Representative "Local" Geology in a Plate Tectonic Setting

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Condit, C. D.

    2002-12-01

    The use of Dynamic Digital Maps (DDMs) offers the geologic community a combination of attributes which allow the on-line publication of spatially related, highly quantitative data, to be set in a local or regional environment which lets both professional and students make inquiry based observations, and makes these data easily available for analyses. The DDM does this by displaying analytical data, images and movies from links at sample site locations on maps or images in a friendly user interface. Macintosh-only prototypes of two of these DDMs [Springerville Volcanic Field (DDM-SVF) and Tatara-San Pedro volcanic complex (DDM-TSP)] have been used in university petrology classes; the latter program has been converted to a template from which other DDMs can be made. This DDM.Template is presently being ported to a cross-platform web-enabled programming environment (MetaCard - Revolution). An example of a map produced in the process of creating this port, the DDM of New England (DDM-NE) includes six geologic field trips and the State Geologic Map of Massachusetts, and can be obtained from the URL http://ddm.geo.umass.edu. The use of these three maps allows what is essentially access to representative "local" geology in three global plate tectonic settings: a subduction zone (the Andes, DDM-TSP), a continental interior monogenetic volcanic field (DDM-SVF) and a failed rift valley (the Deerfield Basin within the DDM.NE). Because the DDM.Template provides locations for text and captions to be inserted for use at several user levels (e.g. the professional geologist, the beginning geoscientist, and the layman or perhaps middle-school student) the use of DDMs also provides a much needed outreach mechanism for the geosciences.

  16. Biogeographical Consequences of Cenozoic Tectonic Events within East Asian Margins: A Case Study of Hynobius Biogeography

    PubMed Central

    Li, Jun; Fu, Cuizhang; Lei, Guangchun

    2011-01-01

    Few studies have explored the role of Cenozoic tectonic evolution in shaping patterns and processes of extant animal distributions within East Asian margins. We select Hynobius salamanders (Amphibia: Hynobiidae) as a model to examine biogeographical consequences of Cenozoic tectonic events within East Asian margins. First, we use GenBank molecular data to reconstruct phylogenetic interrelationships of Hynobius by Bayesian and maximum likelihood analyses. Second, we estimate the divergence time using the Bayesian relaxed clock approach and infer dispersal/vicariance histories under the ‘dispersal–extinction–cladogenesis’ model. Finally, we test whether evolutionary history and biogeographical processes of Hynobius should coincide with the predictions of two major hypotheses (the ‘vicariance’/‘out of southwestern Japan’ hypothesis). The resulting phylogeny confirmed Hynobius as a monophyletic group, which could be divided into nine major clades associated with six geographical areas. Our results show that: (1) the most recent common ancestor of Hynobius was distributed in southwestern Japan and Hokkaido Island, (2) a sister taxon relationship between Hynobius retardatus and all remaining species was the results of a vicariance event between Hokkaido Island and southwestern Japan in the Middle Eocene, (3) ancestral Hynobius in southwestern Japan dispersed into the Taiwan Island, central China, ‘Korean Peninsula and northeastern China’ as well as northeastern Honshu during the Late Eocene–Late Miocene. Our findings suggest that Cenozoic tectonic evolution plays an important role in shaping disjunctive distributions of extant Hynobius within East Asian margins. PMID:21738684

  17. Snack Tectonics

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    Roberta Johnson

    This activity uses food to demonstrate plate tectonic motions. Students construct a model using different snacks, which represent various parts of the Earth. For example, frosting represents the asthenosphere, fruit rollups are the Earth's plates, and graham crackers are meant to be the Earth's crust. Students learn how tectonic plates (lithosphere) ride atop the slow flowing asthenosphere layer, and how they interact at their boundaries.

