Science.gov

Sample records for plate tectonic events

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. Planet Earth: Plate Tectonics

    E-print Network

    Watts, A. B. "Tony"

    Planet Earth: Plate Tectonics Recommended Books: An Introduction to Our Dynamic Planet (ODP), 2007, ice and sediment for long periods of geological time (>105 a). · Controlled and passive (e, Problem sets etc Lecture 1: Plate Mechanics and Kinematics The Earth comprises 7 major plates and a number

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

    SciTech Connect

    Stevens, C.H.; Sedlock, R. ); Stone, P. )

    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. 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)

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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…

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. Accelerated plate tectonics.

    PubMed

    Anderson, D L

    1975-03-21

    The concept of a stressed elastic lithospheric plate riding on a viscous asthenosphere is used to calculate the recurrence interval of great earthquakes at convergent plate boundaries, the separation of decoupling and lithospheric earthquakes, and the migration pattern of large earthquakes along an arc. It is proposed that plate motions accelerate after great decoupling earthquakes and that most of the observed plate motions occur during short periods of time, separated by periods of relative quiescence. PMID:17799689

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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)

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. Jadeitites and Plate Tectonics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Harlow, George E.; Tsujimori, Tatsuki; Sorensen, Sorena S.

    2015-05-01

    Jadeitite is a relatively rare, very tough rock composed predominantly of jadeite and typically found associated with tectonic blocks of high-pressure/low-temperature metabasaltic rocks (e.g., eclogite, blueschist) in exhumed serpentinite-matrix mélanges. Studies over the past ˜20 years have interpreted jadeitite either as the direct hydrous fluid precipitate from subduction channel dewatering into the overlying mantle wedge or as the metasomatic replacement by such fluids of oceanic plagiogranite, graywacke, or metabasite along the channel margin. Thus, jadeitites directly sample and record fluid transport in the subduction factory and provide a window into this geochemical process that is critical to a major process in the Earth system. They record the remarkable transport of large ion lithophile elements, such as Li, Ba, Sr, and Pb, as well as elements generally considered more refractory, such as U, Th, Zr, and Hf. Jadeitite is also the precious form of jade, utilized since antiquity in the form of tools, adornments, and symbols of prestige.

  2. 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)

  3. 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

  4. 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…

  5. 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.

  6. Subduction Drive of Plate Tectonics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hamilton, W. B.

    2003-12-01

    Don Anderson emphasizes that plate tectonics is self-organizing and is driven by subduction, which rights the density inversion generated as oceanic lithosphere forms by cooling of asthenosphere from the top. The following synthesis owes much to many discussions with him. Hinge rollback is the key to kinematics, and, like the rest of actual plate behavior, is incompatible with bottom-up convection drive. Subduction hinges (which are under, not in front of, thin leading parts of arcs and overriding plates) roll back into subducting plates. The Pacific shrinks because bounding hinges roll back into it. Colliding arcs, increasing arc curvatures, back-arc spreading, and advance of small arcs into large plates also require rollback. Forearcs of overriding plates commonly bear basins which preclude shortening of thin plate fronts throughout periods recorded by basin strata (100 Ma for Cretaceous and Paleogene California). This requires subequal rates of advance and rollback, and control of both by subduction. Convergence rate is equal to rates of rollback and advance in many systems but is greater in others. Plate-related circulation probably is closed above 650 km. Despite the popularity of concepts of plumes from, and subduction into, lower mantle, there is no convincing evidence for, and much evidence against, penetration of the 650 in either direction. That barrier not only has a crossing-inhibiting negative Clapeyron slope but also is a compositional boundary between fractionated (not "primitive"), sluggish lower mantle and fertile, mobile upper mantle. Slabs sink more steeply than they dip. Slabs older than about 60 Ma when their subduction began sink to, and lie down on and depress, the 650-km discontinuity, and are overpassed, whereas younger slabs become neutrally buoyant in mid-upper mantle, into which they are mixed as they too are overpassed. Broadside-sinking old slabs push all upper mantle, from base of oceanic lithosphere down to the 650, back under shrinking oceans, forcing rapid Pacific spreading. Slabs suck forward overriding arcs and continental lithosphere, plus most subjacent mantle above the transition zone. Changes in sizes of oceans result primarily from transfer of oceanic lithosphere, so backarcs and expanding oceans spread only slowly. Lithosphere parked in, or displaced from, the transition zone, or mixed into mid-upper mantle, is ultimately recycled, and regional variations in age of that submerged lithosphere may account for some regional contrasts in MORB. Plate motions make no kinematic sense in either the "hotspot" reference frame (HS; the notion of fixed plumes is easily disproved) or the no-net-rotation frame (NNR) In both, for example, many hinges roll forward, impossible with gravity drive. Subduction-drive predictions are fulfilled, and paleomagnetic data are satisfied (as they are not in HS and NNR), in the alternative framework of propulsionless Antarctica fixed relative to sluggish lower mantle. Passive ridges migrate away from Antarctica on all sides, and migration of these and other ridges permits tapping fresh asthenosphere. (HS and NNR tend to fix ridges). Ridge migration and spreading rates accord with subduction drive. All trenches roll back when allowance is made for back-arc spreading and intracontinental deformation. Africa rotates slowly toward subduction systems in the NE, instead of moving rapidly E as in HS and NNR. Stable NW Eurasia is nearly stationary, instead of also moving rapidly, and S and E Eurasian deformation relates to subduction and rollback. The Americas move Pacificward at almost the full spreading rates of passive ridges behind them. Lithosphere has a slow net westward drift. Reference: W.B. Hamilton, An alternative Earth, GSA Today, in press.

  7. The Wacky Wonderful World of Cordilleran Tectonics Event Timing Description

    E-print Network

    Holtz Jr., Thomas R.

    The Wacky Wonderful World of Cordilleran Tectonics Event Timing Description Transform Tectonics along California Coast Middle Miocene - Holocene As North American Plate overran the divergent boundary of the Farallon and Pacific plates, change in sense of motion from subduction to transform; birth of San Andreas

  8. 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.

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

    E-print Network

    Royal Holloway, University of London

    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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. Ridge push engine of plate tectonics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Swedan, N. H.

    2015-07-01

    Convection of the upper mantle drives the tectonic plates. This convection is a thermodynamic cycle that exchanges heat and mechanical work between mantle and tectonic plates. Thermodynamics and observations indicate that the energy of the geological activities resulting from plate tectonics is equal to the latent heat of melting, calculated at mantle's pressure, of the new ocean crust regenerated at midocean ridges. This energy varies with the temperature of ocean floor, which is correlated with surface temperature. The main objective of this manuscript is to demonstrate that plate tectonics is a thermodynamic engine and can be calculated as such. Unlike existing tectonic models, the thermodynamic model is very sensitive to variations of the temperature of ocean floor, which is correlated with surface temperature. Therefore, the observed increase of geological activities can be projected with surface temperature rise. Other objectives of the manuscript are to calculate the force that drives the tectonic plates, estimate the energy released, and validate the calculations based on experiments and observations. In addition to the scientific merit of projecting the geological activities, a good projection can have a broader impact at the societal and economical levels. Investment and insurance related decisions are affected by climate change, and our ability to project the geological activities is of paramount importance for the economy and public safety. This work can thus provide tools to assess the risks and hazards associated with the trend of geological activities with surface temperature rise.

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. OBSERVATIONS RELATED TO PLATE TECTONICS (Copyright 2004, David T. Sandwell)

    E-print Network

    Sandwell, David T.

    to confirm various aspects of plate tectonic theory. Plate boundaries are classified as ridges, transformOBSERVATIONS RELATED TO PLATE TECTONICS (Copyright 2004, David T. Sandwell) It is useful to assess the global data sets that are most relevant to plate tectonics. Below are a series of global maps that help

  16. On the Origin of Plate Tectonics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bercovici, D.

    2014-12-01

    The emergence of plate tectonics was Earth's defining moment. How and when platetectonics started is shrouded in mystery because of the paucity of observations in theArchean as well the challenge of understanding how plates are generated. The damage theoryof lithospheric weakening by grain-reduction provides a physical framework for plategeneration. This model builds on grain-scale processes to elucidate planetary-scaletectonics, and is consistent with lab and field observations of polycrystalline rocks andlithospheric shear zones. The grain-damage model accounts for the evolution of damage andhealing (by grain growth) at various planetary conditions, hence predicts plate boundaryformation and longevity, and how they depend on surface environment. For example, the onset of prototectonics is predicted to require clement conditions tokeep healing from erasing weak zones; conversely, cool conditions possibly requiredtectonics to draw down primordial CO2. Thus whether tectonics preceded a cool climate (andwater) or vice versa is immaterial as they likely needed each other or neither wouldexist. Sparse evidence that prototectonics co-initiated with liquid water hints at thelink between tectonics, water and surface conditions. The establishment of wide-spread plate tectonics started between >4Ga and 2.7Ga, and mayhave taken over a billion years to develop. Under Earth-like conditions, combininggrain-damage with intermittent Archean protosubduction produces persistent weak zones thataccumulate to yield well developed plates within 1Gyrs. In contrast, Venus' hottersurface conditions promotes healing and prohibits weak zone accumulation, which explainswhy plate tectonics failed to spread on our sister planet. Damage and weak-zone inheritance may also influence plate evolution and reorganization inthe modern era. Changes in plate direction, such as reflected in the Emperor-Hawaiianbend, leave weak zones misaligned with plate motion, causing oblique plate boundaries thatpersist for the age of the plate. Grain-damage within a cold subducting slab may alsocause its very rapid detachment, and the abrupt loss of the slab-pull force could accountfor precipitous changes in plate motion, such as for the Pacific plate at both 47Ma and6Ma.

  17. Plate Tectonics, Geographical Information System, paleogeography

    Energy Science and Technology Software Center (ESTSC)

    2002-05-24

    The PaleoX.framwork is a dynamically linked/loaded framework for Cocoa applications. The primary goal of this library is to standardize several elements used for working with paleogeographic data. This includes objects designed to organize information for tectonic plates, including maps, rotation objects, plate names, and designations. In addition, PaleoX provides object-oriented solutions for handling standard paleogeographic file formats from the PALEOMAP Project.

  18. 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)

  19. 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

  20. GG/OCN 444: Plate Tectonics Syllabus/Course Contents

    E-print Network

    GG/OCN 444: Plate Tectonics Syllabus/Course Contents 3 credits Fall 2015 Time, Place and Office Martinez, POST 814A, fernando@hawaii.edu Objectives: Plate tectonics is the unifying theory, or guiding techniques of plate tectonic theory have made possible the quantitative predictions and verifications which

  1. History and Evolution of Precambrian plate tectonics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fischer, Ria; Gerya, Taras

    2014-05-01

    Plate tectonics is a global self-organising process driven by negative buoyancy at thermal boundary layers. Phanerozoic plate tectonics with its typical subduction and orogeny is relatively well understood and can be traced back in the geological records of the continents. Interpretations of geological, petrological and geochemical observations from Proterozoic and Archean orogenic belts however (e.g., Brown, 2006), suggest a different tectonic regime in the Precambrian. Due to higher radioactive heat production the Precambrian lithosphere shows lower internal strength and is strongly weakened by percolating melts. The fundamental difference between Precambrian and Phanerozoic tectonics is therefore the upper-mantle temperature, which determines the strength of the upper mantle (Brun, 2002) and the further tectonic history. 3D petrological-thermomechanical numerical modelling experiments of oceanic subduction at an active plate at different upper-mantle temperatures show these different subduction regimes. For upper-mantle temperatures < 175 K above the present day value a subduction style appears which is close to present day subduction but with more frequent slab break-off. At upper-mantle temperatures 175 - 250 K above present day values steep subduction continues but the plates are weakened enough to allow buckling and also lithospheric delamination and drip-offs. For upper-mantle temperatures > 250 K above the present day value no subduction occurs any more. The whole lithosphere is delaminating and due to strong volcanism and formation of a thicker crust subduction is inhibited. This stage of 200-250 K higher upper mantle temperature which corresponds roughly to the early Archean (Abbott, 1994) is marked by strong volcanism due to sublithospheric decompression melting which leads to an equal thickness for both oceanic and continental plates. As a consequence subduction is inhibited, but a compressional setup instead will lead to orogeny between a continental or felsic terrain and an oceanic or mafic terrain as well as internal crustal convection. Small-scale convection with plume shaped cold downwellings also in the upper mantle is of increased importance compared to the large-scale subduction cycle observed for present temperature conditions. It is also observed that lithospheric downwellings may initiate subduction by pulling at and breaking the plate. References: Abbott, D., Drury, R., Smith, W.H.F., 1994. Flat to steep transition in subduction style. Geology 22, 937-940. Brown, M., 2006. Duality of thermal regimes is the distinctive characteristic of plate tectonics since the neoarchean. Geology 34, 961-964. Brun, J.P., 2002. Deformation of the continental lithosphere: Insights from brittle-ductile models. Geological Society, London, Special Publications 200, 355-370.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. Initiation and Evolution of Plate Tectonics on Earth

    E-print Network

    Initiation and Evolution of Plate Tectonics on Earth: Theories and Observations Jun Korenaga Abstract The inception of plate tectonics on Earth and its subsequent evolution are discussed on the basis mantle dynamics, which are either demonstrably wrong or yet to be explored. The history of plate tec

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. SEAMERGES GPS course -Bangkok may 20041 RIGID PLATE TECTONICS

    E-print Network

    Vigny, Christophe

    SEAMERGES GPS course - Bangkok may 20041 RIGID PLATE TECTONICS · Plate definition · Plate motion deformation : strain and rotation tensors #12;SEAMERGES GPS course - Bangkok may 20042 World seismicity The Earth surface is cut by seismic « lines », separting quite areas, i.e. plates. #12;SEAMERGES GPS course

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

    E-print Network

    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

  16. 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

  17. Plate tectonics and hotspots: the third dimension.

    PubMed

    Anderson, D L; Tanimoto, T; Zhang, Y S

    1992-06-19

    High-resolution seismic tomographic models of the upper mantle provide powerful new constraints on theories of plate tectonics and hotspots. Midocean ridges have extremely low seismic velocities to a depth of 100 kilometers. These low velocities imply partial melting. At greater depths, low-velocity and high-velocity anomalies record, respectively, previous positions of migrating ridges and trenches. Extensional, rifting, and hotspot regions have deep (> 200 kilometers) low-velocity anomalies. The upper mantle is characterized by vast domains of high temperature rather than small regions surrounding hotspots; the asthenosphere is not homogeneous or isothermal. Extensive magmatism requires a combination of hot upper mantle and suitable lithospheric conditions. High-velocity regions of the upper 200 kilometers of the mantle correlate with Archean cratons. PMID:17841084

  18. This dynamic earth: the story of plate tectonics

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kious, W. Jacquelyne; Tilling, Robert I.

    1996-01-01

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

  19. The Distribution of Plate Tectonics Planets in the Galaxy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stamenkovic, V.

    2014-04-01

    Whether a rocky planet has plate tectonics or not is crucial for comprehending planetary climate and possibly habitability. The recent findings that super-Earths are common in our Galaxy and the push to find targets for future spectroscopic observations are highly motivating to determine which rocky planets support volcanism and also plate tectonics. I present how different model assumptions (for 1D, 2D, 3D models), interior heat, initial conditions, and non-Earth-like planetary properties affect plate tectonics and furthermore discover some fundamental problems within exo-geophysics, which are too often neglected. I specifically find that: 1. Simple scaling laws are, without great modifications, not usable to study massive rocky planets. Moreover, thermal evolution models are necessary. 2. The question whether there is plate tectonics on super-Earths or not is tightly linked to how plate tectonics reacts to interior heat. Plate tectonics seems to be less likely with increasing interior heat and for massive planets with an Earth-like structure and composition. 3. Previous models disagree whether there is plate tectonics on super-Earths or not because of different model assumptions and the lack of result robustness. 4. The initial thermal conditions, the amount of iron and radiogenic heat sources in the mantle, the C/O ratio, the distribution of water between bulk mantle and surface, the planet's core size, and whether a planet is differentiated or not impact plate tectonics as much as planetary mass does. The presented results allow to relate the propensity of plate tectonics not only to a planet's mass but also to its composition, structure, age, and hence partially to its formation environment, host star, and location in the Galaxy - allowing us to start embedding habitability from an interior perspective within the framework of Galactic habitability.

  20. Oil prospection using the tectonic plate model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pointu, Agnès

    2015-04-01

    Tectonic plate models are an intellectual setting to understand why oil deposits are so uncommon and unequally distributed and how models can be used in actual oil and gas prospection. In this case, we use the example of the Ghawar deposit (Saudi Arabia), one of the largest producing well in the world. In the first step, physical properties of rocks composing the oil accumulation are studied by laboratory experiments. Students estimate the porosity of limestone and clay by comparing their mass before and after water impregnation. Results are compared to microscopic observations. Thus, students come to the conclusion that oil accumulations are characterized by superposition of rocks with very different properties: a rich organic source rock (clays of the Hanifa formation), a porous reservoir rock to store the petroleum in (limestones of the Arab formation) and above an impermeable rock with very low porosity (evaporites of the Tithonien). In previous lessons, students have seen that organic matter is usually mineralized by bacteria and that this preservation requires particular conditions. The aim is to explain why biomass production has been so important during the deposit of the clays of the Hanifa formation. Tectonic plate models make it possible to estimate the location of the Arabian Peninsula during Jurassic times (age of Hanifa formation). In order to understand why the paleo-location of the Arabian Peninsula is important to preserve organic matter, students have different documents showing: - That primary production of biomass by phytoplankton is favored by climatic conditions, - That the position of continents determinate the ocean currents and the positions of upwelling zones and zones where organic matter will be able to be preserved, - That north of the peninsula there was a passive margin during Jurassic times. An actual seismic line is studied in order to highlight that this extensive area allowed thick sedimentary deposits to accumulate and that fast sedimentation rate is necessary to bury organic matter and to restrict the mineralization. Consequences of crustal extension are also studied by using an experimental sand box model. The creation of faults is related to the subsidence of the margin. This subsidence allows the crossing of the oil window, leading to pyrolysis of organic matter and its transformation into oil. Afterwards, students compare the structures obtained after extension in their sand box to the actual organization of the Ghawar oil accumulation (seismic line). They can see that faults created by extension forces have not been preserved and can assume that compression forces have caused formation of the traps. An animation of paleo-location of continents during the upper Jurassic helps them to think that compression forces are linked to the closure of the Tethys Sea. A model using gravel and clay is used to show the principle of oil trapping. This way, students understand how the tectonic plate models explain the actual location of oil deposits and then how it can be used to look for new deposits.

  1. 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.

  2. FUNDAMENTALS OF PLATE TECTONICS Fall Semester 2012-13

    E-print Network

    Polly, David

    of books on plate tectonics and continental drift is also attached. The final section of the list includes. The second portion will focus on the theory's application to fundamental problems of continental and marine

  3. Constraining Initiation and Onset Time of Plate Tectonics on Earth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Roller, G.

    2014-12-01

    The onset time for modern-style plate tectonics is still heavily debated among geoscientists. Proposed timings range from the Phanerozoic to the Hadean. Here I present a new theoretical approach to tackle this question. I combine ideas of nuclear astrophysics and geochronology and apply the concept of sudden nucleosynthesis to calculate so-called nucleogeochronometric Rhenium-Osmium model ages. Sudden nucleosynthesis has been suggested by nuclear theory [1-2] as a possible mechanism for the creation of the heavy isotopes. Hence, this concept may generally be used to identify rapid (r-) neutron-capture process events. For Earth, nucleogeochronometric model age calculations based upon published pyroxenite and komatiite data [3-5] point to an r-process event around 3 Ga. Since the r-process requires high neutron densities and temperatures within seconds, a gravitational core collapse forming at least a part of the inner core is discussed as a possible cause, thus initiating modern-style plate tectonics at that time. This age is in line with an earlier proposed value of 2.7 Ga for an inner core forming event [6], pronounced changes in the magnitude of the geomagnetic field and geological evidence like the onset of extensive plutonism and crust formation starting around the Archean-Proterozoic transition. Besides, results from nucleogeochronometric age calculations for published peridotitic pentlandites [7] lead to corrections as to their previously inconsistent model ages: These are now in good agreement with their Proterozoic 1.43 Ga isochronous regression line, supporting the model. [1] Burbidge et al. (1957) Revs. Mod. Phys. 29, 547 - 650. [2] Hoyle et al. (1960) ApJ 132, 565 - 590. [3] Reisberg et al. (1991) Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 105, 196 - 213. [4] Roy-Barman et al. (1996) Chem. Geol. 130, 55 - 64. [5] Luck et al. (1984) Earth Planet Sci. Lett. 68, 205 - 208. [6] Hale (1987) Nature 329, 233 -237. [7] Smit et al. (2010) Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 74, 3292 - 3306.

  4. 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.

  5. 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).

  6. Observations related to plate tectonics " Ocean and continent topography, hypsometry, and crustal thickness.

    E-print Network

    Sandwell, David T.

    · Observations related to plate tectonics " Ocean and continent topography, hypsometry, and crustal and gravity anomaly Marine magnetic anomalies " · Plate tectonic theory ­ types of plate boundaries! · Plate of plate tectonics states that the lithosphere (strong layer) is divided into a small number of nearly

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. INTRODUCTION The Australian Plate is one of 14 major tectonic plates cov-

    E-print Network

    Tregoning, Paul

    of the Earth (DeMets et al. 1990) and shares tectonic boundaries with seven other macro- and micro-plates subduction trenches (Figure 1). The Australian Plate subducts beneath the Solomon Islands at the San Cristobal Trench, separates from the Woodlark Plate along the Woodlark Basin Spreading Centre and collides

  14. Mantle rheology and the scaling of bending dissipation in plate tectonics

    E-print Network

    Mantle rheology and the scaling of bending dissipation in plate tectonics I. R. Rose1,2 and J. [1] Plate tectonics on Earth involves the bending deformation of plates at subduction zones dissipation in plate tectonics, J. Geophys. Res., 116, B06404, doi:10.1029/2010JB008004. 1. Introduction [2

  15. 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

  16. 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 plate tectonic-like behavior in three-dimensional models of mantle convection. Here the calculations convection; plate tectonics; rheology; lithosphere. Index Terms: Dynamics of lithosphere and mantle; plate

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. Plate Tectonics on Earth-like Planets: Implications for Habitability

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Noack, L.; Breuer, D.

    2011-12-01

    Plate tectonics has been suggested to be essential for life (see e.g. [1]) due to the replenishment of nutrients and its role in the stabilization of the atmosphere temperature through the carbon-silicate cycle. Whether plate tectonics can prevail on a planet should depend on several factors, e.g. planetary mass, age of the planet, water content (at the surface and in the interior), surface temperature, mantle rheology, density variations in the mantle due to partial melting, and life itself by promoting erosion processes and perhaps even the production of continental rock [2]. In the present study, we have investigated how planetary mass, internal heating, surface temperature and water content in the mantle would factor for the probability of plate tectonics to occur on a planet. We allow the viscosity to be a function of pressure [3], an effect mostly neglected in previous discussions of plate tectonics on exoplanets [4, 5]. With the pressure-dependence of viscosity allowed for, the lower mantle may become too viscous in massive planets for convection to occur. When varying the planetary mass between 0.1 and 10 Earth masses, we find a maximum for the likelihood of plate tectonics to occur for planetary masses around a few Earth masses. For these masses the convective stresses acting at the base of the lithosphere are strongest and may become larger than the lithosphere yield strength. The optimum planetary mass varies slightly depending on the parameter values used (e.g. wet or dry rheology; initial mantle temperature). However, the peak in likelihood of plate tectonics remains roughly in the range of one to five Earth masses for reasonable parameter choices. Internal heating has a similar effect on the occurrence of plate tectonics as the planetary mass, i.e. there is a peak in the probability of plate tectonics depending on the internal heating rate. This result suggests that a planet may evolve as a consequence of radioactive decay into and out of the plate tectonics regime. References [1] Parnell, J. (2004): Plate tectonics, surface mineralogy, and the early evolution of life. Int. J. Astrobio. 3(2): 131-137. [2] Rosing, M.T.; D.K. Bird, N.H. Sleep, W. Glassley, and F. Albar (2006): The rise of continents - An essay on the geologic consequences of photosynthesis. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 232 (2006) 99-11. [3] Stamenkovic, V.; D. Breuer and T. Spohn (2011): Thermal and transport properties of mantle rock at high pressure: Applications to super-Earths. Submitted to Icarus. [4] Valencia, D., R.J. O'Connell and D.D. Sasselov (2007): Inevitability of plate tectonics on super-Earths. Astrophys. J. Let. 670(1): 45-48. [5] O'Neill, C. and A. Lenardic (2007). Geological consequences of super-sized Earths. GRL 34: 1-41.

  20. 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

  1. Plate Tectonism on Early Mars: Diverse Geological and Geophysical Evidence

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dohm, J. M.; Maruyama, S.; Baker, V. R.; Anderson, R. C.; Ferris, Justin C.; Hare, Trent M.

    2002-01-01

    Mars has been modified by endogenic and exogenic processes similar in many ways to Earth. However, evidence of Mars embryonic development is preserved because of low erosion rates and stagnant lid convective conditions since the Late Noachian. Early plate tectonism can explain such evidence. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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)

  5. Whole Earth Structure and Plate Tectonics

    E-print Network

    evolution of Earth: from continental drift (early 1900's) to sea-floor spreading (early 1960's) to plate: summarized in "Our wandering continents, an hypothesis of continental drifting' (1937) 1924-up Jeffrey (continental) flora on S hemisphere (India, Australia, Africa, S America, Antarctica), Permian glaciation

  6. 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

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

    E-print Network

    Hands ­ On Science with NOAA TITLE: Plate Tectonics and Lava Lamps OVERVIEW: Participants use 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

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

    E-print Network

    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

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

    E-print Network

    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

  10. 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

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

    E-print Network

    Zeebe, Richard E.

    Plate tectonic controls on atmospheric CO2 levels since the Triassic Douwe G. Van Der Meera,b,1, and atmosphere composition. Plate tectonics affect geog- raphy, but also atmosphere composition through volcanic-term plate tectonic processes. Constraints on volcanism-related degassing of CO2 at subduction zones

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. Scaling of plate tectonic convection with pseudoplastic rheology Jun Korenaga1

    E-print Network

    Scaling of plate tectonic convection with pseudoplastic rheology Jun Korenaga1 Received 26 April of plate tectonic convection is investigated by simulating thermal convection with pseudoplastic rheology properties. The critical viscosity contrast for the transition between plate tectonic and stagnant lid

  15. Time variability in Cenozoic reconstructions of mantle heat flow: Plate tectonic cycles and implications for

    E-print Network

    Conrad, Clint

    Time variability in Cenozoic reconstructions of mantle heat flow: Plate tectonic cycles character of plate tectonics. We estimate global heat flow from 65 Ma to the present using seafloor age that heat flow experiences short-term fluctuations associated with plate tectonic cyclicity. Continental

  16. 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...

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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

    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.

  20. 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

  1. How the interior viscosity structure of a terrestrial planet controls plate driving forces and plate tectonics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hoeink, T.; Lenardic, A.; Jellinek, M.; Richards, M. A.

    2011-12-01

    One of the fundamental unresolved problems in Earth and planetary science is the generation of plate tectonics from mantle convection. Important achievements can be made when considering rheological properties in the context of mantle convection dynamics. Among these milestones are (1) a deeper understanding of the balance of forces that drive and resist plate motion and (2) the dynamic generation of narrow plate boundaries (that lead to a piecewise continuous surface velocity distribution). Extending classic plate-tectonic theory we predict a plate driving force due to viscous coupling at the base of the plate from fast flow in the asthenosphere. Flow in the asthenosphere is due to shear-driven contributions from an overriding plate and due to additional pressure-driven contributions. We use scaling analysis to show that the extent to which this additional plate-driving force contributes to plate motions depends on the lateral dimension of plates and on the relative viscosities and thicknesses of lithosphere and asthenosphere. Whereas slab-pull forces always govern the motions of plates with a lateral extent greater than the mantle depth, asthenosphere-drive forces can be relatively more important for smaller (shorter wavelength) plates, large relative asthenosphere viscosities or large asthenosphere thicknesses. Published plate velocities, tomographic images and age-binned mean shear wave velocity anomaly data allow us to estimate the relative contributions of slab-pull and asthenosphere-drive forces driving the motions of the Atlantic and Pacific plates. At the global scale of terrestrial planets, we use 3D spherical shell simulations of mantle convection with temperature-, depth- and stress dependent rheology to demonstrate that a thin low-viscosity layer (asthenosphere) governs convective stresses imparted to the lithosphere. We find, consistent with theoretical predictions, that convective stresses increase for thinner asthenospheres. This result might eliminate the need for special weakening mechanisms to generate plate tectonics from mantle convection. Our results elucidate the role of the asthenosphere for plate tectonics on Earth, and also provide insights into the differences in tectonic styles between Earth and Venus.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Eos, Vol. 92, No. 8, 22 February 2011 Tectonic plates relocked after 2005

    E-print Network

    Brennand, Tracy

    Eos, Vol. 92, No. 8, 22 February 2011 Tectonic plates relocked after 2005 earthquake and support the interpretation that the tectonic plates have been relocked since late 2006. (Geophysical on the boundary of the North Ameri- can plate and the Pacific plate off Miyagi pre- fecture. Earthquakes

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Tectonics of one-plate planets

    SciTech Connect

    Janes, D.M.

    1990-01-01

    A general planetary shell model in spherical coordinates is developed that is capable of treating shells of arbitrary thickness and driving forces of arbitrary breadth. A methodology is then presented for finding the forces exerted on the shell from two processes. A treatment is developed for mantle convection driven by a density anomaly within a viscous mantle. This model is applied to the small moon of Uranus, Miranda, to study the three large coronae which dominate its surface and for which several competing hypotheses were offered, two of which invoked mantle convection driven by density anomalies of opposite sign. A general model is then developed for loading of the lithosphere and the effects of a range of loads breadths and lithosphere thicknesses are examined. The combinations of these two variables are mapped out where classical approximations such as the flat-plate and thin-shell models are applicable as well as the nature and extent of the transition between these two regimes are determined. Finite element modeling is employed to investigate the coronae on Venus, showing that morphological aspects of these features reported in the literature can be produced by flexure of the lithosphere beneath a volcanic load and gravitational sliding of a cooled crust off these volcanic mounds. Independent characteristic topographic profiles are produced for three of the more regular coronae which question how typical the reported morphologies are in the coronae in general.

  9. Delivery of volatiles to terrestrial planets during accretion: Setting the stage for plate tectonics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Elkins-Tanton, L.; Tikoo, S.

    2012-04-01

    A persistent problem in planetary science is how and when plate tectonics can begin in planetary evolution. On Earth, plate tectonics is thought to be facilitated by the low-viscosity asthenosphere, which obtains its low viscosity partly through low pressure, and partly through a water content on the order of hundreds of parts per million, likely trapped in the crystal structure of nominally anhydrous silicate minerals. Subduction zones introduce water contents of that magnitude to the mantle that circulates above the sinking oceanic plate, and subduction zones are sometimes cited as the process that hydrates an originally dry planetary interior. Thus there is a chicken-and-egg problem: If a damp asthenosphere is needed for plate tectonics, but plate tectonics itself creates the damp asthenosphere, how does the process initiate? Despite the existence of a metallic (reduced) core, both the compositions of meteorites and the certainty of radial mixing during accretion suggest that the Earth and other rocky planets accreted with some non-zero water content. Tracking water partitioning between magma ocean fluids and solidifying mantle minerals suggests that the planetary interior could begin with a non-zero water content. Here we present models for the interior water content of the Earth following accretion, and hypothesize about a dynamic processes that may have sped the development of plate tectonics. On an Earth-sized planet a magma ocean would solidify to produce very dense near-surface solids that also contain the bulk of the water held in the solid state, and the bulk of the incompatible elements. During gravitationally-driven overturn shallow, dense, damp solids carry their water as they sink into the perovskite stability zone and transform the bulk of their mineralogy into perovskite. The last solids that form near the surface exceed the likely water saturation levels of perovskite and will be forced to dewater as they cross the boundary into the lower mantle, leaving water behind in a rapid flux as the dense material sinks. This event will form a kind of "water catastrophe," and would have the potential to partially melt the upper mantle, to produce a damp asthenosphere, and indeed to encourage convection. These results imply that planets in which perovskite is stable, that is, planets that are larger than Mars, are perhaps more likely to have an early initiation of plate tectonics, and that larger planets may have more violent and near-surface mantle volatile releases during any overturn event.

  10. 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.

  11. Tectonic mélange as fault rock of subduction plate boundary

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kimura, Gaku; Yamaguchi, Asuka; Hojo, Megumi; Kitamura, Yujin; Kameda, Jun; Ujiie, Kohtaro; Hamada, Yohei; Hamahashi, Mari; Hina, Shoko

    2012-09-01

    An assemblage of quantitative data sets is examined to evaluate tectonic mélange as a plate boundary fault rocks in subduction zone. The research object is the latest Cretaceous Mugi mélange in the Shimanto Belt, southwest Japan. Systematic age younging from pelagic to terrigenous through hemipelagic sediments is well-documented even though original stratigraphy is disrupted. Systematic shear fabric consistent with ancient plate convergence is reconstructed. The mélange was formed at temperatures of ~ 130-200 °C by cataclastic comminution of sandstone layers accompanied by tensile cracking, and plastic deformation and the dehydration of clayey shale matrix, with subsequent peeling off and underplating of the oceanic basement. The temperature setting for the Mugi mélange indicates around the up-dip limit of the seismogenic zone, therefore includes various fault rocks suggestive of earthquake fault; pseudotachylyte, fluidized ultracataclasite with heating evidence, amorphous silica and so on. These suggest that fluid induced lubrication was dominated. Localized cataclastic shear, which is a candidate of small earthquake or very low frequency earthquake, is also recognized especially in sandstone blocks dominated portion in mélange. These observations are consistent with the mélange being a fault rock along the plate boundary that records various types of earthquakes in a subduction zone. The quantitative examination of the Mugi mélange suggests several criteria to define the tectonic mélange of the plate boundary fault in subduction zone from other mélanges in orogenic belt.

  12. GS of CAS Geodesy & Geodynamics Beijing June 20041 RIGID PLATE TECTONICS

    E-print Network

    Vigny, Christophe

    GS of CAS ­ Geodesy & Geodynamics ­ Beijing June 20041 RIGID PLATE TECTONICS · Plate definition · Plate deformation : strain and rotation tensors #12;GS of CAS ­ Geodesy & Geodynamics ­ Beijing June.e. plates. #12;GS of CAS ­ Geodesy & Geodynamics ­ Beijing June 20043 Plate geometry and plate tecctonics

  13. Plate Tectonics on Earth and on Alien Worlds - Novel Insights into Mantle Dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stamenkovic, V.; Breuer, D.; Seager, S.

    2014-12-01

    We derive the framework of how common assumptions behind parameterized 1D and full convection 2D/3D models, as well as planet mass, interior structure and composition impact the evolution of plate tectonics on Earths and super-Earths. This approach additionally allows us to resolve previous disagreements between groups that studied plate tectonics on super-Earths and to unveil major problems when modeling the thermal evolution of plate tectonics with both 1D and 2D/3D models. How planet properties impact the evolution of plate tectonics is highly sensitive to a planet's initial thermal conditions, the rheology of mantle rock, the scaling of interior heat and yield stress with planet mass, and especially to whether shear or normal stresses drive plate tectonics. Based on the currently most likely model configuration and for planets starting molten, we find that plate tectonics is less likely to occur on super-Earths, for increasing iron and radiogenic heat contents within the mantle, and also with decreasing core to mantle mass fractions. Interestingly, we also find that water within a planet's mantle has a negative impact on plate tectonics and that only surface water can beneficially impact subduction (but not the initiation of plate tectonics). This emphasizes how the distribution and exchange of water between surface and mantle reservoirs are crucial for plate tectonics, and how difficult it is to find positive water-plate tectonics correlations.

  14. 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.

  15. The Biggest Plates on Earth. Submarine Ring of Fire--Grades 5-6. Plate Tectonics.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (DOC), Rockville, MD.

    This activity is designed to teach how tectonic plates move, what some consequences of this motion are, and how magnetic anomalies document the motion at spreading centers do. The activity provides learning objectives, a list of needed materials, key vocabulary words, background information, day-to-day procedures, internet connections, career…

  16. Subduction hinge migration: The backwards component of plate tectonics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stegman, D.; Freeman, J.; Schellart, W.; Moresi, L.; May, D.

    2005-12-01

    There are approximately 50 distinct segments of subduction zones in the world, of which 40% have oceanic lithosphere subducting under oceanic lithosphere. All of these ocean-ocean systems are currently experiencing hinge-rollback, with the exception of 2 (Mariana and Kermadec). In hinge-rollback, the surface trace of the suduction zone (trench) is moving in the opposite direction as the plate is moving (i.e. backwards). Coincidentally, the fastest moving plate boundary in the world is actually the Tonga trench at an estimated 17 cm/yr (backwards). Although this quite important process was recognized soon after the birth of plate tectonic theory (Elsasser, 1971), it has received only a limited amount of attention (Garfunkel, 1986; Kincaid and Olson, 1987) until recently. Laboratory models have shown that having a three dimensional experiment is essential in order to build a correct understanding of subduction. We have developed a numerical model with the neccessary 3-D geometry capable of investigating some fundamental questions of plate tectonics: How does hinge-rollback feedback into surface tectonics and mantle flow? What can we learn about the forces that drive plate tectonics by studying hinge-rollback? We will present a quantatitive analysis of the effect of the lateral width of subduction zones, the key aspect to understanding the nature of hinge-rollback. Additionally, particular emphasis has been put on gaining intuition through the use of movies (a 3-D rendering of the numerical models), illustrating the time evolution of slab interactions with the lower mantle as seen in such fields as velocity magnitude, strain rate, viscosity, as well as the toroidal and poloidal components of induced flow. This investigation is well-suited to developing direct comparisons with geological and geophysical observations such as geodetically determined hinge retreat rates, geochemical and petrological observations of arc volcanics and back-arc ridge basalts, timing and distribution of metamorphic core complexes in backarc basins under extension, paleostress observables such surface movements and block rotations, observations of seismic anistropy determined by shear wave splitting, and the emerging studies of regional tomographic models of seismic anistropy.

  17. Brown, M., 2008, Characteristic thermal regimes of plate tectonics and their metamorphic imprint throughout Earth history: When did Earth first adopt a plate tecton-ics mode of behavior?, in Condie, K.C., and Pease, V., eds., When Did Plate Tectonics Begi

    E-print Network

    Zeng, Ning

    97 Brown, M., 2008, Characteristic thermal regimes of plate tectonics and their metamorphic imprint throughout Earth history: When did Earth first adopt a plate tecton- ics mode of behavior?, in Condie, K.C., and Pease, V., eds., When Did Plate Tectonics Begin on Planet Earth?: Geological Society of America Special

  18. 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

  19. Geoid Data and Implications for Plate Tectonic Dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2013-12-01

    It has long been recognized that the motion of the mechanically rigid lithospheric plates of the earth are the surface expression of large-scale convection in the mantle. It is also accepted that the stresses driving plate motion are an amalgam of the basal tractions associated with this convection and long-wavelength density variations within the plates themselves. Parsing the relative contribution from these two sources to the geodynamics of the lithosphere continues to be an important topic of plate dynamics research. Because geoid anomalies are directly related to the local dipole moment of the density-depth distribution, they provide an ideal method for evaluating density variations within the lithosphere and the associated tectonic stresses. The main challenge with this approach is isolating the lithospheric geoid contribution from the full geoid (which is dominated by sources from deeper in the earth, namely the lower mantle). We address this issue by using a high-pass spherical harmonic filtering of the EGM2008-WGS84 geoid (which is complete to spherical harmonic degree and order 2159), with a cosine taper between orders 9 to 13 and 78 to 82 to produce a 'lithospheric' geoid. In the present study we focus on tectonic implications of the lithospheric geoid in three different areas: 1) passive continental margins where we have evaluated over 150 margin-transects spaced roughly every three degrees. The global average geoid anomaly associated with the transition from old oceanic lithosphere to the continent was found to 6-9 meters and appears to be insensitive to a range of geoid filtering degrees and orders; 2) The geoid highs associated with the mid-ocean ridges and the cooling oceanic lithospheric, where we have examined a number of geoid profiles across ridges and find that previous estimates of a geoid anomaly of 10-15 meters associated with ridges to be valid; and 3) continental regions which are characterized by both elevated geoid anomalies (e.g., the Western U.S.) and geoid lows (e.g., the Congo Basin in Africa). All three of these geoid studies have implications for our understanding of the dynamics of plate tectonics. The 10-15 m geoid highs associated globally with ridges are consistent with a net force of ~3x1012 N/m due to 'ridge push.' Converting gradients in the oceanic 'lithospheric' geoid produce net torques on the plates consistent with this magnitude of 'ridge push.' The 6-9 meter geoid step up across passive continental margins is important for two reasons. First, it is consistent with a reduction of the ridge force acting on the continents, as evidenced by increased strike slip and normal deformation on the continents compared to oceanic lithosphere. Second, the very fact that such a small geoid step can affect tectonic style is evidence that even relatively small forces, like the ridge force compared to the negative buoyancy of subducted lithosphere, can be important in plate dynamics. Furthermore, the predicted intraplate stresses computed using a finite-element analysis of a lithospheric shell under traction from the gravitational potential energy forces associated with the lithospheric geoid provide a remarkably good fit between the predicted and observed intraplate stress field at long wavelengths (~1000km) and indicates that tectonic forces associated with the lithospheric density moment play an important role in global geodynamics.

  20. 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. . 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.

  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. 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.

  3. 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.

  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. 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.

  6. A model for plate tectonic evolution of mantle layers.

    PubMed

    Dickinson, W R; Luth, W C

    1971-10-22

    In plate tectonic theory, lithosphere that descends into the mantle has a largely derivative composition, because it is produced as a refractory residue by partial melting, and cannot be resorbed readily by the parent mantle. We suggest that lithosphere sinks through the asthenosphere, or outer mantle, and accumulates progressively beneath to form an accretionary mesosphere, or inner mantle. According to this model, there is an irreversible physicochemical evolution of the mantle and its layers. We make the key assumption that the rate at which mass has been transferred from the lithosphere to the mesosphere is proportional to the rate of radiogenic heat production. Calculations of mass transfer with time demonstrate that the entire mass of the present mesosphere could have been produced in geologically reasonable times (3 x 10(9) to 4.5 x 10(9) years). The model is consistent with the generation of the continental crust during the last 3 x 1O(9) years and predicts an end to plate tectonic behavior within the next 10(9) years. PMID:17796091

  7. Subduction and Plate Edge Tectonics in the Southern Caribbean

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Levander, A.; Schmitz, M.; Niu, F.; Bezada, M. J.; Miller, M. S.; Masy, J.; Ave Lallemant, H. G.; Pindell, J. L.; Bolivar Working Group

    2013-05-01

    The southern Caribbean plate boundary consists of a subduction zone at at either end of a complex strike-slip fault system: In the east at the Lesser Antilles subduction zone, the Atlantic part of the South American plate subducts beneath the Caribbean. In the north and west in the Colombia basin, the Caribbean subducts under South America. In a manner of speaking, the two plates subduct beneath each other. Finite-frequency teleseismic P-wave tomography confirms this, imaging the Atlantic and the Caribbean plates subducting steeply in opposite directions to transition zone depths under northern South America (Bezada et al, 2010). The two subduction zones are connected by the El Pilar-San Sebastian strike-slip fault system, a San Andreas scale system that has been cut off at the Bocono fault, the southeastern boundary fault of the Maracaibo block. A variety of seismic probes identify subduction features at either end of the system (Niu et al, 2007; Clark et al., 2008; Miller et al. 2009; Growdon et al., 2009; Huang et al., 2010; Masy et al, 2011). The El Pilar system forms at the southeastern corner of the Antilles subduction zone with the Atlantic plate tearing from South America. The deforming plate edges control mountain building and basin formation at the eastern end of the strike-slip system. Tearing the Atlantic plate from the rest of South America appears to cause further lithospheric instability continentward. In northwestern South America the Caribbean plate very likely also tears, as its southernmost element subducts at shallow angles under northernmost Colombia but then rapidly descends to the transition zone under Lake Maracaibo (Bezada et al., 2010). We believe that the flat slab controls the tectonics of the Neogene Merida Andes, Perija, and Santa Marta ranges. The nonsubducting part of the Caribbean plate also underthrusts northern Venezuela to about the width of the coastal mountains (Miller et al., 2009). We infer that the edge of the underthrust Caribbean plate supports the elevations of the coastal mountains and controls continuing deformation.

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. Plate tectonics beyond plate boundaries: the role of ancient structures in intraplate orogenesis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Heron, Philip; Pysklywec, Russell; Stephenson, Randell

    2015-04-01

    The development of orogens that occur at a distance from plate boundaries (i.e., `intraplate' deformation) cannot be adequately explained through conventional plate tectonic theory. Intraplate deformation infers a more complex argument for lithospheric and mantle interaction than plate tectonic theory allows. As a result, the origins of intraplate orogenesis are enigmatic. One hypothesis is the amalgamation of continental material (i.e., micro-plates) leaves inherent scars on the crust and mantle lithosphere. Previous studies into continent-continent collisions identify a number of scenarios from accretionary tectonics that affect the crust and mantle (namely, the development of a Rayleigh-Taylor instability, lithospheric underplating, lithospheric delamination, and lithospheric subduction). Any of these processes may weaken the lithosphere allowing episodic reactivation of faults within continental interiors. Hence, continental convergence (i.e., shortening) at a time after continental collision may cause the already weakened crust and mantle lithosphere to produce intraplate deformation. In order to better understand the processes involved in deformation away from plate boundaries, we present suites of continental shortening models (using the high-resolution thermal-mechanical modelling code SOPALE) to identify the preferred style of deformation. We model ancient structures by applying weak subduction scarring, changing the rheological conditions, and modifying the thermal structure within the lithosphere. To highlight the role of surface processes on plate and lithosphere deformation, the effect of climate-driven erosion and deposition on the tectonic structure of intraplate deformation is also addressed. We explore the relevance of the models to previously studied regions of intraplate orogenesis, including the Pyrenees in Europe, the Laramide orogen in North America, Tien Shan orogen in Central Asia, and Central Australia. The findings of the simulations with regards to past and future North American intraplate deformation are also discussed. Our results indicate that there exists a number of tectonic environments that can be produced relating to continental accretion, and that specific observational constraints to the local area (e.g., geological, geophysical, geodetic) are required to be integrated directly into the analyses for better interpretation. The models shown here find that although rheological changes to the lithosphere can produce a range of deformation during continental convergence (i.e., crustal thickening, thinning, and folding), mantle weak zones from ancient subduction can generate more localized deformation and topography.

  11. Prototypical Concepts and Misconceptions of Plate Tectonic Boundaries

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sibley, D. F.; Patino, L. C.

    2003-12-01

    Students of geology encounter many prototypical/exemplar concepts* that include representative, but not necessarily defining, features and characteristics. This study of students' prototypical representations of plate tectonic boundaries indicates that their representations are rich sources of information about their misconceptions about plate tectonics. After lectures in plate tectonics and mountain building, 353 students in a general education geology class were asked to draw a continent-continent convergent boundary. For this study, a correct answer is defined as having the major features in correct proportions as depicted in the plate boundary diagrams on the USGS web. Fifty-two percent of the drawings were either incorrect or incomplete such that they could not be interpreted. Only 48% were readily interpretable, and of these 22% drew the boundary correctly, showing a thickening of crust where two continents collide. Thirty-three percent drew the boundary showing concave slabs of continental crust as one might imagine two pieces of firm rubber pushed together on a rigid surface and 45% depicted mountains as one might imagine inverted ice cream cones on a rigid plank. Twenty-one senior class geology majors and graduate students were given the same assignment. Forty-eight percent rendered a correct drawing, whereas 38% drew the same ice cream cone on a plank type picture that 45% of the general education students drew. In a second class of 12 geology majors, only 1 student drew a cross section of a continent-ocean boundary similar to standard representation. Four of 12 drew mountains on the top of continental crust over a subduction zone but did not draw a compensating mass within the crust or lithosphere. Prototypical drawings provide more information about students' concepts than do most multiple-choice questions. For example, sixty-two percent of theses students who drew mountains similar to foam rubber pads pushed together on a desk or ice cream cones on a plank correctly answered a multiple-choice question that would appear to indicate a better understanding than the drawings reveal. Furthermore, 12 interviewed students made statements that could be interpreted to indicate that they understood the concept of mountain building at plate tectonic boundaries better than their drawings suggest. Incoherence of multiple-choice responses, verbal statements and drawings may be common in novice learners. If cognitive scientists are correct in their model of multiple types of mental representations for the same term, then the fact that novices may hold inconsistent representations is not surprising. The fact that students at various academic levels draw very similar prototypes that are incorrect is evidence that students have distinct and persistent prototype misconceptions. * Cognitive scientists define a prototypical/exemplar concept as a mental representation of the best examples or central tendencies of a term.

  12. Ordovician-Silurian tectonism in northern California: The Callahan event

    SciTech Connect

    Cotkin, S.J. )

    1992-09-01

    Middle Ordovician to Early Silurian volcanism, plutonism, metamorphism, deformation, and sedimentation in the Yreka and Trinity terranes, eastern Klamath Mountains, northern California, are considered to be related phenomena that occurred in response to an episode of tectonism known as the Callahan event. A diverse array of evidence is used to construct a tectonic model for the Callahan event that involves a subduction zone, a magnetic arc, and a back-arc spreading center, and to show that tectonism likely occurred within the framework of the North American continental margin. Evidence pertaining to subduction polarity is meager, but is consistent with an eastward dip. The Callahan event represents the earliest Phanerozoic convergent-margin tectonic event recognized within the U.S. Cordillera.

  13. Past and present seafloor age distributions and the temporal evolution of plate tectonic heat transport

    E-print Network

    Becker, Thorsten W.

    spreading rate, ridge length, and the age distribution of seafloor being removed by subduction. UsingPast and present seafloor age distributions and the temporal evolution of plate tectonic heat: seafloor age distributions plate tectonics oceanic heat flow Variations in Earth's rates of seafloor

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. Petrogenesis and Tectonic Evolution of Granitic Rocks in The Northern Margin of North China Plate

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Xu, X.; Zhao, Q.; Zheng, C.; Liu, W.; Xu, B.

    2010-12-01

    The late Paleozoic-early Mesozoic granites in Daqingshan district of the northern margin of north China plate is classified into six types as follows.Aguigou intrusion is consists of gabbro, diorite, quartz diorite, and granodiorite.Its feature is rich in mafic compositions.The formation age is 284.5±2.9Ma or 283.7±3.7Ma for the quartz diorite, and 281.1±3.4Ma for granodiorite. The genesis of the intrusion belongs to I-type granite. Laoyinhada intrusion comprises fine biotite monzonitic granite and porphyritic biotite monzonitic granite. The age is 272±4Ma for the fine biotite monzonitic granite. The genesis of the body is I-type granite.Halaheshao intrusion is a group of medium-coarse biotite-bearing monzonitic granites and large porphyritic-bearing monzonitic granite. The age is 260±0.5Ma for the biotite-bearing monzonitic granite.The tectonic environment belongs to post-orogenic granites.Taolegai intrusion consists of medium-fine granite, medium-coarse granite, porphyritic-bearing granite, and fine granite. The age is 224±3Ma for medium-coarse granite.Its genesis is light color granite co-occurred with muscovite peraluminous granites. The tectonic environment belongs to post-orogenic granites.Gechoushan intrusion is medium-fine monzonitic granite, a kind of typical muscovite granites. Its formation era is late Triassic. The tectonic environment belongs to post-orogenic granite.Shadegai intrusion is mainly composed of biotite granites. The age is 211.2±0.7Ma for medium-coarse biotite granite. The tectonic setting belongs to post-orogenic granites. The different types granites in the area basically reveal all the magmatic events from late Palaeozoic orogeny, to post-orogeny, and to intracontinental orogeny in the north edge of the north China plate. Early Permian Aguigou intrusion is a magmatic arc granite, formed in the continental edge in the early period of the middle Asia ocean plate subduction. Mid-Permian Laoyinhada intrusion is a magmatic arc granite body, formed in the continental edge in the late period of the plate subduction. Late Permian Halaheshao intrusion is a granite formed in the colluvial period of a post-orogeny after two tectonic plates have collided.Late Triassic Taolegai,Gechoushan,and Shadegai magmatic bodies belong to granites formed by intracontinental nappes after Lausasia paleocontinent was generated.

  17. Initiation and Evolution of Plate Tectonics on Earth: Theories and Observations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Korenaga, Jun

    2013-05-01

    The inception of plate tectonics on Earth and its subsequent evolution are discussed on the basis of theoretical considerations and observational constraints. The likelihood of plate tectonics in the past depends on what mechanism is responsible for the relatively constant surface heat flux that is indicated by the likely thermal history of Earth. The continuous operation of plate tectonics throughout Earth's history is possible if, for example, the strength of convective stress in the mantle is affected by the gradual subduction of surface water. Various geological indicators for the emergence of plate tectonics are evaluated from a geodynamical perspective, and they invariably involve certain implicit assumptions about mantle dynamics, which are either demonstrably wrong or yet to be explored. The history of plate tectonics is suggested to be intrinsically connected to the secular evolution of the atmosphere, through sea-level changes caused by ocean-mantle interaction.

  18. Plate tectonics on the Earth triggered by plume-induced subduction initiation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gerya, T. V.; Stern, R. J.; Baes, M.; Sobolev, S. V.; Whattam, S. A.

    2015-11-01

    Scientific theories of how subduction and plate tectonics began on Earth—and what the tectonic structure of Earth was before this—remain enigmatic and contentious. Understanding viable scenarios for the onset of subduction and plate tectonics is hampered by the fact that subduction initiation processes must have been markedly different before the onset of global plate tectonics because most present-day subduction initiation mechanisms require acting plate forces and existing zones of lithospheric weakness, which are both consequences of plate tectonics. However, plume-induced subduction initiation could have started the first subduction zone without the help of plate tectonics. Here, we test this mechanism using high-resolution three-dimensional numerical thermomechanical modelling. We demonstrate that three key physical factors combine to trigger self-sustained subduction: (1) a strong, negatively buoyant oceanic lithosphere; (2) focused magmatic weakening and thinning of lithosphere above the plume; and (3) lubrication of the slab interface by hydrated crust. We also show that plume-induced subduction could only have been feasible in the hotter early Earth for old oceanic plates. In contrast, younger plates favoured episodic lithospheric drips rather than self-sustained subduction and global plate tectonics.

  19. Plate tectonics on the Earth triggered by plume-induced subduction initiation.

    PubMed

    Gerya, T V; Stern, R J; Baes, M; Sobolev, S V; Whattam, S A

    2015-11-12

    Scientific theories of how subduction and plate tectonics began on Earth--and what the tectonic structure of Earth was before this--remain enigmatic and contentious. Understanding viable scenarios for the onset of subduction and plate tectonics is hampered by the fact that subduction initiation processes must have been markedly different before the onset of global plate tectonics because most present-day subduction initiation mechanisms require acting plate forces and existing zones of lithospheric weakness, which are both consequences of plate tectonics. However, plume-induced subduction initiation could have started the first subduction zone without the help of plate tectonics. Here, we test this mechanism using high-resolution three-dimensional numerical thermomechanical modelling. We demonstrate that three key physical factors combine to trigger self-sustained subduction: (1) a strong, negatively buoyant oceanic lithosphere; (2) focused magmatic weakening and thinning of lithosphere above the plume; and (3) lubrication of the slab interface by hydrated crust. We also show that plume-induced subduction could only have been feasible in the hotter early Earth for old oceanic plates. In contrast, younger plates favoured episodic lithospheric drips rather than self-sustained subduction and global plate tectonics. PMID:26560300

  20. Global Ocean Sedimentation Patterns: Plate Tectonic History Versus Climate Change

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Goswami, A.; Reynolds, E.; Olson, P.; Hinnov, L. A.; Gnanadesikan, A.

    2014-12-01

    Global sediment data (Whittaker et al., 2013) and carbonate content data (Archer, 1996) allows examination of ocean sedimentation evolution with respect to age of the underlying ocean crust (Müller et al., 2008). From these data, we construct time series of ocean sediment thickness and carbonate deposition rate for the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian ocean basins for the past 120 Ma. These time series are unique to each basin and reflect an integrated response to plate tectonics and climate change. The goal is to parameterize ocean sedimentation tied to crustal age for paleoclimate studies. For each basin, total sediment thickness and carbonate deposition rate from 0.1 x 0.1 degree cells are binned according to basement crustal age; area-corrected moments (mean, variance, etc.) are calculated for each bin. Segmented linear fits identify trends in present-day carbonate deposition rates and changes in ocean sedimentation from 0 to 120 Ma. In the North and South Atlantic and Indian oceans, mean sediment thickness versus crustal age is well represented by three linear segments, with the slope of each segment increasing with increasing crustal age. However, the transition age between linear segments varies among the three basins. In contrast, mean sediment thickness in the North and South Pacific oceans are numerically smaller and well represented by two linear segments with slopes that decrease with increasing crustal age. These opposing trends are more consistent with the plate tectonic history of each basin being the controlling factor in sedimentation rates, rather than climate change. Unlike total sediment thickness, carbonate deposition rates decrease smoothly with crustal age in all basins, with the primary controls being ocean chemistry and water column depth.References: Archer, D., 1996, Global Biogeochem. Cycles 10, 159-174.Müller, R.D., et al., 2008, Science, 319, 1357-1362.Whittaker, J., et al., 2013, Geochem., Geophys., Geosyst. DOI: 10.1002/ggge.20181

  1. 7.07 The Generation of Plate Tectonics from Mantle Dynamics D Bercovici, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA

    E-print Network

    Theory Succeed in Explaining Plate Tectonics? 285 7.07.4.1 Convective Forces and Plate Driving Forces 2857.07 The Generation of Plate Tectonics from Mantle Dynamics D Bercovici, Yale University, New Haven.07.1 Introduction 272 7.07.2 Plate Tectonics 273 7.07.2.1 Present-Day Plate Motions 273 7.07.2.1.1 Plate kinematics

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. Dynamic Analysis of Modifications to Simple Plate Tectonic Theory

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Paczkowski, Karen

    A number of geological and geophysical observations suggest significant departures from simple, first-order plate tectonic theory. In this thesis we address the dynamic implications of some of these observations and propose generalized theories to explain their dynamics and conditions of formation. In Chapter 2, we develop a generalized theory and analytic model to predict the conditions under which large-volume removal of continental lithosphere can occur through the formation of drip instabilities. Using damage physics relevant for Earth, we find a large portion of the lithosphere may be mobilized and entrained into growing drip instabilities. For a critical amount of damage, the growth is accelerated sufficiently that large-volume drip instabilities may form within geologically feasible time frames. Our model suggests large-volume lithospheric drip instabilities may arise independently of tectonic settings through damage-assisted mobilization and entrainment of the highly viscous lithosphere. In Chapter 3, we develop a mechanical model independent of volcanism and thermal weakening to explain the initial formation and length scale of rifting and extension near convergent plate boundaries. We conduct a linear stability analysis of a simple viscous necking model, which includes the lithosphere's negative buoyancy, non-Newtonian rheology, and freely moving top surface, to determine which properties of the lithosphere govern the location of rifting. We find that the negative buoyancy of the lithosphere promotes the formation of rifting structures when simple Newtonian viscosities are present. However, localized weakening, introduced through a power law exponent, is required to generate realistic rifting length scales. Our model suggests that the initial location of rifting in the overriding plate at subduction zones is primarily due to the mechanical extension induced by rollback of the subducting slab. In Chapter 4, we propose a theory to explain the seismic anisotropy directions observed in the subslab mantle of subduction zones globally. We develop a three-dimensional model using COMSOL Multiphysics® to investigate how interactions among the background mantle flow, trench migration, and the geometry of the slab determine the flow direction in the subslab mantle. We find that flow directions are determined primarily by the amount of coupling between the slab and the mantle, and the interaction between the net background flow (including trench migration) and the slab geometry. We present three-dimensional finite strain calculations, which demonstrate that the maximum stretching directions are aligned with the model subslab flow directions, allowing us to compare our flow directions directly to seismic anisotropy splitting directions of subduction zones globally. Our model successfully predicts the flow directions (parallel or perpendicular) suggested by a global dataset of fast splitting directions using only the net background mantle flow, and slab dip and depth.

  6. 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

  7. Ultraslow, slow, or fast spreading ridges: an interplay between plate tectonics and mantle convection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Husson, Laurent; Yamato, Philippe; Bézos, Antoine

    2015-04-01

    Oceanic spreading rates are highly variable. These variations are known to correlate to a variety of surface observables, like magmatic production, heat flow or bathymetry, which lead to classify ridges into fast and slow spreading ridges, but also as the more peculiar ultraslow spreading regime. Here we explore the dynamic relationships between spreading ridges, plate tectonics and mantle flow. For this, we first focus on the thermal signature at deeper levels that we infer from the global S-wave seismic tomography model of Debayle and Ricard (2012). We show that the thermal structure of ridges gradually departs from the half-space cooling model for slow, and above all ultraslow spreading ridges. We also infer that the sub- lithospheric mantle temperature decreases by more than 180K from fast spreading to ultraslow spreading regimes. Both observations indicate that the mantle convection pattern is increasingly altered underneath slow and ultraslow spreading ridges. We suggest that this is due to far-field tectonics on the other ends of lithospheric plates. Not only it modulates the spreading rates but it also alters the convection regime: collisions at active plate boundaries obstruct plate motion and decrease their velocities. We then test this hypothesis using a thermo-mechanical model that represents a convection cell carrying a positively buoyant continental lithosphere on top. The continent gradually drifts away from the spreading ridge, from which the oceanic lithosphere grows and cools while the continent eventually collides at the opposite side. In turn, this event drastically modifies the upper kinematic condition for the convecting mantle that evolves from a mobile lid regime to an almost stagnant lid regime. Implications on spreading ridges are prominent: heat advection is slower than thermal diffusion, which causes the oceanic lithosphere to thicken faster; the oceanic plates get compressed and destabilized by a growing number of small scale transient plumes, which disrupts the structure of the oceanic lithospheres, lowers the heat flow and may even starve ultraslow ridges from partial melting.

  8. The Cariris Velhos tectonic event in Northeast Brazil

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    dos Santos, Edilton José; Van Schmus, William Randall; Kozuch, Marianne; Neves, Benjamim Bley de Brito

    2010-01-01

    The Borborema Province in northeastern South America is a typical Brasiliano-Pan-African branching system of Neoproterozoic orogens that forms part of the Western Gondwana assembly. The province is positioned between the São Luis-West Africa craton to the north and the São Francisco (Congo-Kasai) craton to the south. For this province the main characteristics are (a) its subdivision into five major tectonic domains, bounded mostly by long shear zones, as follows: Médio Coreaú, Ceará Central, Rio Grande do Norte, Transversal, and Southern; (b) the alternation of supracrustal belts with reworked basement inliers (Archean nuclei + Paleoproterozoic belts); and (c) the diversity of granitic plutonism, from Neoproterozoic to Early Cambrian ages, that affect supracrustal rocks as well as basement inliers. Recently, orogenic rock assemblages of early Tonian (1000-920 Ma) orogenic evolution have been recognized, which are restricted to the Transversal and Southern domains of the Province. Within the Transversal Zone, the Alto Pajeú terrane locally includes some remnants of oceanic crust along with island arc and continental arc rock assemblages, but the dominant supracrustal rocks are mature and immature pelitic metasedimentary and metavolcaniclastic rocks. Contiguous and parallel to the Alto Pajeú terrane, the Riacho Gravatá subterrane consists mainly of low-grade metamorphic successions of metarhythmites, some of which are clearly turbiditic in origin, metaconglomerates, and sporadic marbles, along with interbedded metarhyolitic and metadacitic volcanic or metavolcaniclastic rocks. Both terrane and subterrane are cut by syn-contractional intrusive sheets of dominantly peraluminous high-K calc-alkaline, granititic to granodioritic metaplutonic rocks. The geochemical patterns of both supracrustal and intrusive rocks show similarities with associations of mature continental arc volcano-sedimentary sequences, but some subordinate intra-plate characteristics are also found. In both the Alto Pajeú and Riacho Gravatá terranes, TIMS and SHRIMP U-Pb isotopic data from zircons from both metavolcanic and metaplutonic rocks yield ages between 1.0 and 0.92 Ga, which define the time span for an event of orogenic character, the Cariris Velhos event. Less extensive occurrences of rocks of Cariris Velhos age are recognized mainly in the southernmost domains of the Province, as for example in the Poço Redondo-Marancó terrane, where arc-affinity migmatite-granitic and meta-volcano-sedimentary rocks show U-Pb ages (SHRIMP data) around 0.98-0.97 Ga. For all these domains, Sm-Nd data exhibit TDM model ages between 1.9 and 1.1 Ga with corresponding slightly negative to slightly positive ?Nd( t) values. These domains, along with the Borborema Province as a whole, were significantly affected by tectonic and magmatic events of the Brasiliano Cycle (0.7-0.5 Ga), so that it is possible that there are some other early Tonian rock assemblages which were completely masked and hidden by these later Brasiliano events. Cariris Velhos processes are younger than the majority of orogenic systems at the end of Mesoproterozoic Era and beginning of Neoproterozoic throughout the world, e.g. Irumide belt, Kibaride belt and Namaqua-Natal belt, and considerably younger than those of the youngest orogenic process (Ottawan) in the Grenvillian System. Therefore, they were probably not associated with the proposed assembly of Rodinia. We suggest, instead, that Cariris Velhos magmatism and tectonism could have been related to a continental margin magmatic arc, with possible back-arc associations, and that this margin may have been a short-lived (<100 m.y.) leading edge of the newly assembled Rodinia supercontinent.

  9. 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.

  10. Global pattern of earthquakes and seismic energy distributions: Insights for the mechanisms of plate tectonics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Varga, P.; Krumm, F.; Riguzzi, F.; Doglioni, C.; Süle, B.; Wang, K.; Panza, G. F.

    2012-03-01

    In this paper, we analyse the distributions of number of events (N) and seismic energy (E) on the Earth's surface and along its radius as obtained from the global declustered catalogue of large independent events (M ? 7.0), dissipating about 95% of the Earth's elastic budget. The latitude distribution of the seismic event density is almost symmetric with respect to the equator and the seismic energy flux distribution is bimodal; both have their medians near the equator so that they are equally distributed in the two hemispheres. This symmetry with respect to the equator suggests that the Earth's rotational dynamics contributes to modulate the long-term tectonic processes. The distributions of number and energy of earthquakes versus depth are not uniform as well: 76% of the total earthquakes dissipates about 60% of the total energy in the first ~ 50 km; only 6% of events dissipates about 20% of the total amount of energy in a narrow depth interval, at the lower boundary of the upper mantle (550-680 km). Therefore, only the remaining 20% of energy is released along most of the depth extent of subduction zones (50-550 km). Since the energetic release along slabs is a minor fraction of the total seismic budget, the role of the slab pull appears as ancillary, if any, in driving plate tectonics. Moreover the concentration of seismic release in the not yet subducted lithosphere suggests that the force moving the plates acts on the uppermost lithosphere and contemporaneously all over the Earth's outer shell, again supporting a rotational/tidal modulation.

  11. 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)

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

    E-print Network

    Tackley, Paul J.

    tectonics continents thermal insulation mantle convection a b s t r a c t Continents slowly drift at the top regions and are caused by a time- variable efficiency of thermal insulation of the continental convectionLinking continental drift, plate tectonics and the thermal state of the Earth's mantle T. Rolf a

  13. 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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    van Hunen, Jeroen; van den Berg, Arie P.

    2008-06-01

    The tectonic style and viability of modern plate tectonics in the early Earth is still debated. Field observations and theoretical arguments both in favor and against the uniformitarian view of plate tectonics back until the Archean continue to accumulate. Here, we present the first numerical modeling results that address for a hotter Earth the viability of subduction, one of the main requirements for plate tectonics. A hotter mantle has mainly two effects: 1) viscosity is lower, and 2) more melt is produced, which in a plate tectonic setting will lead to a thicker oceanic crust and harzburgite layer. Although compositional buoyancy resulting from these thick crust and harzburgite might be a serious limitation for subduction initiation, our modeling results show that eclogitization significantly relaxes this limitation for a developed, ongoing subduction process. Furthermore, the lower viscosity leads to more frequent slab breakoff, and sometimes to crustal separation from the mantle lithosphere. Unlike earlier propositions, not compositional buoyancy considerations, but this lithospheric weakness could be the principle limitation to the viability of plate tectonics in a hotter Earth. These results suggest a new explanation for the absence of ultrahigh-pressure metamorphism (UHPM) and blueschists in most of the Precambrian: early slabs were not too buoyant, but too weak to provide a mechanism for UHPM and exhumation.

  15. Plant distribution patterns and plate tectonics PETER C. VAN WELZEN, J.W. FERRY SLIK AND JANNE ALAHUHTA

    E-print Network

    Slik, Ferry

    BS 55 199 Plant distribution patterns and plate tectonics in Malesia PETER C. VAN WELZEN, J patterns and plate tectonics in Malesia. Biol. Skr. 55: 199-217. ISSN 0366-3612. ISBN 87: a. The east Malesian elements only rafted during the last 50Ma as plate fragments towards Southeast

  16. Tectonic tremor locations along the western Mexico subduction zone using stacked waveforms of similar events

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schlanser, K. M.; Brudzinski, M. R.; Holtkamp, S. G.; Shelly, D. R.

    2011-12-01

    Tectonic (non-volcanic) tremor is difficult to locate due to its emergent nature, but critical to assess what impact it has on the plate interface slip budget. Tectonic tremor has been observed in Jalisco, Colima, and Michoacán regions of southern Mexico using the MARS seismic network. A semi-automated approach in which analyst-refined relative arrival times are inverted for source locations using a 1-D velocity model has previously produced hundreds of source locations. The results found tectonic tremor shift from near the 50 km contour to the 20 km contour going from east to west, with the latter epicenters hugging the coastline. There is little room between the tectonic tremor and the seismogenic zone for a wide intervening slow slip region like what is seen in other region of the Mexican subduction zone, suggesting a potentially different source process than tremor in other regions. This study seeks to refine the tremor source locations by stacking families of similar events to enhance the signal to noise ratio and bring out clear P- and S-wave arrivals even for low amplitude sources at noisier stations. Well-defined tremor bursts within the Jalisco, Colima, and Michoacán region from previous results are being used to define 6 s template waveforms that are matched to similar waveforms through cross-correlation over the entire duration of recording. After stacking the similar events, the clarified arrival times will be used to refine the source locations. Particular attention will be paid to whether the tremor families form a dipping linear feature consistent with the plate interface and if tremor associated with the Rivera plate is as shallow (~20km) as it appears from previous results.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2014-05-01

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

  18. 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...

  19. A Simple Class Exercise on Plate Tectonic Motion.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bates, Denis E. B.

    1990-01-01

    Presented is an activity in which students construct a model of plate divergence with two sheets of paper to show the separation of two continental plates in a system of spreading ridges and faults. Diagrams and procedures are described. (CW)

  20. 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.

  1. Thermal evolution with a hydrating mantle and the initiation of plate tectonics in the early Earth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Korenaga, J.

    2011-12-01

    The net influx of water into the deep mantle by plate tectonics has been poorly constrained because it is difficult to quantify how efficiently subducting slabs are devolatilized on a global scale. The significance of deep water cycle in the Earth history is similarly ambiguous because it depends critically on when plate tectonics started and how it evolved through time. Here I show that, using the new scaling of plate-tectonic convection based on fully dynamic calculations, the thermal evolution of Earth consistent with geochemical, petrological, and geological data requires continuous mantle hydration since the early Earth, with the net water influx of ˜2-3 × 1014 g yr-1. A drier mantle in the Hadean and Archean is suggested to help the initiation of plate tectonics by reducing the viscosity contrast between lithosphere and asthenosphere. As an increase in the vigor of plate tectonics with time would encourage global marine inundation, the slow intake of surface water by the convecting mantle is essential to maintain the continental freeboard.

  2. Cenozoic SE Asia Sedimentary Basins Evolution: Using Gplates Software to Correlate with Plate Tectonics in this Region

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chan, Y., II; Lee, T. Y.; Yeh, M. W.

    2014-12-01

    Most of the sedimentary basins around SE Asia were formed during Late Cretaceous to present. Previous studies suggested that Sundaland is a stable core in SE Asia that experienced the interaction of 4 major plates (Eurasia, India, Pacific and Australia plates). Although the plate tectonic history is very complicated, most of the sedimentary basins developed under the extensional regime. In Cenozoic, there are at least two contractional and four extensional events can be identified in this regime. The first contractional event is India plate colliding with Eurasia in Early Eocene, which propagated to the northern part of Sundaland and made Indochina block escape southeastward into the present-day South China Sea. The second one was in Early Miocene where Australia plate, along with many micro-continental blocks, drifted northward and collided with Sundaland that generated inversions in SE Sundaland. On the other hands, four marginal basins have their sea-floor spreading in Cenozoic, namely South China Sea (30-16Ma), Sulu Sea (17-12Ma), Celebes Sea (49-35Ma) and Andaman Sea (20-5Ma), that caused the sedimentary facies in the basins changing from mainly terrigenous to partially marine. In order to understand the evolutionary history of sedimentary basins and their relationship with plate tectonics, we used Gplates program to reconstruct SE Asia from Late Mesozoic to present. About 25 isopaches of major sedimentary basins were compiled into the program. So far, we can conclude that the key rifting event of the sedimentary basins were stared from Early Eocene that could be correlated with the India-Eurasia collision.

  3. The Role of the Mantle on Structural Reactivation at the Plate Tectonics Scale (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vauchez, A. R.; Tommasi, A.

    2009-12-01

    During orogeny, rifting, and in major strike-slip faults, the lithospheric mantle undergoes solid-state flow to accommodate the imposed strain. This deformation occurs mostly through crystal plasticity processes, like dislocation creep, and results in the development of a crystallographic preferred orientation (CPO) of olivine and pyroxene. Because these minerals, especially olivine, display strongly anisotropic physical properties, their preferred orientation confers anisotropic properties at the scale of the rock. When the deformation event comes to its end, the CPO are "frozen" and remain stable for millions or even billions years if no other deformation subsequently affects the lithospheric mantle. This means that anisotropic properties preserving a memory of previous deformation events may subsist in the continental mantle over very long periods of time. One of the main consequences of a well-developed olivine CPO is an anisotropic mantle viscosity and hence a deformation dependant on the orientation of the tectonic solicitations relative to the orientation of the olivine CPO inherited from the past orogenic events. The most obvious expression of this anisotropic mechanical behaviour is the influence of the inherited tectonic fabric on continental rifting. Most continental rifts that lead to successful continental breakup, like in the early Atlantic or the western Indian systems, formed parallel to ancient collisional belts. Moreover, the early stages of deformation in these systems are characterized by a transtensional strain regime involving a large component of strike-slip shearing parallel to the inherited fabric. The link between the lithospheric mantle fabric and the rift structure is further supported by seismic anisotropy measurements in major rifts (e.g., the East-African Rift) or at passive continental margins (e.g., the Atlantic Ocean) that show fast split S-waves polarized in a direction parallel to both the inherited fabric and the trend of the rift, and by the analysis of the CPO in mantle xenoliths collected in such areas. These observations are consistent with recent multi-scale numerical models showing that olivine CPO frozen in the lithospheric mantle result in an anisotropic mechanical behaviour. In a plate submitted to extension, CPO-induced anisotropy favours the reactivation in transtension of lithospheric-scale strike slip faults that are oblique to the imposed tensional stresses. Further investigation is needed to constrain the role of an inherited mechanical anisotropy of the lithosphere during compressional events and the possible feedbacks between an anisotropic viscous deformation of the lithospheric mantle and the seismic cycle. In both cases, crust-mantle coupling is likely for large-scale structures and mantle CPO may influence the kinematics of tectonic systems, at least during the initial stages of their evolution.

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

    SciTech Connect

    Zholtayev, G. )

    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.

  5. Subduction and Plate Edge Tectonics in the Southern Caribbean

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Levander, A.; Schmitz, M.; Niu, F.; Bezada, M. J.; Miller, M. S.; Masy, J.; Ave Lallemant, H. G.; Pindell, J. L.

    2012-12-01

    The southern Caribbean plate boundary consists of a subduction zone at at either end connected by a strike-slip fault system: In the east at the Lesser Antilles subduction zone, the Atlantic part of the South American plate subducts beneath the Caribbean. In the north and west in the Colombia basin, the Caribbean subducts under South America. In a manner of speaking, the two plates subduct beneath each other. Finite-frequency teleseismic P-wave tomography confirms this, imaging the Atlantic and the Caribbean subducting steeply in opposite directions to transition zone depths under northern South America (Bezada et al, 2010). The two subduction zones are connected by the El Pilar-San Sebastian strike-slip fault system, a San Andreas scale system that has been cut off at the Bocono fault, the southeastern boundary of the Maracaibo block. A variety of seismic probes identify where the two plates tear as they begin to subduct (Niu et al, 2007; Clark et al., 2008; Miller et al. 2009; Growdon et al., 2009; Huang et al., 2010; Masy et al., 2011). The El Pilar system forms at the southeastern corner of the Antilles subduction zone with the Atlantic plate tearing from South America. The deforming plate edges control mountain building and basin formation at the eastern end of the strike-slip system. In northwestern South America the Caribbean plate very likely also tears, as its southernmost element subducts at shallow angles under northernmost Colombia and the northern, nonsubducting part underthrusts the continental edge. The subducting segment rapidly descends to transition zone depths under Lake Maracaibo (Bezada et al., 2010). We believe that the flat slab produces the Merida Andes, the Perija, and the Santa Marta ranges. The nonsubducting part of the Caribbean plate underthrusts northern Venezuela to about the width of the coastal mountains (Miller et al., 2009), where the plate edge supports the coastal mountains, and controls continuing deformation.

  6. Magnetic Field and Plate Tectonics on Super Earths

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cai, S.; Zhang, W.

    2014-04-01

    D" layer's significance in the Earth's tectonics was just confirmed by Hirose and Lay in 2007[1]. For half a century, few people foresee the significance of Core-Mantle Boundary (CMB) dynamics in the geosystem. But as Lay et al [2] said on Nature, the CMB is about to replace the transition zone between Earth's upper and lower mantle as the region most likely to hold the key to a large number of geophysical problems.

  7. Tectonics of Artemis Chasma: A Venusian "plate" boundary.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brown, C. David; Grimm, Robert E.

    1995-10-01

    Artemis Chasma, an ˜2600-km-diameter arcuate trough located in southwestern Aphrodite Terra, Venus, has been the site of <250 km of regionally coherent, southeast-directed, lithospheric convergence and strike-slip displacement. This study examines the tectonics of the interior platform encircled by Artemis, the annulus of deformation coinciding with the trench, and the exterior region. A prominent northeast-trending interior deformation belt experienced phases of both shortening and extension that likely predate the formation of the chasma. Exterior tectonics are characterized by rift zones that are both younger and older than Artemis. The annulus displays substantial shortening on its southwest, south, and southeast margins, a transition to oblique convergence in the east annulus, and left-lateral strike-slip displacements on the northeast segment. Displacements of ˜50-250 km are inferred from distortion of a graben in the southeast fold-and-thrust belt and the left-lateral offset of an intersecting deformation belt at the northeast strike-slip boundary. The trench-outer rise system results from flexural processes, and is analogous to the topography at terrestrial subduction zones. These observations support limited southeast-vergent overthrusting of the entire interior plateau over the exterior plains. The tectonics of Artemis are not explained by an underlying mantle plume, as evidenced by the unidirectional—not radial—convergence and the greater age of the interior volcanism and tectonism relative to the annulus. However, early plume activity may have produced a block of thickened crust—now manifested by the interior plateau— which later served to localize deformation on its periphery, forming the annulus. The driving forces responsible for lithospheric underthrusing at Artemis Chasma are probably quite unlike the slab-pull mechanism that is favored for terrestrial subduction.

  8. 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.

  9. Linked Plume-Related Rifting and Regional Lateral Displacements and Indentation Tectonics on Venus Interpreted from Bouguer Gravity and Radar — Implications for an Archean Earth Without Plate Tectonics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Harris, L. B.; Bédard, J. H.

    2015-05-01

    Rifts and regional shears on Venus are interpreted from Bouguer gravity and radar. Structures resemble Archean terrains on Earth. Mantle flow on deep keels to plana (Venus) or cratons (Earth) provides an alternative to plate tectonics in the Archean.

  10. Aligned buoyant highs, across-trench deformation, clustered volcanoes, and deep earthquakes are not aligned with plate-tectonic theory

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smoot, N. Christian

    1997-03-01

    Bathymetry shows the regional interaction of aseismic, buoyant highs in northern Pacific subduction zones. Seamounts, ridges, and fractures on the seaward side of the trench are associated with events that do not support the accepted plate-tectonics paradigm, including an altered slab dip angle (Benioff zone) and the clustered volcanoes and earthquakes within the convergent margin. Most of the examples in this study show a reduction in the number of total earthquakes but an increase in the deeper earthquakes, an abnormal amount of across-trench deformation, and a larger amount of volcanism on the active arc than if no bouyant highs existed in the subduction zone. The connections between the seaward highs and the landward clustered highs are the transverse faults, which widen by turbidite scour as they age. Forearc canyons are the modern-day bathymetdc expression of these faults. All of the parameters introduced disagree with the plate-tectonic hypothesis, making an alternate explanation for the genesis necessary. That explanation falls into the realm of the surge-tectonic hypothesis, which can explain by fluid mechanics and eastward flow each of the introduced parameters.

  11. Early impact basins and the onset of plate tectonics. Ph.D. Thesis - Maryland Univ.

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Frey, H.

    1977-01-01

    The fundamental crustal dichotomy of the Earth (high and low density crust) was established nearly 4 billion years ago. Therefore, subductable crust was concentrated at the surface of the Earth very early in its history, making possible an early onset for plate tectonics. Simple thermal history calculations spanning 1 billion years show that the basin forming impact thins the lithosphere by at least 25%, and increases the sublithosphere thermal gradients by roughly 20%. The corresponding increase in convective heat transport, combined with the highly fractured nature of the thinned basin lithosphere, suggest that lithospheric breakup or rifting occurred shortly after the formation of the basins. Conditions appropriate for early rifting persisted from some 100,000,000 years following impact. We suggest a very early stage of high temperature, fast spreading "microplate" tectonics, originating before 3.5 billion years ago, and gradually stabilizing over the Archaean into more modern large plate or Wilson Cycle tectonics.

  12. 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…

  13. Thermal evolution with a hydrating mantle and the initiation of plate tectonics in the early Earth

    E-print Network

    Thermal evolution with a hydrating mantle and the initiation of plate tectonics in the early Earth on a global scale. The significance of deep water cycle in the Earth history is similarly ambiguous because evolution of Earth consistent with geochemical, petrological, and geological data requires continuous mantle

  14. 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…

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

    E-print Network

    Menke, William

    , people may be wondering whether the earth has suddenly become a more tectonically dangerous place. Plate burgeoning cities are located in rather dangerous places. Haiti's population, for instance, has more than, has quadrupled. Many of the newcomers are desperately poor and living in substandard housing Second

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2007-09-01

    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 and moons is probably in a stagnant lid regime. Convective stresses on the lithosphere depend on the viscosity and velocity of underlying cold downwellings. The lithospheric yield stress is controlled by its friction coefficient and elastic thickness (the depth to the brittle-ductile transition or BDT). Both convective stresses and the plate's yield strength depend critically on the size, thermal state and cooling history of a planet. Accordingly, here we use numerical simulations and scaling theory to identify conditions in which mantle convection leads to lithospheric failure for a range of conditions relevant to the terrestrial planets. Whereas Earth is expected to be in a plate-tectonic regime over its full thermal evolution, the Moon and Mercury are expected to have always remained in a stagnant lid regime. Venus, Io and Europa currently fall on the transition between the two regimes, which is consistent with an episodic style of mantle convection for Venus, a tectonic component to deformation on Io, and the resurfacing history and lithospheric evolution of Europa. Our results suggest that Venus may have been in a plate-tectonic regime in the past. While stagnant now, it is plausible that Mars may have also been in an active-lid regime, depending on whether there was liquid water on the surface.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Anderson, D. L.

    2001-12-01

    A fluid above the critical Rayleigh number is far from equilibrium and spontaneously organizes itself into patterns involving the collective motion of large numbers of molecules which are resisted by the viscosity of the fluid. No external template is involved in forming the pattern. In 1928 Pearson showed that Bénard's experiments were driven by variations in surface tension at the top of the fluid and the surface motions drove convection in the fluid. In this case, the surface organized itself AND the underlying fluid. Both internal buoyancy driven flow and flow driven by surface forces can be far-from-equilibrium self-organized open systems that receive energy and matter from the environment. In the Earth, the cold thermal boundary layer at the surface drives plate tectonics and introduces temperature, shear and pressure gradients into the mantle that drive mantle convection. The mantle provides energy and material but may not provide the template. Plate tectonics is therefore a candidate for a far-from-equilibrium dissipative self-organizing system. Alternatively, one could view mantle convection as the self-organized system and the plates as simply the surface manifestation. Lithospheric architecture also imposes lateral temperature gradients onto the mantle which can drive and organize flow. Far-from-equilibrium self-organization requires; an open system, interacting parts, nonlinearities or feedbacks, an outside steady source of energy or matter, multiple possible states and a source of dissipation. In uniform fluids viscosity is the source of dissipation. Sources of dissipation in the plate system include bending, breaking, folding, shearing, tearing, collision and basal drag. These can change rapidly, in contrast to plate driving forces, and introduce the sort of fluctuations that can reorganize far-from-equilibrium systems. Global plate reorganizations can alternatively be thought of as convective overturns of the mantle, or thermal weakening of plates or the asthenosphere by hot upwellings. The study of soft matter, bubble rafts, foam, fragile systems, force bridges and jamming may give insights into the physics of plate tectonics. For example, plates might be defined as "force bridges" that carry lateral compression, but dissolve and reform if the stress system changes. In the plate tectonic problem it is not clear what, if anything, is being minimized. Is it dissipation, or toroidal energy or something else? This session should stimulate new ways of thinking about plates, plate boundaries and lithospheric rheology.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. Paleozoic plate-tectonic evolution of the Tarim and western Tianshan regions, western China

    SciTech Connect

    Yangshen, S.; Huafu, L.; Dong, J.

    1994-11-01

    The plate-tectonic evolution of the Tarim basin and nearby western Tianshan region during Paleozoic time is reconstructed in an effort to further constrain the tectonic evolution of Central Asia, providing insights into the formation and distribution of oil and gas resources. The Tarim plate developed from continental rifting that progressed during early Paleozoic time into a passive continental margin. The Yili terrane (central Tianshan) broke away from the present eastern part of Tarim and became a microcontinent located somewhere between the Junggar ocean and the southern Tianshan ocean. The southern Tianshan ocean, between the Tarim craton and the Yili terrane, was subducting beneath the Yili terrane from Silurian to Devonian time. During the Late Devonian-Early Carboniferous, the Tarim plate collided with the Yili terrane by sinistral accretional docking that resulted in a late Paleozoic deformational episode. Intracontinental shortening (A-type subduction) continued through the Permian with the creation of a magmatic belt. 21 refs., 7 figs., 1 tab.

  7. 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.

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

    SciTech Connect

    Janssen, M.E. )

    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.

  9. 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

  10. A new plate tectonic concept for the eastern-most Mediterranean

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Huebscher, C.; McGrandle, A.; Scaife, G.; Spoors, R.; Stieglitz, T.

    2012-04-01

    Owing to the seismogenic faults bordering the Levant-Sinai realm and the discovery of giant gas reservoirs in the marine Levant Basin the scientific interest in this tectonically complex setting increased in recent years. Here we provide a new model for the Levant Basin architecture and adjacent plate boundaries emphasizing the importance of industrial seismic data for frontier research in earth science. PSDM seismics, residual gravity and depth to basement maps give a clear line of evidence that the Levant Basin, formerly considered as a single tectonic entity, is divided into two different domains. Highly stretched continental crust in the southern domain is separated from deeper and presumably Tethyan oceanic crust in the north. A transform continuing from southwest Cyprus to the Carmel Fault in northern Israel is considered as the boundary. If this interpretation holds, the Carmel-Cyprus Transform represents a yet unknown continent-ocean boundary in the eastern Mediterranean, thus adding new constrains for the Mediterranean plate tectonic puzzle. The Eratosthenes Seamount, considered as the spearhead of incipient continental collision in the eastern Mediterranean, is interpreted as a carbonate platform that developed above a volcanic basement. NW-SE trending strike-slip faults are abundant in the entire Levant region. Since this trend also shapes the topography of the Levant hinterland including Quaternary deposits their recent tectonic activity is quite likely. Thus, our study supports previous studies which attributed the evolution of submarine canyons and Holocene triggering of mass failures not only to salt tectonics or depositional processes, but also to active plate-tectonics.

  11. 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.

    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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Discussions on the sedimentary-tectonic event and tectonic setting of the North Tarim Basin in Cryogenian-Cambrian

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhou, X. B.; Li, J. H.; Li, W. S.

    2012-04-01

    Across the Tarim Basin, limited surface outcrops of Cryogenian to Cambrian sedimentary succession are completely exposed in the vicinity of Aksu area(Northwest Tarim), Kuruktag(Northeast Tarim)and Southwest Tarim, thus provides a unique, well preserved and accessible means by which to study the early development of the north Tarim Basin. Based on the field geological investigation in the northwestern and northeastern of Tarim Basin, with the referencing of paleomagnetism mapping and previous research, basin evolution process in Cryogenian-Cambrian is discussed according to sedimentary-tectonic event and other evidences. The major lithological types of Cryogenian-Cambrian system in Northeast Tarim are: tillite, clastic rocks(rich in organic matter) and carbonate ,with interbeds of volcanic rocks while in Northwest Tarim, the calstic rocks and carbonate are the common rock type, with tillite and volcanic interbeds in a small amount. The north margin of Tarim Block, which was a part of Rodinia supercontinent, neighboring the northwestern margin of Australia, was deeply rifted in Cryogenian-Ediacaran and developed into two rifts in the northwestern and northeastern margin, while formed a thick layer of the rift-passive margin deposits and the layer in the northwestern rift was not completely developed as the northeastern. The deepest rift-passive magin sediment which can be observed is Cryogenian-Middle Ordovician strata, and the period can be divided into Cryogenian faulted period (supercontinent rifting stage) and Ediacaran-Middle Ordovician subsidence period (plate drifting stage).

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2007-12-01

    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 package for integrating the relevant ontologies (meant to be shared and reused by a broad community of users) to provide access to the key volcanology, plate tectonic and atmospheric related databases. We present how we have put ontologies to work in this science application setting, and the methodologies employed to create the ontologies, map them to the underlying data and implement them for use by scientists. SESDI is an NASA/ESTO/ACCESS-funded project involving the High Altitude Observatory at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), McGuinness Associates Consulting, NASA/JPL and Virginia Polytechnic University.

  18. California takes earthquakes very seriously. The state straddles two major tectonic plates and is subject to relatively frequent, often major, potentially devastating quakes.

    E-print Network

    California takes earthquakes very seriously. The state straddles two major tectonic plates the Pacific and North American tectonic plates. The Pacific Plate includes a sliver of California and Baja California, as well as Hawaii and most of the Pacific Ocean, while the North American Plate includes

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2014-12-01

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

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. On the importance of plumes to initiate subduction and plate tectonics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Davaille, Anne

    2015-04-01

    Understanding the details of plate failure and the initiation of subduction remains a challenge due to the complexity of mantle rocks. We carried out experiments on convection in aqueous colloidal dispersions heated from below, and dried and cooled from above. The rheology of these fluids depends strongly on solid particle fraction fp, being Newtonian at low fp, and presenting memory, yield stress, elasticity, and brittle properties as fp increases. Such a behaviour is analogue to the rheology of mantle rocks as temperature decreases. When drying is sufficiently rapid in the laboratory, a visco-elasto-plastic skin ("lithosphere") forms on the fluid surface. Depending on its rheology, and on the different scales of convection existing in our laboratory mantle, we observed different modes of one-sided subduction initiation. However, not all of them lead to continuous plate tectonics. If subduction is definitely a necessary condition for plate tectonics, it is not sufficient. Amongst the different modes of subduction initiation, we observed two of them where one-sided subduction was induced by the impingement of a hot plume under the skin, the trench being localized on the rim of the plume impingement zone under the lithosphere. Then depending on the lithospheric rheology, the nascent subduction can then either stop as the result of subducted plate necking, or continue to sink smoothly. Due to the brittle character of the skin, the subduction trench will never describe a complete circle, but several tears and/or transform faults will develop as subduction and roll back proceed. Inspection of the geological record on Earth suggests that such a strong association between plumes and subduction may have been instrumental in the nucleation and growth of cratons, the onset of continuous plate tectonics, and present-day initiation of subduction around some large oceanic plateaus.

  4. 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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    von Raumer, Jürgen F.; Stampfli, Gérard M.

    2008-12-01

    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 be subdivided into a more western domain, where the future Avalonian blocks will be separated from Gondwana by the opening Rheic Ocean, whereas in its eastern continuation, hosting the future basement areas of Central Europe, different periods of crustal extension should be distinguished. Instead of applying a rather cylindrical model, it is supposed that crustal extension follows a much more complex pattern, where local back-arcs or intra-continental rifts are involved. Guided by the age data of magmatic rocks and the pattern of subsidence curves, the following extensional events can be distinguished: During the early to middle Cambrian, a back-arc setting guided the evolution at the Gondwana margin. Contemporaneous intra-continental rift basins developed at other places related to a general post-Pan-African extensional phase affecting Africa Upper Cambrian formation of oceanic crust is manifested in the Chamrousse area, and may have lateral cryptic relics preserved in other places. This is regarded as the oceanisation of some marginal basins in a context of back-arc rifting. These basins were closed in a mid-Ordovician tectonic phase, related to the subduction of buoyant material (mid-ocean ridge?) Since the Early Ordovician, a new phase of extension is observed, accompanied by a large-scale volcanic activity, erosion of the rift shoulders generated detritus (Armorican Quartzite) and the rift basins collected detrital zircons from a wide hinterland. This phase heralded the opening of Palaeotethys, but it failed due to the Silurian collision (Eo-Variscan phase) of an intra-oceanic arc with the Gondwana margin. During this time period, at the eastern wing of the Gondwana margin begins the drift of the future Hunia microcontinents, through the opening of an eastern prolongation of the already existing Rheic Ocean. The passive margin of the remaining Gondwana was composed of the Galatian superterranes, constituents of the future Variscan basement areas. Remaining under the influence of crustal extension, they will start their drift to Laurussia since the earliest Devonian during the opening of the Palaeotethys Ocean.

  6. 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.

  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. The many impacts of building mountain belts on plate tectonics and mantle flow

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yamato, Philippe; Husson, Laurent

    2015-04-01

    During the Cenozoic, the number of orogens on Earth increased. This observation readily indicates that in the same time, compression in the lithosphere became gradually more and more important. Such an increase of stresses in the lithosphere can impact on plate tectonics and mantle dynamics. We show that mountain belts at plate boundaries increasingly obstruct plate tectonics, slowing down and reorienting their motions. In turn, this changes the dynamic and kinematic surface conditions of the underlying flowing mantle. Ultimately, this modifies the pattern of mantle flow. This forcing could explain many first order features of Cenozoic plate tectonics and mantle flow. Among these, one can cite the compression of passive margins, the important variations in the rates of spreading at oceanic ridges, or the initiation of subduction, the onset of obduction, for the lithosphere. In the mantle, such change in boundary condition redesigns the pattern of mantle flow and, consequently, the oceanic lithosphere cooling. In order to test this hypothesis we first present thermo-mechanical numerical models of mantle convection above which a lithosphere rests. Our results show that when collision occurs, the mantle flow is highly modified, which leads to (i) increasing shear stresses below the lithosphere and (ii) to a modification of the convection style. In turn, the transition between a 'free' convection (mobile lid) and an 'upset' convection (stagnant -or sluggish- lid) highly impacts the dynamics of the lithosphere at the surface of the Earth. Thereby, on the basis of these models and a variety of real examples, we show that on the other side of a collision zone, passive margins become squeezed and can undergo compression, which may ultimately evolve into subduction or obduction. We also show that much further, due to the blocking of the lithosphere, spreading rates decrease at the ridge, a fact that may explain a variety of features such as the low magmatism of ultraslow spreading ridges or the departure of slow spreading ridges from the half-space cooling model.

  9. Dynamic Topography and Sea Level Change Inferred from Dipole and Quadrupole Moments of Plate Tectonic Reconstructions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Conrad, C. P.; Steinberger, B. M.; Torsvik, T. H.

    2014-12-01

    Although constraints on the history of mantle flow are difficult to obtain, tectonic reconstructions contain information about the longest wavelength patterns of mantle flow that drove plate motions in the past. To examine the influence of this long-wavelength flow on global geodynamics, we computed the dipole and quadrupole moments (harmonic degrees 1 and 2) of the spherical vector fields associated with tectonic reconstructions of plate motions back to 250 Ma. Areas of dipole or quadrupole divergence lie above regions of major mantle upwelling, and convergence regions reside atop major mantle downwellings. To constrain the time-dependence of dynamic topography associated with these upwellings and downwellings, we used a numerical model of present-day mantle flow to relate degree-1 and degree-2 patterns of dynamic topography to the orientations and amplitudes of the dipole and quadrupole moments of present-day plate motions. We then apply this relationship to the dipole and quadrupole moments of past plate motions to compute the long-wavelength components of dynamic topography for the Mesozoic and Cenozoic. Continental motions over this time-evolving dynamic topography predict patterns of continental uplift and subsidence that can be related to geological observations of continental surfaces relative to sea level. Net uplift or subsidence of the global seafloor can also induce eustatic sea level changes. We infer that dispersal of the Pangean supercontinent away from upwelling beneath Africa may have exposed the seafloor to an increasingly larger area of positive dynamic topography since the early Mesozoic that has caused up to 100 m of sea level rise during this time period. This component of sea level change helps to balance observations of Cretaceous and Cenozoic sea level change with an estimated total sea level budget that includes concurrent tectonic and climatic influences that produce sea level drop of up to ~250 m.