  18. Generation of plate tectonics with two-phase grain-damage and pinning: Source-sink model and toroidal flow

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bercovici, David; Ricard, Yanick

    2013-03-01

    The grain-damage and pinning mechanism of Bercovici and Ricard (2012) for lithospheric shear-localization is employed in two-dimensional flow calculations to test its ability to generate toroidal (strike-slip) motion and influence plate evolution. This mechanism posits that damage to the interface between phases in a polycrystalline material like peridotite (composed primarily of olivine and pyroxene) increases the number of small Zener pinning surfaces, which then constrain mineral grains to ever smaller sizes, regardless of creep mechanism. This effect allows a self-softening feedback in which damage and grain-reduction can co-exist with a grain-size dependent diffusion creep rheology; moreover, grain growth and weak-zone healing are greatly impeded by Zener pinning thereby leading to long-lived relic weak zones. The fluid dynamical calculations employ source-sink driven flow as a proxy for convective poloidal flow (upwelling/downwelling and divergent/convergent motion), and the coupling of this flow with non-linear rheological mechanisms excites toroidal or strike-slip motion. The numerical experiments show that pure dislocation-creep rheology, and grain-damage without Zener pinning (as occurs in a single-phase assemblages) permit only weak localization and toroidal flow; however, the full grain-damage with pinning readily allows focussed localization and intense, plate-like toroidal motion and strike-slip deformation. Rapid plate motion changes are also tested with abrupt rotations of the source-sink field after a plate-like configuration is developed; the post-rotation flow and material property fields retain memory of the original configuration for extensive periods, leading to suboptimally aligned plate boundaries (e.g., strike-slip margins non-parallel to plate motion), oblique subduction, and highly localized, weak and long lived acute plate-boundary junctions such as at what is observed at the Aleutian-Kurile intersection. The grain-damage and pinning theory therefore readily satisfies key plate-tectonic metrics of localized toroidal motion and plate-boundary inheritance, and thus provides a predictive theory for the generation of plate tectonics on Earth and other planets.

  19. Regional Tectonics emphasizes the

    E-print Network

    . Generally the class utilizes aspects of structural geology and plate tectonic theory to provide a broad and interests. Other topics included a careful assessment of the plate tectonics model, Wilson cycle, firstRegional Tectonics emphasizes the tectonic development of major mountain ranges across the globe

  20. 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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Toksoz, M. Nafi

    1988-01-01

    The long-term objective of this project is to interpret NASA's Crustal Dynamics measurements (SLR) in the Eastern Mediterranean region in terms of relative plate movements and intraplate deformation. The approach is to combine realistic modeling studies with analysis of available geophysical and geological observations to provide a framework for interpreting NASA's measurements. This semi-annual report concentrates on recent results regarding the tectonics of Anatolia and surrounding regions from ground based observations. Also reported on briefly is progress in the use of the Global Positioning System to densify SLR observations in the Eastern Mediterranean. Reference is made to the previous annual report for a discussion of modeling results.

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Toksoz, M. Nafi

    1987-01-01

    The long term objective of this project is to interpret NASA's Crustal Dynamics measurements (SLR) in the Eastern Mediterranean region in terms of relative plate motions and intraplate deformation. The approach is to combine realistic modeling studies with an analysis of available geophysical and geological observations to provide a framework for interpreting NASA's measurements. This semi-annual report concentrates on recent results regarding the tectonics of Anatolia and surrounding regions from ground based observations. Also briefly reported on is progress made in using GPS measurements to densify SLR observations in the Eastern Mediterranean.

  2. New paradigm for the early Earth: did plate tectonics as we know it not operate until the end of the Archean?

    Microsoft Academic Search

    G. J. H. McCall

    2010-01-01

    Here, I question the apparent absence of ‘oceanic’ crust from the Archean and whether plate tectonics as we know it, involving ridges, deep oceans, subduction and continent-sized plates, operated during the Archean. The suggestion is advanced that the early seas were formed after the initiation of continental crust at >4 Ga; that this crust was globe enveloping; and that the

  3. Oregon offers something for everyone who loves the outdoors --especially geologists. Oregon is a land filled with wonder and intrigue. Over the state's long history, plate tectonic and volcanic activity

    E-print Network

    Tullos, Desiree

    . Oregon is a land filled with wonder and intrigue. Over the state's long history, plate tectonic tectonic plate under- neath the Pacific Ocean produced the Coast Range over millions of years. Hot fluids coming off the diving plate, beginning about 35 million years ago, resulted in the volcanic eruptions

  4. On the role of slab pull in the Cenozoic motion of the Pacific plate Claudio Faccenna,1,2

    E-print Network

    Demouchy, Sylvie

    ., 39, L03305, doi:10.1029/2011GL050155. 1. Introduction [2] The motion of tectonic plates is generally]. [4] Here, we revise the plate geometry and the tectonic event history in/around the Pacific plateOn the role of slab pull in the Cenozoic motion of the Pacific plate Claudio Faccenna,1,2 Thorsten

  5. Regional Paleoseismology Within Tectonic Complexity of Plate Interior and Island Arcs: the Itoigawa-Shizuoka Tectonic Line Active Fault System in Central Japan

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Okumura, K.