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

    SciTech Connect

    Van Summeren, Joost; Conrad, Clinton P.; Gaidos, Eric

    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.

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

    SciTech Connect

    Reusch, D. )

    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.

  12. Development of the Plate Tectonics and Seismology markup languages with XML

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Babaie, H.; Babaei, A.

    2003-04-01

    The Extensible Markup Language (XML) and its specifications such as the XSD Schema, allow geologists to design discipline-specific vocabularies such as Seismology Markup Language (SeismML) or Plate Tectonics Markup Language (TectML). These languages make it possible to store and interchange structured geological information over the Web. Development of a geological markup language requires mapping geological concepts, such as "Earthquake" or "Plate" into a UML object model, applying a modeling and design environment. We have selected four inter-related geological concepts: earthquake, fault, plate, and orogeny, and developed four XML Schema Definitions (XSD), that define the relationships, cardinalities, hierarchies, and semantics of these concepts. In such a geological concept model, the UML object "Earthquake" is related to one or more "Wave" objects, each arriving to a seismic station at a specific "DateTime", and relating to a specific "Epicenter" object that lies at a unique "Location". The "Earthquake" object occurs along a "Segment" of a "Fault" object, which is related to a specific "Plate" object. The "Fault" has its own associations with such things as "Bend", "Step", and "Segment", and could be of any kind (e.g., "Thrust", "Transform'). The "Plate" is related to many other objects such as "MOR", "Subduction", and "Forearc", and is associated with an "Orogeny" object that relates to "Deformation" and "Strain" and several other objects. These UML objects were mapped into XML Metadata Interchange (XMI) formats, which were then converted into four XSD Schemas. The schemas were used to create and validate the XML instance documents, and to create a relational database hosting the plate tectonics and seismological data in the Microsoft Access format. The SeismML and TectML allow seismologists and structural geologists, among others, to submit and retrieve structured geological data on the Internet. A seismologist, for example, can submit peer-reviewed and reliable data about a specific earthquake to a Java Server Page on our web site hosting the XML application. Other geologists can readily retrieve the submitted data, saved in files or special tables of the designed database, through a search engine designed with J2EE (JSP, servlet, Java Bean) and XML specifications such as XPath, XPointer, and XSLT. When extended to include all the important concepts of seismology and plate tectonics, the two markup languages will make global interchange of geological data a reality.

  13. 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.

  14. Numerical simulation of tectonic plates motion and seismic process in Central Asia

    SciTech Connect

    Peryshkin, A. Yu.; Makarov, P. V. Eremin, M. O.

    2014-11-14

    An evolutionary approach proposed in [1, 2] combining the achievements of traditional macroscopic theory of solid mechanics and basic ideas of nonlinear dynamics is applied in a numerical simulation of present-day tectonic plates motion and seismic process in Central Asia. Relative values of strength parameters of rigid blocks with respect to the soft zones were characterized by the ? parameter that was varied in the numerical experiments within ? = 1.1–1.8 for different groups of the zonal-block divisibility. In general, the numerical simulations of tectonic block motion and accompanying seismic process in the model geomedium indicate that the numerical solutions of the solid mechanics equations characterize its deformation as a typical behavior of a nonlinear dynamic system under conditions of self-organized criticality.

  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. Generation and Stability of Hotspots and Plumes in a Spherical Mantle Convection Model Incorporating Tectonic Plate Motions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Quere, S.; Forte, A. M.

    2005-12-01

    We investigate the influence of tectonic plate motions on plume generation in a 3-D spherical mantle convection model in which surface tectonic plates are dynamically coupled to the underlying convective flow. We first derived a simple reference convection model, based on a two-layer viscosity profile, in which we incorporate only the geometry of the tectonic plates in the No-Net-Rotation (NNR) NUVEL-1 model. This model readily yields the principal features of plate tectonics (i.e. linear subduction zones, divergent mid-ocean rises) as well as four focussed upwelling mantle plumes. In the first, time-dependent simulation, which was initiated with the mean geotherm extracted from the reference model, we imposed the present-day (NUVEL-1) plate velocities and observed the generation of six focussed upwellings whose location and number is very similar to the primary terrestrial hotspots (e.g. Hawaii, Iceland and Réunion) which have been recently identified (Courtillot et al, 2003). To determine the robustness of these results we carried out a second time-dependent convection simulation incorporating the past 120 Ma history of tectonic plate evolution (Lithgow-Bertelloni & Richards, 1998). We found shifting `hotlines' at the CMB, but the locations of the overlying hotspot plumes remained relatively stable. The geometry of the hotlines in both sets of time-dependent convection experiments are very similar to each other, showing that the present-day (NUVEL-1) plate motions are sufficient for modelling realistic terrestrial hotspot generation. In a third set of simulations, in which the tectonic plate motions are not imposed but rather predicted on the basis of the underlying convective stresses, we found that the locations of the subduction zones changed rapidly but the locations of the hotspot plumes were quite stable overall.

  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. 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.

  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. 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.

  1. Geodynamic modeling of passive margin systems from tectonic reconstructions with deforming plate boundaries

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Williams, S.; Flament, N.; Heine, C.; Hosseinpour Vazifehshenas, M.; Seton, M.; Gurnis, M.; Müller, R. D.

    2012-04-01

    The effect of mantle flow on surface topography has been the subject of considerable interest over the last few years. A common approach to the problem is to link plate tectonic reconstructions and global geodynamic models. An important limitation of this approach is that traditional plate tectonic reconstructions do not take the deformation of the lithosphere into account. We introduce quantitative models of surface plate kinematics that include areas of deforming continental crust. We present a series of global reconstructions including deforming plates in key areas, derived using tools developed within the open source plate modeling software GPlates. In traditional plate reconstructions, the continents are represented as rigid blocks that overlap in full-fit reconstructions. Models that use topological polygons avoid continental overlaps, but plate velocities are still derived on the basis of Euler poles for rigid blocks. To resolve these issues, we use a methodology that requires at minimum two inputs; (1) the relative motions of the rigid blocks within continents; (2) a definition of the regions in which continental crust deformed between these blocks. We use geological and geophysical data to interpret the landward limit of significant extension and crustal thinning along conjugate passive margins. These boundaries are used to construct polygons along both margins that define the extent of the stretched continental crust on either side of the rift. We derive individual motion histories for each point on the conjugate continent/ocean boundaries (COBs). Joined together, these COB points form the topological boundaries of deforming domains in which each vertex moves independently. The deforming domains represented by topological meshes extend forward in time as the major rigid plates drift apart. In our tectonic reconstruction with deforming plates, the timing and the intensity of continental extension is imposed by the progressive, diachronous breakup and initiation of seafloor spreading for each major margin system. The velocity field derived from the plate reconstructions is used as a time-dependent surface boundary condition in mantle convection models that include compositionally distinct crust and continental lithosphere embedded within the thermal lithosphere. In deforming areas, the velocity field is obtained by linearly interpolating velocities from adjacent non-deforming areas within GPlates. We computed forward global mantle flow models using 3D-spherical finite-element code CitcomS to simultaneously quantify the relative contributions of lithospheric stretching, thermal subsidence, and deep mantle flow to the subsidence of passive margins. Applied to the South Atlantic, the method reproduces the first-order asymmetry of the margins. In particular, the large subsidence of the Argentinian margin is due to the dynamic topography induced by ongoing subduction along the narrow southern portion of South America. This result illustrates the importance of dynamic topography to the total subsidence at passive margins.

  2. 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. )

    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.

  3. The 3-D tectonic stress fields in and around Japan inverted from centroid moment tensor data of seismic events

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Terakawa, Toshiko; Matsu'Ura, Mitsuhiro

    2010-12-01

    We can regard the occurrence of earthquakes as the partial release of tectonic stress by sudden brittle rupture. In the framework of linear elasticity, any indigenous source including earthquake rupture is represented by a moment tensor. The moment tensor is mathematically equivalent to the volume integral of stress release over the whole elastic region surrounding the source, and so we can quantitatively relate the centroid moment tensor (CMT) of seismic events with an unknown tectonic stress field. On the basis of such an idea and Bayesian statistical inference theory, we developed an inversion method to estimate the 3-D pattern of tectonic stress from CMT data. Applying the CMT data inversion method to 12,500 seismic events in and around Japan, we obtained precise 3-D tectonic stress patterns that illuminate the present-day (Quaternary) complex tectonic motion of Japanese islands. The stress pattern of the Kuril-Japan-Nankai arc is basically E-W compression, but the direction of intermediate principal stress changes from N-S (reverse faulting type) in northeast Japan to vertical (strike-slip faulting type) in southwest Japan. On the other hand, the stress pattern of the Ryukyu and Izu-Bonin back-arc regions is basically trench perpendicular tension (normal faulting type). In addition to these basic stress patterns governed by mechanical interaction between the Eurasian, North American, Pacific, and Philippine Sea plates, we can recognize several characteristic local stress patterns corresponding to the horizontal motion of the Kuril fore-arc sliver, the collision of the Izu Peninsula with the mainland of Japan, and the opening of the Beppu-Shimabara rift zone.

  4. Playing jigsaw with large igneous provinces - a plate-tectonic reconstruction of Ontong Java Nui

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hochmuth, Katharina; Gohl, Karsten; Uenzelmann-Neben, Gabriele; Werner, Reinhard

    2015-04-01

    Ontong Java Nui is a Cretaceous large igneous province (LIP), which was rifted apart into various smaller plateaus shortly after its emplacement around 125 Ma in the central Pacific. It incorporated the Ontong Java Plateau, the Hikurangi Plateau and the Manihiki Plateau as well as multiple smaller fragments, which have been subducted. Its size has been estimated to be approximately 0.8% of the Earth's surface. A volcanic edifice of this size has potentially had a great impact on the environment such as its CO2 release. The break-up of the "Super"-LIP is poorly constrained, because the break-up and subsequent seafloor spreading occurred within the Cretaceous Quiet Period. The Manihiki Plateau is presumably the centerpiece of this "Super"-LIP and shows by its margins and internal fragmentation that its tectonic and volcanic activity is related to the break-up of Ontong Java Nui. By incorporating two new seismic refraction/wide-angle reflection lines across two of the main sub-plateaus of the Manihiki Plateau, we can classify the break-up modes of the individual margins of the Manihiki Plateau. The Western Plateaus experienced crustal stretching due to the westward motion of the Ontong Java Plateau. The High Plateau shows sharp strike-slip movements at its eastern boundary towards an earlier part of Ontong Java Nui, which is has been subducted, and a rifted margin with a strong volcanic overprint at its southern edges towards the Hikurangi Plateau. These observations allow us a re-examination of the conjugate margins of the Hikurangi Plateau and the Ontong Java Plateau. The repositioning of the different plateaus leads to the conclusion that Ontong Java Nui was larger (~1.2% of the Earth's surface at emplacement) than previously anticipated. We use these finding to improve the plate tectonic reconstruction of the Cretaceous Pacific and to illuminate the role of the LIPs within the plate tectonic circuit in the western and central Pacific.

  5. Role of viscous plate coupling in the late Tertiary Andean tectonics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    YáñEz, Gonzalo; Cembrano, José

    2004-02-01

    Plate coupling between oceanic and continental plates in convergent margins of Andean type is analyzed from the continuum mechanics approach. We postulate a simple mechanism that accounts for the compressive regime in Andean-type environments. In this mechanism, deformation in the continental lithosphere is split into two distinctive domains: The forearc domain and the arc-foreland domain. The forearc deformation is controlled by the balance between buoyancy forces associated with the trench and continental slope relief and the stress transferred from the convergence velocity through the age- and velocity-dependent slip zone. The arc-foreland deformation is controlled by the absolute plate velocity of the continental plate and the resistance at the slip zone. Strength of the coupling zone is determined by analyzing the dynamic trench topography along the active margin of South America between 0 and 55°S. Using this approach, we found strength values in the range of 20-95 MPa, in strong direct correlation with the age of the subducting plate. The slip layer strength observation has been successfully tested against a thermal- and strain rate-dependent rheological model. From this theoretical result we define an empirical relationship between strength of the slip zone and the age and convergence velocity. Applying this plate coupling model, we reproduce shortening rates in the order of 1-10 km/Myr, in agreement with those reported for the late Tertiary evolution of the Andes. Model results reproduce some first-order features of the geological evolution of the margin, such as the shape of the trench, the overall Andes relief, the Altiplano buildup, and block rotation patterns. In addition, the model provides a mechanism to explain the evolution of the Central Depression, the inversion of Tertiary basins under slow convergence rates during the Miocene, and the segmentation of the margins tectonic erosion.

  6. 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

  7. Parameters controlling dynamically self-consistent plate tectonics and single-sided subduction in global models of mantle convection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Crameri, Fabio; Tackley, Paul J.

    2015-05-01

    Recent advances in numerical modeling allow global models of mantle convection to more realistically reproduce the behavior at convergent plate boundaries; in particular, the inclusion of a free surface at the outer boundary has been shown to facilitate self-consistent development of single-sided subduction. This allows for a more extensive study of subduction in the context of global mantle convection, as opposed to commonly used regional models. Our first study already indicated important differences between mantle convection with single-sided subduction and mantle convection with double-sided subduction. Here we further investigate the effect of various physical parameters and complexities on inducing Earth-like plate tectonics and its evolution in time. Results reinforce the previous finding that using a free surface instead of a free-slip outer boundary dramatically changes subduction style, with free surface cases displaying many episodes of single-sided subduction, which leads to more realistic slab dip, stress state, trench retreat rate, and slab-induced mantle flow. Longevity of single-sided subduction is promoted by a layer of hydrated crust with a low yield strength to lubricate the subduction channel, a low-viscosity asthenosphere, and a high strength of the slab (determined by a combination of high-diffusion creep viscosity and intermediate friction coefficient), although its effective viscosity is in the observationally constrained range in the bending region. The time evolution displays interesting events including subduction polarity reversals, subduction shut-off, and slab break-off.

  8. 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.

  9. Architecture of Colliding Tectonic Plates in Tibet by Passive Source Seismology

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhao, Junmeng; Yuan, Xiaohui; Liu, Hongbing; Kumar, Prakash; Kind, Rainer; Pei, Shunping

    2013-04-01

    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. 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 called Tibetan Plate was found in northern and eastern Tibet between the two colliding plates, the existence of which is marked by high temperature, low mantle seismic velocity (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. The crustal shortening in the southern Tibet is accommodated by underthrusting of the Indian crust below the Asian crust that may reach further north than the YZS. In northern Tibet, crustal shortening is accommodated by homogeneous crustal thickening. The more rugged and higher topography in west Tibet can be supported by the rigid mantle lithosphere there, whereas to the east the lithosphere is weaker due to the existence of the crush zone. Under pressure by Indian and Asian plates, the subducted Indian lithospheric materials moved eastward and divided into four directions when meeting the Sichuan basin, two horizontal (southeastern ward forming Yun-Gui-Chuan plateau, northeastern ward to Erdos) and two vertical(upward forming Longmen Shan and down ward entering deep mantle).

  10. Geometric Evolution of a Plate Interface-Branch Fault System: Its Effect on Tectonics in Himalaya

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Takada, Y.; Matsu'Ura, M.

    2002-12-01

    The collision between India and Eurasia is still going on in Himalaya. The present convergence rate between the Indian and the Eurasian plates has been estimated as 50 mm/yr. About 40 % of the total convergence rate is consumed at the collision boundary along the Himalayas by the subduction of the Indian plate beneath the Eurasian plate. The plate boundary fault system in Himalaya is characterized by a large-scale ramp beneath the high Himalayas and a series of thrust-type branch faults. The long-term duration of steady slip along the fault system has caused crustal deformation in Himalaya. The essential point is that the geometry of the fault system changes with time because of the internal deformation caused by the slip of the fault system itself. Therefore, it is necessary to reveal this feedback mechanism to understand the topographic evolution process of the Himalayas. In this study, the interaction between the Indian and the Eurasian plates is represented by steady slip along an interface that divides a stratified elastic-viscoelastic half-space into two blocks. The geometric evolution of the fault system is simulated by considering the changes in fault geometry with time caused by internal deformation. Through numerical simulations we revealed the fundamental properties of geometric evolution of faults. When the plate interface has a ramp, the ramp moves horizontally toward the hanging wall side at a half of the plate convergence rate. The offset of the ramp decreases with time. When the plate interface has an thrust-type branch fault, we can find the accelerative increase in dip-angle of the branch fault. Since the branch fault with a steeper dip-angle is harder to consume the horizontal convergence, we may conclude that the increase in dip-angle results in the cessation of slip along the branch fault at last. The shallower the depth of the branching point is, the larger the increase rate of the dip-angle is. It means that the branch fault with a shallow branching point can not produce the large-scale mountain range, because large amount of slip can not be accommodated by the branch fault.Incorporating these simulation results into geological observations, we propose a scenario on the tectonic evolution of the Himalayas in the last 30 Myr.

  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. 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

  13. Stein et al. Promise and Paradox revised 7/11/15 1 Promise and Paradox: why improved knowledge of plate tectonics hasn't yielded

    E-print Network

    Stein, Seth

    of plate tectonics hasn't yielded correspondingly better earthquake hazard maps Seth Stein1 , Mian Liu2 of a physical foundation for earthquake hazard assessment. The relative motion of tectonic plates concentrates assessing earthquake hazards remains difficult. Although often earthquake hazard maps do a good job

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Depth-dependent viscosity and mantle stress amplification: implications for the role of the asthenosphere in maintaining plate tectonics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Höink, Tobias; Lenardic, Adrian; Richards, Mark

    2012-10-01

    Boundary layer theory is used to derive scaling relationships for plate stresses in a mantle convection system with a low-viscosity asthenosphere. The theory assumes a plate tectonic like mode of mantle convection with flow driven by an active upper boundary layer. The theory predicts that the confinement of horizontal mantle flow within a low-viscosity, sublithospheric channel can lead to an increase in plate stress compared to the case lacking a channel (even if the absolute viscosity of the sublithosphere mantle does not change between the two cases). The theory further predicts increasing shear stress with decreasing low-viscosity channel thickness. If the thickness of tectonic plates is determined dominantly by a dehydrated chemical lithosphere, then the plate normal stress is predicted to also increase with decreasing channel thickness. We use 3-D spherical shell simulations of mantle convection with temperature-, depth- and stress dependent rheology to test scaling trends. The simulations and theoretical scalings demonstrate that a low-viscosity layer (asthenosphere) can amplify convective stresses. If the level of convective stress plays a role in maintaining and/or reactivating plate boundaries, this suggests that a relatively thin low viscosity layer may help to maintain plate tectonics. The numerical simulations support this suggestion as they show that an increase in the thickness of a low viscosity channel can cause the system to transition from an active-lid mode of convection to a stagnant lid state. Collectively, the simulations and theoretical scalings lead to the conclusion that the role of the asthenosphere in maintaining plate tectonics does not come principally from a basal lubrication effect, associated with a low absolute asthenosphere viscosity, but, instead, from a mantle flow channelization effect, associated with a high viscosity contrast from the asthenosphere to the mantle below.

  17. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, Vol. 94, No. 6, pp. 23802399, December 2004 Plate-Tectonic Analysis of Shallow Seismicity: Apparent Boundary Width,

    E-print Network

    Bird, Peter

    E Plate-Tectonic Analysis of Shallow Seismicity: Apparent Boundary Width, Beta, Corner Magnitude Abstract A new plate model is used to analyze the mean seismicities of seven types of plate boundary (CRB and continental13.7 ? 3.8 18.02.3 10.8 plate boundaries suggests that here all seismic gaps are dangerous unless

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Briestenský, Miloš; Rowberry, Matt D.; Stemberk, Josef; Stefanov, Petar; Vozár, Jozef; Šebela, Stanka; Petro, ?ubomír; Bella, Pavel; Gaal, Pudovít; Ormukov, Cholponbek

    2015-10-01

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

  19. Crustal structure beneath southern Africa: insight into how tectonic events affect the Mohorovi?i? discontinuity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Delph, Jonathan R.; Porter, Ryan C.

    2015-01-01

    The long and complex history of southern Africa makes it a geological nexus for understanding how crust forms, evolves and survives plate tectonic processes over billions of years. The goal of this study is to characterize the crustal thickness, composition, and Moho impedance contrasts across the Kaapvaal and Zimbabwe Cratons and surrounding mobile belts, which range in age from Archean to Palaeozoic. We use data gathered from the 1997-1999 Southern Africa Seismic Experiment, the Africa Array (2006-2007) and the Global Seismographic Network (1993-2009) to generate P-wave receiver function Gaussian-weighted common conversion point stacks across the region in order to provide a continuous 3-D image of crustal variations throughout southern Africa. We observe thickened crust associated with mobile belts and the intrusion of the Bushveld Complex relative to the less-deformed cratons. The southern Kaapvaal and eastern Zimbabwe Cratons have a well-defined Moho with an average depth of ˜34 km and Vp/Vs of ˜1.73, indicative of felsic average crustal composition. We explain the felsic composition observed in the Kaapvaal Craton in the context of significant crustal modification related to the deposition of the Ventersdorp lavas. We find that the Bushveld Province, the site of the world's largest layered mafic intrusion, has a thick (>40 km) crust with a Vp/Vs > 1.8, indicative of a mafic average crustal composition. The magnitude of Moho conversions beneath the Bushveld Province is variable, with the lowest amplitude conversion appearing between the eastern and western limbs of the Bushveld Complex, indicative of mafic underplating beneath the region. In the Limpopo Belt and western Zimbabwe Craton, we observe low amplitude Moho conversions beneath the Okavango Dyke Swarm, and attribute this to the reworking of the crust by mafic underplating and intrusion during the Jurassic rifting of Gondwanaland. The Namaqua-Natal event thickened the crust and created a gradational transition from crust to mantle as seen by low amplitude Ps arrivals from receiver functions. Evidence for the presence of a mafic lower crust beneath the Namaqua-Natal Belt is observed in high Vp/Vs values (˜1.8) and a high concentration of granulite xenoliths in kimberlite intrusions. In contrast to past interpretations for craton formation that suggest sharp Moho boundaries and low Vp/Vs ratios are characteristic of undisturbed cratons, we propose that these crustal properties are more controlled by tectonic events that later modify the existing cratonic crust. We cannot rule out secular crustal formation variations in the early Earth, but we propose that the southern African cratonic crust has been too heavily modified by later tectonic events to be used in arguments for secular variation, as may be the case for other cratons as well. Thus, it is important to consider the regional geological history of cratons to ensure that secular variation is not confused with the effects of later tectonic deformation and crustal modification.

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

    SciTech Connect

    Jura, M.; Klein, B.; Xu, S.; Young, E. D. E-mail: kleinb@astro.ucla.edu E-mail: eyoung@ess.ucla.edu

    2014-08-20

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2012-12-01

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

  4. 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.

  5. Interaction of weak faults and non-newtonian rheology produces plate tectonics in a 3D model of mantle flow

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhong, Shijie; Gurnis, Michael

    1996-09-01

    ACCORDING to the theory of plate tectonics, relatively rigid plates are bounded by large faults; plate motion has negligible internal strain1,2,with significant toroidal component to the velocity3. By contrast, models of mantle flow with viscous rheology in an intact medium predict little toroidal component and substantial internal strain in surface motion4. It has been suggested5 that the observed characteristics of plate motion are related to faulted plate margins, which are observed to be weak6. Here we confirm this suggestion, using three-dimensional models of mantle flow that incorporate faults and the forces exerted on plates by subducting slabs ("slab pull') and mid-ocean ridges ('ridge push'). Our models show that plate-like motion results from the interaction between weak faults and a strain-weakening power-law rheology. Weak transform faults tend to guide plate motion. This guiding effect and the decoupling that occurs at thrust faults may result in oblique subduction. Convergent margins are associated with realistic trench and fore-bulge topography. By simultaneously predicting surface kinematics, topography and gravity, the models achieve a useful degree of tectonic realism.

  6. The Making of Early Continents and the Initiation of Plate Tectonics on Earth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rey, P. F.; Coltice, N.; Flament, N. E.

    2014-12-01

    We propose a simple, self-consistent model to explain a range of puzzling observation made in many Archean cratons including 1/ the marked petrological stratification of the lithospheric mantle; 2/ the multimodal polybaric volcanism of greenstone covers; 3/ the regional and temporal overlap between komatiitic-tholeiitic basalts and arc-volcanism; and 4/ the mid-lithospheric seismic discontinuity mapped across several cratons. This model also explains the possible transition from a stagnant-lid regime to a transient then steady-state plate tectonic regime. We performed several series of 2D thermo-mechanical numerical experiments to investigate the effect of an early continent on mantle convection. We considered a composite lid including 1/ a continent consisting of 55 km thick crust - made of TTG and continental flood basalts - above a 170-km-thick strongly depleted, strong and buoyant lithospheric mantle, and 2/ an oceanic lid including a 15-km-thick basaltic crust. These experiments show that the continent slowly spreads laterally toward the adjacent oceanic lid. The spreading and thinning of the continent drives exhumation of the fertile sub-continental mantle, which in turn promotes polybaric decompression melting producing komatiitic and tholeiitic basalts. Continental boudinage and rifting accompanying the spreading drives further upwelling and decompression melting to even shallower depths. This partial melting produces a moderately depleted mantle layer, progressively incorporated through cooling to the base of the continent. Our numerical experiments also show that spreading continents force the adjacent oceanic lid into the convective mantle, promoting subduction of the oceanic lid and temporal overlap between Archean komatiitic-tholeiitic basalts with arc-volcanism. Spreading and thinning of the continent lead to a sub-horizontal litho-tectonic fabric in the mantle, with a possible major discontinuity between the older strongly depleted mantle, and the younger moderately depleted accreted mantle. Our experiments show that early continents acted as kick-starters of subduction until plate tectonics became self-sustaining through the increasingly negative buoyancy of the oceanic lithosphere.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lourenço, Diogo; Tackley, Paul

    2015-04-01

    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 tectonic state of the system 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 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); (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). 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. For the same parameters the use of a treatment for melting and crustal production facilitates breaking the stagnant-lid, replacing it with episodic-lid; however, a smoothly evolving mobile lid can also be replaced by episode-lid. Several factors can play a role on these, namely lateral heterogeneities, differences in the lid thickness and internal planetary temperatures induced by melting and crustal production.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lourenço, Diogo L.; Tackley, Paul J.

    2014-05-01

    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 tectonic state of the system 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 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); (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). 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. For the same parameters the use of a treatment for melting and crustal production facilitates breaking the stagnant-lid, replacing it with episodic-lid; however, a smoothly evolving mobile lid can also be replaced by episode-lid. Several factors can play a role on these, namely lateral heterogeneities, differences in the lid thickness and internal planetary temperatures induced by melting and crustal production.

  9. From nanoparticles to plate tectonics : insights for laboratory experiments using colloidal dispersions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Davaille, A.

    2014-12-01

    We recently discovered a material, aqueous dispersions of colloidal nanoparticles, whose rheology depends strongly on solid particle fraction fp, being Newtonian at low fp, and presenting yield stress, shear thinning, elasticity, and brittle properties as fp increases. Moreover, the rheology is time-dependent, with shear stress causing damage, which can heal due to electrostatic interactions between the colloidal particles. The competition between damage and healing results in long-term weak zones. Such a behaviour is analogue to the rheology of mantle rocks as temperature decreases. We therefore undertake a systematic laboratory study of convection in such fluids, where the system is continuously cooled and dried from above and heated or not from below. As the dispersion is dried, a skin ("lithosphere") forms at the surface on the convective fluid, and instabilities develop on several scales as shear bands (0.01 mm-scale), folds (mm-scale), fractures (0.1-10 mm-scale), small-scale convection (cm-scale) and plates (2-20 cm-scale). The system always describes several dynamic regimes through time: an initially very soft lithosphere would result in a stagnant lid regime of convection, which can then evolve in episodic and/or partial subduction, sometimes continuous plate tectonics, and finally stagnant lid. Regime diagrams will be presented as a function of the effective rheology of lithosphere. This "effective" rheology depends on the cascade of instabilities at smaller scales, thanks to which it is much weaker than the material properties measured on small samples.

  10. 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.

  11. The Cretaceous iron belt of northern Chile: role of oceanic plates, a superplume event, and a major shear zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Oyarzun, Roberto; Oyarzún, Jorge; Ménard, Jean Jacques; Lillo, Javier

    2003-08-01

    The Cretaceous constitutes a turning point in the tectonic, magmatic, and metallogenic history of Chile. The geological evidence indicates that a major change occurred in late Neocomian time when superplume emplacement (Mid-Pacific Superplume) and plate reorganization processes took place in the Pacific. The superplume event resulted in a major ridge-push force resulting in increased coupling between the subducting and overriding plates. This completely changed the tectonic setting of Chile ending the Early Cretaceous extensional period (aborted rifting in the back-arc basin), and increasing stress at a crustal scale. As a consequence, overpressurized dioritic magmas were pushed up mainly along the best possible structural path in northern Chile, i.e., the Atacama Fault Zone, eventually forming a +500-km-long belt of Kiruna-type iron deposits with reserves of ~2,000 Mt (60% Fe), a unique case in Chile's geological history.

  12. 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.

  13. Cenozoic East Asia plate tectonic reconstructions using constraints of mapped and unfolded slabs from mantle seismic tomography

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2012-12-01

    Subducted slabs were mapped in the mantle under East Asia using MITP08 global seismic tomography (Li et al., 2008), Benioff zone seismicities and published local tomography. 3D gridded slab surfaces were constructed by manually picking and correlating the midpoint of fast seismic anomalies along variable cross-section orientations. The mapped slabs were structurally 'unfolded' and restored to the spherical Earth surface to assess their pre-subduction geometries. Gplates software was used to constrain plate tectonic reconstructions using the unfolded slabs. The unfolded SE Asia upper mantle slabs reveal a 'picture puzzle' fit along their edges that suggests a larger NE Indo-Australian ocean once existed that included the Philippine Sea, Molucca Sea and Celebes Sea. Deeper lower mantle detached slabs indicate an early to mid-Cenozoic 'East Asia Sea' between east Sundaland and the Pacific that stretched from the Ryukyu Islands north of present-day Taiwan southward to Sulawesi. The unfolded slab constraints produced gap and overlap incompatibilities when used in published plate tectonic reconstructions. Here a plate tectonic reconstruction incorporating the unfolded slab constraints is proposed that has the Philippine Sea, Molucca Sea and Celebes Sea clustered at the northern margin of Australia during the early Cenozoic. At the mid-Cenozoic these plates moved NNE with 'Australia-like' plate motions and overrode the 'East Asia Sea'. Plate motions were accommodated by N-S transforms at the eastern margin of Sundaland. Between 25 to 15 Ma the Philippine Sea, Molucca Sea and Celebes Sea plates were fragmented from the greater Indo-Australian ocean. The Philippine Sea was captured by the Pacific plate and now has Pacific-like westward motions.

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. The Tectonic Event of the Cenozoic in the Tasman Area, Western Pacific, and Its Role in Eocene Global Change

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Collot, J.; Sutherland, R.; Rouillard, P.; Patriat, M.; Roest, W. R.; Bache, F.

    2014-12-01

    The geometry and age progression of Emperor and Hawaii seamounts provide compelling evidence for a major change in Pacific plate motion over a short period of geological time at c. 50 Ma. This time approximately coincides with significant changes in plate boundary configuration and rate in the Indian Ocean, Antarctica, and with the onset of subduction zones in the western Pacific from Japan to New Zealand. This new subduction system that initiated during Eocene time can be divided into two sectors: The northern sector formed at the eastern boundary of the Philippine Sea plate and evolved into the Izu-Bonin-Mariana system. It has and is being extensively studied (2014 IODP expedition 351) to determine the magmatic products, but is limited in the record that is preserved because it is entirely intra-oceanic in character. The southern sector, the Tasman Area sector, borders continental fragments of Gondwana from Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia and New Zealand. This subduction zone evolved into the Tonga-Kemadec system. Because most of the southwest Pacific remained in marine conditions throughout Paleogene time and because rapid seawards roll-back of the subduction is inferred to have happened, it presents extensive well-preserved stratigraphic records to study the Eocene-Oligocene plate boundary evolution. The recent compilation of c. 100.000 km of 2D seismic data in the Tasman Frontier database has allowed us to describe, in the overriding plate of the proto subduction, stratigraphic evidence for large Cenozoic vertical movements (2-4 km) over a lateral extension of 2000 km (from New Caledonia to New Zealand), long-wavelength (~500 km) warping and large amounts of reverse faulting and folding near the proto-trench. These recent observations from the Lord Howe Rise, New Caledonia Trough and South Norfolk Ridge system reveal clear evidence for convergent deformation (uplift and erosion) and subsequent subsidence recorded in Eocene and Oligocene stratal relationships. Together, these evidences form a tectonic event, which is manifest as a regional Eocene-Oligocene unconformity, and which is named the "Tectonic Event of the Cenozoic in the Tasman Area" (TECTA). Studying the absolute timing of TECTA and the relative timing of its sub-events will allow to better understand its role and relation to Eocene global change.

  17. Miocene-Pliocene transition in the southern Cyprus basins: The sedimentary expression of regional tectonic events

    SciTech Connect

    Orzag-Sperber, F.; Rouchy, J.M. )

    1988-08-01

    In the southern part of Cyprus, a Maastrichtian-Pleistocene sedimentary area fringes Troodos Mountain, a fragment of an ancient crust. During the Neogene, three basins formed in this area: Polemi, Pissouri, and Psematismenos. A deep marine condition has prevailed since the Maastrichtian. During the Paleocene and early Miocene, the sea gradually become shallower until the Messinian, where the most spectacular sedimentary event concerns the deposition of evaporites contemporaneous with other Mediterranean evaporites. Some sedimentary phenomena express the tectonic instability during the upper Miocene. A well-known tectonic event affecting the east Mediterranean region generally referred to as the Miocene-Pliocene phase occurs at the Miocene-Pliocene limit. Recent sedimentological studies indicate this event is in fact complex. The Tortonian-lower Pliocene period is marked by a constraint involving an N20 distension in the Polemi and Pissouri basins and an N100 distension in the Psematismenos basin. Sedimentologic studies have demonstrated three tectonic pulsations during the Messinian prior to the Pliocene transgression. These are expressed by two episodes of seismic brecciation and a paleoemersion indicated by paleosols and detrital discharges. These phenomena suggest brief tectonic instability during the Messinian. Microtectonic studies reveal that the main change in tectonic constraint does not coincide with the Miocene-Pliocene contact but occurs at the top of the lower Pliocene.

  18. Large-Scale Present-Day Plate Boundary Deformations in the Eastern Hemisphere Determined from VLBI Data: Implications for Plate Tectonics and Indian Ocean Growth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Akilan, A.; Abdul Azeez, K. K.; Schuh, H.; Yuvraaj, N.

    2015-10-01

    The dynamics of the planet Earth are manifestations of diverse plate tectonic processes which have been occurring since the Archean period of the Earth's evolution and continue to deform the plate boundaries. Very long baseline interferometry (VLBI) is an efficient space geodetic method that enables precise measurement of plate motion and associated deformations. We analyze here VLBI measurements made during a period of approximately three decades at five locations on the Eastern hemisphere of the globe, which are geographically distributed over five continents (plates) around the Indian Ocean. Computed rate of change of baseline length show the deformation pattern and its rate at the boundaries between the major tectonic plates constituting the Eastern hemisphere of the Earth. The African (Nubian) and Antarctic plates are moving apart at 13.5 mm/year, which is mostly attributed to spreading of the South West Indian Ridge. Similarly, spreading of 59.0 mm/year is observed for the South East Indian Ridge that separates the Antarctic and Australian plates. Shortening at the rate of 3.9 mm/year is estimated across the subduction boundary between Africa (Nubia) and Eurasia. Similar convergence is evident between the Australian and Sunda blocks (of the Eurasian plate). The associated deformation of -54.8 mm/year seems to be chiefly accommodated along the Banda arc system, where the Australian plate is subducting under the Sunda block. VLBI sites within the Eurasian plate, Wettzell in Germany, and Seshan on the South China block, are moving apart at 3.6 mm/year. This relative motion between locations on the same plate is interpreted as a result of the deformation process along a large strike-slip fault, which is identified as the Western boundary of the South China block. Expansion of the Indian Ocean, at +91.5 m2/year, is also estimated from the rate of deformation estimated within the five baselines studied here. From the Hurst exponent values, which are indicators of the future trend of time series data, we predict deceleration of the various tectonic processes occurring at present.

  19. Dual subduction tectonics and plate dynamics of central Japan shown by three-dimensional P-wave anisotropic structure

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ishise, Motoko; Miyake, Hiroe; Koketsu, Kazuki

    2015-07-01

    The central Japanese subduction zone is characterized by a complex tectonic setting affected by the dual subduction of oceanic plates and collisions between the island arcs. To better understand of the subduction system, we performed an anisotropic tomography analysis using P-wave arrival times from local earthquakes to determine the three-dimensional structure of P-wave azimuthal anisotropy in the overriding plate and the Pacific and Philippine Sea (PHS) slabs. The principal characteristics of anisotropy in the subducted and subducting plates are (1) in the overriding plate, the distribution pattern of fast direction of crustal anisotropy coincides with that of the strike of geological structure, (2) in the two oceanic plates, fast propagation directions of P-wave were sub-parallel to the directions of seafloor spreading. Additionally, our tomographic images demonstrate that (1) the bottom of the Median Tectonic Line, the longest fault zone in Japan, reaches to the lower crust, and seems to link to the source region of an inter-plate earthquake along the PHS slab, (2) the segmentation of the PHS slab - the Izu Islands arc, the Nishi-Shichito ridge, and the Shikoku basin - due to the formation history, is reflected in the regional variation of anisotropy. The tomographic study further implies that there might be a fragment of the Pacific slab suggested by a previous study beneath the Tokyo metropolitan area. The overall findings strongly indicate that seismic anisotropy analysis provide potentially useful information to understand a subduction zone.

  20. 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.

  1. Tectonics of the Philippine Sea Plate as Seen From GPS Observations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kato, T.; Kotake, Y.

    2002-12-01

    We analyzed the Global Positioning System (GPS) data in and around the Philippine Sea plate (PHS) to provide a velocity field for discussing tectonics of the plate and the mechanism of subduction process around PHS. In the present study, first, we revised the previously determined Euler vector of PHS relative to stable Eurasia using newly obtained data. Eastern part of Europe was assumed to be in a rigid block according to Nocquet et al. (2001) and we estimated the seven parameters of Helmert Transformation of this block relative to ITRF97. Then these parameters were used to estimate the Euler vector of PHS relative to stable Eurasia. For this purpose, we re-analyzed GPS data of up until 2001 at Chichi-jima, Okino-Tori Shima, Minami-Daito, Palau, Aogashima and Hachijo islands in ITRF97 reference together with surrounding IGS sites. Results suggest that the Euler vector of PHS relative to _gstable Eurasia_h is to be (61.4N, 163.7E, 1.003deg/my). Contrary to our previous estimate, the result suggests that Palau may be considered as in the rigid part of PHS. In contrast, the northern Izu islands are suggested to be affected by local volcanic disturbances. Then, we studied tectonic motions of Mariana arc and Palau-Yap arc. The Mariana Islands have been repeatedly observed since 1992. Kotake (2000) analyzed data at Anatahan, Guguan, Pagan and Agrigan as well as Saipan and Guam sites and showed that the velocities are much slower than what we expect from rigid motion of PHS. Residual velocities at these islands clearly show eastward motion of the Mariana Islands, suggesting that the Mariana Islands are subject to the spreading of the Mariana Trough. The rotation pole of the Mariana block was re-estimated as (20.6N, 145.2E) and angular velocity to be 4.17deg/ma, according to the re-estimated PHS motion. The position of the rotation pole is a few degrees south to the geographical hinge point of the Mariana arc and west Mariana ridge at about 24N. Estimated eastward velocities at these islands are consistent with those estimated from magnetic anomaly observations. Small arc parallel extension of about 1cm/yr between Agrigan and Guam suggest that the formation of the arc is not simple fan-shape expansion, as was indicated by Karig et al. (1978). Convergence at Yap trench has also been studied using GPS. Motions of Uliti and Fais suggest slight convergence at Yap trench with about 1cm/yr, but have some northward component relative to the trench.

  2. Oceanic anoxic events and plankton evolution: Biotic response to tectonic forcing during the mid-Cretaceous

    E-print Network

    Leckie, Mark

    Oceanic anoxic events and plankton evolution: Biotic response to tectonic forcing during the mid 2002. [1] Mid-Cretaceous (Barremian-Turonian) plankton preserved in deep-sea marl, organic-rich shale eastern and western Tethys and in other locales during the latest Albian ($99.5 Ma). Mineralized plankton

  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. 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...

  5. 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.

  6. Development of Caribbean plate tectonics: A contribution from oil exploration in Venezuela

    SciTech Connect

    Fuentes, J. ); Oum, S. ); Lander, R. )

    1990-05-01

    Following several huge oil and gas discoveries during the mid-1980s in the Northern Venezuela overthrust belt more detailed geological and geophysical studies have increased their perception of structural control on sedimentary basin development. Significant improvements in seismic data quality and seismic lines positioned close to outcrops of the frontal thrust give evidence of Miocene to Pleistocene thin-skinned tectonics as the mechanism of the formation of the overthrust belt of the Serrania del Interior. The authors conclude that the thrust sheet was formed by the effects of major right-lateral transcurrent movements along the El Pilar fault system, which forced metasediments against thick Miocene clastics in pull-apart basins. These basins were created earlier by strike-slip motions of preexisting parallel en-echelon normal faults. The eastwardly mobile Caribbean plate boundary and its evolution from a collision to a transpression zone is documented and a new approach to an evaluation of oil and gas potential is made of multiple reservoirs in stacked, folded thrust sheets.

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

    SciTech Connect

    Husseini, M.I. )

    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.

  8. The Start of Plate Tectonics in the Eoarchean: A Tribute to Gilbert N Hanson, Pioneer in Archean Geochemistry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shirey, S. B.; Kamber, B. S.; Whitehouse, M. J.; Mueller, P. A.; Basu, A. R.

    2007-05-01

    The use of isotopic and trace element geochemistry and igneous petrology to understand the petrogenesis of Archean rocks was pioneered by Gilbert Hanson and Joseph Arth at SUNY Stony Brook in the 1970's. Extension of these approaches allows the onset of plate tectonics on Earth shortly after the end of the Hadean to be specified. Nb/Th and Th/U ratios of mafic-ultramafic rocks from the depleted upper mantle begin to change from 7 to 18.2 and 4.7 to 2.9 (respectively) at 3.6 Ga. This signals the appearance of subduction-altered slabs in general mantle circulation from subduction initiated at 3.8 Ga. Juvenile crustal rocks begin to show derivation from progressively depleted mantle with typical igneous ?Nd:?Hf = 1:2 after 3.6 Ga. Cratons with stable mantle keels that have subduction imprints begin to appear at 3.5 Ga. These changes all suggest that extraction of continental crust by plate tectonic processes was progressively depleting the mantle from 3.6 Ga onwards. Neoarchean subduction appears largely analogous to present subduction except in being able to produce large cratons with thick mantle keels. The earliest Eoarchean juvenile rocks and Hadean zircons have compositions that reflect the integrated effects of separation of an early enriched reservoir and fractionation of perovskite from the Mars-size impact-derived magma ocean, rather than separation of voluminous continental crust or oceanic plate tectonics. Hadean zircons most likely were derived from a continent-absent, mafic to ultramafic protocrust that was multiply remelted between 4.4 and 4.0 Ga under wet conditions to produce evolved felsic rocks. If the protocrust was produced by global mantle overturn at ca 4.4 Ga, then the transition to plate tectonics resulted from radioactive decay-driven mantle heating. Otherwise, such protocrust would have been the typical product of mantle convection and the transition to plate tectonics resulted from cooling to the extent that large lithospheric plates stabilized.

  9. 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.

  10. Meso-Cenozoic intraplate contraction in Central and Western Europe: a unique tectonic event?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kley, Jonas; Jähne, Fabian; Malz, Alexander

    2014-05-01

    From the British Isles to Poland, Europe experienced contractional deformation in Late Cretaceous and Paleogene time. The closest contemporaneous plate margins were the incipient Mid-Atlantic rift in the west and northwest, and the Mediterranean system of subduction zones in the south. Each of these plate margins was located more than 1000 km away from the site of deformation. This tectonic event thus represents an outstanding example of large-scale intraplate shortening and may serve as a template for comparison with modern examples. Its effects are seen in a ca. 500 km wide strip that stretches in NW-SE-direction along the Tornquist Line, a regional fault zone separating thick lithosphere of the Baltic Shield from much thinner lithosphere to the southwest. Most faults and folds also trend NW-SE, but some are linked by large N-S-striking transfer zones. In the southeast, the shortening structures are truncated by the Neogene Carpathian thrust front; their original extent is unknown. In the west, the fault zones fan out into more northerly trends in the Central North Sea and more easterly trends in the Channel area before dying out on the shelf. Late Cretaceous (ca. 90-70 Ma) shortening dominates from Poland to the North Sea, while the main shortening event in Southern Britain is of Paleogene age. Many Late Cretaceous to Paleogene structures have been conditioned by Permian or Triassic through Early Cretaceous extensional faulting, whereas some large basement uplifts and reverse faults have no demonstrable inheritance from earlier extension. The thick, mobile Zechstein salt has modified extensional and contractional structures, but both extend beyond its depositional borders. Even where thick evaporates underlie the Mesozoic sedimentary cover, the basement is typically involved in the deformation, except for localized thin-skinned imbricate thrusting and salt-cored anticlines. Different structural styles do not appear to correlate with the magnitude of shortening which is similar for transects across the inverted Lower Saxony Basin and areas of predominant basement thrusting. Bulk contraction of the entire deformed belt is unlikely to exceed a few tens of kilometers, corresponding to <<10% of horizontal shortening. Shortening rate estimates are around 1 mm/yr both for well-constrained local structures and for order-of-magnitude estimates of the entire belt, suggesting that a limited number of faults were active at any given time. Space geodetic data indicate similar modern shortening rates across Central Europe on a decade scale, but there is no geologic evidence for focused deformation comparable to the Mesozoic event. Fold orientations, fault slip data and stylolite teeth indicate relatively uniform, SSW-NNE-directed shortening. This direction is consistent with the convergence direction of Africa, Iberia and Eurasia that was established between ca. 120 Ma and 85 Ma in the course of global plate motion reorganization. The European short-lived pulse of intraplate deformation was apparently caused by a switch to near-orthogonal convergence across former transform boundaries, whereas modern examples of intraplate shortening seem to be bound to coeval orogens.

  11. Indentation and Lateral Escape in Western Ishtar Terra, Venus — An Analog for Deformation of the Archean Abitibi Subprovince, Superior Craton, Canada Without Plate Tectonics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Harris, L. B.; Bédard, J. H.

    2015-05-01

    Radar about Lakshmi Planum, Venus, shows regional transcurrent shear zones, folds and thrusts formed by indentation and lateral escape. The Archean Abitibi subprovince Canada shows identical structures suggesting a similar, non-plate tectonic origin.

  12. Tectonic Events May Have Triggered the Cambrian Explosion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wendel, JoAnna

    2014-11-01

    Major geological changes causing sea level rise at the start of the Cambrian period (540-490 million years ago) could have kick-started the Cambrian Explosion—a geological time period when most major phyla of life suddenly appeared in the fossil record. A paper published in the November issue of Geology (doi:10.1130/G35886.1) proposes a new geological mechanism for this event.

  13. 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.

  14. Contrasting plate-tectonic styles of the Qinling-Dabie-Sulu and Franciscan metamorphic belts

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ernst, W. G.; Liou, J. G.

    1995-04-01

    The Dabie Mountains are part of the >2000-km-long Qinling-Dabie-Sulu suture zone juxtaposing the Sino-Korean and Yangtze cratons. An eastern extension apparently crosses Korea and lies along the Japan Sea side of Honshu as the Imjingang and Sangun terranes, respectively; a northeastern segment may be present in Sikhote-Alin, Russian Far East. This orogenic belt records late Paleozoic ocean-floor consumption and the Triassic collision of two Precambrian continental massifs in east-central China. Coesite and microdiamond inclusions in strong, refractory minerals of eclogite facies ultrahigh-pressure (UHP) metamorphic rocks in the Dabie-Sulu area attest to profound subduction of a leading salient of the old, cold Yangtze craton, now recovered through tectonic exhumation and erosion. Northward increase in intensity of subsolidus recrystallization of the suture complex is analogous to the internal progression in grade of high-pressure (HP) and UHP metamorphism documented in the Western Alps. In both regions, subduction of narrow prongs of continental material, UHP metamorphism, and return toward midcrustal levels of relatively lower density, buoyant microcontinental blocks resulted from delamination of these rocks from the descending, higher density, oceanic-crust-capped lithospheric plate. Such salients of continental crust represent an integral structural part of the downgoing slab, remain intact, and may be dragged to great depths before disengaging and rising differentially as coherent blocks. UHP parageneses include trace mineralogic relics requiring peak metamorphic conditions of 700 900 ° C and 28 35 kbar or more. In contrast, Pacific-type HP metamorphic belts, as represented by the Franciscan Complex of western California, recrystallized under physical conditions up to 200 500 ° C, 10 ± 3 kbar. In this setting, voluminous quartzo-feldspathic and graywacke debris was carried downward on oceanic-crust-capped lithosphere, choking the subduction zone with incompetent material. Sited between both plates, and strongly adhering to neither, this buoyant, largely sedimentary complex decoupled at 25 30 km depth, and ascended toward the surface. In both Alpine-type intracontinental collision and Pacific-type underflow, light sialic material displaced dense mantle; thus, the return to midcrustal levels was propelled dominantly by body forces.

  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. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. The Role of Plate Tectonic-Climate Coupling and Exposed Land Area in the Development of Habitable Climates on Rocky Planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Foley, Bradford J.

    2015-10-01

    The long-term carbon cycle is vital for maintaining liquid water oceans on rocky planets due to the negative climate feedbacks involved in silicate weathering. Plate tectonics plays a crucial role in driving the long-term carbon cycle because it is responsible for CO2 degassing at ridges and arcs, the return of CO2 to the mantle through subduction, and supplying fresh, weatherable rock to the surface via uplift and orogeny. However, the presence of plate tectonics itself may depend on climate according to recent geodynamical studies showing that cool surface temperatures are important for maintaining vigorous plate tectonics. Using a simple carbon cycle model, I show that the negative climate feedbacks inherent in the long-term carbon cycle are uninhibited by climate's effect on plate tectonics. Furthermore, initial atmospheric CO2 conditions do not impact the final climate state reached when the carbon cycle comes to equilibrium, as long as liquid water is present and silicate weathering can occur. Thus an initially hot, CO2 rich atmosphere does not prevent the development of a temperate climate and plate tectonics on a planet. However, globally supply limited weathering does prevent the development of temperate climates on planets with small subaerial land areas and large total CO2 budgets because supply limited weathering lacks stabilizing climate feedbacks. Planets in the supply limited regime may become inhospitable for life and could experience significant water loss. Supply limited weathering is less likely on plate tectonic planets because plate tectonics promotes high erosion rates and thus a greater supply of bedrock to the surface.

  19. Active Pacific North America Plate boundary tectonics as evidenced by seismicity in the oceanic lithosphere offshore Baja California, Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hauksson, Egill; Kanamori, Hiroo; Stock, Joann; Cormier, Marie-Helene; Legg, Mark

    2014-03-01

    Pacific Ocean crust west of southwest North America was formed by Cenozoic seafloor spreading between the large Pacific Plate and smaller microplates. The eastern limit of this seafloor, the continent-ocean boundary, is the fossil trench along which the microplates subducted and were mostly destroyed in Miocene time. The Pacific-North America Plate boundary motion today is concentrated on continental fault systems well to the east, and this region of oceanic crust is generally thought to be within the rigid Pacific Plate. Yet, the 2012 December 14 Mw 6.3 earthquake that occurred about 275 km west of Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico, is evidence for continued tectonism in this oceanic part of the Pacific Plate. The preferred main shock centroid depth of 20 km was located close to the bottom of the seismogenic thickness of the young oceanic lithosphere. The focal mechanism, derived from both teleseismic P-wave inversion and W-phase analysis of the main shock waveforms, and the 12 aftershocks of M ˜3-4 are consistent with normal faulting on northeast striking nodal planes, which align with surface mapped extensional tectonic trends such as volcanic features in the region. Previous Global Positioning System (GPS) measurements on offshore islands in the California Continental Borderland had detected some distributed Pacific and North America relative plate motion strain that could extend into the epicentral region. The release of this lithospheric strain along existing zones of weakness is a more likely cause of this seismicity than current thermal contraction of the oceanic lithosphere or volcanism. The main shock caused weak to moderate ground shaking in the coastal zones of southern California, USA, and Baja California, Mexico, but the tsunami was negligible.

  20. Spectrum of slip behaviour in Tohoku fault zone samples at plate tectonic slip rates

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ikari, Matt J.; Ito, Yoshihiro; Ujiie, Kohtaro; Kopf, Achim J.

    2015-11-01

    During the 2011 Tohoku-oki earthquake, extremely extensive coseismic slip ruptured shallow parts of the Japan Trench subduction zone and breached the sea floor. This part of the subduction zone also hosts slow slip events (SSE). The fault thus seems to have a propensity for slip instability or quasi-instability that is unexpected on the shallow portions of important fault zones. Here we use laboratory experiments to slowly shear samples of rock recovered from the Tohoku-oki earthquake fault zone as part of the Japan Trench Fast Drilling Project. We find that infrequent perturbations in rock strength appear spontaneously as long-term SSE when the samples are sheared at a constant rate of about 8.5 cm yr-1, equivalent to the plate-convergence rate. The shear strength of the rock drops by 3 to 6%, or 50 kPa to 120 kPa, over about 2 to 4 h. Slip during these events reaches peak velocities of up to 25 cm yr-1, similar to SSE observed in several circum-Pacific subduction zones. Furthermore, the sheared samples exhibit the full spectrum of fault-slip behaviours, from fast unstable slip to slow steady creep, which can explain the wide range of slip styles observed in the Japan Trench. We suggest that the occurrence of SSE at shallow depths may help identify fault segments that are frictionally unstable and susceptible to large coseismic slip propagation.

  1. Earthly and Otherworldly Glaciers on Mars: Expressed Subsurface Subpolar Ice and "Plate Tectonic" South Polar Ices

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kargel, J. S.

    2003-12-01

    DIRTY SUBPOLAR GLACIERS: Deeply etched internal structures of debris-covered glaciers or rock glaciers occur widely on Mars at middle latitudes. Differentially sublimated folds, crevasses, medial moraines and flow lines are expressed now as a variety of pits, troughs, hummocks, and ridges; they reveal much about the extent of sublimation and the history of flow and accumulation that originally gave rise to these structures. In many regards, they appear like usual terrestrial debris-covered glaciers (including rock glaciers). These sublimated remnant structures are not uniformly distributed on the planet; they exhibit a definite relationship to latitude. The more deeply etched icy flows occur generally in the latitude belt from 30 to 40 degrees (north and south), where possibly very little ice remains near the surface. Between 40 and 55 degrees, most of these partly sublimated flows appear to be still icy. Poleward of that, many of them show very little evidence of any sublimational loss of ice, and instead appear as thick mantling blankets sometimes having subtle flow lines. Inferences for the distribution of ground ice and the role of sublimation are similar to those inferred from the distribution and morphology of small polygons; these results are also consistent with theoretical models of the distribution of ground ice and with Mars Odyssey neutron spectroscopy of the distribution of hydrogen in the upper meter of Mars. A peculiar aspect of dirty glaciers on Mars is their current lack of an evident zone of atmospherically driven accumulation; instead, accumulation of some dirty glaciers appears to be due to load-driven expression of ice originating probably in massive crustal layers; for others, atmospheric accumulation may occur at other times during the obliquity cycle of Mars. SOUTH POLAR ICE SHEET: Previously I have reported on evidence for flowing, faulting, folding south polar ice, with the evidence for the more ductile types of deformation concentrated within the area of perennial CO2 ice. This part of the polar cap exhibits strong evidence for convergent flow tending to close the quasi-spiral structured troughs, as predicted by finite-element modelers. A rich phenomenology accompanies this closure. In some cases, good evidence exists for one icy sheet overriding another. Elastic plate flexural responses, with attendant small-scale tectonism, is quite common, as is evidence for ductile deformation. Analogs drawn from Earth's lithosphere provide compelling explanations for some of these features. Smooth, topographically enclosed flat areas in the south polar deposits may be the surface expressions of subglacial lakes or refrozen lakes.

  2. 3-D simulation for the tectonic evolution around the Kanto Region of Japan using the kinematic plate subduction model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2011-12-01

    In the Kanto region of Japan, we can observe one of the most active crustal deformations on the earth. In the southern part of the Boso peninsula to the south, the uplift rate is estimated to be 5 mm/yr from the height of marine terraces. From geological evidence, the Kanto mountains to the west are considered to uplift at 1mm/yr. In contrast, the center part of the Kanto region is stable or subsiding, covered by the Holocene sediments. The depth of the basement reaches 3 km at the deepest. Vertical deformation in the timescale of 1 Myr is being revealed by the analysis of the recent seismic reflection experiments compared with the heights of the dated sediment layers exposed on land. These crustal deformation occurs in a highly complex tectonic setting with four plates interacting with each other: beneath Kanto, situated on the Eurasian and North American plates, the Philippine sea plate subducts and the Pacific plate further descends beneath the North American and Philippine sea plates, forming the unique trench-trench-trench triple junction on the earth. In addition, the Izu-Bonin (Ogasawara) arc on the Philippine sea plate is colliding with the Japan islands due to the buoyancy of the arc crust. At the plate boundaries near the Izu-Bonin arc, large interplate earthquakes occurred at the Sagami trough in 1703 and 1923 (Kanto earthquake) and at the Nankai trough in 1707, 1854 and 1944. To reveal the crustal deformation under these plate-to-plate interactions, we use the kinematic plate subduction model based on the elastic dislocation theory. This model is based on the idea that mechanical interaction between plates can rationally be represented by the increase of the displacement discontinuity (dislocation) across plate interfaces. Given the 3-D geometry of plate interfaces, the distribution of slip rate vectors for simple plate subduction can be obtained directly from relative plate velocities. In collision zones, the plate with arc crust cannot easily descend because of its buoyancy. This can be represented by giving slip-rate deficit. When crustal deformation occurs, it also causes change in geometry of the plate boundary itself. Iterating this effect sequentially backward in time, we can reconstruct the past plate boundary geometry and past crustal deformation fields. Using the above model, we estimate the long-term slip-rate distribution due to plate subduction/collision to explain the crustal deformation in Kanto obtained from geological and geomorphological studies. The basic deformation pattern of the basin-forming movement in the Kanto plain and uplifts in the southern Boso peninsula and in the Kanto and Akaishi mountains cannot be explained by the collision restricted to the Izu peninsula only. It is necessary to assume wider collision extended to the neighboring Sagami and Suruga trough, which is consistent to the width of the arc crust of the Izu-Bonin arc. However, the degree of the collision is relatively small in these areas where large interplate earthquake occurs. The effect of temporal change in geometry of the plate interfaces is not so large in the timescale of 1 Myr.

  3. 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.

  4. 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?

  5. 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.

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

    SciTech Connect

    Bercovici, D.

    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.

  7. 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.

  8. Plate-Tectonic Analysis of Shallow Seismicity: Apparent Boundary Width, beta-Value, Corner Magnitude, Coupled Lithosphere Thickness, and Coupling in 7 Tectonic Settings

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bird, P.; Kagan, Y. Y.

    2003-12-01

    A new plate model [Bird, 2003, G3, 10.1029/2001GC000252] is used to analyze the mean seismicities of 7 types of plate boundary (CRB continental rift boundary, CTF continental transform fault, CCB continental convergent boundary, OSR oceanic spreading ridge, OTF oceanic transform fault, OCB oceanic convergent boundary, SUB subduction zone). We compare the plate-like (non-orogen) regions of model PB2002 with the CMT catalog to select apparent boundary half-widths, and then assign 95% of shallow earthquakes to one of these settings. A tapered Gutenberg-Richter model of the frequency/moment relation is fit to the subcatalog for each setting by maximum-likelihood. Best-fitting ? values range from 0.53 to 0.92, but all 95%-confidence ranges are consistent with a common value of 0.61-0.66. To better determine some corner magnitudes we expand the subcatalogs by: (1) inclusion of orogens; and (2) inclusion of years 1900-1975 from the catalog of Pacheco and Sykes [1992]. Combining both earthquake statistics and the plate-tectonic constraint on moment rate, corner magnitudes include: CRB 7.64-.26+.76, CTF 8.01-.21+.45, CCB 8.46-.39+.21, OCB 8.04-.22+.52, and SUB 9.58-.46+.48. Coupled lithosphere thicknesses are found to be: CRB 3.0-1.4+7.0 km; CTF 8.6-4.1+11 km; CCB 18-11+? km; OSR 0.13-0.09+.13 km for normal-faulting and 0.40-.21+? km for strike-slip; OTF 12-7.1+?, 1.6-0.5+1.4, and 1.5-0.6+1.2 km at low, medium, and high velocities; OCB 3.8-2.3+13.7 km, and SUB 18.0-10.8+? km. Generally high coupling of subduction and continental plate boundaries suggests that here all seismic gaps are dangerous unless proven to be creeping. Generally low coupling within oceanic lithosphere suggests a different model of isolated seismic asperities surrounded by large seismic gaps which may be permanent.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2013-04-01

    Various studies of seismic anisotropy clearly demonstrate the Archean mantle lithosphere consists of domains with different fabrics reflecting fossil anisotropic structures. We detect anisotropic signal both in the P-wave travel-time deviations and shear-wave splitting recorded by the LAPNET array (2007-2009) in the Archean craton of Fennoscandia (Plomerova et al., 2011). The anisotropic parameters change across the array and stations with similar characteristics form groups. The geographical variations of seismic-wave anisotropy delimit individual sharply bounded domains of the mantle lithosphere, each of them having a consistent fabric. The domains can be modelled in 3D by peridotite aggregates with dipping lineation a, or foliation (a,c). Also radial anisotropy of the Archean lithosphere derived from surface waves indicates inclined structure of all the cratonic regions of the continents, though with less detailed lateral resolution in comparison with body-wave anisotropy. These findings allow us to interpret the domains as micro-plate fragments retaining fossil fabrics in the mantle lithosphere, reflecting thus an olivine LPO created before the micro-plates assembled. Successive subductions of oceanic lithosphere is a mechanism which can work in modern-style plate tectonics as we know it now, being considered as widespread since 2.7 Ga. Though the modern plate tectonics is the most distinct tectonic style acting up to now, we have to consider a mechanism creating oriented structures (fabrics) in a pre-plate-tectonic style. The early lithosphere formed in dynamic conditions far from simple cooling which would result in sub-horizontal layered structure of the lithosphere. Earlier tectonic modes in a hotter and more dynamic Earth might be similar in some respects to those of the modern-plate tectonics. Basaltic "rockbergs" on convecting magma ocean in the Hadean Earth are supposed to turn to either proto-plate tectonics with platelets and supercratonal, or, to unstable stagnant lithospheric lid models in the Archean (~4.0 Ga), both evolving into the modern-style plate tectonics (Ernst 2007). The stage of platelets or supercratonal lasted during the deep mantle and plume-driven circulations, when plate motions were controlled by asthenospheric convection dragging buoyant lithosphere along and down. Differential motions between pairs of Precambrian cratons indicated in paleomagnetic records suggest supercontinental amalgamation and dispersal involving Archean cratons. Current thick and cold Archean cratons are thus formed by a collage of fragments of old lithosphere, each of them retaining its fabric. Studies of fossil anisotropy preserved in the mantle lithosphere contribute both to mapping the lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary and deciphering boundaries of individual blocks building the continental lithosphere (Plomerova and Babuska, Lithos 2010).

  10. Tectonic growth of a Cretaceous-Eocene accretionary orogen formed at the southern margin of the Caribbean Plate: integrated geological insights from northernmost Colombia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cardona, A.; Weber, M. B.; Bayona, G.; Jaramillo, C.; Montes, C.; Ojeda, G.; Duque, J. F.; Salazar, C. A.

    2007-05-01

    Geological characteristics from the Cretaceous to Eocene metamorphic and igneous basement rocks from the Guajira and the NW corner of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta massifs in the northern Colombian Caribbean region, and the stratigraphy of adjacent basins, reveal different stages of growth of a segmented Late Cretaceous to Eocene accretionary orogen formed by interaction between the NW margin of South America and the Caribbean plate. Extensive intercalations of metavolcano-sedimentary rocks in the Santa Marta region, chemical composition of spinels and pyroxenes from serpentinized mantle tectonites and gabbros, as well as whole rock geochemistry from basaltic dykes from the Guajira massifs, record the evolution of a Cretaceous intra-oceanic arc in a succesion of Mariana- and Chile-type subduction styles. Geological and positive gravity signatures suggest that this arc was accreted and tectonically underplated to the continental margin of South America, creating a Maastrichian-Paleocene syn-orogenic basin, presently cropping out in the Cesar-Rancheria valley. After this collisional event, subduction of the Caribbean plate under South America started, as revealed by intrusion of composite stitched Late Paleocene-Eocene granitoids in the NW corner of the SNSM and Guajira massifs. These plutons show continental calc-alkaline geochemical signatures and more evolved Sr and Nd isotopic compositions than juvenile and older intra-oceanic arc magmatic rocks. This new subduction environment is linked to the convergence between North and South America at this time. Low pressure estimations and fast cooling rates between 450-250° for the Eocene granitoids in the Guajira and Santa Marta regions, indicate shallow < 7 Km depths of intrusion. Local unconformable stratigraphic relationships with Eocene-Miocene sediments at the Guajira region and overimposed post-magmatic low temperature deformation in some of these granitoids suggest an important Late Eocene unroofing and deformational event that may record the regional modification of plate motion vectors and rates that controlled the Late Eocene- Miocene Caribbean orogenic phase.

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. Permian brachiopod faunal sequence of the Shan-Thai terrane: biostratigraphy, palaeobiogeographical affinities and plate tectonic/palaeoclimatic implications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shi, G. R.; Archbold, N. W.

    Five Permian brachiopod assemblages are known from the Shan-Thai terrane: a Late Asselian—Tastubian cool-water fauna, three "transitional" faunas of Sterlitamakian. Baigendzhinian—Early Kungurian and Kazanian—Midian age, respectively, and a Late Permian (Dorashamian) warm-water Cathaysian fauna. Ages, biostratigraphical correlations and palaeobiogeographical affinities of these faunas are reviewed. It is concluded that Shan-Thai belonged to the Indoralian Province of the Gondwanan Realm in the Asselian—Tastubian, formed an independent province from the Sterlitamakian through to the Midian, and was finally incorporated into the Cathaysian Province in the latest Permian. This marked change in marine provinciality of Shan-Thai during the Permian may be explained either by a plate tectonic model or a model that involves migration (contraction and expansion) of climatic zones or a combination of both models.

  17. On plate tectonics and the geologic evolution of southwestern North America

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ward, Peter L.

    1991-07-01

    Very rapid subduction of the Farallon plate under southwestern North America between 60 and 40 Ma was accompanied by a relatively low volume of magmatism throughout the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. Between 40 and 20 Ma, when subduction slowed significantly and in one area may have even stopped, magmatism became widespread and voluminous from Nevada and Utah to central Mexico. This correlation of rapid subduction with a relatively low volume of magmatism can be explained by the observation that subduction-related andesitic arc volcanism, often formed in a Laramide-style compressional regime, is relatively low volume compared to continental volcanism. The shallow roots of arc volcanic systems are clearly exposed in the porphyry copper deposits found in currently active arcs and common throughout southwestern North America between 60 and 50 Ma. By 43 Ma, worldwide plate motions changed, the Pacific plate began moving away from North America, and subduction of the Farallon plate slowed. By around 36 Ma, the easternmost part of the East Pacific Rise, which was located between the Pioneer and Murray fracture zones, approached the trench and the young, hot, buoyant lithosphere appears to have clogged part of the subduction zone. Uplift on land became widespread. Voluminous continental magmatism formed the Sierra Madre Occidental (SMO) of Mexico, one of the largest batholiths in the world, as well as volcanic centers now exposed in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado and the Rio Grande Rift of New Mexico. Vectors of motion of the Pacific plate relative to the North American plate determined by Stock and Molnar (1988) are consistent with formation of a transtensional environment along the plate boundary sufficient to create a 100- to 200-km-wide void just landward of the old volcanic arc. While the SMO batholith was forming within this void, the Monterey and Arguello microplates just offshore to the west were broken off from the Farallon plate and rotated so that the East Pacific Rise in this immediate area became nearly perpendicular to the trench and perpendicular to the vector of motion of the Pacific plate relative to North America. Formation of the SMO batholith was followed between 24 and 20 Ma by a major increase in the rate of subduction of the Guadalupe plate, a fragment of the former Farallon plate, and by increasing mylonitization, extension, and uplift in the metamorphic core complexes that extend northwestward through southern Arizona from the northern end of the SMO batholith. The plate margin underwent another major change between 12.5 and 10 Ma when subduction again stopped, strike slip faulting became dominant along the coast, the Basin and Range Province opened, and numerous tectonostratigraphic terranes in southern California underwent large rotations. By 3 Ma a large, new terrane had been severed from North America immediately west of the SMO batholith as the Gulf of California opened. These observations can be explained by a model for the weakening and ultimate falling apart of the uppermost part of the subducted oceanic plate in the 20-30 m.y. after the end of rapid subduction. As the plate falls apart, not only is compressional stress relieved, but significant backslip along the old subduction zone is also possible, perhaps bringing blueschists rapidly upward from 20- to 30-km depths.

  18. 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…

  19. The Role of Plate Tectonic-Climate Coupling and Exposed Land Area in the Development of Habitable Climates on Rocky Planets

    E-print Network

    Foley, Bradford J

    2015-01-01

    The long-term carbon cycle is vital for maintaining liquid water oceans on rocky planets due to the negative climate feedbacks involved in silicate weathering. Plate tectonics plays a crucial role in driving the long-term carbon cycle because it is responsible for CO$_2$ degassing at ridges and arcs, the return of CO$_2$ to the mantle through subduction, and supplying fresh, weatherable rock to the surface via uplift and orogeny. However, the presence of plate tectonics itself may depend on climate according to recent geodynamical studies showing that cool surface temperatures are important for maintaining vigorous plate tectonics. Using a simple carbon cycle model, I show that the negative climate feedbacks inherent in the long-term carbon cycle are uninhibited by climate's effect on plate tectonics. Furthermore, initial atmospheric CO$_2$ conditions do not impact the final climate state reached when the carbon cycle comes to equilibrium, as long as liquid water is present and silicate weathering can occur. ...

  20. Tectonic and deposition model of late Precambrian-Cambrian Arabian and adjoining plates

    SciTech Connect

    Husseini, M.I. )

    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.

  1. Young tectonics of a complex plate boundary zone: Indentation, rotation, and escape in Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wallace, W. K.; Ruppert, N. A.

    2012-12-01

    Convergence of thick crust of the Yakutat block with the southern margin of Alaska is widely recognized as a dominant influence on the tectonics of Alaska since at least late Miocene time. It is less clear how this convergence relates to the distribution, type, and orientation of geologic structures, and to the boundaries between the tectonic provinces that they define. We propose that convergence of Yakutat block includes two distinct components that influence deformation and topography in different ways: 1) The crust of the exposed, southern Yakutat block is too thick to subduct, which has caused the collisional St. Elias orogen. Detachment of the upper part of the mafic basement allows delamination and sinking of the remaining mafic crust and lithospheric mantle. The collisional orogen drives rigid counterclockwise rotation of the southern Alaska block south of the arcuate, right-lateral Denali fault. The western boundary of this block is a zone of distributed contraction in the western Alaska Range and Cook Inlet. 2) The northern part of the Yakutat block is thin enough to subduct but thick and buoyant enough to cause localized flat-slab subduction orthogonal to rotation of the southern Alaska block. Consequences include the gently antiformal Talkeetna Mountains that span the forearc basin, a gap in the magmatic arc, and a basement-involved fold-and-thrust belt in the northern Alaska Range. An arcuate oroclinal hinge from southern Alaska to the northeastern Brooks Range reflects indentation since at least Paleocene time. Traction above the subducted Yakutat block along the southern part of this hinge drives current indentation. North of the subducted Yakutat block, indentation is reflected by left-lateral block rotation that accommodates shortening between the Denali and Tintina faults and by contraction farther north along the northern edge of the arcuate northeastern Brooks Range. Western Alaska accommodates both northward indentation and westward convergence of the southern Alaska block by right-lateral block rotation and tectonic escape related to local left-lateral faults. Farther west, slow clockwise rigid rotation of the extensive Bering block accommodates escape and is separated from stable northwestern Alaska by a zone of extension. These tectonic provinces are defined by mapped structures and by the distribution and focal mechanisms of earthquakes. Structures are generally consistent with stress orientations determined from earthquakes, but local discrepancies between observed structures and those predicted from the stress determinations suggest that reactivation of older structures is important.

  2. 3-D Simulation of Steady Plate Subduction with Tectonic Erosion: Current Crustal Uplift and Free-Air Gravity Anomaly in Northeast Japan

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hashimoto, Chihiro; Sato, Toshinori; Matsu'Ura, Mitsuhiro

    2008-04-01

    Free-air gravity anomaly in plate subduction zones, characterized by island-arc high, trench low and outer-rise gentle high, reflects the cumulative effects of long-term crustal uplift and subsidence. In northeast Japan the island-arc high of observed free-air gravity anomaly takes its maximum about the eastern coastline. On the other hand, the current vertical crustal motion estimated from geological and geomorphological observations shows a gentle uplift in the land area and steep subsidence in the sea area with the neutral point near the eastern coastline. Such a discrepancy in spatial patterns between the free-air gravity anomaly and current vertical crustal motion can be ascribed to a change in the mode of crustal uplift and subsidence associated with the initiation of tectonic erosion at the North American-Pacific plate interface. We developed a realistic 3-D simulation model of steady plate subduction with tectonic erosion in northeast Japan on the basis of elastic/viscoelastic dislocation theory. Through numerical simulations with this model we found that simple steady plate subduction brings about the crustal uplift characterized by island-arc high with its maximum about the eastern coastline, while steady plate subduction with tectonic erosion, which is represented by the landward retreat of the plate interface, brings about gentle uplift in the land area and steep subsidence in the sea area with the neutral point near the eastern coastline. Therefore, if we suppose that tectonic erosion started 3 4 million years ago after the long duration of simple steady plate subduction, we can consistently explain both patterns of free-air gravity anomaly and current crustal uplift in northeast Japan.

  3. Tectonically emplaced ultra-depleted lithospheric mantle records garnet, spinel and plagioclase facies events

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Czertowicz, Thomas; Scott, James; Palin, Mike

    2014-05-01

    The poorly studied Anita Ultramafites in western New Zealand represent a several km wide slice of lithospheric mantle that was tectonically emplaced onto the Gondwana supercontinent margin. The peridotites are almost exclusively spinel facies dunite and harzburgite, although spinel-orthopyroxene symplectites indicate the former presence of Cr-garnet. Pyroxenite dikes are uncommon, and there is no sign of an ophiolitic type structure. Olivine (~Fo93) and chromite (~Cr# 70) attest to extreme degrees of melt depletion, likely under hydrous conditions. The rocks were decompressed and equilibrated at the spinel facies. The ultramafites were then refertilised by a fluid that was rich in Si, Ca, K, OH and LREE, and probably equates to a low-degree silicate melt. The occurrence of negative and positive Eu and Sr anomalies in amphibole points to the influence of plagioclase, and suggests that refertilisation occurred at a very shallow lithospheric level. An added complication is that the peridotite was metamorphosed to upper amphibolite facies in the Cretaceous after tectonic emplacement. This generated talc, tremolite and chlorite. P-T conditions from adjacent gneisses indicate that this event occurred at ~ 10-12 kbar in association with crustal thickening. Thus, the peridotite may have been pushed back out of plagioclase facies conditions, partially melted, and re-equilibrated back in the spinel facies. The Anita Ultramafics therefore record a sequence of attempts to equilibrate at garnet - spinel - plagioclase - spinel facies, before final exhumation.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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

    E-print Network

    Cattin, Rodolphe

    Sea and Philippine Sea subducting slabs, south and northeast of Taiwan along the Manila and Ryukyu of Hualien, (2) the Eurasian plate subducts beneath most part of the Taiwan island down to the 670 km of the Ryukyu Trench. (3) Slab detachment might have occurred 3±5 my ago beneath the central and northern Ryukyu

  7. Shirey, S.B., Kamber, B.S., Whitehouse, M.J., Mueller, P.A., and Basu, A.R., 2008, A review of the isotopic and trace element evidence for mantle and crustal processes in the Hadean and Archean: Implications for the onset of plate tectonic subduction, in

    E-print Network

    Basu, Asish R.

    a particu- lar time in Earth's geological history can be recognized as the time when plate tectonics started: Implications for the onset of plate tectonic subduction, in Condie, K.C., and Pease, V., eds., When Did Plate Tectonics Begin on Planet Earth?: Geological Society of America Special Paper 440, p. 1­29, doi: 10

  8. Reinterpretation of Mesozoic and Cenozoic tectonic events, Mountain Pass area, northeastern San Bernardino County, California

    SciTech Connect

    Nance, M.A. . Geology Dept.)

    1993-04-01

    Detailed mapping, stratigraphic structural analysis in the Mountain Pass area has resulted in a reinterpretation of Mesozoic and Cenozoic tectonic events in the area. Mesozoic events are characterized by north vergent folds and thrust faults followed by east vergent thrusting. Folding created two synclines and an anticline which were than cut at different stratigraphic levels by subsequent thrust faults. Thrusting created composite tectono-stratigraphic sections containing autochthonous, para-autothonous, and allochthonous sections. Normal faults cutting these composite sections including North, Kokoweef, White Line, and Piute fault must be post-thrusting, not pre-thrusting as in previous interpretations. Detailed study of these faults results in differentiation of at least three orders of faults and suggest they represent Cenozoic extension correlated with regional extensional events between 11 and 19 my. Mesozoic stratigraphy reflects regional orogenic uplift, magmatic activity, and thrusting. Inclusion of Kaibab clasts in the Chinle, Kaibab and Chinle clasts in the Aztec, and Chinle, Aztec, and previously deposited Delfonte Volcanics clasts in the younger members of the Delfonte Volcanics suggest regional uplift prior to the thrusting of Cambrian Bonanza King over Delfonte Volcanics by the Mescal Thrust fault. The absence of clasts younger than Kaibab argues against pre-thrusting activity for the Kokoweef fault.

  9. Mantle Convection, Plate Tectonics, and Volcanism on Hot Exo-Earths

    E-print Network

    van Summeren, Joost; Gaidos, Eric

    2011-01-01

    Recently discovered exoplanets on close-in orbits should have surface temperatures of 100's to 1000's of K. They are likely tidally locked and synchronously rotating around their parent stars and, if an atmosphere is absent, have surface temperature contrasts of many 100's to 1000's K between permanent day and night sides. We investigated the effect of elevated surface temperature and strong surface temperature contrasts for Earth-mass planets on the (i) pattern of mantle convection, (ii) tectonic regime, and (iii) rate and distribution of partial melting, using numerical simulations of mantle convection with a composite viscous/pseudo-plastic rheology. Our simulations indicate that, if a close-in rocky exoplanet lacks an atmosphere to redistribute heat, a >~ 400 K surface temperature contrast can maintain an asymmetric degree 1 pattern of mantle convection in which the surface of the planet moves preferentially toward subduction zones on the cold night side. The planetary surface features a hemispheric dicho...

  10. Kattenhorn and Hurford: Tectonics of Europa 199 Tectonics of Europa

    E-print Network

    Kattenhorn, Simon

    and diapirism, and secondary effects driven by strike-slip faulting and plate flex- ure. (3) TectonicKattenhorn and Hurford: Tectonics of Europa 199 199 Tectonics of Europa Simon A. Kattenhorn tectonic disruption over its visible history. The descrip- tion, interpretation, and modeling of tectonic

  11. A tale of two arcs? Plate tectonics of the Izu-Bonin-Mariana (IBM) arc using subducted slab constraints

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2014-12-01

    Published plate reconstructions typically show the Izu-Bonin Marianas arc (IBM) forming as a result of long-lived ~50 Ma Pacific subduction beneath the Philippine Sea. These reconstructions rely on the critical assumption that the Philippine Sea was continuously coupled to the Pacific during the lifetime of the IBM arc. Because of this assumption, significant (up to 1500 km) Pacific trench retreat is required to accommodate the 2000 km of Philippine Sea/IBM northward motion since the Eocene that is constrained by paleomagnetic data. In this study, we have mapped subducted slabs of mantle lithosphere from MITP08 global seismic tomography (Li et al., 2008) and restored them to a model Earth surface to constrain plate tectonic reconstructions. Here we present two subducted slab constraints that call into question current IBM arc reconstructions: 1) The northern and central Marianas slabs form a sub-vertical 'slab wall' down to maximum 1500 km depths in the lower mantle. This slab geometry is best explained by a near-stationary Marianas trench that has remained +/- 250 km E-W of its present-day position since ~45 Ma, and does not support any significant Pacific slab retreat. 2) A vanished ocean is revealed by an extensive swath of sub-horizontal slabs at 700 to 1000 km depths in the lower mantle below present-day Philippine Sea to Papua New Guinea. We call this vanished ocean the 'East Asian Sea'. When placed in an Eocene plate reconstruction, the East Asian Sea fits west of the reconstructed Marianas Pacific trench position and north of the Philippine Sea plate. This implies that the Philippine Sea and Pacific were not adjacent at IBM initiation, but were in fact separated by a lost ocean. Here we propose a new IBM arc reconstruction constrained by subducted slabs mapped under East Asia. At ~50 Ma, the present-day IBM arc initiated at equatorial latitudes from East Asian Sea subduction below the Philippine Sea. A separate arc was formed from Pacific subduction below the East Asian Sea. The Philippine Sea plate moved northwards, overrunning the East Asian Sea and the two arcs collided between 15 to 20 Ma. From 15 Ma to the present, IBM arc magmatism was produced by Pacific subduction beneath the Philippine Sea.

  12. The Northern Caribbean Plate Boundary Offshore Hispaniola: Strike-slip and Compressive Tectonic Processes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Corbeau, J.; Rolandone, F.; Leroy, S. D.; Mercier De Lepinay, B. F.; Meyer, B.; Ellouz, N.

    2014-12-01

    The boundary between the Caribbean plate and the North American plate is transpressive due to the oblique collision between these two plates. The transpressive movement is partitioned and accommodated in the Hispaniola region along two left-lateral strike-slip structures surrounding a fold-and-thrust belt. New multibeam bathymetry data and multichannel seismic reflection profiles have been recently collected during the Haiti-SIS and Haiti-SIS 2 cruises, along part of the northern Caribbean plate boundary between Cuba, Jamaica and Hispaniola. From the north to the south, three types of deformations are observed. In the Windward Passage, the analysis of the data set reveals that the movement on the Oriente fault between Cuba and Hispaniola is purely left-lateral strike-slip according to the GPS measurements. In the Gonave basin, west of Hispaniola, the deformation is compressive. A series of folds is identified and moves toward the southwest. The Enriquillo-Plantain-Garden Fault (EPGF) is localized in the Jamaica Passage, between Jamaica and Hispaniola. The analysis of the data set reveals that the left-lateral EPGF recently intersects inherited basins from the eastern Cayman Trough margin. The study of the actual EPGF active trace shows that this fault moves with a pure strike-slip component, at least in its western part: the presence of a little push-up structure and a set of three en echelon folds is highlighting in the western part of the Jamaica Passage. The shortening rate in the inherited basins crossed by the EPGF increases from west to east (5.8% to 8.5%), indicating that a thrusting component is also accommodated around the EPGF.

  13. Plate tectonics, ancient crust, and the geochemical evolution of the mantle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brandenburg, J.; Hauri, E.; van Keken, P.; Ballentine, C.

    2007-12-01

    Isotopic ratios measured in oceanic basalts indicate the presence of variably mixed depleted, enriched and pristine components in the convecting mantle. A persistent dense layer at the base of the mantle may modulate the isotopic composition of enriched compositional end members, particularly if this layer is at least partially composed of ancient oceanic crust. We model the generation of a dense layer from subducted crust in models with stiff mobile plates approximated by the force-balance method [1][2]. The inclusion of plates allows us to self- consistently model crust petrogenesis at divergent plate boundaries. An embedded geochemical model tracks the isotopic evolution of Pb,U,Th,Sm,Nd,Rb,Sr,Re,Os, and He within this model framework. By varying thermal convective vigor and chemical density within reasonable parameter values, we investigate the admissible range of model behavior. In all cases we find that the extraction of continental crust is essential to reproduce the spread of observed isotope ratios. The size and longevity of pools of ancient oceanic crust at the base of the mantle further modulate isotope systematics by delaying the remixing of ancient oceanic crust. With no chemical buoyancy the average age of melting forms a gradient between lower and upper mantle values of 1.5 and 2.75 Byr respectively. With dense oceanic crust the gradient becomes discontinuous, producing an older upper mantle age in excess of 3.0 Byr. This indicates an average residence time of pooled crust on the order of 250 to 500 Myr, and leads to more distinct separation between isotopic end-member compositions. Using these relationships, we construct a series of viable continental crust extraction scenarios and compare these with published models. Mass balance calculations are performed and the role of the pooled oceanic crust as a complimentary reservoir to the continental crust is evaluated. [1] Gable, C.W., R.J. O'Connell, B.J. Travis (1991) "Convection in 3 dimensions with surface plates; generation of a toroidal flow," J. Geophys. Res., 89, 8391--8405 [2] Brandenburg, J.P., P.E. van Keken (2007) "Methods for thermochemical convection in Earth's mantle with force-balanced plates," Revised version submitted to Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst.

  14. Geology of the Eoarchean, > 3.95 Ga, Nulliak supracrustal rocks in the Saglek Block, northern Labrador, Canada: The oldest geological evidence for plate tectonics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Komiya, Tsuyoshi; Yamamoto, Shinji; Aoki, Shogo; Sawaki, Yusuke; Ishikawa, Akira; Tashiro, Takayuki; Koshida, Keiko; Shimojo, Masanori; Aoki, Kazumasa; Collerson, Kenneth D.

    2015-11-01

    The Earth is a unique planet, which has been highly evolved, diversified and complicated through geologic time, and underwent many key events, including giant impact, magma ocean, core formation, large-scale mantle differentiation and late heavy bombardment, especially in its dawn. But, our knowledge of early Earth is limited due to the lack of the Hadean supracrustal rocks. The supracrustal rocks with the Eoarchean ages provide key evidence for the Earth's early evolution, but few supracrustal rocks have been comprehensively investigated. Therefore, we mapped in seven areas of the Saglek Block, northern Labrador, where ancient supracrustal sequences are interleaved with a diverse assemblage of orthogneisses. Early studies suggested that some of them have the Mesoarchean ages because of the lack of the Mesoarchean Saglek dyke, but we found the Saglek dykes in the areas to recognize the Eoarchean Nulliak supracrustal rocks and Uivak Gneiss in all the areas. Recent reassessment of U-Pb dating and cathodoluminescence observation of zircons from the oldest suites of the Uivak Gneiss showed that the Uivak Gneiss has the Eoarchean age, > 3.95 Ga, and forms the Iqaluk-Uivak Gneiss series. Because our geological survey clearly showed that the Iqaluk-Uivak Gneisses were intruded into the Nulliak supracrustal belts, the Nulliak supracrustal rocks are the oldest supracrustal rock in the world. The supracrustal belts consist of piles of fault-bounded blocks, which are composed of the ultramafic rocks, mafic rocks and sedimentary rocks in ascending order, similar to modern ocean plate stratigraphy (OPS). In addition, small-scale duplex structures are found over the areas. The presence of duplex structure and OPS indicates that the > 3.95 Ga Nulliak supracrustal belts originate from an accretionary complex. The presence of the accretionary complex, ophiolite and granitic continental crust provides the oldest evidence for the plate tectonics on the early Earth.

  15. Aperture of the northern and central Gulf of California since 9 to -1 Ma BP, using an instantaneous kinematic plate tectonics model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gonzalez-Garcia, J.; Gonzalez-Ortega, J.

    2013-12-01

    The position of points over the earth surface is conveniently represented in a terrestrial (earth center fixed) reference frame, one that is rotating in some well defined way with the earth. In order to represent actual, past and future positions, we use the International Terrestrial Reference Frame, with kinematic plate tectonic models in a no-net rotation mode. Here we use the Pacific-Northamerica (PA-NA) plate motion model with Northamerica plate fixed. In our case, the actual shoreline of Mexico mainland is maintained fixed for visual purpose. We show the translation of the Baja California peninsula, traveling as PA-NA, since 9 Ma BP to 1 Ma AP. We made a 'calibration' of few kinematic plate tectonic models in PA-NA zone constraining the stable Mendocino Triple Junction (MTJ; 40.384°N ×2 km, 124.88°W +2, -4 km). Those models can be divided in two groups: space geodesy and geological. A preliminary result shows that geodesy models are a better representation of a constant kinematic plate tectonic motion, as compared with geological ones (using actual directions of transform faults, seafloor spreading anomalies with and without earthquake slip vectors). We select GEODVEL plate motion model, which uses four space geodesy techniques: VLBI, SLR, DORIS and GPS. The aperture of the northern and central Gulf of California is adjusted by the evolution of the MTJ and a 'virtual' southeastern end triple junction, which is not coincident with the Rivera Triple Junction. We also observe that GEODVEL is not well constrained at Guadalupe and Socorro islands, which are supposed to be part of Pacific plate, but with 2.5 and 7.0 mm/yr residual, respectively.

  16. On plate tectonics and the geologic evolution of southwestern North America

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Ward, P.L.

    1991-01-01

    Very rapid subduction of the Farallon plate under southwestern North America between 60 and 40 Ma was accompanied by a relatively low volume of magmatism throughout the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. Between 40 and 20 Ma, when subduction slowed significantly and in one area may have even stopped, magmatism became widespread and voluminous from Nevada and Utah to central Mexico. This correlation of rapid subduction with a relatively low volume of magmatism can be explained by the observation that subduction-related andesitic arc volcanism, often formed in a Laramide-style compressional regime, is relatively low volume compared to continental volcanism. -from Author

  17. Collision tectonics

    SciTech Connect

    Coward, M.P.; Ries, A.C.

    1985-01-01

    The motions of lithospheric plates have produced most existing mountain ranges, but structures produced as a result of, and following the collision of continental plates need to be distinguished from those produced before by subduction. If subduction is normally only stopped when collision occurs, then most geologically ancient fold belts must be collisional, so it is essential to recognize and understand the effects of the collision process. This book consists of papers that review collision tectonics, covering tectonics, structure, geochemistry, paleomagnetism, metamorphism, and magmatism.

  18. An alternative plate tectonic model for the Palaeozoic Early Mesozoic Palaeotethyan evolution of Southeast Asia (Northern Thailand Burma)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ferrari, O. M.; Hochard, C.; Stampfli, G. M.

    2008-04-01

    An alternative model for the geodynamic evolution of Southeast Asia is proposed and inserted in a modern plate tectonic model. The reconstruction methodology is based on dynamic plate boundaries, constrained by data such as spreading rates and subduction velocities; in this way it differs from classical continental drift models proposed so far. The different interpretations about the location of the Palaeotethys suture in Thailand are revised, the Tertiary Mae Yuam fault is seen as the emplacement of the suture. East of the suture we identify an Indochina derived terrane for which we keep the name Shan-Thai, formerly used to identify the Cimmerian block present in Southeast Asia, now called Sibumasu. This nomenclatural choice was made on the basis of the geographic location of the terrane (Eastern Shan States in Burma and Central Thailand) and in order not to introduce new confusing terminology. The closure of the Eastern Palaeotethys is related to a southward subduction of the ocean, that triggered the Eastern Neotethys to open as a back-arc, due to the presence of Late Carboniferous-Early Permian arc magmatism in Mergui (Burma) and in the Lhasa block (South Tibet), and to the absence of arc magmatism of the same age East of the suture. In order to explain the presence of Carboniferous-Early Permian and Permo-Triassic volcanic arcs in Cambodia, Upper Triassic magmatism in Eastern Vietnam and Lower Permian-Middle Permian arc volcanites in Western Sumatra, we introduce the Orang Laut terranes concept. These terranes were detached from Indochina and South China during back-arc opening of the Poko-Song Ma system, due to the westward subduction of the Palaeopacific. This also explains the location of the Cathaysian West Sumatra block to the West of the Cimmerian Sibumasu block.

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Clary, Renee; Wandersee, James

    2011-01-01

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

  20. Analysis of shear-wave splitting from volcano-tectonic events at Soufrière Hills volcano, Montserrat.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Baird, A. F.; Kendall, J. M.; Sparks, R. S. J.; Baptie, B.

    2014-12-01

    Here we investigate seismic anisotropy of the upper crust in the vicinity of Soufrière Hills volcano using shear wave splitting (SWS) analysis from volcano-tectonic (VT) events. Soufrière Hills, which is located on the Island of Montserrat in the Lesser Antilles, became active in 1995 and has been erupting ever since with 5 major phases of extrusive activity. We use data recored on a network of seismometers between 1996 and 2007 partially spanning three eruptive phases. Shear-wave splitting in the crust is often assumed to be controlled by either by structural features, or by stress aligned cracks. In such a case the polarisation of the fast shear wave (phi) would align parallel to the strike of the structure, or to the maximum compressive stress direction. Previous studies analysing SWS in the region using regional earthquakes observed temporal variations in phi which were interpreted as being caused by stress perturbations associated with pressurisation of a dyke. Our analysis, which uses much shallower sources and thus only samples the anisotropy of the upper few kilometres of the crust, shows no clear temporal variation. However, temporal effects cannot be ruled out, as large fluctuations in the rate of VT events over the course of the study period as well as changes in the seismic network configuration make it difficult to assess. Average delay times of approximately 0.2 seconds, similar in magnitude to that reported for much deeper slab events, suggest that the bulk of the anisotropy is in the shallow crust. We observe clear spatial variations in anisotropy which we believe are consistent with structurally controlled anisotropy resulting from a left-lateral transtensional array of faults which crosses the volcanic complex.

  1. Allochthonous deep-water basin deposits of the western US: Implications for Paleozoic paleogeography and plate margin tectonics

    SciTech Connect

    Miller, E.L. . Geology Dept.)

    1993-04-01

    The stratigraphy and sedimentology of the lower Paleozoic Roberts Mts. and upper Paleozoic Golconda allochthons can be used to reconstruct their general paleogeographic setting in the Paleozoic. Basalt pillow lavas and radiolarian chert, were once considered straightforward evidence that the allochthons represented imbricated ocean crust formed at sites far removed from continental influences. Better stratigraphic definition, provenance studies and geochemistry of lavas now indicate that clastic components were derived from the continental shelf or interior and basalts in the Roberts Mountains allochthon were erupted in an intraplate setting through thinned continental crust (Madrid, 1987). Both in the earliest Mississippian and in the Late Permian, the Antler Basin (Roberts Mts.) and the Havallah Basin (Golconda) received proximal detritus from island arc sources to the west, immediately prior to closure of the basins by thrust-faulting. These data suggest that both systems of basins formed as marginal basins by rifting on the continental shelf (Antler Basin) and along the continental margin (Havallah Basin) and were flanked to the west by active island arcs at least during part of their history. As such, their stratigraphy provides a great deal of insight regarding tectonism along the western plate margin of North America during the Paleozoic.

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    1982-01-01

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

  3. A harbinger of plate tectonics: a commentary on Bullard, Everett and Smith (1965) ‘The fit of the continents around the Atlantic’

    PubMed Central

    Dewey, John F.

    2015-01-01

    In the 1960s, geology was transformed by the paradigm of plate tectonics. The 1965 paper of Bullard, Everett and Smith was a linking transition between the theories of continental drift and plate tectonics. They showed, conclusively, that the continents around the Atlantic were once contiguous and that the Atlantic Ocean had grown at rates of a few centimetres per year since the Early Jurassic, about 160?Ma. They achieved fits of the continental margins at the 500 fathom line (approx. 900?m), not the shorelines, by minimizing misfits between conjugate margins and finding axes, poles and angles of rotation, using Euler's theorem, that defined the unique single finite difference rotation that carried congruent continents from contiguity to their present positions, recognizing that the real motion may have been more complex around a number of finite motion poles. Critically, they were concerned only with kinematic reality and were not restricted by considerations of the mechanism by which continents split and oceans grow. Many of the defining features of plate tectonics were explicit or implicit in their reconstructions, such as the torsional rigidity of continents, Euler's theorem, closure of the Tethyan ocean(s), major continental margin shear zones, the rapid rotation of small continental blocks (Iberia) around nearby poles, the consequent opening of small wedge-shaped oceans (Bay of Biscay), and misfit overlaps (deltas and volcanic piles) and underlaps (stretched continental edges). This commentary was written to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. PMID:25750142

  4. A harbinger of plate tectonics: a commentary on Bullard, Everett and Smith (1965) 'The fit of the continents around the Atlantic'.