    2008-12-01

    Structural simplicity of a highly-active fault system is a requisite for characteristic recurrence of large earthquakes. Recent paleoseismological studies on timing and repeated slips on the North Anatolian fault and the San Andreas fault have evidenced the condition. Regular recurrent earthquakes of similar size in a fault segment seems to be real under certain cirucumstances. However, paleoseismology in fault systems of structural complexity usually exhibit rather irregular recurrence of earthquakes in space and time. These observations tend to make seismologists skeptical about time-dependent risk assessment. In order to better evaluate the risks from actual data on active faulting, we need to reject simplistic mind in zones of complexity. In this paper, long-term behavior of the Itoigawa-Shizuoka tectonic line active fault system (ISTL), paleoseismologically the riskiest major active fault system in central Japan is analyzed together with rupture history of adjacent major fault zone within regional tectonic framework. Low-acitivity (< 4 mm/yr, R>2000 yr) Northern ISTL juxtaposes the high-heatflow basement block of Hida Mountains with overthrusting Neogene sediments in Saikawa Hills, the other flank of which is also bordered by active ( 5 mm/yr, R=~1000 yr) Nagano fault zone. Low-activity (< 2 mm/yr, R>3000 yr) Southern ISTL fringes only for 30 km along northeastern corner of the 100 km by 50 km the Akaishi Mesozoic-Neogene accretion block, that is presumably more affected by PHS-EUR plate boundary. There is another major moderate fault zone (~1 mm/yr, R=5000 yr) of Ina faults in west of Akaishi block. Further west are conjugate strike-slip fault systems of Kiso and Atera. Between these two low-activity portions of the ISTL, the Middle ISTL shows very high activity (5 to 10 mm/yr, R < 800 yr) and the evaluation as the riskiest faults derive only from this Middle ISTL. The rupture history of the ISTL will be analyzed together with that of adjacent fault zones in order to understand regional slip partitioning among fault zones under complex geologic and tectonic setting. The analyses will give better perspective on fault activities in plate interior and island arcs. u.ac.jp/kojiok

  6. Archean plate tectonics geodynamics: example from the Belomorian province, Fennoscandian Shield

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Slabunov, Alexander

    2014-05-01

    A fragment of the Archean collisional Belomorian orogen has been identified as the Belomorian province (BP) of the Fennoscandian Shield (Slabunov, 2008; Holtta et al., 2014). The province consists dominantly of Archean rocks, Early Paleoproterozoic rocks being less abundant. Rock of BP exhumed from middle crustal depths in Paleoproterozoic time (1.94-1.8 Ga). Seismic (CDP) profiling data (Sharov et al., 2010) show that the internal structure of BP reflects nappe tectonics: in Archean time, a collage of numerous slides was formed, and in Paleoproterozoic time the BP was thrusted on the Karelian craton and, in turn, was thrusted by rocks of the Kola province. The BP consists dominantly of Meso- and Neoarchean rock association (Slabunov et al. 2006). Neoarchean granitoids predominate, but eclogite-bearing metam?lange (Volodichev et al., 2004; Mints et al., 2010; Shchipansky et al., 2012), island-arc volcanics, front-arc basin sediments, ophiolite-type oceanic plateau-type rocks, collisional S-granites, kyanite-facies metamorphic rocks, molassa-type rocks, subalkaline granitoids and leucogabbro have been revealed among supracrustal rock associations. Rocks of the Belomorian province were subjected to multiple metamorphism in Archean and Paleoproterozoic time at moderately high to high pressures and were considerably deformed. High-grade supracrustal complexes make up not more than 20 % of the BP, but as they probably host ore and are crucial for the understanding of the formation and evolution of the structure, they are given close attention. Five generations of greenstone complexes of different ages: 2.88-2.82 Ga, 2.8-2.78 Ga, ca. 2.75 Ga , ca. 2.72 Ga and not later than 2.66 Ga, and two paragneiss complex in which sediments were formed 2.89-2.82 and 2.78 Ga ago, are distinguished. The main stages of crustal evolution in the BP: ca 2.88-2.82 Ga - the first subduction-accretion event marked by the following complexes: island-arc volcanics of the Keret GB; metagraywacke (front-arc basin sediments) of the Chupa paragneiss belt; Salma eclogites; 2.81?2.78 Ga - the second subduction-accretion event marked by the following complexes: island-arc volcanics, supra-subduction ophiolite (Iringora), graywackes, granulites (Notozero) and 4) eclogites (Kuru-Vaara); 2.75 Ga - the third subduction event marked by island-arc volcanics (Chelozero); 2.73-2.72 Ga - the fourth subduction-accretion event marked by : island-arc volcanics (Mil'kevich et al., 2007), granulites and Gridino eclogites; ca 2.7-2.66 Ga - collisional event marked by: collisional S-granites, kyanite-facies metamorphic rocks, molassa-type rocks, subalkaline granitoids and leucogabbro. The crustal evolution of the BP in the period 2.88-2.66 Ga is similar to the evolution of Phanerozoic collision orogens. This is a contribution to RFBR Project 13-05-91162.