    PubMed

    Dewey, John F

    2015-04-13

    In the 1960s, geology was transformed by the paradigm of plate tectonics. The 1965 paper of Bullard, Everett and Smith was a linking transition between the theories of continental drift and plate tectonics. They showed, conclusively, that the continents around the Atlantic were once contiguous and that the Atlantic Ocean had grown at rates of a few centimetres per year since the Early Jurassic, about 160?Ma. They achieved fits of the continental margins at the 500 fathom line (approx. 900?m), not the shorelines, by minimizing misfits between conjugate margins and finding axes, poles and angles of rotation, using Euler's theorem, that defined the unique single finite difference rotation that carried congruent continents from contiguity to their present positions, recognizing that the real motion may have been more complex around a number of finite motion poles. Critically, they were concerned only with kinematic reality and were not restricted by considerations of the mechanism by which continents split and oceans grow. Many of the defining features of plate tectonics were explicit or implicit in their reconstructions, such as the torsional rigidity of continents, Euler's theorem, closure of the Tethyan ocean(s), major continental margin shear zones, the rapid rotation of small continental blocks (Iberia) around nearby poles, the consequent opening of small wedge-shaped oceans (Bay of Biscay), and misfit overlaps (deltas and volcanic piles) and underlaps (stretched continental edges). This commentary was written to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. PMID:25750142

  5. GPS and seismological constraints on active tectonics and arc-continent collision in Papua New Guinea: Implications for mechanics of microplate rotations in a plate boundary zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wallace, Laura M.; Stevens, Colleen; Silver, Eli; McCaffrey, Rob; Loratung, Wesley; Hasiata, Suvenia; Stanaway, Richard; Curley, Robert; Rosa, Robert; Taugaloidi, Jones

    2004-05-01

    The island of New Guinea is located within the deforming zone between the Pacific and Australian plates that converge obliquely at ˜110 mm/yr. New Guinea has been fragmented into a complex array of microplates, some of which rotate rapidly about nearby vertical axes. We present velocities from a network of 38 Global Positioning System (GPS) sites spanning much of the nation of Papua New Guinea (PNG). The GPS-derived velocities are used to explain the kinematics of major tectonic blocks in the region and the nature of strain accumulation on major faults in PNG. We simultaneously invert GPS velocities, earthquake slip vectors on faults, and transform orientations in the Woodlark Basin for the poles of rotation of the tectonic blocks and the degree of elastic strain accumulation on faults in the region. The data are best explained by six distinct tectonic blocks: the Australian, Pacific, South Bismarck, North Bismarck, and Woodlark plates and a previously unrecognized New Guinea Highlands Block. Significant portions of the Ramu-Markham Fault appear to be locked, which has implications for seismic hazard determination in the Markham Valley region. We also propose that rapid clockwise rotation of the South Bismarck plate is controlled by edge forces initiated by the collision between the Finisterre arc and the New Guinea Highlands.

  6. Metallogenic events and tectonic setting of the Duobaoshan ore field in Heilongjiang Province, NE China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hao, Yu-Jie; Ren, Yun-Sheng; Duan, Ming-Xin; Tong, Kuang-Yin; Chen, Cong; Yang, Qun; Li, Chao

    2015-01-01

    The Duobaoshan ore field, a major center of metal production in Northeast China, is located in the northeast of the Xing'an-Mongolia Orogenic Belt (the eastern part of the Central Asian Orogenic Belt) and within the northern Greater Xing'an Mountains. Several types of ore deposits are mined in the Duobaoshan region, including the Duobaoshan and Tongshan porphyry copper-molybdenum deposits, the Sankuanggou skarn iron-copper deposit, and the Zhengguang epithermal gold deposit. Zircon grains from the Tongshan granodiorite and porphyritic granite yield laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) U-Pb weighted mean ages of 475.9 ± 0.8 Ma and 230.9 ± 0.9 Ma to 240.7 ± 0.8 Ma, respectively. The Re-Os isochron age of molybdenites from the Tongshan deposit is 473 ± 4 Ma. Because both field observations and petrographic analysis identified disseminated chalcopyrite, pyrite, and malachite in the porphyritic granite, the isotope dating indicates that the Tongshan deposit underwent at least two magmatic-mineralization events, during the Ordovician and the Triassic. Zircon grains from the metallogenic granodiorite of the Sankuanggou skarn deposit yield an age of 176.1 ± 0.3 Ma, and Re-Os dating of molybdenite gives an age of 173 ± 6 Ma, indicating a Jurassic event. Based on previous research and the new geochemical analysis presented in this study, it is inferred that the magmatism and mineralization of the Sankuanggou deposit were associated with the subduction of the Paleo-Pacific Plate. The Duobaoshan region has therefore experienced at least three major magmatic and mineralization events, during the Ordovician (470-480 Ma), the Triassic (230-240 Ma), and the Early Jurassic (170-180 Ma).

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    2012-01-01

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

  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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cohen, Steven C.; Darby, Desmond J.

    2003-03-01

    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 finite element calculations, we solve for depth-dependent fault backslip rates. The associated chi-squared goodness of fit parameter depends on the values of the elastic thicknesses of the overriding Australian and subducting Pacific Plates. These thicknesses are systematically varied in order to find the chi-squared minimum. We find that: (1) the plates have coupling coefficient between 0.8 and 1.0 to a depth of about 22 km; (2) elastic dislocation theory appears to adequately fit the observations because the effects of viscoelastic flow are small; (3) viscoelastic results depend on the contrast between the elastic moduli of the plates, (4) the trench normal, rather than the trench parallel component of motion is more diagnostic for choosing between models with different parameters; (5) for the favored model (one with a weak continental crust), the estimated value of the Pacific Plate thickness is 40-60 km. Although the estimates of the plate thickness are not tightly constrained, those deduced from geodetic data tend to be larger than those deduced from geologic data, consistent with the idea that thickness estimates depend on the time scale of the loading process.

  9. Epeirogeny and plate tectonics

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Menard, H. W.

    1975-01-01

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

  10. 3-D simulation of temporal change in tectonic deformation pattern and evolution of the plate boundary around the Kanto Region of Japan due to the collision of the Izu-Bonin Arc

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hashima, A.; Sato, T.; Ito, T.; Miyauchi, T.; Furuya, H.; Tsumura, N.; Kameo, K.; Yamamoto, S.

    2010-12-01

    The Kanto region of Japan is in a highly complex tectonic setting with four plates interacting with each other: beneath Kanto, situated on the Eurasian and North American plates, the Philippine sea plate subducts and the Pacific plate further descends beneath the North American and Philippine sea plates, forming the unique trench-trench-trench triple junction on the earth. In addition, the Izu-Bonin (Ogasawara) arc on the Philippine sea plate is colliding with the Japan islands, which is considered to be a significant effect on the tectonics of Kanto. To reveal the present crustal structure and the present internal stress fields in such a complex tectonic setting, it is essential to comprehend them through the long-term tectonic evolution process. In this study, we estimate the temporal change in tectonic deformation pattern along with the geometry of the plate boundary around Kanto by numerical simulation with a kinematic plate subduction model based on the elastic dislocation theory. This model is based on the idea that mechanical interaction between plates can rationally be represented by the increase of the displacement discontinuity (dislocation) across plate interfaces. Given the 3-D geometry of plate interfaces, the distribution of slip rate vectors for simple plate subduction can be obtained directly from relative plate velocities. In collision zones, the plate with arc crust cannot easily descend because of its buoyancy. This can be represented by giving slip-rate deficit. When crustal deformation occurs, it also causes change in geometry of the plate boundary itself. This geometry change sensitively affects mechanical interaction at the plate boundary. Then the renewed plate-to-plete interaction alters crustal deformation rates. This feedback system has a large effect on collision zones. Indeed, the plate boundary around the Izu peninsula, the northernmost end of the Izu-Bonin arc, intends landward as large as 100 km. Iterating this effect sequentially backward in time, we numerically simulated the evolution of the deformation rates in Kanto. The result shows uplifts in the Akaishi and the Kanto ranges ahead of the Izu-Bonin arc and subsidence in the center of the Kanto plane. This result is consistent with the topography, the free-air gravity anomaly and the height of paleo-shorelines in this area.

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Solomon, S. C.

    1980-01-01

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

  12. Tectonic inversion in the Caribbean-South American plate boundary: GPS geodesy, seismology, and tectonics of the Mw 6.7 22 April 1997 Tobago earthquake

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Weber, John C.; Geirsson, Halldor; Latchman, Joan L.; Shaw, Kenton; La Femina, Peter; Wdowinski, Shimon; Higgins, Machel; Churches, Christopher; Norabuena, Edmundo

    2015-06-01

    On 22 April 1997 the largest earthquake recorded in the Trinidad-Tobago segment of the Caribbean-South American plate boundary zone (Mw 6.7) ruptured a shallow (~9 km), ENE striking (~250° azimuth), shallowly dipping (~28°) dextral-normal fault ~10 km south of Tobago. In this study, we describe this earthquake and related foreshock and aftershock seismicity, derive coseismic offsets using GPS data, and model the fault plane and magnitude of slip for this earthquake. Coseismic slip estimated at our episodic GPS sites indicates movement of Tobago 135 ± 6 to 68 ± 6 mm NNE and subsidence of 7 ± 9 to 0 mm. This earthquake was anomalous and is of interest because (1) its large component of normal slip and ENE strike are unexpected given the active E-W dextral shearing across the Caribbean-South American plate boundary zone, (2) it ruptured a normal fault plane with a low (~28°) dip angle, and (3) it reactivated and inverted the preexisting Tobago terrrane-South America ocean-continent (thrust) boundary that formed during early Tertiary oblique plate convergence.

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    1989-01-01

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

  14. Paleomagnetic and Geochronologic Data from Central Asia: Inferences for Early Paleozoic Tectonic Evolution and Timing of Worldwide Glacial Events

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gregory, L. C.; Meert, J. G.; Levashova, N.; Grice, W. C.; Gibsher, A.; Rybanin, A.

    2007-12-01

    The Neoproterozoic to early Paleozoic Ural-Mongol belt that runs through Central Asia is crucial for determining the enigmatic amalgamation of microcontinents that make up the Eurasian subcontinent. Two unique models have been proposed for the evolution of Ural-Mongol belt. One involves a complex assemblage of cratonic blocks that have collided and rifted apart during diachronous opening and closing of Neoproterozoic to Devonian aged ocean basins. The opposing model of Sengor and Natal"in proposes a long-standing volcanic arc system that connected Central Asian blocks with the Baltica continent. The Aktau-Mointy and Dzabkhan microcontinents in Kazakhstan and Central Mongolia make up the central section of the Ural-Mongol belt, and both contain glacial sequences characteristic of the hypothesized snowball earth event. These worldwide glaciations are currently under considerable debate, and paleomagnetic data from these microcontients are a useful contribution to the snowball controversy. We have sampled volcanic and sedimentary sequences in Central Mongolia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan for paleomagnetic and geochronologic study. U-Pb data, 13C curves and abundant fossil records place age constraints on sequences that contain glacial deposits of the hypothesized snowball earth events. Carbonates in the Zavkhan Basin in Mongolia are likely remagnetized, but fossil evidence within the sequence suggests a readjusted age control on two glacial events that were previously labeled as Sturtian and Marinoan. U-Pb ages from both Kazakhstan and Mongolian volcanic sequences imply a similar evolution history of the areas as part of the Ural-Mongol fold belt, and these ages paired with paleomagnetic and 13C records have important tectonic implications. We will present these data in order to place better constraints on the Precambrian to early Paleozoic tectonic evolution of Central Asia and the timing of glacial events recorded in the area.

  15. A Seismo-Tectonic Signal From Offshore Sedimentation: The 2010 Haiti Earthquake and Prior Events

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McHugh, C. M.; Seeber, L.; Cormier, M.; Hornbach, M.; Momplaisir, R.; Waldhauser, F.; Sorlien, C. C.; Steckler, M. S.; Gulick, S.

    2011-12-01

    The Mw 7.0 January 2010 earthquake in Haiti was one of the deadliest in history. It involved multiple faults along or near the main Enriquillo-Plantain Garden Fault (EPGF). This left-lateral transform is a branch of the northern Caribbean plate boundary across southern Hispaniola. The main rupture was strike-slip but almost all aftershocks had thrust mechanisms, and surface deformation may have been concentrated on anticline forelimbs driven by blind thrust faults. Earthquake generated mass-wasting and turbidity currents were sampled from the Canal du Sud slope (~1000 m water depth), a basin at 1500 m, and the deepest part of the strait at 1700 m. The turbidites were strongly correlated by 234Th with a half-life of 24 days. In the deepest area, a turbidite-homogenite unit (T-H) extends over 50 km2 and is composed of basal sand beds 5 cm thick and 50 cm of mud above. The sedimentary structures in the sand were linked to oscillatory motions by internal seiches. The T-H units recovered from the slope and deep basin are similar in composition. The Leogane Delta, upslope from the sampling sites, is rich in this lithology that has been linked to oceanic basement rocks exposed on the southern Haitian peninsula. In contrast, the T-H unit recovered from the basin at 1500 m is perched behind a thrust anticline and has a greater concentration of Ca derived from Ca rich sources such as the Tapion Ridge on the southern peninsula. The Tapion Ridge is a compressional structure associated with a restraining bend along the EPGF. The T-H unit beneath the 2010 deposit has a 14C age of 2400 cal yrs BP, and interpreted as an earthquake triggered deposit. It is nearly identical in thickness, composition and fine structures to the 2010 T-H. Notably absent from the record are younger turbidites that could have been linked to the historic 1770 AD and other similar earthquakes expected from GPS rates across the EPGF. Two hypotheses are being considered for this long gap in T-H sedimentation. One proposes that during relative high stands of sea level fringing reefs are trapping sediment on the shelf and that a critical accumulation is needed to generate failure. Many large local earthquakes could have occurred before reaching this critical thickness. Low sedimentation rates (6 cm/1000 yrs) support this possibility. Our preferred hypothesis, alternatively, links T-Hs to earthquakes with a large thrust component such as the 2010 event in order to generate failure. This latter hypothesis accounts for some earthquakes producing no turbidites while others, such as the 2010 event, do. It also accounts for the fracturing sampled along 8 km of the perched basin. We propose that thrust earthquakes along the Tapion Ridge segment of the EPGF reoccur at ~2000-year intervals and this sedimentary signal is preserved in Canal du Sud.

  16. Misconceptions and Conceptual Changes Concerning Continental Drift and Plate Tectonics among Portuguese Students Aged 16-17.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Marques, Luis; Thompson, David

    1997-01-01

    This study investigates student misconceptions in the areas of continent, ocean, permanence of ocean basins, continental drift, Earth's magnetic field, and plates and plate motions. A teaching-learning model was designed based on a constructivist approach. Results show that students held a substantial number of misconceptions. (Author/DKM)

  17. A kinematic model for Afar Depression lithospheric thinning and its implications for hominid evolution: an exercise in plate-tectonic paleoanthropology

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Redfield, T.; Often, M.; Wheeler, W. H.

    2002-12-01

    We present a detailed Nubia-Arabia-Somalia (NU-AR-SOM) kinematic reconstruction based on magnetic sea floor isochrons in the Gulf of Aden and Red Sea and piercing points along the Red Sea margins. The reconstruction is combined with digital topographic and depth-to-Moho data to constrain in 4D the Late Oligocene to present-day evolution of the Afar supra-Moho crust. Opposite end-member models for crustal evolution are described. We conclude that less than 20% of the present-day Afar supra-Moho crust was constructed by magmatic processes such as diking and underplating. The reconstructions indicate that the greater percentage of crustal thinning (extension) occurred before 6.2 Ma. We model the thinning of the effective elastic lithosphere that accompanied extension, and show that the regional-scale topographic development of the Afar depression was virtually complete by Mid Pliocene time. The plate-tectonic model has paleoanthropological implications. Prior to 6.2 Ma the proximal positions of NU-SOM, AR, and the Danakil block suggest subaerial conditions prevailed between Yemen and Ethiopia. Uninhibited Africa-Eurasia faunal exchange through Afar and Arabia (corroborated by isotopic and paleontologic data) was tectonically permissible until the time of the earliest hominids. Continued stretching caused the Afar land bridge(s) to disappear during Early to Mid Pliocene time. Primitive hominid populations living within the Afar Depression became isolated from AR sometime before ~3.2 Ma. With the plateau becoming less habitable due to long-term Late Neogene cooling, hominids that remained in the Afar Depression were required to adapt to a smaller range that was effectively bounded by the already well-developed NU-SOM escarpments and the newly opened Straits of Bab el Mandeb. The combination of high quality habitat,topographic confinement, and a gradual (tectonic) reduction in range, exacerbated by potentially severe fluctuations in local climate (well documented by land and marine paleoclimate proxies) appears to have been unique to Afar in Mid Pliocene Africa, and may have caused hominids living in the Depression to undergo physical and cultural evolution more rapidly and successfully than hominids inhabiting equally productive but less confined ranges elsewhere. We suggest that plate-tectonic induced isolation caused the Afar Depression to become the cauldron within which genus Homo arose to prominence. If our interpretation is correct, continental drift played a major role in hominid-to-human evolution.

  18. Tectonic implications of Mars crustal magnetism J. E. P. Connerney*

    E-print Network

    California at Berkeley, University of

    crust formed during an early era of plate tectonics. magnetic planetary plate tectonics Precisely how of plate tectonics, retaining, in places, the magnetic imprint acquired when it formed, billions of yearsTectonic implications of Mars crustal magnetism J. E. P. Connerney* , M. H. Acun~ a*, N. F. Ness

  19. Gridino melange zone of the Belomorian eclogite province: Succession of tectonic events and structural position of mafic dyke swarms

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Babarina, I. I.; Sibelev, O. S.; Stepanova, A. V.

    2014-07-01

    Based on relationships between Paleoproterozoic mafic dykes, lithotectonic complexes, and tectonic structures of the Gridino Zone in the Belomorian eclogite province of the Fennoscandian Shield, deformations have been divided into groups differing in age and the succession of tectonic events has been reconstructed. The formation of Neoarchean eclogite-bearing melange was related to disintegration of large eclogite sheets in the course of near-horizontal ductile flow accompanied by syntectonic granitoid magmatism, multiple migmatization, and granulite-to amphibolite-facies metamorphism. The exotic blocks, including eclogites, were incorporated into TTG gneisses as sheets and lenses up to a few hundreds of meters in thickness and oriented conformably with gneissic banding. As a result of ductile flow, the lithotectonic complexes were transported at the level of discrete brittle-ductile deformations expressed as strike-slip faults and associated folds. Under conditions of a relatively rigid medium, individual structural elements underwent rotation approximately through 90° in plan view. Under the extension regime in the Early Paleoproterozoic, several swarms of mafic dykes were injected into the already cold framework rocks, as is evident from dyke morphology. The dykes crosscut all predated structures, included turned blocks, and are therefore important reference points for subdivision of Neoarchean and Paleoproterozoic processes. The Svecofennian postdyke tectonic activity was accompanied by local shearing and boudinage of metabasic rocks, development of quartz and pegmatite veins along tension cracks, disharmonic folding, and discrete retrograde metamorphism up to amphibolite-facies conditions. The postdyke deformations did not exert a substantial effect on the previously formed regional structure.

  20. Technical investigation of a pyrophoric event involving corrosion products from HEU ZPPR fuel plates

    SciTech Connect

    Totemeier, T. C.

    2000-02-02

    A pyrophoric event recently occurred which involved corrosion products collected from highly-enriched uranium (HEU) fuel plates used in the Zero Power Physics Reactor (ZPPR). This paper summarizes the event and its background, and presents the results of an investigation into its source and mechanism. The investigation focused on characterization of corrosion product samples similar to those involved in the event using thermo-gravimetric analysis (TGA). Burning curve TGA tests were performed to measure the ignition temperature and hydride fractions of corrosion products in several different conditions to assess the effects of passivation treatment and long-term storage on chemical reactivity. The hydride fraction and ignition temperature of the corrosion products were found to be strongly dependent on the corrosion extent of the source metal. The results indicate that the energy source for the event was a considerable quantity of uranium hydride present in the corrosion products, but the specific ignition mechanism could not be identified.

  1. Plate motion

    SciTech Connect

    Gordon, R.G. )

    1991-01-01

    The motion of tectonic plates on the earth is characterized in a critical review of U.S. research from the period 1987-1990. Topics addressed include the NUVEL-1 global model of current plate motions, diffuse plate boundaries and the oceanic lithosphere, the relation between plate motions and distributed deformations, accelerations and the steadiness of plate motions, the distribution of current Pacific-North America motion across western North America and its margin, plate reconstructions and their uncertainties, hotspots, and plate dynamics. A comprehensive bibliography is provided. 126 refs.

  2. Complex Sedimentary and Tectonic Events Captured in Stable Sulfur Isotope Profiles from the IODP Expedition 344

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gott, C.; Riedinger, N.; Torres, M. E.; Solomon, E. A.; Bates, S. M.; Lyons, T. W.

    2014-12-01

    The impact of dynamic sedimentary and tectonic systems on biogeochemical processes, particularly the sulfur cycle, is poorly understood. To better elucidate these relationships, analyses were conducted on sediments collected during Integrated Ocean Drilling Project (IODP) Expedition 344. A primary goal of the CRISP (Costa Rica Seismogenesis Project) expedition is to explore diagenetic processes, e.g. fluid flow; relating to the complex sedimentary and tectonic environments along the Costa Rica margin. Samples collected from sites U1381C, U1413B, and U1414A record non-steady state conditions in both the solid phase and the pore water profiles, although it is most pronounced in the latter. The penetration depth of pore water sulfate at these sites varies strongly with depth between 100, 15 and several hundreds of meters, respectively. The corresponding hydrogen sulfide concentrations are >400 ?M at Holes U1381C, and U1413B while they are <4 ?M at Hole U1414A. The measured concentrations of iron sulfides in the sediments indicate that pyrite is the main sulfur-bearing mineral, with concentrations of 2-3 wt. % at sites U1413B and U1414A. Recorded in the sulfur isotope signal is the likely origin of the heterogeneity between sites. At Site U1414, the 34S isotopically enriched sulfate (?34S>+60 ‰) is reflected in the ?34S profile of the in situ iron sulfides. We interpret these data as being indicative of fluid flow, potentially along fracture zones, seeps and/or pockmark features seen elsewhere in this region.

  3. The Distribution and Composition Characteristics of Siliceous Rocks from Qinzhou Bay-Hangzhou Bay Joint Belt, South China: Constraint on the Tectonic Evolution of Plates in South China

    PubMed Central

    Li, Hongzhong; Zhai, Mingguo; Zhang, Lianchang; Zhou, Yongzhang; Yang, Zhijun; He, Junguo; Liang, Jin; Zhou, Liuyu

    2013-01-01

    The Qinzhou Bay-Hangzhou Bay joint belt is a significant tectonic zone between the Yangtze and Cathaysian plates, where plentiful hydrothermal siliceous rocks are generated. Here, the authors studied the distribution of the siliceous rocks in the whole tectonic zone, which indicated that the tensional setting was facilitating the development of siliceous rocks of hydrothermal genesis. According to the geochemical characteristics, the Neopalaeozoic siliceous rocks in the north segment of the Qinzhou Bay-Hangzhou Bay joint belt denoted its limited width. In comparison, the Neopalaeozoic Qinzhou Bay-Hangzhou Bay joint belt was diverse for its ocean basin in the different segments and possibly had subduction only in the south segment. The ocean basin of the north and middle segments was limited in its width without subduction and possibly existed as a rift trough that was unable to resist the terrigenous input. In the north segment of the Qinzhou Bay-Hangzhou Bay joint belt, the strata of hydrothermal siliceous rocks in Dongxiang copper-polymetallic ore deposit exhibited alternative cycles with the marine volcanic rocks, volcanic tuff, and metal sulphide. These sedimentary systems were formed in different circumstances, whose alternative cycles indicated the release of internal energy in several cycles gradually from strong to weak. PMID:24302882

  4. Optimization of high count rate event counting detector with Microchannel Plates and quad Timepix readout

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tremsin, A. S.; Vallerga, J. V.; McPhate, J. B.; Siegmund, O. H. W.

    2015-07-01

    Many high resolution event counting devices process one event at a time and cannot register simultaneous events. In this article a frame-based readout event counting detector consisting of a pair of Microchannel Plates and a quad Timepix readout is described. More than 104 simultaneous events can be detected with a spatial resolution of ~55 ?m, while >103 simultaneous events can be detected with <10 ?m spatial resolution when event centroiding is implemented. The fast readout electronics is capable of processing >1200 frames/sec, while the global count rate of the detector can exceed 5×108 particles/s when no timing information on every particle is required. For the first generation Timepix readout, the timing resolution is limited by the Timepix clock to 10-20 ns. Optimization of the MCP gain, rear field voltage and Timepix threshold levels are crucial for the device performance and that is the main subject of this article. These devices can be very attractive for applications where the photon/electron/ion/neutron counting with high spatial and temporal resolution is required, such as energy resolved neutron imaging, Time of Flight experiments in lidar applications, experiments on photoelectron spectroscopy and many others.

  5. A delicate balance of magmatic-tectonic interaction at Kilauea Volcano, Hawai`i, revealed from slow slip events

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Montgomery-Brown, Emily; Poland, Michael; Miklius, Asta

    2015-01-01

    Eleven slow slip events (SSEs) have occurred on the southern flank of Kilauea Volcano, Hawai’i, since 1997 through 2014. We analyze this series of SSEs in the context of Kilauea’s magma system to assess whether or not there are interactions between these tectonic events and eruptive/intrusive activity. Over time, SSEs have increased in magnitude and become more regular, with interevent times averaging 2.44 ± 0.15 years since 2003. Two notable SSEs that impacted both the flank and the magmatic system occurred in 2007, when an intrusion and small eruption on the East Rift Zone were part of a feedback with a SSE and 2012, when slow slip induced 2.5 cm of East Rift Zone opening (but without any change in eruptive activity). A summit inflation event and surge in East Rift Zone lava effusion was associated with a SSE in 2005, but the inferred triggering relation is not clear due to a poorly constrained slip onset time. Our results demonstrate that slow slip along Kilauea’s décollement has the potential to trigger and be triggered by activity within the volcano’s magma system. Since only three of the SSEs have been associated with changes in magmatic activity within the summit and rift zones, both the décollement and magma system must be close to failure for triggering to occur.

  6. 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 E.

    1990-01-01

    During the past 6 months, efforts were concentrated on the following areas: (1) Continued development of realistic, finite element modeling of plate interactions and associated deformation in the Eastern Mediterranean; (2) Neotectonic field investigations of seismic faulting along the active fault systems in Turkey with emphasis on identifying seismic gaps along the North Anatolian fault; and (3) Establishment of a GPS regional monitoring network in the zone of ongoing continental collision in eastern Turkey (supported in part by NSF).

  7. Nappes, tectonics of oblique plate convergence, and metamorphic evolution related to 140 million years of continuous subduction, Franciscan Complex, California

    SciTech Connect

    Wakabayashi, J. )

    1992-01-01

    This paper presents a new synthesis of Franciscan Complex tectonics, with the emphasis on the pre-San Andreas fault history of these rocks. Field relations suggest that the Franciscan is characterized by nappe structures that formed during sequential accretion at the trench. The presence of these structures along with other field relations, including the lack of evidence for large offset of conglomerate suites, indicates that strike-slip fault systems of large displacement ({gt}500 km) did not cut the Franciscan Complex during subduction. Regional geology and comparisons to modern arc-trench systems suggest that strike-slip faulting associated with oblique subduction took place inboard (east) of the Franciscan in the vicinity of the magmatic arc. The Franciscan varies along strike, because individual accreted elements (packets of trench sediment, seamounts, etc.) did not extend the full length of the trench. Different depths of underplating, distribution of post-metamorphic faulting, and level of erosion produced the present-day surface distribution of high P/T metamorphism. Franciscan Complex tectonic history is presented in this paper.

  8. Sequential Mesozoic and Cenozoic tectonic events in Grant range and Railroad Valley, Nye County, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    Flanigan, D.M.H.

    1989-03-01

    A series of palinspastic geologic cross sections were constructed for the Grant Range-Railroad Valley (GR-RRV) area. This palinspastic reconstruction differs from previously published interpretations in two major ways. First, new granite age dates and a chronological framework deduced by Fryxell in 1984 in the central and southern Grant Range were applied, where possible, to the northern Grant Range. Second, recent drilling was correlated to outcrop interpretations. Results of this reconstruction suggest that significant tectonism affected the GR-RRV area earlier than previously believed. Mesozoic compression produced east-vergent folding in the GR-RRV area, followed by Late Cretaceous intrusion. Local, possibly blind thrusting may have been associated with the intrusion. Above the granite dome, shallow, brittle, listric faulting and deeper low-angle attenuation faulting accommodated intrusion. After intrusion, relative quiescence prevailed during the deposition of the Sheep Pass Formation and the lower Garrett Ranch Group ignimbrite. Uplift in the middle and late Oligocene produced pervasive listric, normal, east-dipping faulting that may in part be represented by apparent growth faults within volcanics. Subsequent west-dipping listric faulting was in part gravity driven. High-angle Miocene normal faulting initiated the present structure. All commercial oil fields in Railroad Valley are producing from Miocene and younger structures. However, an understanding of older structures will allow more accurate prediction of reservoirs within a particular, prospective, younger structure.

  9. Upper plate responses to active spreading ridge/transform subduction: The tectonics, basin evolution, and seismicity of the Taita area, Chile Triple Junction

    SciTech Connect

    Flint, S.; Prior, D. ); Styles, P.; Murdie, R. ); Agar, S.; Turner, P. )

    1993-02-01

    Integrated field geophysical, structural and stratigraphic studies are attempting to elucidate the mechanisms and consequences of the Late Miocene-present day subduction of the Chile Ridge triple junction system. Preliminary data indicate a shallow plane of seismicity at about 15 km to 20 km depth below the Taitao peninsula. The depths correspond to the predicted depth range of subducted upper ocean crust. The calculated Bouguer anomaly map cannot be explained by the upper plate geology, suggesting that gravity is influenced by heterogeneities in the subducting oceanic plate. Seismic data imply that a subducted transform system underlying the inner Taitao Peninsula is still an active structure. A series of Middle-Late Tertiary sedimentary basins lie inboard of the triple junction. Within the Cosmelli basin, abrupt marine to continental facies transitions give clear evidence of base level changes. The amount of basinward shift of facies across sequence boundaries gets progressively greater up stratigraphy, indicating progressively greater base level changes. The lower part of the basin fill is folded and then thrusted eastward as a series of imbricates, while the overlying, greater thickness of fluvial sediments are only gently tilted westwards. We provisionally interpret this geometry to indicate that the early basin fill was deforming due to contractional tectonics while the later basin fill was being deposited. This complex basin history may reflect initiation and development of triple junction subduction.

  10. 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 primary effort in this study during the past year has been directed along two separate lines: (1) expanding finite element models to include the entire Anatolian plate, the Aegean Sea and the Northeastern Mediterranean Sea, and (2) investigating the relationship between fault geometry and earthquake activity for the North Anatolian and similar strike-slip faults (e.g., San Andreas Fault). Both efforts are designed to provide an improved basis for interpreting the Crustal Dynamics measurements NASA has planned for this region. The initial phases of both investigations have been completed and the results are being prepared for publication. These investigations are described briefly.

  11. A hypothesis for Proterozoic-Phanerozoic supercontinent cyclicity, with implications for mantle convection, plate tectonics and Earth system evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grenholm, Mikael; Scherstén, Anders

    2015-11-01

    We present a conceptual model for supercontinent cycles in the Proterozoic-Phanerozoic Eons. It is based on the repetitive behavior of C and Sr isotopes in marine carbonates and U-Pb ages and ?Hf of detrital zircons seen during the Neoproterozoic-Paleozoic and Paleoproterozoic Eras, respectively. These records are considered to reflect secular changes in global tectonics, and it is hypothesized that the repetitive pattern is caused by the same type of changes in global tectonics. The fundamental premise of this paper is that such repetitive changes should also be recorded in orogenic belts worldwide. This carries the implication that Neoproterozoic-Paleozoic orogenic belts should have Paleoproterozoic equivalents. It is proposed that this is the case for the East African, Uralides and Ouachita-Alleghanian orogens, which have Paleoproterozoic analogs in the West African-Amazon, Laurentian and East European cratons, respectively. The Neoproterozoic-Paleozoic orogenic belts are not isolated features but occur in a specific global context, which correspond to the relatively well-constrained Neoproterozoic break-up of Rodinia, and the subsequent Late Paleozoic assembly of Pangea. The existence of Paleoproterozoic equivalents to Neoproterozoic-Paleozoic orogens requires that the same cycle defined the Paleoproterozoic. We therefore hypothesize that there were Paleoproterozoic supercontinents equivalent to Rodinia and Pangea, and that Proterozoic-Phanerozoic supercontinents are comprised of two basic types of configurations, equivalent to Rodinia (R-type) and Pangea (P-type). The Paleoproterozoic equivalent of Rodinia is likely the first supercontinent to have formed, and Proterozoic-Phanerozoic supercontinent cycles are therefore defined by R- to R-type cycles, each lasting approximately 1.5 Gyr. We use this cyclic pattern as a framework to develop a conceptual model that predicts the configuration and cycles of Proterozoic-Phanerozoic supercontinents, and their relation to mantle convection and Earth system evolution.

  12. Plate kinematics in the western Pacific derived from geodetic observations

    E-print Network

    Tregoning, Paul

    Tectonophysics: Plate motions­present and recent (3040), 3040 Marine Geology and Geophysics: Plate tectonics (8150, 8155, 8157, 8158); KEYWORDS: GPS, North Bismarck Plate, Australian Plate, Pacific Plate, tectonic spanning the Australian Plate and the western Pacific region to derive new tectonic models of the motions

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    1987-01-01

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

  14. Timing of tectonic events and crustal-scale structure of South Kyrgyz CAOB

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rolland, Yann; Guillot, Stéphane; Alexeiev, Dmitriy V.; Kröener, Alfred; Loury, Chloé; Mikolaichuk, Alexander V.

    2013-04-01

    The main phases of tectonic collage of blocks and activation of post-collisional Talas-Ferghana strike-slip fault (TFF) are investigated in the Kyrgyz Central Asian Orogenic Belt (CAOB), by a combined field, metamorphic and Ar/Ar study. The field work conducted on the southern suture of the Middle Tian Shan to the East of the TFF highlights a south-dipping structure featured by a HP metamorphic core complex comprised of c. 320 Ma continental and oceanic eclogites exhumed by top-to-North motion. A large massif (10 x 50 km) of continental HP rocks is evidenced in the Atbashi Range (South Tian Shan, Kyrgyzstan). Its structure and metamorphic history are investigated to reconstruct the geodynamic evolution of the northern rim of South Tian Shan and Tarim block in the Upper Paleozoic. This study gives insights into the crustal-scale structure of this mountain belt, currently intensely reactivated by the India-Asia collision. Metamorphic units exhibit blueschist to eclogite facies conditions. Evidence for eclogite facies in both acidic and mafic lithologies and geological structure are in agreement with a previously thinned continental margin. Prograde stage (I) begins in blue-schist/eclogite facies transition at 520 ± 30°C - 17 ± 1 kbar. Conditions of peak metamorphism (II) in eclogite facies range from 550 ± 30°C - 18.5 ± 1 kbar to 540-595°C - 21 kbar. Retrograde stage (III) condition is also in the eclogite facies conditions at 515 ± 30°C - 16.7 ± 1 kbar. Subduction of this thinned COT (Continent-Ocean Transition) probably occurred by slab pull in a south-dipping subduction zone, while another north-dipping subduction was active below Middle TianShan. Final stacking of Middle and South TianShan occurred at 320-310 Ma. These antithetic subduction zones are still reflected in the main structures of Tian Shan. Reactivation of the South-dipping structures since 30 Ma is ascribed to explain the current TianShan intra-continental slab inferred form seismology. After this accretionary episode, the suture southern was cross-cut by the TFF, which first stage of activation occurred at 312 ± 4 Ma, followed by a main stage of dextral motion in the Late Permian at 256 - 250 Ma. A late stage of reactivation of TFF is featured by emplacement of 195 ± 3 Ma pegmatitic dykes.

  15. Precambrian and Mesozoic plate margins: Montana, Idaho and Wyoming with field guides for the 8th international conference on basement tectonics

    SciTech Connect

    Lewis, S.E.; Berg, R.B.

    1988-07-01

    Two field trips held in conjunction with the 8th International Conference on Basement Tectonics are the raison d'etre for this volume, which would perhaps otherwise seem an eclectic association. The unifying theme is an investigation of the nature of plate margins in time and space, consonant with the main theme of the conference, Characterization and Comparison of Precambrian Through Mesozoic Continental Margins. Papers presented at the conference will be published in a separate volume by the International Basement Tectonics Association, Inc. The first field trip is at least a preliminary attempt at an overview of the Precambrian (predominantly Archean) crystalline basement of southwestern Montana. A number of interesting investigations have been focused on this region in recent years. Thus, papers in the first part of this volume take the reader from the Stillwater Complex across the Beartooth Plateau, to the northern borders of Yellowstone National Park on to the southern Madison Range, and finally to some of the western-most (probable) Archean exposures in the Highland Mountains south of Butte. Moving considerably forward on the geologic time scale, the other broad topic dealt with in a second field trip and complementary articles is a relatively recent collisional terrane in central Idaho and eastern Oregon. Examined are portions of the Idaho batholith and its enigmatic and fascinating marginal rocks, and to the west, the heart of the suture zone itself in the Wallowa-Seven Devils terrane with its group of exotic intrusive, metavolcanic, and metasedimentary rocks. Individual papers are processed separately for the data base.

  16. Plio-Quaternary paleostresses in the Atlantic passive margin of the Moroccan Meseta: Influence of the Central Rif escape tectonics related to Eurasian-African plate convergence

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chabli, Ahmed; Chalouan, Ahmed; Akil, Mostapha; Galindo-Zaldívar, Jesús; Ruano, Patricia; Sanz de Galdeano, Carlos; López-Garrido, Angel Carlos; Marín-Lechado, Carlos; Pedrera, Antonio

    2014-07-01

    The Atlantic Moroccan Meseta margin is affected by far field recent tectonic stresses. The basement belongs to the variscan orogen and was deformed by hercynian folding and metamorphism followed by a post-Permian erosional stage, producing the flat paleorelief of the region. Tabular Mesozoic and Mio-Plio-Quaternary deposits locally cover the Meseta, which has undergone recent uplift, while north of Rabat the subsidence continues in the Gharb basin, constituting the foreland basin of the Rif Cordillera. The Plio-Quaternary sedimentary cover of the Moroccan Meseta, mainly formed by aeolian and marine terraces deposits, is affected by brittle deformations (joints and small-scale faults) that evidence that this region - considered up to date as stable - is affected by the far field stresses. Striated faults are recognized in the oldest Plio-Quaternary deposits and show strike-slip and normal kinematics, while joints affect up to the most recent sediments. Paleostress may be sorted into extensional, only affecting Rabat sector, and three main compressive groups deforming whole the region: (1) ENE-WSW to ESE-WNW compression; (2) NNW-SSE to NE-SW compression and (3) NNE-SSW compression. These stresses can be attributed mainly to the NW-SE oriented Eurasian-African plate convergence in the western Mediterranean and the escape toward the SW of the Rif Cordillera. Local paleostress deviations may be related to basement fault reactivation. These new results reveal the tectonic instability during Plio-Quaternary of the Moroccan Meseta margin in contrast to the standard passive margins, generally considered stable.

  17. Reactivation of an old plate interface as a strike-slip fault in a slip-partitioned system: Median Tectonic Line, SW Japan

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sato, Hiroshi; Kato, Naoko; Abe, Susumu; Van Horne, Anne; Takeda, Tetsuya

    2015-03-01

    In models for strain-partitioning at obliquely-convergent plate boundaries, trench-parallel slip occurs on a vertical fault. Trench-parallel slip at the Nankai subduction zone, SW Japan, is mapped along the Median Tectonic Line (MTL) which dips approximately 40°N. To understand its structural context and how the MTL functions in this slip-partitioned system, we collected a set of three seismic profiles in the Kii peninsula south of Osaka, using a multi-scale acquisition strategy that provides increasingly fine resolution. To understand its fault kinematics, we analyzed microseismic activity in two locations on the fault, using source data from Japan's Hi-net monitoring network. Structural details suggest that the MTL functioned as a megathrust during subduction of the Cretaceous Sanbagawa HP metamorphic belt. Its current pattern of microseismicity shows that it behaves as a strike-slip fault with no indication of a vertical fault at or around its surface trace. Thus, trench-parallel slip at the Nankai is now accommodated on an inclined fault plane in an unusual form of partitioning. This system appears to have developed out of a two-phase tectonic history in which a thrust structure that formed under initial-phase compressive stresses has been reactivated as a strike-slip fault under subsequent-phase shear stresses. Its unusual kinematics show that shear failure can occur on an existing non-vertical fault plane at a regional scale in preference to the rupture of a new ideal (vertical) fault plane.

  18. How tectonics controlled post-collisional magmatism within the Dinarides: Inferences based on study of tectono-magmatic events in the Kopaonik Mts. (Southern Serbia)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mladenovi?, Ana; Trivi?, Branislav; Cvetkovi?, Vladica

    2015-04-01

    In this study, we report evidence about coupling between tectonic and magmatic processes in a complex orogenic system. The study focuses on the Kopaonik Mts. situated between the Dinarides and the Carpatho-Balkanides (Southern Serbia), and a perfect area for investigating tectono-magmatic evolution. We combine a new data set on tectonic paleostress tensors with the existing information on Cenozoic magmatic rocks in the wider Kopaonik Mts. area. The paleostress study revealed the presence of four brittle deformational phases. The established link between fault mechanism and igneous processes suggests that two large tectono-magmatic events occurred in this area. The Late Eocene-Early Miocene tectono-magmatic event was generally characterized by transpressional tectonics that provided conditions for formation of basaltic underplating and subsequent lower crustal melting and generation of I-type magmas. Due to predominant compression in the first half of this event, these magmas could not reach the upper crustal levels. Later on, limited extensional pulses that occurred before the end of this event opened pathways for newly formed mantle melts to reach shallower crustal levels and mix with the evolving I-type magmas. The second event is Middle-Late Miocene in age. It was first associated with clear extensional conditions that caused advancing of basaltic melts to mid-crustal levels. This, in turn, induced the elevation of geotherms, melting of shallow crust and S-type granite formation. This event terminated with transpression that produced small volumes of basaltic melts and finally closed the igneous scene in this part of the Balkan Peninsula. Although we agree that the growth of igneous bodies is usually internally controlled and can be independent from the ambient structural pattern, we have strong reasons to believe that the integration of regional scale observations of fault kinematics with crucial petrogenetic information can be used for establishing spatial-temporal relationships between brittle tectonics and magmatism.

  19. Tectonic Emplacement of the Ophiolitic Mélange in the West Junggar, NW China: Comment on the Plate Boundary Significance of Ophiolitic Mélange Belt

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, G.; Xu, Y.; Xiao, L.; Chen, C.

    2014-12-01

    Many ophiolitic mélanges distribute in the West Junggar, NW China. They are fault-contacted with Carboniferous turbidites with mostly NE trend and some NS trend with ages mostly Ordovician-Silurian and some Late Devonian. The boundary faults and the foliation inside the mélanges are of high-angle or nearly vertical. The NE trend ophiolitic mélange belts were structurally emplaced into the Carboniferous strata mainly by dextral transpressive deformation, but the NS trend ophiolitic mélange belts mainly by lateral extrusion deformation or pure shearing, suggesting a uniform stress field of nearly EW compression controlled the emplacements. The tectonic relationship between the ophiolitic mélanges and the Carboniferous turbidites imply that the ophiolitic mélanges are the main components of the basement of the Carboniferous strata. The geophysical data also reveal that high gravity, high magnetic and medium resistivity exist under the Carboniferous strata, matching well to the distribution of the ophiolitic mélanges on the surface. The neodymium model ages (TDM) of widely distributed Late Carboniferous-Permian granites are mostly between 0.352-0.923Ga and concentrate in 0.45-0.6Ga with positive eNd(t) mostly between 5~10, suggesting the Early Paleozoic rocks as the main magma source, consistent with the age of the ophiolitic mélanges, also coinciding with the conclusion of the ophiolitic mélanges as the basement of the Carboniferous strata. The Carboniferous turbidites primarily formed in residual basin. Early Permian terrestrial coarse molasses deposits unconformitily cover on the Carboniferous turbidites, suggesting the residual basin closed in Late Carboniferous. The accretionary complex or residual oceanic crust emplaced into the overlying Carboniferous turbidites through the dextral transpression or lateral extrusion due to EW convergent when the residual basin closed. The tectonic juxtaposition relationship between the ophiolitic mélanges and the younger lateral strata with same stratigraphic system suggests that the ophiolitic mélange belts do not separate different tectonic palaeogeographic or stratigraphic divisions. The traditional understanding of the ophiolitic mélange belt as plate or terrane boundary should be carefully to apply to the West Jungar.

  20. Late Neoproterozoic thermal events in the northern Lhasa terrane, south Tibet: Zircon chronology and tectonic implications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dong, Xin; Zhang, Zeming; Santosh, M.; Wang, Wei; Yu, Fei; Liu, Feng

    2011-12-01

    The high-grade metamorphic rocks from the Lhasa terrane, south Tibet, have been traditionally grouped as the Precambrian metamorphic basement. However, a number of recent studies show that these metamorphic rocks from the southern part of Lhasa terrane, including granulite- and eclogite-facies rocks, were metamorphosed during the Mesozoic and Cenozoic. Based on the LA-ICP-MS in situ zircon U-Pb chronology, we report for the first time late Neoproterozoic metamorphic and magmatic events from the Lhasa terrane. The rocks analyzed in this study occur in the northern part of Lhasa terrane, and include amphibolite, garnet-bearing muscovite schist and marble, with the mineral assemblages of hornblende + andesine + quartz, muscovite + garnet + plagioclase + quartz and calcite + diopside + quartz, indicating an amphibolite-facies metamorphic event. Zircons from a marble and an amphibolite sample show typical features of metamorphic origin, and yield peak-metamorphic ages of ca. 676 Ma and ca. 661 Ma, respectively. Zircons from another amphibolite sample possess inherited magmatic cores and metamorphic overgrown rims, yielding a protolith age of ca. 856 Ma and a metamorphic age of ca. 683 Ma. Zircons from the schist include detrital magmatic cores showing a wide spectrum of Proterozoic ages from ca. 1747 to 789 Ma, representing derivation from multiple sources. However, the metamorphic rims of these zircons yield an age population of ca. 690 Ma. Based on the geochemical and geochronological data presented in this work and from a synthesis of data from previous studies, we propose the location of the Lhasa terrain in a reconstruction of the Neoproterozoic Rodinia supercontinent. We correlate the late Neoproterozoic metamorphic and magmatic events with an Andean-type orogeny that resulted from oceanic subduction beneath the northwestern margin of the Rodinia supercontinent. We correlate the orogeny with a global-scale late Proterozoic arc magmatism widely represented in the Seychelles, Madagascar, northwestern India and South China.

  1. Dynamic evolution of continental and oceanic lithosphere in global mantle convection model with plate-like tectonics and one sided subduction.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ulvrova, Martina; Coltice, Nicolas; Tackley, Paul

    2015-04-01

    Drifting of continents, spreading of the seafloor and subduction at convergent boundaries shape the surface of the Earth. On the timescales of several hundreds of millions of years, divergent boundaries at mid-ocean ridges are created and destroyed in within the Wilson cycle. This controls the evolution of the Earth as it determines the heat loss out. Presence of floating continents facilitates the Earth-like mobile lid style of convection as convective stresses are concentrated on the rheological boundary between oceanic and continental lithosphere. Subducting slabs allow for the surface material to be buried down into the mantle and have an important effect on surface tectonics. The main feature of the subduction zones observed on Earth is that it is single-sided forming the deep trenches. Recently, different numerical models were successful in reproducing one-sided subduction by allowing for the vertical deformation of the Earth surface (Crameri and Tackley 2014). In the meantime, advances were made in modelling continental break-up and formation (Rolf et al. 2014). In this study we perform numerical simulations of global mantle convection in spherical annulus geometry with strongly depth and temperature dependent rheology using StagYY code (Tackley 2008). In these models plate tectonics is generated self-consistently and features one-sided subduction on ocean-ocean plate boundary as well as floating continents. We focus on determining (1) the influence of one-sided subduction on the dynamics of the system (2) formation and breakup of continents. Rerefences: Crameri, F. and P. J. Tackley, Spontaneous development of arcuate single-sided subduction in global 3-D mantle convection models with a free surface, J. Geophys. Res., 119(7), 5921-5942, 2014. Rolf, T., N. Coltice and P. J. Tackley (2014), Statistical cyclicity of the supercontinent cycle, Geophys. Res. Lett. 41, 2014. Tackley, P. J., Modellng compressible mantle convection with large viscosity contrasts in a three-dimensional spherical shell using the yin-yang grid, Phys. Earth Planet. Inter, 171 (1-4), 7-18, 2008.

  2. Pulsating Mantle Hypothesis "PMH" and its Applications on Apparent Solar Day Length Variations, Geodynamo and Plate Tectonics Theories, Tide, Earth's Axis Tilted and Earthquake Forecasting

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gholibeigian, H.; Amirshakarami, A.