  7. Self-Consistent Generation of Tectonic Plates in Time Dependent, Three-Dimensional Mantle Convection Simulations. Part 1: PseudoPlastic Yielding

    Microsoft Academic Search

    Paul J. Tackley

    Presented here are the first three-dimensional simulations of mantle convection to display self-consistently-generated plate tectonic-like behavior which is continuous in space and time. Plate behavior arises through a reasonable material description of silicate deformation, with a simple yield stress being sufficient to give first-order plate-like behavior. Toroidal:poloidal ratios are within geologically-observed limits. The sensitivity of the system to yield strength

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    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?

  9. The influence of tectonic plates on mantle convection patterns, temperature and heat flow

    Microsoft Academic Search

    Julian P. Lowman; Scott D. King; Carl W. Gable

    2001-01-01

    SUMMARY The dynamic coupling between plate motion and mantle convection is investigated in a suite of Cartesian models by systematically varying aspect ratios and plate geometries. The aim of the study presented here is to determine to what extent plates affect mantle flow patterns, temperature and surface heat flux. To this end, we compare numerical convection models with free-slip boundary

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

    SciTech Connect

    Bercovici, D. [Univ. of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI (United States)] [Univ. of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI (United States)

    1995-02-01

    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.

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    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.

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lenardic, A.; Kaula, W. M.

    1993-01-01

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

  13. Tectonics of the Hjort region of the Macquarie Ridge Complex, southernmost Australian-Pacific plate boundary, southwest Pacific Ocean

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Meckel, Timothy Ashworth

    The Hjort Ridge, Trench, and Plateau comprise the southernmost portion of the Macquarie Ridge Complex (MRC), the Australian-Pacific plate boundary south of New Zealand. The MRC is an ideal location to study deformation and structural development at an obliquely convergent plate boundary involving oceanic lithosphere. This dissertation documents structures and processes in the Hjort region associated with incipient subduction, an outstanding problem in plate tectonics. I investigated the evolution of the plate boundary from ˜33 Ma to the present day, concentrating on the active and recent structural development. Interpretations are based on analyses of recently collected geophysical data in the Hjort region, including swath bathymetry, reflectivity, seismic reflection, gravity, magnetics, and seismicity. The Australian plate is actively underthrusting the Pacific plate along the Hjort Trench, but self-sustaining subduction does not appear to have commenced. Transpression along the length of the plate boundary has been accommodated by lithospheric flexure, strike slip faulting, and geographically limited underthrusting. A consistent relationship exists between the convergence angle and the amount of dynamically supported topography; up to 50 km of convergence has been accommodated by flexure forming ridges and troughs. A continuous, strike slip fault accommodates oblique convergence along the length of the boundary. Where angles of convergence are highest (>20°), underthrusting is observed in addition. Gravity modeling and seismicity suggest ˜50 km of underthrusting in the southern Hjort Trench, but only define an eastwardly dipping Australian slab to about 20 km depth. Lithosphere underthrust in the southern trench is translated subparallel to the ˜N-trending boundary, limiting the eastward extent of underthrust slab. Reconstructions of the plate boundary since 33.3 Ma show that the Antarctic-Australian-Pacific triple junction migrated southward with respect to the Australian plate resulting in the present day curved plate boundary. Migration resulted in lengthening of the dextral transform fault connecting the Macquarie Ridge and Southeast Indian Ridge spreading centers and shortening of the easternmost ridge-segment of latter spreading center. The MRC in the Hjort region changed from a dextral transform into an obliquely convergent zone of incipient subduction.

  14. Pacific-North America Plate Tectonics of the Neogene Southwestern United States: An Update

    Microsoft Academic Search

    Tanya Atwater; Joann Stock

    1998-01-01

    We use updated rotations within the Pacific-Antarctica-Africa-North America plate circuit to calculate Pacific-North America plate reconstructions for times since chron 13 (33 Ma). The direction of motion of the Pacific plate relative to stable North America was fairly steady between chrons 13 and 4, and then changed and moved in a more northerly direction from chron 4 to the present

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    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.

  16. The Northern Carpathians plate tectonic evolutionary stages and origin of olistoliths and olistostromes

    Microsoft Academic Search

    Marek Cieszkowski; Jan Golonka; Michal Krobicki; Andrzej Slaczka; Nestor Oszczypko; Anna Waskowska; Marek Wendorff

    2009-01-01

    The olistostromes formed in Northern Carpathians during the different stages of the development of flysch basins, from rift trough post-rift, orogenic to postorogenic stage. They are known from the Cretaceous, Paleocene, Eocene, Oligocene and Early Miocene flysch deposits of main tectonic units. Those units are the Skole, Subsilesian, Silesian, Dukla and Magura nappes as well as the Pieniny Klippen Belt

  17. Plate-Tectonic Circulation is Driven by Cooling From the Top and is Closed Within the Upper Mantle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hamilton, W. B.

    2001-12-01

    Subduction drives plate tectonics and is due to cooling from the top: circulation is self-organized, and likely is closed above the discontinuity near 660 km. The contrary consensus that plate tectonics is driven by bottom heating and involves the entire mantle combines misunderstood kinematics with flawed concepts of through-the-mantle plumes and subduction. Plume conjecture came from the Emperor-Hawaii progression, the 45 Ma inflection in which was assumed to mark a 60-degree change in direction of that part of the Pacific plate over a fixed plume. Smooth spreading patterns around the east and south margin of the Pacific plate, and paleomagnetic data, disprove such a change. Speculations that plumes move, jump, etc. do not revive falsified conjecture. Geochemical distinctions between enriched island and depleted ridge basalts (which overlap) are expected products of normal upper-mantle processes, not plumes. MORB traverses solidus-T asthenosphere, whereas OIB zone-refines through subsolidus lithosphere and crust, crystallizing refractories to retain T of diminishing melt while assimilating and retaining fusibles. Tomographic inference of deep-mantle subduction is presented misleadingly and may reflect methodological and sampling artifacts (downward smearing, and concentration of recorded body waves in bundles within broad anomalies otherwise poorly sampled). Planetological and other data require hot Earth accretion, and thorough early fractionation, from material much more refractory than primitive meteorites, and are incompatible with the little-fractionated lower mantle postulated to permit whole-mantle circulation. The profound seismic discontinuity near 660 km is a thermodynamic and physical barrier to easy mass transfer in either direction. Refractory lower mantle convects slowly, perhaps in layers, and loses primarily original heat, whereas upper mantle churns rapidly, and the 660 decoupling boundary must have evolved into a compositional barrier also. Plate motions are driven by subduction, the passive falling away of oceanic lithosphere which is negatively buoyant because of top-down cooling. Slabs have top and bottom rolling hinges and sink subvertically (inclinations of slabs mark their positions, not trajectories) into the transition zone, where they are laid down on, and depress, the 660-km discontinuity. Rollback of upper hinges into subducting plates is required by plate behavior at all scales. That fronts of overriding plates advance at rollback velocity is required by common preservation atop their thin leading edges of little-deformed fore-arc basins. Convergence velocity also commonly equals rollback but is faster in some arcs. Steeply-sinking inclined slabs push sublithospheric upper mantle forward into the shrinking ocean from which they came, forcing seafloor spreading therein, and pull overriding plates behind them. Continental plates pass over sunken slabs like tanks above their basal treads, and material from, and displaced rearward by, sunken slabs is cycled into pull-apart oceans opening behind the continents, thus transferring mantle from shrinking to enlarging oceans. Hot mantle displaced above slabs enables backarc spreading. Spreading ridges, in both shrinking and enlarging oceans, are passive byproducts of subduction, and migrate because it is more energy efficient to process new asthenosphere than to get partial melt from increasingly distant sources. A plate-motion framework wherein hinges roll back, ridges migrate, Antarctica is approximately fixed, and intraplate deformation is integrated may approximate an absolute reference to sluggish lower mantle, whereas the hotspot frame is invalid, and the no-net-rotation frame minimizes trench and ridge motions.