    2012-12-01

    In this hypothesis, two phenomena; Inner Core Dislocation (ICD) and Outer Core Bulge (OCB) have appeared inside the Earth due to unbalanced gravitational attraction of the Sun and the Moon, and consequently the mantle is under diurnal cyclic pulsating load by it. In the other words, the inner core's center and axis (Earth's magnetic axis) do not crossed or overlapped on the Earth's center and axis (geographic axis) and distance between these two centers vary permanently in magnitude and direction. See Fig 1,2. ( C is geo-center, C' is inner core's center and always CC'>>0 ). These two phenomena which have diurnal, monthly and yearly cycles, have generated hydro-magneto-thermo-mechanical load including high kinetic energy which produces forced convection system in the outer core and pressurizes the mantle from its bottom. In this paper, we briefly discuss the six scientific results and applications of the hypothesis which are derived from ICD&OCB 1- Cause of apparent solar day length variations, and its overlapping with ICD&OCB variations spectrum, Fig 2, as the first observable factor for proving the PMH. In this section we use data for apparent solar day length variations in year 1998, and Figure's sheet is the same equatorial sheet, minimum of length day is in September 16 which is 24h-21.3 sec., as we can see the length of the ICD&OCB's vector which is result of the Sun and Moon's gravity forces, is minimum but in Dec. 22 which length day is 24h+29 sec, its vector is bigger 2- Generation and diurnal variation of the Earth's magnetic field and its overlapping with ICD&OCB variation as the second observable factor for proving the PMH. In this section we develop the Geodynamo Theory. 3- The ICD&OCB as the main engine of the tectonic plate's motion is discussed. In this section we develop the Plate Tectonics Theory. 4- How four Earth's systems; ICD&OCB, Sun's thermal energy, Sun and Moon's gravity forces interact and work together for generation of tide. 5- Eight factors for diverting ICD&OCB from their regular motion and consequently Earth's inclination changes. 6- Proposing computational procedure including Von Mises model which has residual stress that developed by the authors and mathematical representation of the PMH fin form of an energy equation for calculation of strain energy, W, versus time in a fault for earthquake (big >4.5 earthquakes) forecasting.

  3. Plate motion at the surface of the Earth can now be directly measured using space geodetic techniques.

    E-print Network

    Nicolas, Chamot-Rooke

    tectonics. Introduction Plate kinematics deals with the motion of tectonic plates at the surface elsewhere. We present here a new map that shows the current plate tectonics framework in the light. The plate tectonics revolution in the mid-1960s Plate tectonics was discovered in the mid-1960s. It merely

  4. Comparing the Tectonic Conditions on Venus with Tectonic Conditions of Early Archean Earth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pilchin, A.

    2015-05-01

    Tectonic conditions on Earth and Venus are analyzed and compared. It is shown that plate tectonics was not operational on Earth in the Early Archean, and Earth kind of plate tectonics is not possible in the future on Venus, Mars and Moon.

  5. Incorporation of New and Old Tectonics Concepts Into a Modern Course in Tectonics.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hatcher, Robert D., Jr.

    1983-01-01

    Describes a graduate-level tectonics course which includes the historical basis for modern tectonics concepts and an in-depth review of pros/cons of plate tectonics. Tectonic features discussed include: ocean basins; volcanic arcs; continental margins; continents; orogenic belts; foreland fold and thrust belts; volcanic/plutonic belts of orogens;…

  6. Overview and Observational Constraints on Venus' Geodynamics and Tectonics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smrekar, S. E.

    2015-05-01

    Today Venus is a single plate, uninhabitable planet. Why doesn’t it have plate tectonics? Did it ever have plate tectonics or a more mobile lid? This paper reviews what is known about Venus’ tectonics and geodynamics, as well as what is debated.

  7. Temporal change in plate coupling and long-term slow slip events in southwestern Japan

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ochi, Tadafumi

    2015-12-01

    In the southwestern part of Japan, many large earthquakes have been reported and many geodetic or seismic observations have been performed to monitor crustal deformation due to the interaction between the subducting Philippine Sea plate and the overriding continental plate along the Suruga-Nankai trough. These precise observations provide insight into aseismic stress-releasing processes such as slow slip events (SSEs). In this study, I focus on the effect of SSEs on interplate coupling to reveal the overall temporal evolution of interplate states along the trough in southwestern Japan. I focus mainly on the western part of the subduction zone, called the Nankai region. In this part, three SSEs (in 1997, 2003, and 2010) were detected during the period in which observations are available. Interplate coupling recovered quickly after the SSEs terminated. The eastern part of this region shows consistently strong coupling whether SSEs occur or not. Long-term SSEs are distributed between the coupling area and the area where tremors occur. I also examine the balance between stress accumulation and release at four points in the region. Below the eastern part of the strongly coupled area, at a depth of ?15 km, constant coupling of about 7 cm/yr takes place. In the center of the SSE region, at a depth of ?25 km, ?40% of the accumulated stress is released through SSEs, with the rest contributing to the stress accumulation process.

  8. Using high-resolution aeromagnetic survey to map tectonic elements of plate boundaries: An example from the Dead Sea Fault

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Al-Zoubi, A. S.; ten Brink, U. S.; Rybakov, M.; Rotstein, Y.

    2004-12-01

    The Dead Sea Fault (DSF) is a transform plate boundary between the African and the Arabian plates. The 200-km-long DSF segment between the Gulf of Aqaba/Elat and the Dead Sea, which has the morphology of a rift valley, shows little seismic activity, and its surface trace is only intermittently visible. High-resolution magnetic data were collected in October 2003 aboard a Jordanian military helicopter flying at an altitude of 100 m over the southern 120-km-long section of this fault segment. The survey was part of a US-AID Middle Eastern Regional Cooperation project between Jordanian, Israeli, Palestinian, and American scientists. Data were collected along rift-perpendicular lines spaced 300 m apart, requiring frequent crossings between Israeli and Jordanian air spaces. The data were gridded at 75 m interval following resolution tests, reduced to pole, and incorporated into a GIS together with elevation, geology, and gravity maps to facilitate interpretation. The main findings of the magnetic survey are the absence of magnetic anomalies crossing the rift valley, and the presence of a rift-parallel regional lineament corresponding to the active trace of the DSF. The lineament extends NNE as an almost continuous trace from Elat, Israel, to the eastern side of the valley 5 km north of Rahmeh. Jordan. Another fault trace located 2-3 km to the west may overlap and continue NNE through Gebel A-Risha, and into the central Arava/Araba valley, where it is visible on the surface. Alternatively, the two traces may be connected. If an offset between the two traces exists, it may be small enough to allow an earthquake rupture to propagate across the offset, and generate an earthquake with a moment magnitude of up to 7.5. Traces of buried faults in the central Arava/Araba valley that were previously active in the DSF system, are visible as abrupt terminations of an area of short wavelength magnetic anomalies. These anomalies probably represent shallow subsurface magmatic intrusions. The closest exposed intrusion is dated at 20.7 Ma, shortly before the development of the DSF. Other anomalies can be traced at the edges of our survey area and are likely related to Precambrian outcrops along the rift shoulders. Comparison of the magnetic and the sparser land-gravity data shows the same general azimuth of the magnetic lineament and of the segmented fault system as derived from the gravity and a surprisingly good coincidence between local gravity and magnetic anomalies over the Timna pull-apart basin, owing perhaps to the sensitivity of the high-resolution magnetic data to the thickness of the sedimentary cover.

  9. Introducing tectonically and thermo-mechanically realistic lithosphere in the models of plume head -lithosphere interactions (PLI) including intra-continental plate boundaries.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Guillou-Frottier, L.; Burov, E.; Cloetingh, S.

    2007-12-01

    Plume-Lithosphere Interactions (PLI) in continets have complex topographic and magmatic signatures and are often identified near boundaries between younger plates (e.g., orogenic) and older stable plates (e.g., cratons), which represent important geometrical, thermal and rheological barriers that interact with the emplacement of the plume head (e.g., Archean West Africa, East Africa, Pannonian - Carpathian system). The observable PLI signatures are conditioned by plume dynamics but also by complex rheology and structure of continental lithosphere. We address this problem by considering a new free-surface thermo-mechanical numerical model of PLI with two stratified elasto-viscous-plastic (EVP) continental plates of contrasting age, thickness and structure. The results show that: (1) surface deformation is poly-harmonic and contains smaller wavelengths (50-500 km) than that associated with the plume head (>1000 km). (2) below intra-plate boundaries, plume head flattening is asymmetric, it is blocked from one side by the cold vertical boundary of the older plate, which leads to mechanical decoupling of crust from mantle lithosphere, and to localized faulting at the cratonic margin; (2) the return flow from the plume head results in sub-vertical down-thrusting (delamination) of the lithosphere at the margin, producing sharp vertical cold boundary down to the 400 km depth; (3) plume head flattening and migration towards the younger plate results in concurrent surface extension above the centre of the plume and in compression (pushing), down-thrusting and magmatic events at the cratonic margin (down-thrusting is also produced at the opposite border of the younger plate); these processes may result in continental growth at the "craton side"; (4) topographic signatures of PLI show basin-scale uplifts and subsidences preferentially located at cratonic margins. Negative Rayleigh-Taylor instabilities in the lithosphere above the plume head provide a mechanism for crustal delamination. In case of several cratonic blocks, the combined effect of subsidence and lithospheric thinning at cratons edges, while plume head material is being stocked in between the cratons, favours major magmatic events at cratonic margins. Numerous field evidence (West Africa, Western Australia) underline the trapping effect of cratonic margins for formation of (e.g.) orogenic gold deposits, which require particular extreme P-T conditions. Location of gemstones deposits is also associated with cratonic margins, as demonstrated by the Tanzanian Ruby belt. Their formation depend on particularly fast isothermal deepening processes, which can be reproduced by slab-like instabilities induced by plume head-cratonic margin interaction. On the other hand, absence of magmatic events should not be interpreted as evidence for the absence of plume: at surface, these events may not necessary have unambiguous deep geochemical signatures, as the hot source plume material stalls below Moho and forms a long-lasting (10 to 100 Myr) sub-Moho reservoir. This should induce strong crustal melting that may overprint deeper signatures since crustal melts are generated at much lower temperatures than mantle, and produce light low-viscous rapidly ascending magmas. Drip-like down- sagging of the lithospheric mantle and metamorphic lower crustal material inside the plume head may contaminate the latter and also alter the geochemical signature of related magmas.

  10. Early Paleozoic and Early Mesozoic intraplate tectonic and magmatic events in the Cathaysia Block, South China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shu, Liangshu; Wang, Bo; Cawood, Peter A.; Santosh, M.; Xu, Zhiqin

    2015-08-01

    The geodynamic framework of the South China Craton in the Early Paleozoic and Early Mesozoic has been modeled as developing through either oceanic convergence or intracontinental settings. On the basis of an integrated structural, geochemical, zircon U-Pb and Hf isotopic, and mica 40Ar/39Ar geochronologic study we establish that an intracontinental setting is currently the best fit for the available data. Our results suggest that widespread tectonomagmatic activity involving granite emplacement and mylonitic deformation occurred during two distinct stages: ~435-415 Ma and ~230-210 Ma. The coeval nature of emplacement of the plutons and their ductile deformation is corroborated by the subparallel orientation of the mylonitic foliation along the pluton margins, gneissose foliation in the middle part of pluton, the magmatic foliation within the plutons, and the schistosity in the surrounding metamorphosed country rocks. The 435-415 Ma granitoids exhibit peraluminous, high-K characteristics, and zircons show negative ?Hf(t) values (average -6.2, n = 66), and Paleoproterozoic two-stage model ages of circa 2.21-1.64 Ga (average 1.84 Ga). The data suggest that the Early Paleozoic plutons were derived from the partial melting of the Paleoproterozoic basement of the Cathaysia Block. The 230-210 Ma granites are potassic and have zircons with ?Hf(t) values of -2.8--8.7 (average -5.4, n = 62), corresponding to TDM2 ages ranging from 2.0 to 1.44 Ga (average 1.64 Ga), suggesting that the Early Mesozoic partial melts in Cathaysia were also derived from basement. The geochemical distinction between the two phases of granites traces continental crustal evolution with time, with the Early Mesozoic crust enriched in potassium, silicon, and aluminum, but deficient in calcium, relative to the Paleozoic crust. Kinematical investigations provide evidence for an early-stage ductile deformation with a doubly vergent thrusting pattern dated at 433 ± 1 to 428 ± 1 Ma (40Ar/39Ar furnace step-heating pseudoplateau ages obtained on muscovite and biotite from mylonite and deformed granite) and a late-stage strike-slip movement with sinistral sense of ductile shearing at 232 ± 1 to 234 ± 1 Ma (40Ar/39Ar furnace step-heating pseudoplateau ages) along an E-W direction. The geological, geochemical, and isotopic signatures likely reflect far-field effects in response to continental assembly events at these times.

  11. Evolution of the Earth as an andesite planet: water, plate tectonics, and delamination of anti-continent

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tatsumi, Yoshiyuki; Sato, Takeshi; Kodaira, Shuichi

    2015-12-01

    The Earth is unique in our solar system in having a buoyant, highland-forming continental crust with a differentiated, andesitic composition; thus, it can be referred to as an "andesite planet." Andesitic magmatism is associated with convergent plate margins such as subduction zones, leading to a broad consensus that this setting has been the major site of continental crust formation. However, while andesites are dominant in mature continental arcs, they are subordinate in juvenile oceanic arcs, resulting in a great conflict regarding the creation of the continental crust. We focused on the Izu-Bonin-Mariana arc to assess this problem, as it is a juvenile intra-oceanic arc with a mid-crustal layer that has a seismic velocity identical to that of the bulk continental crust. Petrological modeling of the production of andesitic melts by the mixing of mantle-derived basalt with crust-derived, rhyolite magmas successfully reproduced the crust/mantle structure observed in seismic profiles of the Izu-Bonin-Mariana arc. As a result, we presented a challenging hypothesis: the continent was created in the ocean. One key mechanism that differentiates initial basaltic arc crust to evolved, andesitic continental crust may be the delamination of SiO2-depleted residues of crustal melting, termed "anti-continent," from the arc crust.

  12. Maps, Plates, and Mount Saint Helens.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Lary, Barbara E.; Krockover, Gerald H.

    1987-01-01

    Describes a laboratory activity on plate tectonics which focuses on the connection between plate tectonics and the different types of volcanoes. Provides questions for discussion and includes suggestions for extending the activity. (ML)

  13. Tectonic Terminology: Some Proposed Changes

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hill, Mason L.

    1978-01-01

    Plate tectonics concepts require a definition of fault, a new term to compliment epeirogeny, and a clarification of transform fault characteristics. This article makes proposals for these changes. (Author/MA)

  14. Cenozoic prograding sequences of the Antarctic continental margin: a record of glacio-eustatic and tectonic events

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Cooper, A. K.; Barrett, P.J.; Hinz, K.; Traube, V.; Letichenkov, G.; Stagg, H.M.J.

    1991-01-01

    Sedimentary sections up to 6-14 km thick lie beneath many areas of the Antarctic continental margin. The upper parts of the sections contain up to 6 km of Cenozoic glacial and possibly non-glacial sequences that have prograded the continental shelf up to 85 km. We describe the Cenozoic sequences using two general categories based on their acoustic geometries. Type IA sequences, which account for most prograding of the Antarctic continental shelf, have complex sigmoidal geometries and some acoustic characteristics atypical of low-latitude margins, such as troughs and mounds lying parallel and normal to the shelf edge and high velocities (2.0-2.6 km/s) for flat layers within 150 m of the seafloor. Type IIA sequences, which principally aggrade the paleoshelf, lie beneath type IA sequences and have mostly simple geometries and gently dipping reflections. The prograding sequences are commonly located near the seaward edges of major Mesozoic and older margin structures. Relatively rapid Cenozoic subsidence has occured due to the probable rifting in the Ross Sea, thermal subsidence in the Antarctic Peninsula, and isostatic crustal flexure in Wilkes Land. In Prydz Bay and the Weddell Sea, prograding sequences cover Mesozoic basins that have undergone little apparent Cenozoic tectonism. Grounded ice sheets are viewed by us, and others, as the principal mechanism for depositing the Antarctic prograding sequences. During the initial advance of grounded ice the continental shelf is flexurally overdeepened, the inner shelf is heavily eroded, and gently dipping glacial strata are deposited on the shelf (i.e type IIA sequences). The overdeepened shelf profile is preserved (a) during glacial times, by grounded ice sheets episodically crossing the shelf, eroding sediments from onshore and inner shelf areas, and depositing sediments at the front of the ice sheet as outer shelf topset-banks and continental slope foreset-aprons (i.e. type IA sequences), and (b) during interglacial times, like today, by little or no clastic sedimentation on the continental shelf other than beneath retreated ice shelves lying far from the continental sheld edge. Ice streams carve broad depressions across the shelf and carry abundant basal sediments directly to the continental shelf edge, thereby creating troughmouth fans and sheet-like prograding sequences (i.e. type IA sequences). Numerous acoustic unconformities and multiple overcompacted layers within the prograding sequences suggest major fluctuations of the Antarctic Ice Sheet. The available drilling and seismic interpretations provide the following history: (1) Cenozoic ice sheets have existed in places near the continental shelf since middle to late Eocene time. (2) A grounded Antarctic ice sheet first expanded to the continental shelf edge, with probable overdeepening of the outer shelf, in late Eucene to early Oligocene time in Prydz Bay, possibly in early Miocene time in the Ross Sea, and at least by middle Miocene time in the Weddell Sea. (3) The relative amounts of shelf prograding and inferred ice-volume variations (and related sea-level changes) have increased since middle to late Miocene time in the eastern Ross Sea, Prydz Bay, and possibly Weddell Sea. Our analysis is preliminary. Further acoustic surveys and scientific drilling are needed to resolve the proximal Antarctic record of glacio-eustatic, climatic, and tectonic events recorded by the prograding sequences. ?? 1991.

  15. Role of the offshore Pedro Banks left-lateral strike-slip fault zone in the plate tectonic evolution of the northern Caribbean

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ott, B.; Mann, P.; Saunders, M.

    2013-12-01

    Previous workers, mainly mapping onland active faults on Caribbean islands, defined the northern Caribbean plate boundary zone as a 200-km-wide bounded by two active and parallel strike-slip faults: the Oriente fault along the northern edge of the Cayman trough with a GPS rate of 14 mm/yr, and and the Enriquillo-Plaintain Garden fault zone (EPGFZ) with a rate of 5-7 mm/yr. In this study we use 5,000 km of industry and academic data from the Nicaraguan Rise south and southwest of the EPGFZ in the maritime areas of Jamaica, Honduras, and Colombia to define an offshore, 700-km-long, active, left-lateral strike-slip fault in what has previously been considered the stable interior of the Caribbean plate as determined from plate-wide GPS studies. The fault was named by previous workers as the Pedro Banks fault zone because a 100-km-long segment of the fault forms an escarpment along the Pedro carbonate bank of the Nicaraguan Rise. Two fault segments of the PBFZ are defined: the 400-km-long eastern segment that exhibits large negative flower structures 10-50 km in width, with faults segments rupturing the sea floor as defined by high resolution 2D seismic data, and a 300-km-long western segment that is defined by a narrow zone of anomalous seismicity first observed by previous workers. The western end of the PBFZ terminates on a Quaternary rift structure, the San Andres rift, associated with Plio-Pleistocene volcanism and thickening trends indicating initial rifting in the Late Miocene. The southern end of the San Andreas rift terminates on the western Hess fault which also exhibits active strands consistent with left-lateral, strike-slip faults. The total length of the PBFZ-San Andres rift-Southern Hess escarpment fault is 1,200 km and traverses the entire western end of the Caribbean plate. Our interpretation is similar to previous models that have proposed the "stable" western Caribbean plate is broken by this fault whose rate of displacement is less than the threshold recognizable from the current GPS network (~3 mm/yr). The Late Miocene age of the fault indicates it may have activated during the Late Miocene to recent Hispaniola-Bahamas oblique collision event.

  16. Inter- and intra-plate deformation at North American plate boundaries

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Beavan, John

    1986-01-01

    Alaska tectonics and earthquake hazard studies; Southern California tectonics (block rotation); spreading near the Salton Trough; California plate motion (fault zone kinematics); and Caribbean plate motion investigations are examined.

  17. Spiral tectonics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hassan Asadiyan, Mohammad

    2014-05-01

    Spiral Tectonics (ST) is a new window to global tectonics introduced as alternative model for Plate Tectonics (PT). ST based upon Dahw(rolling) and Tahw(spreading) dynamics. Analogues to electric and magnetic components in the electromagnetic theory we could consider Dahw and Tahw as components of geodynamics, when one component increases the other decreases and vice versa. They are changed to each other during geological history. D-component represents continental crust and T-component represents oceanic crust. D and T are two arm of spiral-cell. T-arm 180 degree lags behind D-arm so named Retard-arm with respect to D or Forward-arm. It seems primary cell injected several billions years ago from Earth's center therefore the Earth's core was built up first then mantel and finally the crust was build up. Crust building initiate from Arabia (Mecca). As the universe extended gravitation wave swirled the earth fractaly along cycloid path from big to small scale. In global scale (order-0) ST collect continents in one side and abandoned Pacific Ocean in the other side. Recent researches also show two mantels upwelling in opposite side of the Earth: one under Africa (tectonic pose) and the other under Pacific Ocean (tectonic tail). In higher order (order-1) ST build up Africa in one side and S.America in the other side therefore left Atlantic Ocean meandered in between. In order-n e.g. Khoor Musa and Bandar-Deylam bay are seen meandered easterly in the Iranian part but Khoor Abdullah and Kuwait bay meandered westerly in the Arabian part, they are distributed symmetrically with respect to axis of Persian Gulf(PG), these two are fractal components of easterly Caspian-wing and westerly Black Sea-wing which split up from Anatoly. Caspian Sea and Black Sea make two legs of Y-like structure, this shape completely fitted with GPS-velocity map which start from PG and split up in the Catastrophic Point(Anatoly). We could consider PG as remnants of Ancient Ocean which spent up after one revolution of Mecca-Spiral. Position of Mecca as a geodynamic pole (as well as contribution of lands and waters) satisfies golden ratio with respect to North/South-Pole and Hawaii-Meridian. Mecca with minimum magnetic inclination is a nucleus of global sigmoid (GS). Scorpion-like GS which bended around geomagnetic axis is mature form of primordial Mecca-spiral. Himalaya in the head-center, Rocky/Ands in the tail-bends and Pacific spread between inverse rotations of head-tail. East and West part of GS represent D and T arm respectively. Extended D-arms after one revolution meet each other around Iceland and make constructive interferences therefore highest gravity anomaly formed in the north Atlantic but T-arms after one revolution meet each other in the Indian Ocean and make destructive interferences so lowest gravity anomaly occurred. Earth's face partitionized via tectonic domains each domain has local east and local west and all of them related fractaly to GS. Also we could dissolve earth face via basic topological shape such as sigmoid, Mobius, cup-like, scorpion-like , etc. all of them originated from cycloids.

  18. Tectonic evolution and paleogeography of Europe

    SciTech Connect

    Yilmaz, P.O.; Norton, I.O.; Chuchla, R.J. ); Leary, D.A. )

    1993-09-01

    The goal of this study was to use the tectonic framework of European craton to constrain our understanding of the sedimentary basins of Europe. An understanding of the amalgamation of the crustal blocks of Europe during the Caledonian, Hercynian, and Alpine orogenies was accomplished using an Evans and Sutherland system. Paleogeographic maps were ;made and integrated with the plate reconstruction with an eye toward how regional plate-scale events affect play elements in the basins. Europe is an artifact of Phanerozoic tectonic history, an amalgamation of crustal blocks without a precambrian nucleus of it own. This is in direct contrast of Africa, Asia, and North America. Multiple riftings and collisions created extremely complex mountain building during the Caledonian, Hercynian, Cimmerian, and Alpine orogenies. Basins are diverse, superimposed, and have long-lived tectonic histories with complex structuring and highly variable play elements. The Hercynian orogene set up the framework for northern European hydrocarbon systems. Its collapse set up the Apulian Mesozoic hydrocarbon system. Alpine deformation and tectonically related extension in turn set up the Neogene hydrocarbon systems of the Carpathians Pannonian basin and the Apennines. Eleven paleogeographic maps were completed at a scale of 1:5,000,000. There are four for the Paleozoic to show the Hercynian orogeny and its subsequent foredeeps, and four for the Mesozoic, showing Tethyan rifting and associated subsidence, as well as the Cimmerian orogenies and start of Alpine deformation. The three time slices in the Cenozoic show the Alpine orogene and its foredeeps and the tectonically related extensional basins.

  19. Tectonic events, sequence stratigraphy and prediction of petroleum play elements in the Cretaceous and Tertiary of the northern Carnarvon Basin, north west shelf, Australia

    SciTech Connect

    Romine, K.K. ); Durrant, J.D. )

    1996-01-01

    The Carnarvon Basin is one of Australia's most prolific oil and gas provinces. A recent Paleocene discovery has initiated a shift in exploration interest from traditional Jurassic/Triassic plays to the younger Cretaceous and Tertiary section. To improve play element prediction, a sequence stratigraphic study has been completed, utilizing newly acquired, regional high-resolution seismic data and 80 wells. The occurrence and distribution of the key play elements, reservoir, source and seal, is controlled by the interaction of tectonic subsidence, eustasy and paleogeography, with traps and migration pathways set up and modified by regional tectonic events. For example, a major rifting event commenced in the latest Kimmeridgian-Tithonian that resulted in structuring of older Jurassic sediments and initiation of seafloor spreading in the adjacent Cuvier-Gascoyne Abyssal Plain in the Valanginian. This event was accompanied by a dramatic fall in eustasy that initiated the deposition of high-quality reservoir sandstones of the Tithonian-Valanginian age Barrow Delta. The post-rift phase of thermal cooling and rapid subsidence resulted in transgression, accompanied by deposition of backstepping parasequences of the Mardie Greensand, a potential thief zone and reservoir, and culminated in maximum transgression and deposition of seal and source facies of the Muclerong Shale. The improved sequence stratigraphic framework established in this study provides a predictive tool for the development and assessment of new plays.

  20. Tectonic events, sequence stratigraphy and prediction of petroleum play elements in the Cretaceous and Tertiary of the northern Carnarvon Basin, north west shelf, Australia

    SciTech Connect

    Romine, K.K.; Durrant, J.D.

    1996-12-31

    The Carnarvon Basin is one of Australia`s most prolific oil and gas provinces. A recent Paleocene discovery has initiated a shift in exploration interest from traditional Jurassic/Triassic plays to the younger Cretaceous and Tertiary section. To improve play element prediction, a sequence stratigraphic study has been completed, utilizing newly acquired, regional high-resolution seismic data and 80 wells. The occurrence and distribution of the key play elements, reservoir, source and seal, is controlled by the interaction of tectonic subsidence, eustasy and paleogeography, with traps and migration pathways set up and modified by regional tectonic events. For example, a major rifting event commenced in the latest Kimmeridgian-Tithonian that resulted in structuring of older Jurassic sediments and initiation of seafloor spreading in the adjacent Cuvier-Gascoyne Abyssal Plain in the Valanginian. This event was accompanied by a dramatic fall in eustasy that initiated the deposition of high-quality reservoir sandstones of the Tithonian-Valanginian age Barrow Delta. The post-rift phase of thermal cooling and rapid subsidence resulted in transgression, accompanied by deposition of backstepping parasequences of the Mardie Greensand, a potential thief zone and reservoir, and culminated in maximum transgression and deposition of seal and source facies of the Muclerong Shale. The improved sequence stratigraphic framework established in this study provides a predictive tool for the development and assessment of new plays.

  1. Global tectonics and space geodesy

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gordon, Richard G.; Stein, Seth

    1992-01-01

    Much of the success of plate tectonics can be attributed to the near rigidity of tectonic plates and the availability of data that describe the rates and directions of motion across narrow plate boundaries of about 1 to 60 kilometers. Nonetheless, many plate boundaries in both continental and oceanic lithosphere are not narrow but are hundreds to thousands of kilometers wide. Wide plate boundary zones cover approximately 15 percent of earth's surface area. Space geodesy, which includes very long baseline radio interferometry, satellite laser ranging, and the global positioning system, provides the accurate long-distance measurements needed to estimate the present motion across and within wide plate boundary zones. Space geodetic data show that plate velocities averaged over years are remarkably similar to velocities avaraged over millions of years.

  2. Forced relative displacements of the core and mantle as the basic mechanism of secular changes of the Earth shape and lithosphere plates tectonics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barkin, Yury

    2010-05-01

    The summary. In the work planetary changes of a figure of the Earth and geoid in present epoch are discussed. Contrast and asymmetric geodetic changes of northern and southern hemispheres are revealed. The phenomenon of lengthening of latitude circles of a southern hemisphere and shortening of lengths of latitude circles of northern hemisphere, the phenomenon of expansion of a southern hemisphere and, accordingly, compression of northern hemisphere in relation to the center of mass of the Earth have been predicted. The reasons of the planetary tendency of displacement (drift) of plates in northern direction are studied. The geodynamic model is developed, on which the basic moving force in tectonics of plates is a gravitational influence of a moveable core of the Earth on all layers of the mantle, and also on blocks of the crust and lithosphere plates. In a base of all tectonic and geological reorganizations the mechanism of the forced relative oscillations and swings of the core and the mantle of the Earth in various time scales, including geological timescale lays. 1 Mechanism of formation and changes of the pear-shaped form of the Earth. According to developed geodynamic model a pear-shaped form of planets is not their given property for all time (as believed before scientists), and is the dynamic response to the slow forced relative displacements of the core and mantle [1]. Than more a relative displacement of the core and mantle (eccentricity of the core in some geology epoch), is especially clearly expressed pear-shaped form. The planet Mars possesses a big pear-shaped form and by our estimations the core of this planet is displaced in northern direction (to latitude in approximately 60° N) on 20-25 km [2]. An eccentricity of the Earth core is less (estimations give displacement about 3-4 km in direction to Brazil [3]) and it pear-shaped form is much less. 2 The phenomenon of asymmetric lengthening of latitude circles of southern and northern hemispheres of the Earth. The phenomenon of inversion lengthenings of latitude circles of the Earth has been established theoretically. Subsequently the phenomenon of contrast and asymmetric lengthening of latitude circles in northern and southern hemispheres of the Earth has been confirmed by data of GPS observations [4]. A dependence of velocity of increase in lengths of latitude circles from latitude has been revealed. 3 A phenomenon of asymmetric change of mean radiuses of northern and southern hemispheres of the Earth. It is necessary to note, that changes of a figure of the Earth in geocentric system of coordinates (with the origin in the center of mass) are represented with set of two processes. First of them is a dynamic and represents the response to deformations of elastic layers of the mantle and crust. The second represents a geometrical effect and is caused by a displacement of the center of mass with respect to which the northern and southern hemispheres of the Earth are determined. For the explanatory we shall specify, for example, that even if the surface of the Earth would not vary, and its center of mass drifts to the north with a velocity in 5.54 mm/yr [5], satellite observations (GPS) would reveal planetary inversion changes of the Earth surface w.r.t. a geocentric system of coordinates. Namely in northern hemisphere - lowering of a surface with a mean velocity -2.77 mm/year, and in a southern hemisphere on the contrary - rise of a surface with a mean velocity of 2.77 mm/years. If the specified effect to subtract from the given satellite observations of change of heights of GPS stations as a result we shall obtain directly a deformation changes of a surface. In the given work the preliminary and simplified estimations of mean velocities of deformation of hemispheres of the Earth in present epoch are given. The first determination of velocities of change of mean radiuses of northern and southern hemispheres, executed on the base of GPS observations, gives a value of 0.1 mm/yr and 1.37 mm/yr, accordingly [6]. Hence, to these values there correspond deformatio

  3. Tectonic stress in the plates

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    1979-01-01

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

  4. Observations Related to Plate Tectonics

    E-print Network

    Sandwell, David T.

    ] #12;volcanoes and seamounts (The Ocean Basins, Open University) #12;global seamount distribution [Wessel JGR, 2001] #12;land volcanoes #12;uncharted seamounts > 3 km tall #12;size distribution of seamounts [Wessel JGR, 2001] #12;global seismicity #12;[Hayes et al., JGR 2012] #12;#12;stress and focal

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ni, James; Barazangi, Muawia

    1985-03-01

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

  6. Strain analysis of Late Ordovician tectonic events in the In-Tahouite and Tamadjert Formations (Tassili-n-Ajjers area, Algeria)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zazoun, Réda Samy; Mahdjoub, Yamina

    2011-05-01

    The Tassili-n-Ajjers area in southern Algeria is located in the south-east of the Saharan platform. It is bounded to the east by the Tihemboka N-S trending structural system, the Hoggar shield to the south and to the north by the Illizi Basin. During the Palaeozoic, the Saharan Platform was part of the northern passive margin of the Gondwana supercontinent and the tectono-stratigraphic evolution of sedimentary systems in the Algerian Sahara was typical of the Gondwana stable cratonic platform. During the Late Ashgill (Hirnantian), the North African platform was located near the South Pole and an icecap developed over much of Africa and South America. Field observations, in the study area, together with integrated strain analysis and previous studies provide evidence for a number of Late Ordovician deformation phases. An extensional event of probably Late Caradoc-Early Ashgill age (?) was associated with the development of planar domino-style normal faults and listric faults that occurred prior to the infill of glacial palaeovalleys. This is observed in the pre-glacial In-Tahouite Formation. Glaciotectonic over the Tassilli-n-Ajjers is related to the Late Ashgillian (Hirnantian stage) Taconic event. Probably, the Taconic unconformity is a combination of traditional tectonic movements and glaciotectonics. Many soft-sediment deformation structures are attributed to glaciotectonic process. A systematic description of these deformation structures and strain analysis show that there are two types of deformation, pure shear at the top of the Hirnantian syn-glacial Tamadjert Formation and simple shear in the basal part and there are two types of glaciotectonic deformation. The first type at the base is the subglacial deformation and is characterized by simple shear strain and extensional tectonics. The second type at the top is characterized by pure shear strain and compressional tectonics and consists on proglacial deformation. The glacial palaeovalleys show a gravity-sliding mechanism affecting the unconsolidated deposits.

  7. Seismic sequence stratigraphy of Miocene deposits related to eustatic, tectonic and climatic events, Cap Bon Peninsula, northeastern Tunisia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gharsalli, Ramzi; Zouaghi, Taher; Soussi, Mohamed; Chebbi, Riadh; Khomsi, Sami; Bédir, Mourad

    2013-09-01

    The Cap Bon Peninsula, belonging to northeastern Tunisia, is located in the Maghrebian Alpine foreland and in the North of the Pelagian block. By its paleoposition, during the Cenozoic, in the edge of the southern Tethyan margin, this peninsula constitutes a geological entity that fossilized the eustatic, tectonic and climatic interactions. Surface and subsurface study carried out in the Cap Bon onshore area and surrounding offshore of Hammamet interests the Miocene deposits from the Langhian-to-Messinian interval time. Related to the basin and the platform positions, sequence and seismic stratigraphy studies have been conducted to identify seven third-order seismic sequences in subsurface (SM1-SM7), six depositional sequences on the Zinnia-1 petroleum well (SDM1-SDM6), and five depositional sequences on the El Oudiane section of the Jebel Abderrahmane (SDM1-SDM5). Each sequence shows a succession of high-frequency systems tract and parasequences. These sequences are separated by remarkable sequence boundaries and maximum flooding surfaces (SB and MFS) that have been correlated to the eustatic cycles and supercycles of the Global Sea Level Chart of Haq et al. (1987). The sequences have been also correlated with Sequence Chronostratigraphic Chart of Hardenbol et al. (1998), related to European basins, allows us to arise some major differences in number and in size. The major discontinuities, which limit the sequences resulted from the interplay between tectonic and climatic phenomena. It thus appears very judicious to bring back these chronological surfaces to eustatic and/or local tectonic activity and global eustatic and climatic controls.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2010-05-01

    The joint use of more than 10.000 km multichannel seismic reflection profiles and 180.000km2 of multibeam swath bathymetry and backscatter allowed for a new vision of the seafloor tectonic and geomorphic processes of the area that encompasses the present day plate boundary between Africa and Eurasia, between the Gibraltar Straits and the Tore-Madeira Rise, in the southern sector of the North Atlantic Ocean. The interpretation of this data allowed for the detailed description of the seafloor morphology (i.e. a morphologic map) and the classification of the morphologic features in what respects the genetic process and age. It can be seen that in the same region coexist morphologic features that result from tectonic processes associated with the Triassic-Cretaceous break-up of Pangea, the Paleogene-Miocene compressive phase, the Miocene through Present subduction under the Gibraltar Arc (Gutscher et al., 2002), the Pliocene-Quaternary wrench tectonics and possible coeval plate boundary (Zitellini et al., 2009), the Present day mud volcanism and propagation of the compressive deformation along the West Continental Margin of Portugal (Terrinha et al., 2009). Interpretation of the seismic profiles together with the bathymetry allows the understanding of endogenous and exogenous processes that creates reliefs associated with active structures (related to the Miocene through Present compressive stress field). Other reliefs generated in Mesozoic times by analogous processes can be as well preserved as these active ones. In what concerns exogenous processes, the analysis of the two datasets (reflection seismics and bathymetry) allowed for the description of morphologic features associated with oceanic currents that interact with the seafloor forming these important features. As is the case of the well known active contourites but also less known features, like giant scours at 4 km water depth that have recently been described, suggesting the interaction of deep currents and active tectonics (Duarte, in press). These features formed after the sealing of the Gulf of Cadiz Accretionary Wedge but the processes of their formation are an indication that at least some thrusts of this wedge are still active. The finding of buried scours in the Pliocene-Quaternary sediments indicates that the bottom currents have been active in the area at least since these times, i.e. after the opening of the Straits of Gibraltar. The internal structure of the submarine canyons inspected in multichannel seismics also allowed for the identification of recurrent use of the S. Vincente canyon axis by paleo-drainage during the Late Miocene, Pliocene and Quaternary. The identification of a 600 km long set of lineaments that may constitute the present day strike-slip plate boundary between Eurasia and Africa (Zitellini et al., 2009; Terrinha et al., 2009) between the northwestern Morocco shelf and the Gorringe-Hirondelle seamounts was made on inspection of multibeam bathymetry and seismic profiles. The thorough inspection of these data and cross interpretation with analogue modeling and mathematical analysis allowed speculation on the age of this tectono-morphic feature and its age. Furthermore, it is a clear demonstration that the identification of plate scale-like active tectonic features can be missed if the appropriated methods are not used. Constrictive and releasing bends on the Gloria Fault and its connection with the Gorringe Bank and SWIM strike-slip Fault also allowed for the formation of penetrative fabrics associated with tectonic reactivations of oceanic rift structures documented in this work.

  9. CRUSTAL TECTONICS AND SEISMICITY OF THE MIDDLE EAST

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ghalib, H. A.; Gritto, R.; Sibol, M. S.; Herrmann, R. B.; Aleqabi, G. I.; Caron, P. F.; Wagner, R. A.; Ali, B. S.; Ali, A. A.

    2009-12-01

    The Arabian plate describes a geological entity and a dynamic system that has been in continuous interaction with the African plate to the west and south and the Eurasian plate to the north and east. The western and southern boundaries are distinguished by see floor spreading along the Gulf of Aden and Red Sea and transform faulting along the Dead Sea, whereas the northern and eastern boundaries are portrayed by compressional suture zones under thrusting the Turkish and Iranian plateaus. Despite this favorable juxtaposition of continental land masses and the plethora of national seismic networks in every country of the Middle East, the majority of published research on the Arabian plate and surrounding tectonic blocks still depends primarily on global seismographic stations and occasional local networks. Since 2005, we deployed a number of seismic stations, and more recently a five elements array, in close proximity to the northeastern boundary of the Arabian plate. The primary objective of the effort is to better understand the regional seismicity and seismotectonics of the Arabian plate and surrounding regions. To date over a terabyte of high quality 100 sps continuous three-component broadband data have been collected and being analyzed to derive models representative of the greater Middle East tectonic setting. This goal is, in part, achieved by estimating local and regional seismic velocity models using receiver function and surface wave dispersion analyses, and by using these models to obtain accurate hypocenter locations and event focal mechanisms. The resulting events distribution reveals a distinct picture of the interaction between the seismicity and tectonics of the region. The highest seismicity rate seems to be confined to the active northern section of the Zagros thrust zone, while it decreases towards the southern end, before the intensity increases again in the Bandar Abbas region. Spatial distribution of the events and stations provide thorough coverage of all the tectonic provinces in the region. Phases including Pn, Pg, Sn, Lg, as well as LR are clearly observed on recorded seismograms. Blockage or attenuation of some of the crustal body waves is observed along propagation paths crossing the Zagros-Bitlis zone. These findings are also in support of earlier tectonic models that suggest the existence of multiple parallel listric faults splitting off the main Zagros fault zone in east-west direction. Surface- and body wave results in support of these findings will be presented. Our initial structural models of the crust beneath north-eastern Iraq depict a thickness of 40-50 km in the foothills, which increases to 45-55 km beneath the Zagros-Bitlis zone.

  10. Volcano-tectonic evolution of the northern part of the Arabian plate in the light of new K-Ar ages and remote sensing: Harrat Ash Shaam volcanic province (Syria)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Al Kwatli, Mohamad Amer; Gillot, Pierre Yves; Zeyen, Hermann; Hildenbrand, Anthony; Al Gharib, Iyad

    2012-12-01

    The Harrat Ash Shaam volcanic province (HASV) is the largest volcanic field in the Arabian plate. It developed during the Cenozoic close to the southern part of Dead Sea fault system and has been linked to the tectonic evolution of the Red Sea rifting since the early Oligocene. The HASV is an ideal environment to study volcanism adjacent to a strike-slip fault (the Dead Sea fault system) and constrain the development of regional deformation along such lithospheric structures. We here present a morpho-structural analysis based on digital elevation data coupled with remote sensing observations and new K-Ar ages on fresh separated groundmass which allow us to propose a new volcano-tectonic model of the HASV. From Landsat7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper plus (ETM +) and SRTM data, we recognize more than 350 monogenetic volcanic cones grouped in three main clusters. Topographical variations between these clusters are interpreted as reflecting different volcanic phases. The new ages measured here range between 7.13 ± 0.10 Ma and 0.056 ± 0.009 Ma. Together with previous geochronological data, they reveal two main periods of volcanic activity. The first period lasted from late Oligocene up to early-middle Miocene (26-16 Ma), and the second period has been active since 13 Ma, indicating a gap of volcanic activity between ~ 16 and ~ 13 Ma. The volcano-tectonic evolution model suggests two different extensional styles, “en-echelon” rifting during the first period, and counterclockwise rotation during the second one. Alternative to the Afar plume hypothesis, a thinned lithosphere underneath the HASV as supported by geophysical modeling, can explain magma genesis in the northern part of the Arabian plate.

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

    E-print Network

    Omerbashich, Mensur

    2008-01-01

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

  12. Convergent plate margin dynamics: New perspectives from structural geology, geophysics and geodynamic modelling

    E-print Network

    Rawlinson, Nick

    and discussions since the advent of plate tectonic theory. This paper provides a historical background: Convergent plate margin Subduction Collision Orogenesis Slab Plate tectonics Convergent plate margins occur when two adjoining tectonic plates come together to form either a subduction zone, where at least one

  13. New insights into North America-Pacific plate boundary deformation from Lake Tahoe, Salton Sea and Southern Baja California

    E-print Network

    Brothers, Daniel Stephen

    2009-01-01

    to the Pacifi c Plate: Tectonics, v. 8, p. 99-115. Stock,c North America plate tectonics of the Neogene southwesternplate motion partitioning and the transition to seafl oor spreading in the Gulf of California: Tectonics,

  14. Mars: volcanism and tectonism

    SciTech Connect

    Greeley, R.

    1985-01-01

    Much of the geologic evolution of Mars is dominated by volcanism and tectonism. Mapping shows that >50% of the surface involves volcanic units. These units reflect a wide variety of volcanic styles, including flood eruptions, Hawaiian volcanism, phreatic eruptions, and extensive Strombolian activity. Although Mars appears to lack Earthlike plate tectonics, the planet also shows abundant evidence for rifting and extensional tectonism. The Tharsis region is the dominant tectonic province on Mars and several investigators have related the tectonic and volcanic processes to the interior of Mars and its thermal history. The region is a broad plateau approx. 4000 km across which stands >10 km above the surrounding plains. It is dominated by central volcanoes and volcanic plains which span a wide range in ages. The apex of the province is the Tharsis bulge, swelling centered at 0/sup 0/ latitude, 114/sup 0/W. Carr (1981) speculates that the origin of the bulge may be linked to mantle convection associated with the separation of the core. Detailed photogeological mapping by Scott and Tanaka (1981) shows that the emplacement of volcanic plains and the formation of central volcanoes occurred throughout the history of Tharsis. Solomon et al. (1979) suggest that older fault systems are best explained by an isostatic lithospheric model, whereas the younger volcanic terrains fit best with a flexural model and thus, there may have been a change in the evolution of the interior of Mars from a dynamic mantle to a more static mantle overlain by a relatively thick lithosphere.

  15. Gunbarrel mafic magmatic event: A key 780 Ma time marker for Rodinia plate reconstructions

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Harlan, S.S.; Heaman, L.; LeCheminant, A.N.; Premo, W.R.

    2003-01-01

    Precise U-Pb baddeleyite dating of mafic igneous rocks provides evidence for a widespread and synchronous magmatic event that extended for >2400 km along the western margin of the Neoproterozoic Laurentian craton. U-Pb baddeleyite analyses for eight intrusions from seven localities ranging from the northern Canadian Shield to northwestern Wyoming-southwestern Montana are statistically indistinguishable and yield a composite U-Pb concordia age for this event of 780.3 ?? 1.4 Ma (95% confidence level). This 780 Ma event is herein termed the Gunbarrel magmatic event. The mafic magmatism of the Gunbarrel event represents the largest mafic dike swarm yet identified along the Neoproterozoic margin of Laurentia. The origin of the mafic magmatism is not clear, but may be related to mantle-plume activity or upwelling asthenosphere leading to crustal extension accompanying initial breakup of the supercontinent Rodinia and development of the proto-Pacific Ocean. The mafic magmatism of the Gunbarrel magmatic event at 780 Ma predates the voluminous magmatism of the 723 Ma Franklin igneous event of the northwestern Canadian Shield by ???60 m.y. The precise dating of the extensive Neoproterozoic Gunbarrel and Franklin magmatic events provides unique time markers that can ultimately be used for robust testing of Neoproterozoic continental reconstructions.

  16. Tectonic Geomorphology.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bull, William B.

    1984-01-01

    Summarizes representative quantitative tectonic-geomorphology studies made during the last century, focusing on fault-bounded mountain-front escarpments, marine terraces, and alluvial geomorphic surfaces (considering stream terraces, piedmont fault scarps, and soils chronosequences). Also suggests where tectonic-geomorphology courses may best fit…

  17. Episodic Cenozoic volcanism and tectonism in the Andes of Peru

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Noble, D.C.; McKee, E.H.; Farrar, E.; Petersen, U.

    1974-01-01

    Radiometric and geologic information indicate a complex history of Cenozoic volcanism and tectonism in the central Andes. K-Ar ages on silicic pyroclastic rocks demonstrate major volcanic activity in central and southern Peru, northern Chile, and adjacent areas during the Early and Middle Miocene, and provide additional evidence for volcanism during the Late Eocene. A provisional outline of tectonic and volcanic events in the Peruvian Andes during the Cenozoic includes: one or more pulses of igneous activity and intense deformation during the Paleocene and Eocene; a period of quiescence, lasting most of Oligocene time; reinception of tectonism and volcanism at the beginning of the Miocene; and a major pulse of deformation in the Middle Miocene accompanied and followed through the Pliocene by intense volcanism and plutonism. Reinception of igneous activity and tectonism at about the Oligocene-Miocene boundary, a feature recognized in other circum-Pacific regions, may reflect an increase in the rate of rotation of the Pacific plate relative to fixed or quasifixed mantle coordinates. Middle Miocene tectonism and latest Tertiary volcanism correlates with and probably is genetically related to the beginning of very rapid spreading at the East Pacific Rise. ?? 1974.

  18. Timing and tectonic processes associated to the Late Cretaceous to Paleogene transition from collision to subduction in the Northern margin of Colombia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cardona, A.; Montes, C.; Bayona, G.; Jaramillo, S.; Lopez-Martinez, M.; Silva, J.; Valencia, V.; Vanegas, J.; Zapata, S.

    2013-05-01

    Large scale plate tectonic scale models of the Caribbean-South American interactions have suggest the existence of different Late Cretaceous to Eocene collisional and subduction events associated to the Caribbean and South American plates interactions. We integrate field, petrological and geochronological results from igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks from northeastern Colombia Guajira and Santa Margin in order to accurately discriminate the timing and understand with more details the processes associated to the evolution from collision to subduction and oblique convergence between the Caribbean and South America. Geochronological data from metamorphic units in the Santa Marta and Guajira regions document Late Cretaceous and Early Paleocene deformational events link to the collision of the Caribbean plate margin and the subsequent inversion of the upper plate during subduction initiation. Contemporaneous with these metamorphic events, inland basins experienced two major peaks of subsidence that can be related to the advance and overthrusting of the continental plate within the same tectonic scenario of collision and renewed subductions. This was followed by the construction of an Early Eocene magmatic arc located within the upper plate in a near trench position. Shallow and "fore arc" melting was related to the early astenospheric influx under the upper plate during the early stages of subduction. Another Late Eocene-Oligocene deformation is related to thrusting of the arc, exhumation and inland migration of deformation. This event may be related to major changes in the rates and directions of plate convergence between the Caribbean and South American plates.