  18. Sea Level Changes and Active Tectonics of the Guerrero Coast, Mexico

    Microsoft Academic Search

    M. Ramirez-Herrera; A. B. Cundy; M. Sedor; V. Kostoglodov

    2003-01-01

    Understanding the interaction between sea-level changes and tectonic activity during the Holocene is essential in determining long-term tectonic deformation rates and in identifying prehistorical earthquake events along active margins. The Guerrero coast extends along the active Pacific margin of southwest Mexico and parallels the trench where the Cocos Plate subducts beneath the North American Plate. The last major earthquakes occurred

  19. The need for geodetic observations to constrain the relative motion of the Indian tectonic plate

    Microsoft Academic Search

    D. Guptasarma; N. Purnachandra Rao; M. Ravikumar; S. P. Satyabala

    1991-01-01

    The prediction errors of recent geodynamic plate motion modelling and a study of the relative importance of data on boundaries devoid of plate motion data reveal that the India-Eurasia boundary is of utmost importance for better geodynamic modelling. Examination of the influence of some hypothetical very long baseline interferometry (VLBI) measurements involving an Indian station clearly demonstrates the improvement in

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

    Microsoft Academic Search

    Thomas C. Hanks

    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

  1. Recent volcanism, tectonics and plate kinematics near the junction of the African, Arabian and Anatolian plates in the eastern Mediterranean

    Microsoft Academic Search

    M. Tekin Yürür; Jean Chorowicz

    1998-01-01

    In the Eastern Mediterranean, plate convergence occurs between Africa–Arabia and Anatolia. The Africa\\/Arabia motion is a strike-slip displacement along the Dead Sea fault. The Africa\\/Anatolia motion is taken up by subduction south of Cyprus. The convergence between Arabia and Anatolia is taken up along the East Anatolian fault. The analysis of the regional fault surfaces reveals the presence of two

  2. Plates on the Move

    NSDL National Science Digital Library

    This fun Web article is part of OLogy, where kids can collect virtual trading cards and create projects with them. Here, they learn about the Earth's outer shell and its constant movement. It begins with an overview that explains tectonic plates. There is an animation that shows recent earthquakes and their relationship to plate boundaries. Students can click to explore 12 individual volcanoes, mountains, hotspots, and earthquakes. For each of the geological formations or events, they will see a map that shows how the plates are moving, an animation about plate interaction, stats, and a story about that particular formation or event.

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

    E-print Network

    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.

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

    E-print Network

    Jozsef Garai

    2007-09-10

    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.

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

    PubMed

    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. PMID:23698011

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

    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. PMID:23698011

  7. Effects of Student-Generated Diagrams versus Student-Generated Summaries on Conceptual Understanding of Causal and Dynamic Knowledge in Plate Tectonics.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    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…

  8. Tectonic plate coupling and elastic thickness derived from the inversion of a steady state viscoelastic model using geodetic data: Application to southern North Island, New Zealand

    Microsoft Academic Search

    Steven C. Cohen; Desmond J. Darby

    2003-01-01

    A steady state viscoelastic model of deformation at an oblique convergence zone is used to analyze crustal velocities deduced from Global Positioning System (GPS) observations in southern North Island, New Zealand. The model is physically more reasonable than elastic dislocation theory because the tectonic plates have finite elastic thicknesses. In an inversion that makes use of Green's functions derived from

  9. Fostering Inquiry and Scientific Investigation in Students by Using GPS Data to Explore Plate Tectonics and Volcanic Deformation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Olds, S. E.; Eriksson, S.