  19. Central Tanzanian tectonic map: A step forward to decipher Proterozoic structural events in the East African Orogen

    E-print Network

    Fritz, Harald

    consolidated in Neoproterozoic and early Cambrian times in the course of collision of east Gondwana with Indo during the past decades revealed several periods of magmatic and metamorphic events that cluster around 2

  20. Deep earthquakes in the southwest Pacific: A tectonic interpretation

    SciTech Connect

    Hamburger, M.W.; Isacks, B.L.

    1987-12-10

    This paper examines the spatial distribution deep earthquakes in the Tonga-Fiji-New Hebrides region of the southwest Pacific. Our interpretation emphasizes the complex Cenozoic tectonics of the Pacific/Indo-Australian plate boundary as a primary control on the distribution and deformation of subducted lithosphere. Most deep earthquakes in the interarc region are associated with the contorted Pacific plate lithosphere subducted at the Tonga Trench. However, anomalous groups of deep earthquakes located west of the Tonga zone are unrelated to the present plate configuration. Tectonic reconstructions of the region to 8 m.y. B.P. provide circumstantial evidence that (1) the anomalous events west of the Tonga zone occur in two pieces of detached lithosphere, subducted at the Vitiaz and proto-New Hebrides trenches during the late Miocene, (2) the flattening of the inclined seismic zone in northernmost Tonga is related to the rapid opening of the Lau Basin since 4 m.y. B.P., and (3) the sharp westward curvature of the Tonga seismic zone in this area coincides with a preexisting bend in the late Miocene Vitiaz arc. The sharpness of its present curvature appears to be secondary effect of shear flow in the lower mantle and compression between detached (Vitiaz) and attached (Tonga) lithosphere. Thus much of the contortion of the subducted lithosphere beneath Tonga-Fiji may be produced by local tectonic interactions, rather than collision of the slab with an impenetrable boundary in the midmantle. copyright American Geophysical Union 1987

  1. Interaction Between Early San Andreas Strike-Slip Faulting and Extensional Tectonism in the Chocolate Mountains: A Prologue to Growth of the Salton Trough Along the Plate Boundary in Southern California

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Powell, R. E.; Fleck, R. J.

    2008-12-01

    The Chocolate Mountains (CM) along the NE margin of the southern Salton Trough (ST) lie NE of the post-5- Ma San Andreas fault (SAF) and SW of the early and middle Miocene Clemens Well-Fenner-San Francisquito strand (CW-F-SF) of the SAF system. The CM are a highly extended terrain that evolved during the late Oligocene-middle Miocene and is bounded by the CW fault. Constrained by reconstruction of a compelling array of paleogeologic patterns, the approximately 300 km displacement on the SAF NW of the Garlock fault is distributed to the SE on the SAF (ca 160 km, 0 to 5 Ma), San Gabriel fault (ca 40 km, 0-5 to 12 Ma), and CW-F-SF fault (ca 100 km, 13 to 17-22 Ma). The youngest rocks yet shown to be offset 300 km in southern CA are basalts in the Diligencia and Plush Ranch formations, as young as 22 Ma. Lack of evidence for a large-displacement dextral fault in AZ on-trend with the CW fault requires the existence of a tectonic mechanism for absorbing its dextral displacement to the SE. Structure in the CM manifests late Oligocene-middle Miocene extensional tectonism that culminated in exhumation of Orocopia Schist by tectonic denudation. In its early stages, tectonism was accompanied by sedimentation and by voluminous magma-generation producing a batholithic-to-volcanic edifice. The principal structural feature is a complexly faulted, NW-trending array of en echelon antiforms that runs the length of the range and continues SE into AZ and NW into the Orocopia Mts. In the anticlinorium core, Orocopia Schist is intruded by a late Oligocene composite batholith of mafic to felsic plutons. A succession of tectonic plates separated by detachment faults overlies the schist and plutons. The structurally lowest fault is ductile and juxtaposes mylonite against the schist. Three higher faults, all brittle, vertically stack plates of (1) Mesozoic orthogneiss, (2) little deformed Triassic and Jurassic plutonic rocks, Proterozoic gneiss and anorthosite, and dacitic to rhyolitic late Oligocene hypabyssal intrusive rocks, and (3) moderately to steeply tilted supracrustal sedimentary and volcanic rocks. Field relations and age data allow us to bracket sequential stages in the late Oligocene to middle Miocene (ca 28 and 13 Ma) magmatic-tectonic evolution of the CM. Our 40Ar-39Ar and K-Ar dates and published U- Pb indicate plutonism at 24 Ma, dacitic to rhyodacitic volcanism at 24 to 22 Ma. 20 Ma, and 17 Ma. At least the highest detachment is post-17 Ma and pre-13 Ma, the oldest flow age (ca 13 to 9 Ma) from untilted sections of basalt and conglomerate. This interval is coeval with displacement on the CW-F-SF fault. The basalt and conglomerate sections are fully offset on the modern SAF, pre-date growth of the ST, and span much of the interval between 13-Ma cessation of the SF-F-CW fault and 5-Ma start of the SAF. Spatial and temporal linkage between dextral displacement on the CW fault and extension in CM is compatible with a transfer mechanism whereby right-slip on the CW fault is accommodated to the SE by hyper-extension in the Orocopia-Chocolate Mts block. This strain pattern prefigures later development of the West Salton detachment that was associated with growth of the ST and that began perhaps as early as ca 10 Ma (Matti and Langenheim, this session). Unlike this later strain pattern, the extensional accommodation proposed here was not linked to opening of the Gulf of California, but rather occurred in an extensional zone between the CW fault and a reconstructed zone of sinistral shear along the southern boundary of the Transverse Ranges and SW margin of the CM.

  2. Tectonic control of coastal onlap cycles, southwest Washington

    SciTech Connect

    Armentrout, J.M.

    1987-05-01

    Local coastal onlap and paleobiobathymetric curves for 14 sections define three Cenozoic depositional onlap-offlap cycles separated by regionally significant unconformities. A paleoclimatic curve for western Oregon and Washington, based on paleoecologic data sets, demonstrates that the local transgressions are coincident with cool climates and the regressions with warm climates, and are therefore not driven by glacioeustatic cycles. Comparison of the local coastal onlap and paleobiobathymetric curves with the global Cenozoic Cycle Chart (modified Exxon Sea Level Chart - May, 1986) further demonstrates the uniqueness of the western Washington curves. The global Cenozoic cycle Chart curve represents coastal onlap and sea level curves based on integration of both climate and tectonic variations. The non-parallel cycle pattern for southwest Washington suggests a unique tectonically forced system. Evidence derived from stratigraphic sequences, igneous rock geochemistry, radiometric dating, remnant magnetic patterns, sandstone provenance studies, and paleogeographic reconstructions is used to identify the tectonic events controlling the local depositional cycles. The principal events are (1) middle Eocene accretion of a seamount chain; (2) early-late Eocene westward relocation of subduction; (3) late Eocene onset of Cascade arc volcanism; (4) late-early Miocene plate readjustment due to back-arc extension in the Columbia River Plateau and Great Basin; and (5) late Pliocene to early Pleistocene northeast compression forced by continued subduction of remnants of the Kula Plate beneath North America.

  3. Z .Earth and Planetary Science Letters 144 1996 4151 Plate generation in a simple model of lithospheremantle flow

    E-print Network

    of the Earth's style of mantle convection is plate tectonics itself, in particular the existence of strike, the fluid dynamical model develops strike-slip faults. Keywords: plate tectonics; plates; mantle; convection; viscosity; strike-slip faults 1. Introduction 1.1. The plate generation problem Plate tectonics is generally

  4. Tectonic evolution of the west Scotia Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Eagles, Graeme; Livermore, Roy A.; Fairhead, J. Derek; Morris, Peter

    2005-02-01

    Joint inversion of isochron and flow line data from the flanks of the extinct West Scotia Ridge spreading center yields five reconstruction rotations for times between the inception of spreading prior to chron C8 (26.5 Ma), and extinction around chron C3A (6.6-5.9 Ma). When they are placed in a regional plate circuit, the rotations predict plate motions consistent with known tectonic events at the margins of the Scotia Sea: Oligocene extension in Powell Basin; Miocene convergence in Tierra del Fuego and at the North Scotia Ridge; and Miocene transpression at the Shackleton Fracture Zone. The inversion results are consistent with a spreading history involving only two plates, at rates similar to those between the enclosing South America and Antarctica plates after chron C5C (16.7 Ma), but that were faster beforehand. The spreading rate drop accompanies inception of the East Scotia Ridge back-arc spreading center, which may therefore have assumed the role of the West Scotia Ridge in accommodating eastward motion of the trench at the eastern boundary of the Scotia Sea. This interpretation is most easily incorporated into a model in which the basins in the central parts of the Scotia Sea had already formed by chron C8, contrary to some widely accepted interpretations, and which has significant implications for paleoceanography and paleobiogeography.

  5. Earth's glacial record and its tectonic setting

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Eyles, N.

    1993-09-01

    Glaciations have occurred episodically at different time intervals and for different durations in Earth's history. Ice covers have formed in a wide range of plate tectonic and structural settings but the bulk of Earth's glacial record can be shown to have been deposited and preserved in basins within extensional settings. In such basins, source area uplift and basin subsidence fulfill the tectonic preconditions for the initiation of glaciation and the accomodation and preservation of glaciclastic sediments. Tectonic setting, in particular subsidence rates, also dictates the type of glaciclastic facies and facies successions that are deposited. Many pre-Pleistocene glaciated basins commonly contain well-defined tectonostratigraphic successions recording the interplay of tectonics and sedimentation; traditional climatostratigraphic approaches involving interpretation in terms of either ice advance/retreat cycles or glacio-eustatic sea-level change require revision. The direct record of continental glaciation in Earth history, in the form of classically-recognised continental glacial landforms and "tillites", is meagre; it is probable that more than 95% of the volume of preserved "glacial" strata are glacially-influenced marine deposits that record delivery of large amounts of glaciclastic sediment to offshore basins. This flux has been partially or completely reworked by "normal" sedimentary processes such that the record of glaciation and climate change is recorded in marine successions and is difficult to decipher. The dominant "glacial" facies in the rock record are subaqueous debris flow diamictites and turbidites recording the selective preservation of poorly-sorted glaciclastic sediment deposited in deep water basins by sediment gravity flows. However, these facies are also typical of many non-glacial settings, especially volcanically-influenced environments; numerous Archean and Proterozoic diamictites, described in the older literature as tillites, have no clearly established glacial parentage. The same remarks apply to many successions of laminated and thin-bedded facies interpreted as "varvites". Despite suggestions of much lower values of solar luminosity (the weak young sun hypothesis), the stratigraphic record of Archean glaciations is not extensive and may be the result of non-preservation. However, the effects of very different Archean global tectonic regimes and much higher geothermal heat flows, combined with a Venus-like atmosphere warmed by elevated levels of CO 2, cannot be ruled out. The oldest unambiguous glacial succession in Earth history appears to be the Early Proterozoic Gowganda Formation of the Huronian Supergroup in Ontario; the age of this event is not well-constrained but glaciation coincided with regional rifting, and may be causally related to, oxygenation of Earth's atmosphere just after 2300 Ma. New evidence that oxygenation is tectonically, not biologically driven, stresses the intimate relationship between plate tectonics, evolution of the atmosphere and glaciation. Global geochemical controls, such as elevated atmospheric CO 2 levels, may be responsible for a long mid-Proterozoic non-glacial interval after 2000 Ma that was terminated by the Late Proterozoic glaciations just after 800 Ma. A persistent theme in both Late Proterozoic and Phanerozoic glaciations is the adiabatic effect of tectonic uplift, either along collisional margins or as a result of passive margin uplifts in areas of extended crust, as the trigger for glaciation; the process is reinforced by global geochemical feedback, principally the drawdown of atmospheric CO 2 and Milankovitch "astronomical" forcing but these are unlikely, by themselves, to inititiate glaciation. The same remarks apply to late Cenozoic glaciations. Late Proterozoic glacially-influenced strata occur on all seven continents and fall into two tectonostratigraphic types. In the first category are thick sucessions of turbidites and mass flows deposited along active, compressional plate margi

  6. Seismic Hazard Inferred From Tectonics: California

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bird, P.; Liu, Z.

    2005-12-01

    We propose two related hypotheses concerning long-term-averages of shallow seismicity: (1) The long-term seismic moment rate of any tectonic fault, or any large volume of anelastically deforming lithosphere, is approximately that computed using the coupled seismogenic thickness of the most comparable type of plate boundary. (2) The long-term epicenter production of any tectonic fault, or any large volume of anelastically deforming lithosphere, is approximately that computed from its moment rate using the frequency-magnitude distribution of the most comparable type of plate boundary. Suggested rules for assigning the most comparable plate boundary type are presented in tables, and the seismicity parameters of these plate boundaries have already been estimated [Bird & Kagan, 2004]. Long-term forecasts based on these hypotheses do not use the local seismic history in a direct way, so they can give warning of regions which may have been temporarily below their long-term seismicity. A novel proposal implicit in these hypotheses is that even the largest earthquakes may have epicenters located on short faults, or far from mapped fault traces. As an example, we compute the long-term seismicity of the California region based on a long-term-average velocity and strain rate model computed with kinematic finite-element program NeoKinema. This velocity field is a weighted least-squares solution to constraints from plate tectonics, geologic slip rates, geodesy, and stress directions. In the geographic rectangle 31.5~43N, 113.1~125.4W surrounding California, our forecast of 64 m>5.663 earthquakes per 25.75 years exceeds the Harvard CMT catalog count of 48 for 1977.01~2002.09. In the slightly smaller RELM test area, our forecast of 235 m>4.95 earthquakes per 21 years exceeds the ANSS catalog count of 165 for 1984.01~ 2004.12. In the smaller rectangle 32.5~36N, 115~121W in southern California, our forecast of 315 m>5 events per 72.67 years is more than twice the TriNet catalog count of 147 for 1932.01~2004.08. We suggest that California, and especially southern California, may be temporarily below long-term seismicity because of the recent lack of great earthquakes (such as those of 1700, 1857, 1872, and 1906) to stimulate aftershocks.

  7. Spatio-temporal autocorrelation of Neogene-Quaternary volcanic and clastic sedimentary rocks in SW Montana and SE Idaho: Relationship to Cenozoic tectonic and thermally induced extensional events

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Davarpanah, A.; Babaie, H. A.; Dai, D.

    2013-12-01

    Two systems of full and half grabens have been forming since the mid-Tertiary through tectonic and thermally induced extensional events in SW Montana and neighboring SE Idaho. The earlier mid-Tertiary Basin and Range (BR) tectonic event formed the NW- and NE-striking mountains around the Snake River Plain (SRP) in Idaho and SW Montana, respectively. Since the mid-Tertiary, partially synchronous with the BR event, diachronous bulging and subsidence due to the thermally induced stress field of the Yellowstone hotspot (YHS) has produced the second system of variably-oriented grabens through faulting across the older BR fault blocks. The track of the migration of the YHS is defined by the presence of six prominent volcanic calderas along the SRP which become younger toward the present location of the YHS. Graben basins bounded by both the BR faults and thermally induced cross-faults (CF) systems are now filled with Tertiary-Quaternary clastic sedimentary and volcanic-volcaniclastic rocks. Neogene mafic and felsic lava which erupted along the SRP and clastic sedimentary units (Sixmile Creek Fm., Ts) deposited in both types of graben basins were classified based on their lithology and age, and mapped in ArcGIS 10 as polygon using a combination of MBMG and USGS databases and geological maps at scales of 1:250.000, 1:100,000, and 1:48,000. The spatio-temporal distributions of the lava polygons were then analyzed applying the Global and Local Moran`s I methods to detect any possible spatial or temporal autocorrelation relative to the track of the YHS. The results reveal the spatial autocorrelation of the lithology and age of the Neogene lavas, and suggest a spatio-temporal sequence of eruption of extrusive rocks between Miocene and late Pleistocene along the SRP. The sequence of eruptions, which progressively becomes younger toward the Yellowstone National Park, may track the migration of the YSH. The sub-parallelism of the trend of the SRP with the long axis of the standard deviation ellipses (SDEs), that give the trend of the dispersion of the centroids of lavas erupted at different times, and the spatio-temporally ordered overlap of older lavas by younger ones which were progressively erupted to the northeast of the older lavas, indicate the spatio-temporal migration of the centers of eruption along the SRP. Prominent graben basins which formed and filled during and after the BR normal faulting event were identified from those that formed during and after the cross faulting event based on cross cutting relationships and the trend of their long dimension (determined by applying the Dissolve and Minimum Bounding Geometry tools in ArcGIS 10) relative to the linear directional mean (LDM) of the BR and CF sets. The parallelism of the mean trend of the Ts graben fill polygons with the linear directional mean (LDM) of each of the two BR fault trace sets in the eastern SRP indicates that the Neogene deposition of the Ts is post-BR and pre-to syn-cross faulting. Cross-fault-bounded graben valleys filled with Ts roughly sub-parallel the mean trend of the CF sets, indicating that they formed after the BR faulting event.

  8. 524 IEEE Transactionson Nuclear Science, Vol. 35, No. 1, February 1988 BACKGROUND EVENTS IN MICROCHANNEL PLATES

    E-print Network

    Wargelin, Bradford J.

    , and radioactivity of the MCP glass 12. Individual background events in MCP's are virtually indistinguishable from visible. The radioactive y ray decay spectrum from MCP glass has been determined, and we have established from the MCP glass confirms the presence of %,with a concentration of 0.0007% in MCP glass. Furthermore

  9. A High-Speed, Event-Driven, Active Pixel Sensor Readout for Photon-Counting Microchannel Plate Detectors

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kimble, Randy A.; Pain, Bedabrata; Norton, Timothy J.; Haas, J. Patrick; Oegerle, William R. (Technical Monitor)

    2002-01-01

    Silicon array readouts for microchannel plate intensifiers offer several attractive features. In this class of detector, the electron cloud output of the MCP intensifier is converted to visible light by a phosphor; that light is then fiber-optically coupled to the silicon array. In photon-counting mode, the resulting light splashes on the silicon array are recognized and centroided to fractional pixel accuracy by off-chip electronics. This process can result in very high (MCP-limited) spatial resolution while operating at a modest MCP gain (desirable for dynamic range and long term stability). The principal limitation of intensified CCD systems of this type is their severely limited local dynamic range, as accurate photon counting is achieved only if there are not overlapping event splashes within the frame time of the device. This problem can be ameliorated somewhat by processing events only in pre-selected windows of interest of by using an addressable charge injection device (CID) for the readout array. We are currently pursuing the development of an intriguing alternative readout concept based on using an event-driven CMOS Active Pixel Sensor. APS technology permits the incorporation of discriminator circuitry within each pixel. When coupled with suitable CMOS logic outside the array area, the discriminator circuitry can be used to trigger the readout of small sub-array windows only when and where an event splash has been detected, completely eliminating the local dynamic range problem, while achieving a high global count rate capability and maintaining high spatial resolution. We elaborate on this concept and present our progress toward implementing an event-driven APS readout.

  10. A High-Speed, Event-Driven, Active Pixel Sensor Readout for Photon-Counting Microchannel Plate Detectors

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kimble, Randy A.; Pain, B.; Norton, T. J.; Haas, P.; Fisher, Richard R. (Technical Monitor)

    2001-01-01

    Silicon array readouts for microchannel plate intensifiers offer several attractive features. In this class of detector, the electron cloud output of the MCP intensifier is converted to visible light by a phosphor; that light is then fiber-optically coupled to the silicon array. In photon-counting mode, the resulting light splashes on the silicon array are recognized and centroided to fractional pixel accuracy by off-chip electronics. This process can result in very high (MCP-limited) spatial resolution for the readout while operating at a modest MCP gain (desirable for dynamic range and long term stability). The principal limitation of intensified CCD systems of this type is their severely limited local dynamic range, as accurate photon counting is achieved only if there are not overlapping event splashes within the frame time of the device. This problem can be ameliorated somewhat by processing events only in pre-selected windows of interest or by using an addressable charge injection device (CID) for the readout array. We are currently pursuing the development of an intriguing alternative readout concept based on using an event-driven CMOS Active Pixel Sensor. APS technology permits the incorporation of discriminator circuitry within each pixel. When coupled with suitable CMOS logic outside the array area, the discriminator circuitry can be used to trigger the readout of small sub-array windows only when and where an event splash has been detected, completely eliminating the local dynamic range problem, while achieving a high global count rate capability and maintaining high spatial resolution. We elaborate on this concept and present our progress toward implementing an event-driven APS readout.

  11. Salt tectonics

    SciTech Connect

    Talbot, C.J.; Jackson, M.P.A.

    1988-01-01

    Salt deposits have economic significance because of their importance as oil and gas traps and their potential as radioactive waste disposal sites. This article reviews the formation of salt domes, beginning with a description of the formation of salt deposits as evaporites and a discussion of early attempts to model the development of salt domes. Current work on tectonics of salt dome formation and related tectonics is then discussed in detail.

  12. Timing of deformational events in the Río San Juan complex: Implications for the tectonic controls on the exhumation of high-P rocks in the northern Caribbean subduction-accretionary prism

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Escuder-Viruete, Javier; Valverde-Vaquero, Pablo; Rojas-Agramonte, Yamirka; Gabites, Janet; Castillo-Carrión, Mercedes; Pérez-Estaún, Andrés

    2013-09-01

    An integrated structural, petrological and geochronological study was undertaken to constrain the tectonic history and controls on the exhumation of the high-P rocks of the Río San Juan complex in the northern Caribbean subduction-accretionary wedge. In the main structural units of the complex, microtextural analyses were performed to identify the fabrics formed at peak of metamorphism in eclogite-facies conditions and during the main retrogressive event toward the low-P amphibolite or blueschist/greenschist-facies conditions. U-Pb SHRIMP dating on zircon rims (71.3 ± 0.7 Ma) coupled with 40Ar-39Ar analyses on phengite (~ 70-69 Ma) in felsic sills placed temporal constraints on the exhumation of the Jagua Clara serpentinite-matrix mélange during the blueschist-facies stage at the early Maastrichtian. In the Cuaba unit, U-Pb TIMS zircon ages of 89.7 ± 0.1 Ma and 90.1 ± 0.2 Ma obtained for the crystallization of tonalitic/trondhjemitic melts in the lower Guaconejo and upper Jobito subunits, respectively, are similar. These ages coupled with a U-Pb SHRIMP zircon age of 87 ± 1.8 Ma obtained in a garnet amphibolite and a group of older 40Ar-39Ar cooling ages on calcic amphibole constrain the exhumation of the Guaconejo subunit from the high-P stage to the low-P stage at the ~ 90-83 Ma time interval. Further, the age data collectively supports a genetic relationship between the distributed extensional ductile shearing, the related decompression and the local partial anatexis in the subunit, at least from the Turonian-Coniacian boundary to the early Campanian. A group of younger 40Ar-39Ar ages obtained in the mylonitized amphibolites of the basal Jobito detachment zone indicates late ductile deformation and exhumation/cooling in the late Campanian to Maastrichtian (~ 75-70 Ma). Therefore, structural and age data established deformation partitioning and reworking of retrograde fabrics during ~ 20 Ma in the Cuaba unit. The different exhumation rates obtained for the Jagua Clara mélange can be explained by uplift in two contrasting tectonic settings: a first stage of slow exhumation (1.4 mm/yr) in the subduction channel, largely lower than plate velocities, and a second stage of relatively fast exhumation (7.6 mm/yr) up to the surface. Therefore, the exhumation was temporally discontinuous and the velocity increase at ~ 70 Ma probably was triggered in response to the entrance of buoyant material in the subduction zone, such as a Caribeana continental ribbon or the distal part of Yucatán-Bahamas continental margin. In contrast, the exhumation path of the Guaconejo subunit is composed of a first segment from the baric peak to the low-P amphibolite stage (at 84-83 Ma) with an exhumation rate of 7.2 mm/yr, a second segment around the closure temperature of calcic-amphibole (at 82-70 Ma) with a rate of 0.4 mm/yr, and a third segment to the surface exposure (at 60 Ma) with a rate of 1.8 mm/yr. These velocity differences can be correlated with the P-T path proposed for the exhumation of the subunit, with an initial isothermal decompression from the peak in the high-P amphibolite to the eclogite-facies produced by distributed extensional shearing, followed by a relatively slow cooling at low-P in the newly acquired structural position, and the final tectonics mainly partitioned in the late Jobito detachment zone. The initial fast exhumation can be related to a major modification in the convergence conditions across the intra-oceanic subduction zone as a jump of the basal subduction thrust beyond a previously accreted arc terrane.

  13. The influence of tectonic grain to the Neogene evolution of the Mesopotamian basin: 3D tectonic-surface processes modeling

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fillon, Charlotte; Garcia-Castellanos, Daniel; Vergés, Jaume

    2015-04-01

    The Mesopotamian basin is a plate-scale foreland basin commonly linked to the tectonic load of the Zagros mountain belt. Its current drainage pattern shows the two main river systems (Tigris and Euphrates) draining the basin longitudinally from NW to SE, likely to be influenced by other large-scale geodynamic events, such as the uplift of the Anatolian Plateau (Middle Miocene) to the NW and/or the Arabian plate flank tilting to the W (from early Miocene). By using an integrated modeling of surface processes, lithospheric flexure and kinematic fault deformation, we test the influences of each main tectonic units on the basin evolution. The numerical model is particularly designed to study the 3D foreland basin evolution and to identify large-scale relationships between tectonic movements and sediment transport and deposition. We specifically aim at reproducing the drainage conditions in the basin, the flexural profile and the sediment thicknesses and geometry of deposition, by investigating the basin history at the scale of the Arabian plate (3000 km x 1200 km), over a long period of time (i.e. since 35 Ma to present day), and with integrating realistic climatic conditions. The main results reveal 1) the need for an external load in addition to the Zagros to reproduce the flexural profile of the basin and 2) the important contributions of both Arabian plate flank tilting and Anatolian plateau uplift to the drainage system, all of them suggesting a significant contribution from deep geodynamic events occurring in early to middle Miocene times in shaping the present day Mesopotamian basin.

  14. The climatic 14 Ma event: relationship between Himalayan and Indonesian tectonics studied by Nd and Pb isotopes in Northern Indien Ocean sedimentary cores

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Meynadier, Laure; Allègre, Claude J.; Gourlan, Alexandra T.; Göpel, Christa; Louvat, Pascale; Limmois, Delphine

    2010-05-01

    During the last 40 Ma, the Indian Ocean has undergone larges changes in response to the reorganization of tectonic plates. The Australian block moved northward opening the Tasman Strait in the south, closing the Indonesian Passage, and creating multiples actives volcanic arcs in the Equatorial region. The Thethys disappeared closing the connection between the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic at low latitude. The collision of the Indian and Asian blocks yielded the rise of the Himalayan Chain and the Tibetan Plateau. At 14 Ma the onset of the Mid-Miocene cooling induced the rapid increase of the Antarctic ice sheet and large change in the global climate. [1] The Indian Ocean circulation and its chemistry were largely affected by the modification of the connection with the other oceans. Nd isotope stratigraphy performed on carbonated sediments from the ODP Sites 707, 757 and 758 in the Equatorial Indian Ocean has shown the initiation at ?14 Ma of a strong westerly oceanic current that durably linked the eastern and the western Indian Ocean. This current was refered as the MIOJet (Miocene Indian Ocean Equatorial Jet) [2]. We also determined the Pb isotopic composition and concentration of the past seawater over the last 40 Myr by analyzing the sediment at these three ODP Sites. The Pb isotope records show more complex patterns linked to the fact that Pb has a much shorter residence time than Nd and thus is more sensitive to local or regional inputs. By contrast with the Nd records, the influence of the Himalayan surrection is clearly observed in the Pb records over the past 30 Ma. Succesive phases of the uplift are recorded. [1] Zachos et al., 2001, Science , 292, 686 -693 [2] Gourlan et al., 2008 Earth Planet. Sci. Lett, 267, 353-364

  15. Venus: Mantle convection, hotspots, and tectonics

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Phillips, R. J.

    1989-01-01

    The putative paradigm that planets of the same size and mass have the same tectonic style led to the adaptation of the mechanisms of terrestrial plate tectonics as the a priori model of the way Venus should behave. Data acquired over the last decade by Pioneer Venus, Venera, and ground-based radar have modified this view sharply and have illuminated the lack of detailed understanding of the plate tectonic mechanism. For reference, terrestrial mechanisms are briefly reviewed. Venusian lithospheric divergence, hotspot model, and horizontal deformation theories are proposed and examined.

  16. TECTONIC CONTROLS OF GEOCHEMICAL EVOLUTION IN ARC MAGMATISM OF SE ASIA 359Bali, Indonesia, 10 -13 October 1999PACRIM 99

    E-print Network

    Royal Holloway, University of London

    to subduction was very quickly incorporated into tectonic models once the plate tectonic theory of the Earth processes operating at convergent margins. Changes in the tectonic configuration of plate boundaries in SE of the subducting slab and compressional shortening of the over-riding plate in the arc-trench gap. In contrast

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Froidevaux, C. M.

    1980-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2011-08-01

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

  19. Precise GPS/Acoustic Positioning of Seafloor Reference Points for Tectonic Studies

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Spiess, F. N.; Chadwell, C.; Hildebrand, J. A.; Young, L. E.; Purcell, G. H., Jr.; Dragert, H.

    1998-01-01

    Global networks for crustal strain measurement provide important constraints for studies of tectonic plate motion and deformation. To date, crustal strain measurements have been possible only in terrestrial settings: on continental plates and island sites within oceanic plates.

  20. The tectonic structure of the Song Ma fault zone, Vietnam

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wen, Strong; Yeh, Yu-Lien; Tang, Chi-Cha; Phong, Lai Hop; Toan, Dinh Van; Chang, Wen-Yen; Chen, Chau-Huei

    2015-08-01

    Indochina area is a tectonic active region where creates complex topographies and tectonic structures. In particular, the Song Ma fault zone plays an important role in understanding the mechanism and revolution of the collision between the Indian plate and Eurasian plate. In order to have better understanding the seismotectonic structures of the Song Ma fault zone, a three-year project is proposed to study the seismotectonic structures of crust in this region. The main goal of this project is to deploy temporary broad-band seismic stations around/near the shear zone to record high quality microearthquakes. By using the data recorded by the temporary array and the local seismic network, we are able to conduct seismological studies which include using waveform inversion to obtain precise fault plane solutions of microearthquakes, one-dimensional (1-D) velocity structure of the crust in the region as well as the characteristics of seismogeneric zone. From the results of earthquake relocation and focal mechanisms, we find that the spatial distribution of events occurred in Song Ma fault zone forms in several distinct groups which are well correlated local geological structures and further use to gain insights on tectonic evolution.

  1. Future earthquake source faults on deep sea-floor around the Boso triple plate junction revealed by tectonic geomorphology using 3D images produced from 150 meter grid DEM

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Goto, H.; Nakata, T.; Watanabe, M.; Suzuki, Y.; Izumi, N.; Nishizawa, A.; Horiuchi, D.; Kido, Y. N.

    2013-12-01

    Boso triple junction, which is the only example of a triple trench junction on earth, is located off the southeast of Boso peninsula, where the Izu-Bonin trench meets with the Japan trench and the Sagami trench. Boso submarine canyon, which is extended to Katsuuma basin about 7000m deep, forms an incised meander along the north side of Sagami trough. Taito spur separate Katsuuma basin from Bando abyssal basin about 9000m deep, where Japan trench meet with Isu-Bonin trench. In this paper, we present detailed stereo-paired topographic images produced from 0.002 degree (about 150m) DBEM (Digital Bathymetry Model), which processed from the depth sounding data obtained by Japan Coast Guard and JAMSTEC around Boso triple junction. It enables us to observe submarine geomorphology easily and precisely. We identified submarine active faults and other tectonic features related to subduction by using the similar standard for air-photo interpretation of inland active faults. We made more precise submarine active tectonic geomorphological map around Boso triple junction than that by previous workers. Numerous distinct faults on the so-called outer rise associated with subduction of Pacific plate are regarded as normal faulting as widely accepted. While the normal faults on the outer rise are parallel to the trench in the southern part of the Japan trench and the northern part of the Izu-Bonin trench, these normal faults around the east of the triple junction with NNW-SSE extend slightly oblique to the trench. The western margin of Bando abyssal basin is bounded by the thrust faults, which form east-facing 200-500m-high convex scarps associated with raised basin floor to the west of the scarp. These faults also deform Mogi submarine fan surface and uplift to the west along the extension of the scarp. The antecedent valley is extended for about 10km across Taito spur that is an active anticlinal ridge about 1000m high. Katsuura basin is surrounded by terraced former basin floor that is tilted to the west, indicating up-growing of Taito spur. Northeastern part of Izu bar on Philippine Sea plate is characterized by rather smooth extensive convex slope between 1500m-7500m for over 200km long along the trench. On the lower part of the slope below 6000m, several gullies such as Mikura canyon and Kita-Hachijo canyon dissecting the slope forms rapids, probably due to continuous up-warping by subsurface thrusting dipping to the west under the slope. It is noteworthy that we can identify prominent active tectonic features on even very deep sea-floor along the plate boundaries, by using 3D images produced from 150 meter grid DEM.

  2. Tectonics of the southern Asian Plate margin along the Karakoram Shear Zone: Constraints from field observations and U Pb SHRIMP ages

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jain, Arvind K.; Singh, Sandeep

    2008-04-01

    New geological observations, recent published data and U-Pb SHRIMP zircon dating from the Karakoram Mountains along the Nubra and Shyok Rivers reveal that the initial subduction of the Tethyan oceanic lithosphere took place ~ 110 Ma beneath the Paleozoic-Mesozoic platform of the southern edge of the Asian Plate. This has produced the I-type plutons within the Karakoram Batholith Complex, well before the juxtaposition of the Asian Plate along the Karakoram Shear Zone. Within this shear zone, U-Pb zircon crystallisation ages of ~ 75 Ma from mylonitised granitoids and 68 Ma from undeformed Tirit granodiorite constrain the timing of suturing of the Karakoram terrain with the Trans-Himalaya between 75 and 68 Ma. Post-shearing leucogranite was episodically generated within frontal migmatised Karakoram Metamorphic Belt and emplaced between 20 and 13 Ma within the shear zone. Presence of a low resistivity zone as a possible indication of mid-crustal partial molten crust underneath the Higher Himalaya-Ladakh-Karakoram terrains manifests the impingement of the Indian Plate along the Main Himalayan Thrust at depth. Physical continuity of the Baltoro granite belt into the Karakoram Batholith is established as well as the continuity of the Shyok suture as the Shiquanhe Suture Zone in western Tibet through the Chushul-Dungti sector. The Karakoram Shear Zone, therefore, displays a complex geological history of movements since ~ 75 Ma and plays a very significant role in the overall India-Asia convergence, rather than merely being a strike-slip fault for eastward extrusion of a segment of Asia in Tibet.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Osmaston, M. F.

    2012-04-01

    Introduction. The title poses a question very like that of my talk in 2003 [1], concluding then that, as a driver, subduction comes 'a doubtful third'. My purpose here is to show that subsequent developments now cause even that limited status to be denied it with great assurance, except in a rare situation, of which there is no current example. The key point is that studies of subduction have been importantly mistaken as to the nature of the plate arriving for subduction. Deep-keeled cratons? The 'deep-keeled cratons' frame for global dynamics [2 - 5] is the result of seeking Earth-behaviour guidance on the following outside-the-box proposition:- "If cratons have tectospheric keels that reach or approach the 660 km discontinuity, AND the 660 level is an effective barrier to mantle circulation, then obviously (i) when two cratons separate, the upper mantle to put under the nascent ocean must arrive by a circuitous route and, conversely, (ii) if they approach one another, the mantle volume that was in between them must get extruded sideways." Remarkably it has turned out [2 - 5] that Earth dynamical behaviour for at least the past 150 Ma provides persuasive affirmation of both these expectations and that the explanation for the otherwise-unexpected immobility of subcratonic material to such depths is a petrological one which is also applicable to the behaviour of LVZ mantle below MORs [6 - 8]. Straight away this result has major consequences for the character of the plate arriving for subduction. First, to construct them, we need a 'thick-plate' (>100km?) model of the MOR process which recognizes that this LVZ immobility renders invalid the existing concept of divergent mantle flow below MORs. I show that my now not-so-new model [1, 8 - 10], based on a deep, narrrow, wall-accreting sub-axis crack, possesses outstandingly relevant properties, even appropriately dependent on spreading rate. Second, the oceanic plate arriving for subduction is no longer just the cooled mantle boundary layer habitually assumed, but its LVZ content gives it (i) residual heat content, (ii) corresponding buoyancy, and (iii) a flexural strength which demands a reconsideration of its mode of downbend, hitherto widely regarded as flexural, but still be able to explain outer rises and their differences. Solutions for (ii) and (iii) are convincingly supported by widespread exposure of the resulting rocks in the Alps, telling us how they and other UHP metamorphic mountain belts have been built [11]. I will illustrate the essential points. In particular, the buoyancy (ii) provides the upward mechanical contact essential for the shallow basal subduction tectonic erosion of the upper plate as preparation of thin imbricate crustal slices to subduct to UHP. And a seismologically supported through-plate step-faulting mode of downbend copes with the flexure problem (iii) and provides the tectonic erosion mechanism. In tackling these matters, important intrinsic properties of the materials are, notably:- (1) the thermal conductivity of non-migrating interstitial melt is >20 times less than its parent rock, so the LVZ heat is effectively trapped during the plate's journey across the ocean, only to be released when subduction raises the pressure and the melt freezes; (2) the garnet-to-spinel peridotite phase change, typically at 50 to 90 km depth, gives some 50 times more volume change per joule than pure expansivity, and it does so with the big force of solid-state recrystallization. This force is the crack-wall push-apart force provided by our thick-plate MOR model, which thereby develops at least an order more ridge push than the divergent flow model. We now consider the post-downbend evolution of the subducting plate, recognizing both the heat content of its ex-LVZ material and that, within the 2-layer mantle picture established by the plate dynamics of 'deep-keeled cratons' [2 - 5], there is no substantial mantle transport across the 660 km level. Examination of tomographic transects shows at once that in by far the majority of cases, the

  4. Tectonic evolution of terrestrial planets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    1981-01-01

    The tectonic style of each terrestrial planet, referring to the thickness and division of its lithosphere, can be inferred from surface features and compared to models of planetary thermal history. Factors governing planetary tectonic evolution are planet diameter, chemistry, and external and internal heat sources, all of which determine how a planet generates and rids itself of heat. The earth is distinguished by its distinct, mobile plates, which are recycled into the mantle and show large-scale lateral movements, whereas the moon, Mars, and Mercury are single spherical shells, showing no evidence of destruction and renewal of the lithospheric plates over the latter 80% of their history. Their smaller volume to surface area results in a more rapid cooling, formation, and thickening of the lithosphere. Vertical tectonics, due to lithospheric loading, is controlled by the local thickness and rheology of the lithosphere. Further studies of Venus, which displays both the craterlike surface features of the one-plate planets, and the rifts and plateaus of earth, may indicate which factors are most important in controlling the tectonic evolution of terrestrial planets.

  5. Active tectonics

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1986-01-01

    This study is part of a series of Studies in Geophysics that have been undertaken for the Geophysics Research Forum by the Geophysics Study Committee. One purpose of each study is to provide assessments from the scientific community to aid policymakers in decisions on societal problems that involve geophysics. An important part of such assessments is an evaluation of the adequacy of current geophysical knowledge and the appropriateness of current research programs as a source of information required for those decisions. The study addresses our current scientific understanding of active tectonics --- particularly the patterns and rates of ongoing tectonic processes. Many of these processes cannot be described reasonably using the limited instrumental or historical records; however, most can be described adequately for practical purposes using the geologic record of the past 500,000 years. A program of fundamental research focusing especially on Quaternary tectonic geology and geomorphology, paleoseismology, neotectonics, and geodesy is recommended to better understand ongoing, active tectonic processes. This volume contains 16 papers. Individual papers are indexed separately on the Energy Database.

  6. Impacts and tectonism in Earth and moon history of the past 3800 million years

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stothers, Richard B.

    1992-01-01

    The moon's surface, unlike the Earth's, displays a comparatively clear record of its past bombardment history for the last 3800 Myr, the time since active lunar tectonism under the massive premare bombardment ended. From Baldwin's (1987) tabulation of estimated ages for a representative sample of large lunar craters younger than 3800 Ma, six major cratering episodes can be discerned. These six bombardment episodes, which must have affected the Earth too, appear to match in time the six major episodes of orogenic tectonism on Earth, despite typical resolution errors of +/- 100 Myr and the great uncertainties of the two chronologies. Since more highly resolved events during the Cenozoic and Mesozoic Eras suggest the same correlation, it is possible that large impacts have influenced plate tectonics and other aspects of geologic history, perhaps by triggering flood basalt eruptions.

  7. Venus magmatic and tectonic evolution

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Phillips, R. J.; Hansen, V. L.

    1993-01-01

    Two years beyond the initial mapping by the Magellan spacecraft, hypotheses for the magmatic and tectonic evolution of Venus have become refined and focused. We present our view of these processes, attempting to synthesize aspects of a model for the tectonic and magmatic behavior of the planet. The ideas presented should be taken collectively as an hypothesis subject to further testing. The quintessence of our model is that shear and buoyancy forces in the upper boundary layer of mantle convection give rise to a spatially and temporally complex pattern of strain in a one-plate Venusian lithosphere and modulate the timing and occurrence of magmatism on a global basis.

  8. How Mantle Slabs Drive Plate Clinton P. Conrad* and Carolina Lithgow-Bertelloni

    E-print Network

    Conrad, Clint

    How Mantle Slabs Drive Plate Tectonics Clinton P. Conrad* and Carolina Lithgow-Bertelloni The gravitational pull of subducted slabs is thought to drive the motions of Earth's tectonic plates to a subducting plate, it can exert a direct pull on the plate. Alternatively, a detached slab may drive a plate

  9. Earthquake Patterns in Diverse Tectonic Zones of the Globe

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kagan, Y. Y.; Bird, P.; Jackson, D. D.

    2010-06-01

    We extend existing branching models for earthquake occurrences by incorporating potentially important estimates of tectonic deformation and by allowing the parameters in the models to vary across different tectonic regimes. We partition the Earth’s surface into five regimes: trenches (including subduction zones and oceanic convergent boundaries and earthquakes in outer rise or overriding plate); fast spreading ridges and oceanic transforms; slow spreading ridges and transforms; active continental zones, and plate interiors (everything not included in the previous categories). Our purpose is to specialize the models to give them the greatest possible predictive power for use in earthquake forecasts. We expected the parameters of the branching models to be significantly different in the various tectonic regimes, because earlier studies ( Bird and Kagan in Bull Seismol Soc Am 94(6):2380-2399, 2004) found that the magnitude limits and other parameters differed between similar categories. We compiled subsets of the CMT and PDE earthquake catalogs corresponding to each tectonic regime, and optimized the parameters for each, and for the whole Earth, using a maximum likelihood procedure. We also analyzed branching models for California and Nevada using regional catalogs. Our estimates of parameters that can be compared to those of other models were consistent with published results. Examples include the proportion of triggered earthquakes and the exponent describing the temporal decay of triggered earthquakes. We also estimated epicentral location uncertainty and rupture zone size and our results are consistent with independent estimates. Contrary to our expectation, we found no dramatic differences in the branching parameters for the various tectonic regimes. We did find some modest differences between regimes that were robust under changes in earthquake catalog and lower magnitude threshold. Subduction zones have the highest earthquake rates, the largest upper magnitude limit, and the highest proportion of triggered events. Fast spreading ridges have the smallest upper magnitude limit and the lowest proportion of triggered events. The statistical significance of these variations cannot be assessed until methods are developed for estimating confidence limits reliably. Some results apparently depend on arbitrary decisions adopted in the analysis. For example, the proportion of triggered events decreases as the lower magnitude limit is increased, possibly because our procedure for assigning independence probability favors larger earthquakes. In some tests we censored earthquakes occurring near and just after a previous event, to account for the fact that most such earthquakes will be missing from the catalog. Fortunately the branching model parameters were hardly affected, suggesting that the inability to measure immediate aftershocks does not cause a serious estimation bias. We compare our branching model with the ETAS model and discuss the differences in the models parametrization and the results of earthquake catalogs analysis.

  10. PLATE KINEMATICS (Copyright 2010, David T. Sandwell)

    E-print Network

    Sandwell, David T.

    , Cambridge University Press, 1990, Chapter 2) Plate Motions on a Flat Earth Plate tectonic theory describes-fault-fault (R-F-F), and ridge- trench-trench (R-T-T). Each type of plate boundary has rules about relative1 PLATE KINEMATICS (Copyright 2010, David T. Sandwell) (Reference - The Solid Earth, C.M.R. Fowler

  11. New constraints on the Pan-African tectonics and the role of the Mwembeshi Zone in Central Zambia: Deformation style and timing of two orthogonal shortening events

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Naydenov, Kalin; Lehmann, Jeremie; Saalmann, Kerstin; Milani, Lorenzo; Kinnaird, Judith; Charlesworth, Guy; Rankin, William; Frei, Dirk

    2014-05-01

    In Central Zambia the Mwembeshi Zone (MwZ) separates two branches of the Late Neoproterozoic - Cambrian Pan-African Orogen: the NE-convex Lufilian Arc and the E-W trending Zambezi Belt whose distinct features emphasize the role of the zone as a regional structural and metamorphic boundary. North of the MwZ, the Hook Batholith was emplaced within the low metamorphic grade Neoproterozoic metasedimentary rocks, and represents the largest Pan-African intrusion in Southern Africa. The granitoids and their host-rocks were affected by two deformation events. During the D1 deformation of E-W shortening, two high-strained zones developed in the batholith. To the NE, the Nalusanga Zone (NZ) is a ~3 km wide NW-striking subvertical sinistral strike-slip shear zone. To the SW, a ~2.5 km wide N-S trending subvertical pure-shear Itezhi-Tezhi Zone (ITZ) formed. In both structures, the granitoids show a smooth transition from weakly deformed rocks to porphyroclastic mylonites. Microstructural analysis defined them as medium metamorphic grade zones, deforming the granitoids at temperatures between 500 and 550°C. The lower greenschist facies metamorphism in the country rocks indicates that the deformation occurred during the cooling of the granitoids. D1 in the metasedimentary rocks east of the Hook batholith formed tight, upright folds with subvertical axial-planar cleavage and NNW-SSE trending axis consistent with the E-W shortening. U-Pb zircon geochronology and cross-cutting relationships between granites bracket D1 deformation between 549 ± 2 Ma and 541 ± 3 Ma in the NZ and in the SE part of the batholith. In the ITZ, the 533 ± 3 Ma age on a deformed granite indicates prolonged E-W shortening during granite emplacement and cooling history. D2 represents a stage of N-S shortening. Airborne geophysical data revealed bending of the N-S trending ITZ and rotation to the east. The D1 structures in the granitoids are cut by D2 north-vergent thrusts and subvertical NW trending dextral strike-slip zones. East of the granite, D2 resulted in E-W trending open folds that refolded the D1 structures. This folding becomes more intense and the folds are tighter when approaching the MwZ to the south. Along the MwZ, the molasse rocks, deposited after D1 (post ~528 Ma, based on new detrital-zircon ages), recorded high-strain greenschist facies coaxial deformation and the formation of E-W trending isoclinal folds with a steep south-dipping axial planar cleavage. This study shows that the area north of the MwZ is characterised by two orthogonal contraction events. The newly described D1 event of E-W shortening in the Hook area cannot be correlated with any of the published Pan-African tectonic models for the Lufilian Arc and Zambezi Belt. The D2 event of N-S shortening affected the region in response to the final docking between the Lufilian Arc and the Zambezi Belt. The strongest effect of this event was observed along the MwZ, which, during this stage, was a zone of intense coaxial deformation.

  12. Vertical plate motions in the West Siberian Basin

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vibe, Yulia

    2014-05-01

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

  13. Fission track thermochronology: Methods and applications in tectonics

    SciTech Connect

    Jones, S.M.

    1990-01-01

    Time, temperature and the kinetics of reactions are the basic ingredients in this study of thermal history analysis. Unraveling the timing of geological events using absolute dating systems based on radioactive decay is not a trivial task, ages given by most radiometric dating techniques (e.g. fission track analysis) are apparent ages, related to cooling through some characteristic temperature range. Regional thermal history is fundamentally linked with tectonic history. The Dora Maira massif in the Western Alps provides an example of a pressure-temperature-time history well constrained by metamorphic petrology and radiometric dating. Simple models of conductive cooling and erosion are used to successfully model the thermal history of these ultra-high pressure rocks and shed light on possible tectonic scenarios for their origin. Numerical modeling suggests that continued refrigeration of the Dora Maira rocks by subducting lithosphere is not required to produce the observed metamorphic mineral assemblages. Fission track analysis, synthesis of results from other dating techniques, thermal modeling and metamorphic petrology are used to constrain the magnitude of cooling during extension in the Mojave Desert, California. Cooling paths constructed using fission track ages on apatite, zircon and sphene and {sup 40}Ar/{sup 39}Ar ages on biotite, hornblende and phlogopite reveal the contrast in modes of cooling between upper and lower plate rocks. Upper plate rocks show no evidence for the rapid cooling that affected lower plate rocks during the Miocene extension in the region.