    2007-12-01

    The Education and Outreach program at UNAVCO has developed free instructional materials using authentic high-precision GPS data for secondary education and undergraduate students in Earth science courses. Using inquiry-based, data-rich activities, students investigate crustal deformation and plate motion using GPS data and learn how these measurements are important to scientific discovery and understanding natural hazards and the current state of prediction. Because this deformation is expressed on Earth's surface over familiar time scales and on easily visualized orders of magnitude, GPS data represent an effective method for illustrating the geomorphic effects of plate tectonics and, in essence, allow students to 'see' plates move and volcanoes deform. The activities foster student skills to critically assess different forms of data, to visualize abstract concepts, and to evaluate multiple lines of evidence to analyze scientific problems. The activities are scaffolded to begin with basic concepts about GPS data and analyzing simple plate motion and move towards data analyses for more complex motion and crustal deformation. As part of assessment, students can apply new knowledge to explore other geographic regions independently. Learning activities currently include exploring motion along the San Andreas Fault, monitoring volcano deformation and ground movement at the Yellowstone Caldera, and analyzing ground motion along the subduction zone in the Cascadia region. To support educators and their students in their investigations, UNAVCO has developed the Data for Educators portal; http://www.unavco.org/edu_outreach/data.html. This portal provides a Google-map displaying the locations of GPS stations, web links to numerical GPS data that illustrate specific Earth processes, and educational activities that incorporate this data. The GPS data is freely available in a format compatible with standard spreadsheet and graphing programs as well as visualization and analysis tools such as the Integrated Data Viewer (IDV). After becoming familiar with the data available through the Data for Educators portal, students are more prepared to use the full UNAVCO data archive to conduct their own independent investigations.

  10. Tectonic and deposition model of late Precambrian-Cambrian Arabian and adjoining plates

    SciTech Connect

    Husseini, M.I. (Aramco, Dhahran (Saudi Arabia))

    1989-09-01

    During the late Precambrian, the terranes of the Arabian and adjoining plates were fused along the northeastern flank of the African plate in Gondwanaland. This phase, which ended approximately 640 to 620 Ma, was followed by continental failure (620 to 580 Ma) and intracontinental extension (600 to approximately 550 Ma). During the Infracambrian extensional phase, a triple junction may have evolved near the Sinai Peninsula and may have consisted of the (1) Jordan Valley and Dead Sea rift branch, (2) Sinai and North Egypt rift branch, and (3) the Najd wrench-rift branch. The Najd, Hawasina, and Zagros fault systems may have been transverse faults that accompanied rifting in the Arabian Gulf and Zagros Mountains, southern Oman, Pakistan, and Kerman in central Iran. While the area was extending and subsiding, the Tethys Ocean flooded the eastern side of the Arabian plate and Iran and deposited calcareous clastics, carbonates, and evaporites (including the Hormuz and Ara halites). This transgression extended into the western part of the Arabian plate via the Najd rift system. The termination of the extensional phase during the late Early Cambrian was accompanied by a major regression and terrestrial conditions on the Arabian Peninsula. However, by the Early Ordovician, as sea level peaked to a highstand, the Arabian plate was blanketed with marginal marine sediments. 11 figs., 2 tabs.

  11. The lithospheric geodynamics of plate boundary transpression in New Zealand: Initiating and emplacing subduction along the Hikurangi margin, and the tectonic evolution of the Alpine Fault system

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Furlong, Kevin P.; Kamp, Peter J. J.

    2009-09-01

    In contrast to the normal 'Wilson cycle' sequence of subduction leading to continental collision and associated mountain building, the evolution of the New Zealand plate boundary in the Neogene reflects the converse—initially a period of continental convergence that is followed by the emplacement of subduction. Plate reconstructions allow us to place limits on the location and timing of the continental convergence and subduction zones and the migration of the transition between the two plate boundary regimes. Relative plate motions and reconstructions since the Early to Mid-Miocene require significant continental convergence in advance of the emplacement of the southward migrating Hikurangi subduction—a sequence of tectonism seen in the present plate boundary geography of Hikurangi subduction beneath North Island and convergence in the Southern Alps along the Alpine Fault. In contrast to a transition from subduction to continental convergence where the leading edge of the upper plate is relatively thin and deformable, the transition from a continental convergent regime, with its associated crustal and lithospheric thickening, to subduction of oceanic lithosphere requires substantial thinning (removal) of upper plate continental lithosphere to make room for the slab. The simple structure of the Wadati-Benioff zone seen in the present-day geometry of the subducting Pacific plate beneath North Island indicates that this lithospheric adjustment occurs quickly. Associated with this rapid lithospheric thinning is the development of a series of ephemeral basins, younging to the south, that straddle the migrating slab edge. Based on this association between localized vertical tectonics and slab emplacement, the tectonic history of these basins records the effects of lithospheric delamination driven by the southward migrating leading edge of the subducting Pacific slab. Although the New Zealand plate boundary is often described as simply two subduction zones linked by the transpressive Alpine Fault, in actuality the present is merely a snapshot view of an ongoing and complex evolution from convergence to subduction.

  12. Origin of marginal basins of the NW Pacific and their plate tectonic reconstructions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2014-03-01

    Geometry of basins can indicate their tectonic origin whether they are small or large. The basins of Bohai Gulf, South China Sea, East China Sea, Japan Sea, Andaman Sea, Okhotsk Sea and Bering Sea have typical geometry of dextral pull-apart. The Java, Makassar, Celebes and Sulu Seas basins together with grabens in Borneo also comprise a local dextral, transform-margin type basin system similar to the central and southern parts of the Shanxi Basin in geometry. The overall configuration of the Philippine Sea resembles a typical sinistral transpressional "pop-up" structure. These marginal basins except the Philippine Sea basin generally have similar (or compatible) rift history in the Cenozoic, but there do be some differences in the rifting history between major basins or their sub-basins due to local differences in tectonic settings. Rifting kinematics of each of these marginal basins can be explained by dextral pull-apart or transtension. These marginal basins except the Philippine Sea basin constitute a gigantic linked, dextral pull-apart basin system.

  13. The driving mechanism of plate tectonics: Relation to age of the lithosphere at trenches

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Carlson, R. L.; Hilde, T. W. C.; Uyeda, S.

    1983-04-01

    Sea-floor age-depth and age-trench-depth relations suggest that the oceanic lithosphere continues to thicken and subside with age beyond 80 Ma. If so, slab-pull (FS) and ridge-push (FR) forces can be calculated from the age of the sea floor at trenches (t), and if the shear stress acting on the base of the plate increases with absolute velocity (?a), the approximate force balance equation isFD1 Dva2=Svat32+Rt where D, S and R are constants related to drag, slab pull and ridge push, respectively. The relation between velocity and age is FD2 va2=S?vat12+R? We have tested this model by linear regression using rate and age data for 15 trenches: FD3 va(mm/a)2=(9.20±.32)vat12+(26±250) The strength of this correlation (r² = 0.98) is strong evidence in favor of the validity of this simple model. These results suggest that ridge push is just sufficient to overcome drag at the base of the plate, and does not contribute significantly to the motions of oceanic plates, though the value of R? is consistent with the motions of plates not attached to subducted slabs.

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

    Microsoft Academic Search

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

    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,

  15. An Experimental Study of Incremental Surface Loading of an Elastic Plate: Application to Volcano Tectonics

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    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.

  16. Plate tectonic model for the Carboniferous evolution of the New England Fold Belt

    Microsoft Academic Search

    C. G. Murray; C. L. Fergusson; P. G. Flood; W. G. Whitaker; R. J. Korsch

    1987-01-01

    The New England Fold Belt forms the easternmost, youngest part of the Tasman Fold Belt System. For much of Late Palaeozoic time, it was a convergent plate margin at the edge of the Australian continent. At present, the New England Fold Belt is separated into the Yarrol Province in the north and the New England Province in the south by

  17. Focussing of stress by continents in 3D spherical mantle convection with selfconsistent plate tectonics

    E-print Network

    Tackley, Paul J.

    Focussing of stress by continents in 3D spherical mantle convection with selfconsistent plate; published 16 September 2011. [1] Previous mantle convection studies with continents have revealed a firstorder influence of continents on mantle flow, as they affect convective wavelength and surface heat loss

  18. Rotational inertia of continents: A proposed link between polar wandering and plate tectonics

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kane, M.F.

    1972-01-01

    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.

  19. Tectonic activity and plate boundaries along the northern flank of the Fiji Platform

    Microsoft Academic Search

    J. E. Hughes Clarke; P. Jarvis; D. Tiffin; R. Price; L. Kroenke

    1993-01-01

    Recent volcanic activity along the northern flank of the Fiji Platform, revealed for the first time from new GLORIA imagery, suggests that the loci of interplate motion in this region have migrated rapidly since the switch from Vitiaz to New Hebridean subduction at 5–8 Ma. At present the plate boundaries along the northern flank of the Fiji Platform consist of

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

    Microsoft Academic Search

    T. Villamil; C. Arango

    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