  14. Paleomagnetic evidence of earliest Paleocene deformation in Calama (˜22°S), northern Chile: Andean-type or ridge-collision tectonics?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Somoza, R.; Tomlinson, A. J.; Caffe, P. J.; Vilas, J. F.

    2012-08-01

    A paleomagnetic study from the earliest Paleocene Cerros de Montecristo Quartz Monzonite and its Jurassic to uppermost Cretaceous host rock (northern Chile, ˜22°S) provided high-temperature, high-coercivity magnetizations of dominantly reversed polarity. The remanences of the tilted host rock gave a negative fold-test and are indistinguishable from the remanences found in the pluton, indicating that the uppermost Cretaceous rocks underwent deformation before intrusion of the earliest Paleocene pluton, thus documenting a K-T deformation at the locality. Although this deformation may be another product of typical subduction-related noncollisional tectonics in the Central Andes, an alternative hypothesis, permitted by plate reconstructions, is that the event was associated with collision of an oceanic plate boundary. This latter hypothesis may also provide a context for several other tectonic events from northern Chile to the Patagonian Andes, wherein deformation would the consequence of a southward migrating triple junction between the latest Maastrichtian and Early Eocene.

  15. Caribbean paleomagnetism and tectonic evolution

    SciTech Connect

    MacDonald, W.D.

    1985-01-01

    Approximately fifty papers treating diverse aspects of Caribbean paleomagnetism have appeared since Creer's pioneering work in the early 1960s. Apparently anomalous early results were initially attributed to anomalous geomagnetic field behavior, to unusual mineralogic effects in rock magnetism and to complex remagnetizations. Eventually the importance of structural and tectonic influences were recognized in paleomagnetic data of the Caribbean area, as elsewhere. Large tectonic rotation is evident from the unusual paleomagnetic declination found at many Caribbean localities. Latitudinal transport, with its plate motion implications, is more subtly expressed in the paleomagnetic inclination parameter, with its typically large relative variance. A review of Caribbean paleomagnetic data is given to form a basis for composing realistic tectonic models.

  16. Identification of an ancient mantle reservoir and young recycled materials in the source region of a young mantle plume: Implications for potential linkages between plume and plate tectonics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Xuan-Ce; Li, Zheng-Xiang; Li, Xian-Hua; Li, Jie; Xu, Yi-Gang; Li, Xiang-Hui

    2013-09-01

    Whether or not mantle plumes and plate subduction are genetically linked is a fundamental geoscience question that impinges on our understanding of how the Earth works. Late Cenozoic basalts in Southeast Asia are globally unique in relation to this question because they occur above a seismically detected thermal plume adjacent to deep subducted slabs. In this study, we present new Pb, Sr, Nd, and Os isotope data for the Hainan flood basalts. Together with a compilation of published results, our work shows that less contaminated basaltic samples from the synchronous basaltic eruptions in Hainan-Leizhou peninsula, the Indochina peninsula and the South China Sea seamounts share the same isotopic and geochemical characteristics. They have FOZO-like Sr, Nd, and Pb isotopic compositions (the dominant lower mantle component). These basalts have primitive Pb isotopic compositions that lie on, or very close to, 4.5- to 4.4-Ga geochrons on 207Pb/204Pb versus 206Pb/204Pb diagram, suggesting a mantle source developed early in Earth's history (4.5-4.4 Ga). Furthermore, our detailed geochemical and Sr, Nd, Pb and Os isotopic analyses suggest the presence of 0.5-0.2 Ga recycled components in the late Cenozoic Hainan plume basalts. This implies a mantle circulation rate of >1 cm/yr, which is similar to that of previous estimates for the Hawaiian mantle plume. The identification of the ancient mantle reservoir and young recycled materials in the source region of these synchronous basalts is consistent with the seismically detected lower mantle-rooted Hainan plume that is adjacent to deep subducted slab-like seismic structures just above the core-mantle boundary. We speculate that the continued deep subduction and the presence of a dense segregated basaltic layer may have triggered the plume to rise from the thermal-chemical pile. This work therefore suggests a dynamic linkage between deep subduction and mantle plume generation.

  17. GLOBAL PLATE MOTION FRAMES: TOWARD A UNIFIED MODEL

    E-print Network

    Torsvik, Trond Helge

    shell of the Earth, and their past movements may be traced using geological data. Plate tectonics; accepted 12 February 2008; published 12 August 2008. [1] Plate tectonics constitutes our primary framework for understanding how the Earth works over geological timescales. High-resolution mapping of relative plate motions

  18. The interior of Venus and Tectonic implications

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Phillips, R. J.; Malin, M. C.

    1983-01-01

    It is noted in the present consideration of the Venus lithosphere and its implications for plate tectonics that the major linear elevated regions of Venus, which are associated with Beta Regio and Aphrodite Terra, do not seem to have the shape required for sure interpretation as the divergent plate boundaries of seafloor spreading. Such tectonics instead appear to be confined to the median plains, and may not be resolvable in the Pioneer Venus altimetry data. The ratios of gravity anomalies to topographic heights indicate that surface load compensation occurs at depths greater than about 100 km under the western Aphrodite Terra and 400 km under Beta Regio, with at least some of this compensation probably being maintained by mantle convection. It is also found that the shape of Venus's hypsogram is very different from the ocean mode of the earth's hypsogram, and it is proposed that Venus tectonics resemble intraplate, basin-and-swell tectonics on earth.

  19. Introduction to the special issue on convergent plate margin dynamics Convergent plate margins are arguably the most complicated and

    E-print Network

    Rawlinson, Nick

    of many investigations and discussions since the advent of plate tectonic theory. Due to the varied is hidden deep beneath the surface, much remains enigmatic and unknown about these important plate tectonic of the development of geological and geodynamic theories on convergent plate margins. Furthermore, the paper

  20. Tectonic deformation in southern California

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jackson, David D.

    1993-01-01

    Our objectives were to use modem geodetic data, especially those derived from space techniques like Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI), Satellite Laser Ranging (SLR), and the Global Positioning System (GPS) to infer crustal deformation in southern California and relate it to plate tectonics and earthquake hazard. To do this, we needed to collect some original data, write computer programs to determine positions of survey markers from geodetic observables, interpret time dependent positions in terms of velocity and earthquake caused episodic displacements, and construct a model to explain these velocities and displacements in terms of fault slip and plate movements.

  1. Ridge subduction sparked reorganization of the Pacific plate-mantle system 60-50 million years ago

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Seton, Maria; Flament, Nicolas; Whittaker, Joanne; Müller, R. Dietmar; Gurnis, Michael; Bower, Dan J.

    2015-03-01

    A reorganization centered on the Pacific plate occurred ~53-47 million years ago. A "top-down" plate tectonic mechanism, complete subduction of the Izanagi plate, as opposed to a "bottom-up" mantle flow mechanism, has been proposed as the main driver. Verification based on marine geophysical observations is impossible as most ocean crust recording this event has been subducted. Using a forward modeling approach, which assimilates surface plate velocities and shallow thermal structure of slabs into mantle flow models, we show that complete Izanagi plate subduction and margin-wide slab detachment induced a major change in sub-Pacific mantle flow, from dominantly southward before 60 Ma to north-northeastward after 50 Ma. Our results agree with onshore geology, mantle tomography, and the inferred motion of the Hawaiian hot spot and are consistent with a plate tectonic process driving the rapid plate-mantle reorganization in the Pacific hemisphere between 60 and 50 Ma. This reorganization is reflected in tectonic changes in the Pacific and surrounding ocean basins.

  2. The 3-D Tectonic Crustal Stress Field and Style of Faulting Along the Pacific North America Plate Boundary in Southern California

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yang, W.; Hauksson, E.

    2012-12-01

    We invert for the state of stress in the southern California crust using recent high quality earthquake focal mechanisms catalog (1981-2010). To interpret the stress field we determine the maximum horizontal compressive stress (SHmax) orientations and the style of faulting across southern California at four different scales of resolution, with grid spacing of 5 and 10 km, and with 15 or 30 events per grid. The stress field is best resolved where seismicity rates are high but sufficient data are available to constrain the stress field across most of the region. The trend of SHmax exhibits significant regional and local spatial heterogeneities. The regional trend of SHmax varies from north along the San Andreas system to NNE to the east in the Eastern California Shear Zone as well as to the west, within the Continental Borderland and the western Transverse Ranges. The transition zones from one state of stress to the other are very sharp and occur over a distance of a few kilometers, following a trend from Yucca Valley to Imperial Valley to the east, and the western edge of the Peninsular Ranges to the west. The local scale heterogeneities in the SHmax trend include NNW trends along the San Andreas Fault near Cajon Pass, Tejon Pass, and the Cucapa Range, as well as NNE trends near the northern San Jacinto Fault and the Wheeler Ridge region. The style of faulting exhibits similar complexity, ranging from predominantly normal faulting in the high Sierra Nevada, to strike-slip faulting along the San Andreas system, to three consecutive bands of thrust faulting in the Wheeler Ridge area and the western Transfer Ranges. The local variations in the style of faulting include normal faulting at the north end of the San Jacinto Fault and scattered regions of thrust faulting. We compare the pattern of SHmax trend in the crust with the GPS measured maximum shortening strain rate tensor and upper mantle anisotropy. The regional variations in the SHmax trends are very similar to the pattern of the maximum shortening axes of surface strain rate tensor field although the strain filed tends to be smoother and appears to capture some of the upper mantle deformation field. The mean trend of SHmax depart about approximately 14° to the east from the trend of the maximum shortening directions of anisotropy in the upper mantle.tacked SHmax profile across the Cajon Pass from the Continental Borderland to the Basin and Range. GPS velocity profile is in cyan.

  3. River history and tectonics.

    PubMed

    Vita-Finzi, C

    2012-05-13

    The analysis of crustal deformation by tectonic processes has gained much from the clues offered by drainage geometry and river behaviour, while the interpretation of channel patterns and sequences benefits from information on Earth movements before or during their development. The interplay between the two strands operates at many scales: themes which have already benefited from it include the possible role of mantle plumes in the breakup of Gondwana, the Cenozoic development of drainage systems in Africa and Australia, Himalayan uplift in response to erosion, alternating episodes of uplift and subsidence in the Mississippi delta, buckling of the Indian lithospheric plate, and changes in stream pattern and sinuosity along individual alluvial channels subject to localized deformation. Developments in remote sensing, isotopic dating and numerical modelling are starting to yield quantitative analyses of such effects, to the benefit of geodymamics as well as fluvial hydrology. PMID:22474680

  4. State-of-the-art for evaluating the potential impact of tectonism and volcanism on a radioactive waste repository

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1980-07-16

    Most estimates of the time required for safe isolation of radioactive wastes from the biosphere range from 100,000 to 1,000,000 years. For such long time spans, it is necessary to assess the potential effects of geologic processes such as volcanism and tectonic activity on the integrity of geologic repositories. Predictions of geologic phenomena can be based on probabilistic models, which assume a random distribution of events. The necessary historic and geologic records are rarely available to provide an adequate data base for such predictions. The observed distribution of volcanic and tectonic activity is not random, and appears to be controlled by extremely complex deterministic processes. The advent of global plate tectonic theory in the past two decades has been a giant step toward understanding these processes. At each potential repository site, volcanic and tectonic processes should be evaluated to provide the most thorough possible understanding of those deterministic processes. Based on this knowledge, judgements will have to be made as to whether or not the volcanic and tectonic processes pose unacceptable risk to the integrity of the repository. This report describes the potential hazards associated with volcanism and tectonism, and the means for evaluating these processes.

  5. Multi-scale dynamics and rheology of mantle flow with plates Laura Alisic,1,2

    E-print Network

    Burstedde, Carsten

    . 1. Introduction [2] Significant insight into the forces that govern plate tectonics has been gained between slab pull and ridge push as driving forces for plate tectonics, the evolution of slabs with plateMulti-scale dynamics and rheology of mantle flow with plates Laura Alisic,1,2 Michael Gurnis,1

  6. Endosidin 7 Specifically Arrests Late Cytokinesis and Inhibits Callose Biosynthesis, Revealing Distinct Trafficking Events during Cell Plate Maturation.

    PubMed

    Park, Eunsook; Díaz-Moreno, Sara M; Davis, Destiny J; Wilkop, Thomas E; Bulone, Vincent; Drakakaki, Georgia

    2014-05-23

    Although cytokinesis is vital for plant growth and development, our mechanistic understanding of the highly regulated membrane and cargo transport mechanisms in relation to polysaccharide deposition during this process is limited. Here, we present an in-depth characterization of the small molecule endosidin 7 (ES7) inhibiting callose synthase activity and arresting late cytokinesis both in vitro and in vivo in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana). ES7 is a specific inhibitor for plant callose deposition during cytokinesis that does not affect endomembrane trafficking during interphase or cytoskeletal organization. The specificity of ES7 was demonstrated (1) by comparing its action with that of known inhibitors such as caffeine, flufenacet, and concanamycin A and (2) across kingdoms with a comparison in yeast. The interplay between cell plate-specific post-Golgi vesicle traffic and callose accumulation was analyzed using ES7, and it revealed unique and temporal contributions of secretory and endosomal vesicles in cell plate maturation. While RABA2A-labeled vesicles, which accumulate at the early stage of cell plate formation, were not affected by ES7, KNOLLE was differentially altered by the small molecule. In addition, the presence of clathrin-coated vesicles in cells containing elevated levels of callose and their reduction under ES7 treatment further support the role of endocytic membrane remodeling in the maturing cell plate while the plate is stabilized by callose. Taken together, these data show the essential role of callose during the late stages of cell plate maturation and establish the temporal relationship between vesicles and regulatory proteins at the cell plate assembly matrix during polysaccharide deposition. PMID:24858949

  7. Tectonically controlled sedimentation in the Mesozoic basins of the Antarctic Peninsula

    SciTech Connect

    MacDonald, D.I.M.; Butterworth, P.J. )

    1990-05-01

    The Antarctica Peninsula (AP) lies on a medium-size block of continental crust and is one of a mosaic of west Antarctica coastal block that underwent a complex tectonic evolution during Gondwana breakup. The peninsula represents the eroded roots of a microcontinental volcanic arc; this arc lay above the easterly subducting proto-Pacific plate, and was active throughout the Mesozoic. The exposed Mesozoic basins display a complex stratigraphy, reflecting local tectonic and volcanic events. There are a few general trends. Almost all basins are post-late Oxfordian, their fill is entirely clastic, and is largely derived from the Antarctica peninsula volcanic arc. Most basins were affected by a period of arc expansion in the latest Jurassic or earliest Cretaceous, which manifests itself as inputs of lava or coarse volcaniclastic sediment overlying mudstones with an open marine fauna. Barriasian and older mudstones are generally finer grained and darker than mudstones from post-Berriasian strata. However, it must be emphasized that these are only general trends. Deformation is variable, commonly progressive. No lithostratigraphic units can be correlated between any two basins, nor are there any interregional unconformities. No matching is possible with basins of equivalent age in formerly contiguous areas of Gondwana. There is evidence that some global eustatic events are recorded in the sedimentary records of at least two of the AP Mesozoic basins, but these have effect only in periods of local tectonic quiescence. The dominant control on sedimentation in this large segment of the Pacific rim was arc tectonics.

  8. Workshop on the Tectonic Evolution of Greenstone Belts

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1986-01-01

    The Workshop on the Tectonic Evolution of Greenstone Belts, which is part of the Universities Space Research Association, Lunar and Planetary Institute, of Houston, Texas, met there on Jan. 16-18, 1986. A number of plate tectonic hypotheses have been proposed to explain the origin of Archean and Phanerozoic greenstone/ophiolite terranes. These hypotheses are explored in the abstracts.

  9. Tectonics of NE Russia: Pivotal issues and uncertainties

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sokolov, S. D.

    2004-12-01

    The main feature of the tectonic setup of NE Russia is the existence there of two contrasting tectonic grains: (1) Verkhoyansk-Chukotka orogenic belt (VCOB) with a markedly mosaic tectonic style and predominance of NW trends modified by the "Kolyma loop," and (2) Koryak-Kamchatka orogenic belt (KKOB), with its typical NE-trending linear features, conformable to the general tectonic grain of the Circum-Pacific foldbelts. Such sharp contrast in the tectonic grain can be explained as follows: (i) evolution of the VCOB was dominated by collisional processes, whereas, the KKOA provided the stage for accretionary ones; (ii) the VCOB incorporates terranes with continental crust (microcontinents); (iii) the paleostructures of the VCOB were separated from the Pacific by a convergent boundary, and their origin was not therefore related to the motions of Pacific plates-as was the case with the terranes of the KKOA. The time of inception of the convergent boundary between Eurasia and NW Pacific remains poorly constrained. Reliable reconstructions become feasible starting only from as late as the Late Jurassic. There are two different approaches on the origin and evolution of South Anyui suture (SAS): (1) Late Mesozoic rift; and (2) remnant after the closure of a Pacific re-entrant. The multiplicity of the viewpoints is due to the insufficient knowledge of the region and, primarily, to the lack of reliable data on (i) the structures of the different segments of the SAS and its northern and southern surroundings; (ii) age of the oceanic fragments; (iii) the tectonic position and geodynamic settings of the ophiolites; (iv) timing of the principal geologic events such as metamorphism, island-arc volcanism, granite emplacement, collision, etc.; (v) depositional environments and clastic sources of the Triassic -Early Cretaceous sediments. These white spots in our knowledge of the tectonic setup of the Chukotka Peninsula prevent us from adopting or rejecting the popular tectonic model viewing Chukotka as a microplate that split off Canada's Arctic margin to eventually dock onto the North Asian continent. In the KKOA, the pivotal issue is the original location of terranes, their travel paths, and the timing and mode of their accretion. This applies to the following terranes: (i) Ganychalan, including Early Paleozoic ophiolites that have no counterparts anywhere in NE Asia and that are likely fragments of oceanic lithosphere of the Pacific, Iapetus, or the Paleo-Asian Ocean; and (ii) the terranes carrying Late Paleozoic limestones and Tethyan faunas. Such units are common within the northern Circum-Pacific accretionary complexes (Cache Creek terrane in British Columbia, Akieshi terrane in Japan, etc.), and they are critical to paleotectonic reconstructions; and (iii) the numerous and diverse island arc terranes with both Tethyan and boreal faunas. It should be investigated which island arc terranes provided convergent boundaries to which plates, and by which Pacific plates these terranes were transported. Supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (project 02-05-64217).

  10. Plate-tectonic mechanism of Laramide deformation.

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hamilton, W.

    1981-01-01

    The Laramide compressive deformation of the craton was caused by a clockwise rotation of about 2-4o of the Colorado Plateau region relative to the continental interior, during late Late Cretaceous and early Tertiary time. Late Paleozoic and Neogene deformation of the craton also were produced by motion of a southwestern subplate relative to the continental interior. -from Author

  11. Investigating Students' Ideas about Plate Tectonics

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Ford, Brent; Taylor, Melanie

    2006-01-01

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

  12. Plate tectonics: Scientific revolution or scientific program?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mareschal, Jean-Claude

    In The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Thomas S. Kuhn suggested that science progresses discontinuously: As a scientific theory becomes obsolete, a period of crisis results, at the end of which the old theory is overthrown and replaced by a new, sounder, more complete theory [Kuhn, 1962]. After the scientific community has accepted the new [paradigm,] it undertakes only routine research until a new crisis occurs, usually as a result of an anomalous experiment that accidentally happens to be critical.

  13. Venusian tectonics: Convective coupling to the lithosphere?

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Phillips, R. J.

    1987-01-01

    The relationship between the dominant global heat loss mechanism and planetary size has motivated the search for tectonic style on Venus. Prior to the American and Soviet mapping missions of the past eight years, it was thought that terrestrial style plate tectonics was operative on Venus because this planet is approximately the size of the Earth and is conjectured to have about the same heat source content per unit mass. However, surface topography mapped by the altimeter of the Pioneer Venus spacecraft did not show any physiographic expression of terrestrial style spreading ridges, trenches, volcanic arcs or transform faults, although the horizontal resolution was questionable for detection of at least some of these features. The Venera 15 and 16 radar missions mapped the northern latitudes of Venus at 1 to 2 km resolution and showed that there are significant geographic areas of deformation seemingly created by large horizontal stresses. These same high resolution images show no evidence for plate tectonic features. Thus a fundamental problem for venusian tectonics is the origin of large horizontal stresses near the surface in the apparent absence of plate tectonics.

  14. Late Cenozoic to recent transtensional deformation across the Southern part of the Gaoligong shear zone between the Indian plate and SE margin of the Tibetan plateau and its tectonic origin

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Gang; Wan, Jinlin; Wang, Erchie; Zheng, Dewen; Li, Feng

    2008-11-01

    Within the southeastern part of the Tibetan plateau the Gaoligong Shan shear zone forms the boundary between the Tengchong and Baoshan blocks and is one of the main Cenozoic strike-slip fault systems of the eastern Himalayan syntaxis. The mountain ranges rise to a maximum elevation of 3623 m, with a width of 20 km and a length of 400 km. The core of the shear zone consists of a narrow belt of mylonitic rocks with right-lateral strike-slip fabrics formed during the northward movement of India relative to Eurasia in Oligocene and Miocene time. To the south the mountains decreases in elevation and end against the Wanding fault. The latter is one of a series of NE-SW striking, active left-lateral strike-slip faults within the southeastern part of the Tibetan plateau. The cause and timing for the change in elevation of the Gaoligong Shan is unknown, but based on our recent structural and fission-track geochronological work, the decrease in elevation is the result of east-west extension across the southern part of the Gaoligong shear zone inferred from the late Cenozoic and active normal faults along its eastern and western boundaries. Southward the eastern boundary fault system merges with a series of splays of the Wanding strike-slip fault, while the western boundary fault system is bent into parallelism with the Wanding fault. This geometric relationship suggests that the normal faulting along the eastern and western boundary of the Gaoligong shear zone was caused by transfer of the NE-SW left-lateral movement along the Wanding fault into E-W extension on faults to the northeast. The resultant normal faulting caused the lowering of the topography in the southern part of the shear zone. Fission track data from 11 samples from the mylonitic rocks in the footwall of the Ruili oblique slip fault, (left-lateral thrust slip) yielded ages between 8.4 and 0.9 Ma, coeval with volcanism within the Jietou and Mangbang basins. The left-lateral strike-slip movement along the Wanding and Ruili faults is interpreted to have accommodated differential clockwise rotation of the Gaoligong shear zone and its adjacent tectonic units during late Cenozoic to Recent time, during the northward movement of the Indian plate with respect to the southeastern margin of the Tibetan plateau along the right-lateral Sagaing fault.

  15. A FLUXTUBE TECTONICS MODEL FOR SOLAR CORONAL HEATING DRIVEN BY THE MAGNETIC CARPET

    E-print Network

    Priest, Eric

    . The dissipation of energy along sharp boundaries we call, by analogy with geophysical plate tectonicsA FLUX­TUBE TECTONICS MODEL FOR SOLAR CORONAL HEATING DRIVEN BY THE MAGNETIC CARPET Eric R. Priest, the tectonics model of coronal heating. Simi­ lar to the case on Earth, the relative motions of the photospheric

  16. A Flux Tube Tectonics Model for Solar Coronal Heating Driven by the Magnetic Carpet.

    E-print Network

    Priest, Eric

    A Flux Tube Tectonics Model for Solar Coronal Heating Driven by the Magnetic Carpet. Eric R. Priest heating. The dissipation of energy along sharp boundaries we call, by analogy with geophysi- cal plate tectonics, the tectonics model of coronal heating. Similar to the case on Earth, the relative motions

  17. A FLUX-TUBE TECTONICS MODEL FOR SOLAR CORONAL HEATING DRIVEN BY THE MAGNETIC CARPET

    E-print Network

    Priest, Eric

    . The dissipation of energy along sharp boundaries we call, by analogy with geophysical plate tectonicsA FLUX-TUBE TECTONICS MODEL FOR SOLAR CORONAL HEATING DRIVEN BY THE MAGNETIC CARPET Eric R. Priest, the tectonics model of coronal heating. Simi- lar to the case on Earth, the relative motions of the photospheric

  18. Continental Microplate Tectonics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thatcher, W.

    2007-12-01

    During the past decade, methods of space geodesy have demonstrated that the kinematics of the intra- continental deforming zones that lie between the large global plates can be usefully described as relative motions among small elastic blocks or microplates. At the same time, kinematic models that assume a smoothly varying deformation field have been developed and applied to the same data. Both models generally fit the data comparably well and there is much debate about which approach--blocks or continuum--is 'better'. However, there is really no disagreement about the existence of crustal blocks in deforming zones and only their size and number are contentious. Therefore a perhaps more useful way of framing the debate is to examine the purpose of each modeling approach, its success in meeting that purpose, and its limitations. Continuum modeling approaches are typically a prelude to dynamic modeling of continental deformation, thus far usually using a thin viscous sheet rheology for the lithosphere. The purpose of continuum modeling is then to quantify the forces driving and resisting motions and understand their relation to the observed deformation. This approach has been notably successful in determining the relative importance of plate boundary tractions and internal buoyancy forces (gravitational potential energy) in driving intra-continental deformation, particularly in central Asia and western North America. Continental deformation is block-like because major faults are weak and block interiors are much stronger. The main purpose of simple rigid plate kinematics is to quantify the rate and sense of slip across major faults and mountain belts, with applications to active tectonics and earthquake hazard assessment. Where available, late Quaternary and Holocene fault slip rate estimates, with few (but notable) exceptions, agree with geodetically- estimated rates obtained from the block models. Where block rotations are sufficiently large, late Cenozoic rotation rates can be determined paleomagnetically and these rates commonly agree with the space geodetic estimates. Despite several similarities, continental block kinematics differs in notable ways from global plate tectonics. First, microplates are much smaller, typically ~100-1000 km in size. Departures from block rigidity are small but measurable and represent either heterogeneous internal deformation or a more complex but unresolved block structure. While major oceanic plates may persist for tens or 100s of Ma, continental microplates change and evolve over much shorter timescales, particularly near their often geometrically irregular boundaries. The depth to which discrete block structures extend is uncertain. While some major faults probably extend through the crust into the upper mantle as narrow ductile shear zones, blocks elsewhere may be at least partially decoupled from the mantle lithosphere by pervasive ductile flow of weak lower crust. Continental blocks must ultimately be subject to the same forces that drive and resist global plate motions. However, the role and importance of local forces is often evident from the observed patterns of continental block motion. These local forces include internal buoyancy due to lateral density gradients in continental lithosphere and block boundary forces such as those caused by slab roll-back, trench suction, and resistance to subduction of buoyant lithosphere. The importance of basal tractions that may drive or resist block motions is uncertain and controversial.

  19. The October 15, 1997 Punitaqui earthquake (Mw=7.1): a destructive event within the subducting Nazca plate in central Chile

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pardo, Mario; Comte, Diana; Monfret, Tony; Boroschek, Rubén; Astroza, Maximiliano

    2002-02-01

    The 1943 Illapel seismic gap, central Chile (30-32°S), was partially reactivated in 1997-1998 by two distinct seismic clusters. On July 1997, a swarm of offshore earthquakes occurred on the northern part of the gap, along the coupled zone between Nazca and South American plates. Most of the focal mechanisms computed for these earthquakes show thrust faulting solutions. The July 1997 swarm was followed on October 15, 1997 by the Punitaqui main event (Mw=7.1), which destroyed the majority of adobe constructions in Punitaqui village and its environs. The main event focal mechanism indicates normal faulting with the more vertical plane considered as the active fault. This event is located inland at 68-km depth and it is assumed to be within the oceanic subducted plate, as are most of the more destructive Chilean seismic events. Aftershocks occurred mainly to the north of the Punitaqui mainshock location, in the central-eastern part of the Illapel seismic gap, but at shallower depths, with the two largest showing thrust focal mechanisms. The seismicity since 1964 has been relocated with a master event technique and a Joint Hypocenter Determination (JHD) algorithm, using teleseismic and regional data, along with aftershock data recorded by a temporary local seismic network and strong motion stations. These data show that the 1997 seismic clusters occurred at zones within the Illapel gap where low seismicity was observed during the considered time period. The analysis of P and T axis directions along the subduction zone, using the Harvard Centroid Moment Tensor solutions since 1977, shows that the oceanic slab is in a downdip extensional regime. In contrast, the Punitaqui mainshock is related to compression resulting from the flexure of the oceanic plate, which becomes subhorizontal at depths of about 100 km. Analog strong motion data of the Punitaqui main event show that the greatest accelerations are on the horizontal components. The highest amplitude spectra of the acceleration is in the frequency band 2.5-10 Hz, in agreement with the energy band responsible for the collapsed adobe constructions. The isoseismal map derived from the distribution of observed damage show that a high percentage of destruction is due to the proximity of the mainshock, the poor quality of adobe houses and probably local site amplification effects.

  20. Changes in Eocene-Miocene shallow marine carbonate factories along the tropical SE Circum-Caribbean responded to major regional and global environmental and tectonic events

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Silva-Tamayo, Juan Carlos

    2015-04-01

    Changes in the factory of Cenozoic tropical marine carbonates have been for long attributed to major variations on climatic and environmental conditions. Although important changes on the factories of Cenozoic Caribbean carbonates seem to have followed global climatic and environmental changes, the regional impact of such changes on the factories of shallow marine carbonate along the Caribbean is not well established. Moreover, the influence of transpressional tectonics on the occurrence, distribution and stratigraphy of shallow marine carbonate factories along this area is far from being well understood. Here we report detailed stratigraphic, petrographic and Sr-isotope chemostratigraphic information of several Eocene-Miocene carbonate successions deposited along the equatorial/tropical SE Circum-Caribbean (Colombia and Panama) from which we further assess the influence of changing environmental conditions, transtentional tectonics and sea level change on the development of the shallow marine carbonate factories. Our results suggest that during the Eocene-early Oligocene interval, a period of predominant high atmospheric pCO2, coralline algae constitute the principal carbonate builders of shallow marine carbonate successions along the SE Circum-Caribbean. Detailed stratigraphic and paragenetic analyses suggest the developed of laterally continuous red algae calcareous build-ups along outer-rimmed carbonate platforms. The predominance of coralline red algae over corals on the shallow marine carbonate factories was likely related to high sea surface temperatures and high turbidity. The occurrence of such build-ups was likely controlled by pronounce changes in the basin paleotopography, i.e. the occurrence of basement highs and lows, resulting from local transpressional tectonics. The occurrence of these calcareous red algae dominated factories was also controlled by diachronic opening of different sedimentary basins along the SE Circum Caribbean resulting from transpressional tectonics. Calcareous algae persisted as the main constituents of the shallow marine carbonate factories until the middle Oligocene; a period when atmospheric pCO2 dropped significantly. The drop in atmospheric pCO2 allowed the onset of global icehouse conditions, which likely resulted in a decrease in sea surface temperatures along the Caribbean. This drop allowed the appearance of corals as the main constituents of the shallow marine carbonate factories along the SE Circum-Caribbean by late Oligocene times.

  1. Beginning the Modern Regime of Subduction Tectonics in Neoproterozoic time: Inferences from Ophiolites of the Arabian-Nubian Shield

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stern, R.

    2003-04-01

    It is now clear that the motive force for plate tectonics is provided by the sinking of dense lithosphere in subduction zones. Correspondingly, the modern tectonic regime is more aptly called ``subduction tectonics" than plate tectonics, which only describes the way Earth's thermal boundary layer adjusts to subduction. The absence of subduction tectonics on Mars and Venus implies that special circumstances are required for subduction to occur on a silicate planet. This begs the question: When did Earth's oceanic lithosphere cool sufficiently for subduction to began? This must be inferred from indirect lines of evidence; the focus here is on the temporal distribution of ophiolites. Well-preserved ophiolites with ``supra-subduction zone" (SSZ) affinities are increasingly regarded as forming when subduction initiates as a result of lithospheric collapse (± a nudge to get it started), and the formation of ophiolitic lithosphere in evolving forearcs favors their emplacement and preservation. The question now is what percentage of ophiolites with ``supra-subduction zone" (SSZ) chemical signatures formed in forearcs during subduction initiation events? Most of the large, well-preserved ophiolites (e.g., Oman, Cyprus, California, Newfoundland) may have this origin. If so, the distribution in space and time of such ophiolites can be used to identify ``subduction initiation" events, which are important events in the evolution of plate tectonics. Such events first occurred at the end of the Archean (˜2.5Ga) and again in the Paleoproterozoic (˜1.8 Ga), but ophiolites become uncommon after this. Well-preserved ophiolites become abundant in Neoproterozoic time, at about 800±50 Ma. Ophiolites of this age are common and well-preserved in the Arabian-Nubian Shield (ANS) of Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Saudi Arabia. ANS ophiolites mostly contain spinels with high Cr#, indicating SSZ affinities. Limited trace element data on pillowed lavas supports this interpretation. Boninites are unusual melts of harzburgite that result from asthenospheric upwelling interactng with slab-derived water. This environment is only common during subduction initiation events. Boninites associated with ophiolites have been reported from Egypt, Ethiopia and Eritrea, but most of the geochemical studies of ANS ophiolitic basalts are based on studies that are a decade or more old. The abundance of ANS ophiolites implies an episode of subduction initiation occurred in Neoproterozoic time.

  2. Australian paleo-stress fields and tectonic reactivation over the past 100 Ma

    E-print Network

    Müller, Dietmar

    evolution and fault reactivation through time by reconstructing tectonic plates, restoring plate boundary though a multitude of observations suggest time-dependent regional tectonic reactivation intraplate stress models for key times from the Early Cretaceous to the present, and link them to geological

  3. Laboratory triggering of stick-slip events by oscillatory loading in the presence of pore fluid with implications for physics of tectonic tremor

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bartlow, Noel M.; Lockner, David A.; Beeler, Nicholas M.

    2012-01-01

    The physical mechanism by which the low-frequency earthquakes (LFEs) that make up portions of tectonic (also called non-volcanic) tremor are created is poorly understood. In many areas of the world, tectonic tremor and LFEs appear to be strongly tidally modulated, whereas ordinary earthquakes are not. Anomalous seismic wave speeds, interpreted as high pore fluid pressure, have been observed in regions that generate tremor. Here we build upon previous laboratory studies that investigated the response of stick-slip on artificial faults to oscillatory, tide-like loading. These previous experiments were carried out using room-dry samples of Westerly granite, at one effective stress. Here we augment these results with new experiments on Westerly granite, with the addition of varying effective stress using pore fluid at two pressures. We find that raising pore pressure, thereby lowering effective stress can significantly increase the degree of correlation of stick-slip to oscillatory loading. We also find other pore fluid effects that become important at higher frequencies, when the period of oscillation is comparable to the diffusion time of pore fluid into the fault. These results help constrain the conditions at depth that give rise to tidally modulated LFEs, providing confirmation of the effective pressure law for triggering and insights into why tremor is tidally modulated while earthquakes are at best only weakly modulated.

  4. The Continental Plates are Getting Thicker.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kerr, Richard A.

    1986-01-01

    Reviews seismological studies that provide evidence of the existence of continental roots beneath the continents. Suggests, that through the collisions of plate tectonics, continents stabilized part of the mobile mantle rock beneath them to form deep roots. (ML)

  5. Tectonics and volcanism of Eastern Aphrodite Terra, Venus - No subduction, no spreading

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hansen, Vicki L.; Phillips, Roger J.

    1993-01-01

    Eastern Aphrodite Terra, a deformed region with high topographic relief on Venus, has been interpreted as analogous to a terrestrial extensional or convergent plate boundary. However, analysis of geological and structural relations indicates that the tectonics of eastern Aphrodite Terra is dominated by blistering of the crust by magma diapirs. The findings imply that, within this region, vertical tectonism dominates over horizontal tectonism and, consequently, that this region is neither a divergent nor a convergent plate boundary.

  6. Tectonic significance of serpentinites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Guillot, Stéphane; Schwartz, Stéphane; Reynard, Bruno; Agard, Philippe; Prigent, Cécile

    2015-04-01

    At plate boundaries, where deformation is localized along centimetre- to kilometre-scale shear zones, the influence of serpentinite on tectonic processes is linked to its unique rheological properties. In this paper we review the physical properties of serpentinites and their role in tectonic processes. At the ocean-continent transition, serpentinization weakens the upper mantle layer, promoting strain localization and allowing the normal faults in the distal margin to root at low angle. Similarly, at slow to ultra-slow spreading ridges, serpentinite is potentially very abundant at the seafloor and locally associated with domal structures. Extensional deformation is localized in a ~ 100 m thick shear zone at the footwall of detachment zones dominated by serpentine derived minerals. Within subduction zone, the depth of decoupling between the mantle wedge and the subducting slab corresponds to the stability depth of serpentine weak mineral. Dehydration of serpentine has also been hypothesized to play an important role in the origin of double seismic zones, however the exact mechanism through which dehydration promotes seismicity remains a matter of debate. During exhumation of high-pressure or ultrahigh-pressure rocks, the opposite trajectories of exhumation and subduction require a decoupling zone within the subducting slab. A serpentinized layer has the potential to become a decoupling zone between the oceanic crust and underlying lithosphere. The buoyancy of serpentinite also likely contributes to eclogite exhumation. Finally, along major strike-slip faults, serpentinites have been associated with fault creep, as well as low fault strength. The presence of serpentinite blocks along creeping segments of active faults worldwide is therefore likely to originate from fluids deriving from the progressive dehydration of the mantle wedge that move such bodies upward.

  7. Dynamics of Mid-Palaeocene North Atlantic rifting linked with European intra-plate deformations.

    PubMed

    Nielsen, Søren B; Stephenson, Randell; Thomsen, Erik

    2007-12-13

    The process of continental break-up provides a large-scale experiment that can be used to test causal relations between plate tectonics and the dynamics of the Earth's deep mantle. Detailed diagnostic information on the timing and dynamics of such events, which are not resolved by plate kinematic reconstructions, can be obtained from the response of the interior of adjacent continental plates to stress changes generated by plate boundary processes. Here we demonstrate a causal relationship between North Atlantic continental rifting at approximately 62 Myr ago and an abrupt change of the intra-plate deformation style in the adjacent European continent. The rifting involved a left-lateral displacement between the North American-Greenland plate and Eurasia, which initiated the observed pause in the relative convergence of Europe and Africa. The associated stress change in the European continent was significant and explains the sudden termination of a approximately 20-Myr-long contractional intra-plate deformation within Europe, during the late Cretaceous period to the earliest Palaeocene epoch, which was replaced by low-amplitude intra-plate stress-relaxation features. The pre-rupture tectonic stress was large enough to have been responsible for precipitating continental break-up, so there is no need to invoke a thermal mantle plume as a driving mechanism. The model explains the simultaneous timing of several diverse geological events, and shows how the intra-continental stratigraphic record can reveal the timing and dynamics of stress changes, which cannot be resolved by reconstructions based only on plate kinematics. PMID:18075591

  8. Andean tectonics: Implications for Satellite Geodesy

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Allenby, R. J.

    1984-01-01

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

  9. Continental margin tectonics - Forearc processes

    SciTech Connect

    Lundberg, N.; Reed, D.L. )

    1991-01-01

    Recent studies of convergent plate margins and the structural development of forearc terranes are summarized in a critical review of U.S. research from the period 1987-1990. Topics addressed include the geometry of accretionary prisms (Coulomb wedge taper and vertical motion in response to tectonic processes), offscraping vs underplating or subduction, the response to oblique convergence, fluids in forearc settings, the thermal framework and the effects of fluid advection, and serpentinite seamounts. Also included is a comprehensive bibliography for the period.

  10. The tectonic and volcanic evolution of Venus: Catastrophic or gradual?

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Solomon, Sean C.

    1993-01-01

    Radar imaging and altimetry data from the Magellan mission have yielded important new constraints on the tectonic and volcanic history of Venus and on its internal dynamics. The planet lacks global plate tectonics, but a number of chasm systems and corona moat structures have arcuate planforms, asymmetric topogrpahic profiles, and relief analogous to deep-sea trenches on Earth and may be products of limited lithospheric underthrusting or subduction. Several lines of evidence point to a crust and upper mantle stronger than would be predicted by simple extrapolation from Earth and the 450 K greater surface temperature; these include the unrelaxed depths of impact craters, apparently large values of elastic lithosphere thickness, and large ratios of gravity to topography. The density of impact craters indicates an averate crater retention age of about 500 My, but not more than 5% of the recognized craters have been volcanically embayed. This last observation has led to the proposal that Venus has been subjected to one or more global resurfacing events, the latest about 500 My ago, and that the volcanic flux during intervals between such events has been low. That more recent tectonic activity has been widespread, however, is indicated by the high relief and slopes of mountains, chasm walls, and plateau margins; the significant fraction (0.3) of impact craters deformed by younger faults; and the postformational vertical deformation of long channels. Interior dynamical scenarios advanced to account for episodic volcanic resurfacing include catastrophic overturn of a global lithosphere thickened by cooling or compositional buoyancy and strongly time-dependent mantle convective heat flux. Outgassing considerations and analogy with Earth and other terrestrial planets, however, suggests that such catastrophic models are unlikely. If the mantle of Venus cooled more efficiently than that of Earth because of, say, different boundary conditions, a different flow law, or a different degree of layering, then the planet may in the last 500 My have attained lesser mantle temperatures, lower mantle heat flux, and a significantly lesser rate of magma production than Earth yet still display evidence for ongoing convection and active tectonics. Such a 'cold Venus' scenario would be broadly consistent with observations yet be characterized by a gradual volcanic and tectonic evolution.

  11. North American plate dynamics

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Richardson, Randall M.; Reding, Lynn M.

    1991-01-01

    Deformation within the North American plate in response to various tectonic processes is modeled using an elastic finite element analysis. The tectonic processes considered in the modeling include ridge forces associated with the normal thermal evolution of oceanic lithosphere, shear and normal stresses transmitted across transforms, normal stresses transmitted across convergent boundaries, stresses due to horizontal density contrasts within the continent, and shear tractions applied along the base of the plate. Model stresses are calculated with respect to a lithostatic reference stress state. Shear stresses transmitted across transform boundaries along the San Andreas and Caribbean are small, of the order of 5-10 MPa. Also, compressive stresses of the order of 5-10 MPa transmitted across the major transforms improve the fit to the data. Compressive stresses across convergent margins along the Aleutians and the Middle America trench are important.

  12. Pulsation tectonics as a control on the dispersal and assembly of supercontinents

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sheridan, Robert E.

    1997-07-01

    Sheridan R. E. (1996) Pulsation tectonics as a control on the dispersal and assembly of supercontinents. In N. Rast and J. Rogers (eds), Dispersal and assembly of supercontinents. J. Geodynam. Pulsation tectonics is the theory of cyclic eruption (upwelling) of hot plumes from the lowermost mantle. Causes of upwelling are possible thermal instabilities in the D? layer at the core-mantle boundary and/or displacement of the D? layer material by cold downwellings from the 410-670 km endothermic phase-change layer. In any case, a quasi-periodic flux of mass and heat into the asthenosphere lowers its viscosity during the upwellings. Intervals of vigorous lower mantle convection (10-40 m.y.) affect the D? layer and cause constant geomagnetic field polarity. During intervals of diminished lower mantle convection (30-100 m.y.), there are frequent reversals of the geomagnetic field. Lower asthenospheric viscosity leads to acceleration of the plate tectonic subduction processes. Plate subduction rates were 2 to 3 times the present rates during intervals of constant geomagnetic field polarity. Increased global plate spreading and subduction rates facilitate continental collision and dispersal. Constant geomagnetic field polarities and increased plate spreading rates in the Cretaceous (normal, ~ 80-120 Ma), Jurassic (normal, ~ 160-170 Ma), late Carboniferous-Permian (reversed, ~ 260-300 Ma), late Devonian-Carboniferous (reversed, ~ 350-375 Ma) and late Ordovician-Silurian (normal, ~ 430-460 Ma) are associated with Pangean dispersal (break-up) and assembly (orogeny) events. Accelerated subduction causes the continents to collide more frequently, while accelerated slab pull, trench rollbacks and slab suction break the continents apart.

  13. Seismic?wave attenuation determined from tectonic tremor in multiple subduction zones

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Yabe, Suguru; Baltay, Annemarie S.; Ide, Satoshi; Beroza, Gregory C.

    2014-01-01

    Tectonic tremor provides a new source of observations that can be used to constrain the seismic attenuation parameter for ground?motion prediction and hazard mapping. Traditionally, recorded earthquakes of magnitude ?3–8 are used to develop ground?motion prediction equations; however, typical earthquake records may be sparse in areas of high hazard. In this study, we constrain the distance decay of seismic waves using measurements of the amplitude decay of tectonic tremor, which is plentiful in some regions. Tectonic tremor occurs in the frequency band of interest for ground?motion prediction (i.e., ?2–8??Hz) and is located on the subducting plate interface, at the lower boundary of where future large earthquakes are expected. We empirically fit the distance decay of peak ground velocity from tremor to determine the attenuation parameter in four subduction zones: Nankai, Japan; Cascadia, United States–Canada; Jalisco, Mexico; and southern Chile. With the large amount of data available from tremor, we show that in the upper plate, the lower crust is less attenuating than the upper crust. We apply the same analysis to intraslab events in Nankai and show the possibility that waves traveling from deeper intraslab events experience more attenuation than those from the shallower tremor due to ray paths that pass through the subducting and highly attenuating oceanic crust. This suggests that high pore?fluid pressure is present in the tremor source region. These differences imply that the attenuation parameter determined from intraslab earthquakes may underestimate ground motion for future large earthquakes on the plate interface.

  14. Break-up spots: Could the Pacific open as a consequence of plate kinematics?

    E-print Network

    Clouard, Valerie

    to hotspots. How- ever, hotspot volcanism does not fit well into the plate tectonic theory associated of plate tectonics theory, related some hotspots to spreading ridges. Morgan (1971) argued that spreadingBreak-up spots: Could the Pacific open as a consequence of plate kinematics? Valérie Clouard a

  15. Regional contemporaneity of eustatic, subsidence, and tectonic events in the Middle-Upper Ordovician of the Appalachians and Ouachita orogens and the southern Oklahoma aulacogen

    SciTech Connect

    Finney, S.C.; Bergstroem, S.M.

    1985-01-01

    On-going graptolite and conodont studies in the Southern Appalachians, the Ouachitas, and the Arbuckle Mountains have revealed contemporaneity of important geological events of regional significance. Reassessment of previous graptolite biostratigraphy has resulted in a revised zonation that has solved some correlation problems and is tied to the Midcontinent and North Atlantic conodont zonations. These zonations are used to date significant geological events in geographically separate regions during two time intervals in the Middle-Upper Ordovician. The base of the graptolite shale succession (Athens) in the Southern Appalachians (Alabama-Tennessee) belongs to the G. teretiusculus Zone, or locally (Georgia) possibly a slightly older unit, and marks the initial shelf-basin development and uplift of source areas to the east reflecting a phase of the Taconic Orogeny. The bases of the Womble and Woods Hollow shales in the Ouachita Orogen represent about the same level. Slightly younger N. gracilis Zone strata tend to be transgressive throughout the world and appear to represent a global eustatic event. In the Arbuckle Mountains this event is reflected by the Tulip Creek Shale. A major subsidence event in the Oklahoma aulacogen, contemporaneous with the regression, produced a transgressive lithofacies sequence represented by the lower Viola Springs Formation in the Arbuckle Mountains. The regressive and subsidence events appear to have been coeval with the emplacement of the Taconic allochthon and Hamburg Klippe in the Northern Appalachians.

  16. Reconstruction of provenances and carboniferous tectonic events in the North-East Siberian Craton framework according to U-Pb dating of detrital zircons

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ershova, V. B.; Khudoley, A. K.; Prokopiev, A. V.

    2013-03-01

    The U-Pb dating of detrital zircons from Carboniferous rocks in the northern frontal zone of the Verkhoyansk Fold-and-Thrust Belt (Kharaulakh Anticlinorium) at the boundary with the Siberian Platform is carried out for the first time. The age distribution of detrital zircons from the four dated samples has much in common, indicating that the same sources of clastic material were predominant. All of the samples are dominated by Precambrian zircons; the majority of them are Paleo- and Neoproterozoic grains. Early Ordovician and Late Devonian-Early Carboniferous detrital zircons are also numerous. The igneous rocks of the Taimyr-Severnaya Zemlya and/or Central Asian foldbelts extending along the northern, western, and southwestern margins of the Siberian continent probably were the main source areas of the studied sedimentary successions. The clastic material was transferred at a great distance by large river systems similar to the present-day Mississippi River and deposited in submarine fans at the passive margin of the Siberian continent. The occurrence of the detrital zircons whose age is synchronous to the time of sedimentation of the Carboniferous successions in the northern Verkhoyansk region (320-340 Ma) allows us to suggest that they were derived from the Taimyr-Severnaya Zemlya Foldbelt and that collision of the Kara Block with the Siberian continent began in the Early Carboniferous. The performed study shows the dating of detrital zircons is very helpful for the paleogeographic and tectonic reconstructions.

  17. A review on earthquake and tsunami hazards of the Sumatran plate boundary: Observing expected and unexpected events after the Aceh-Andaman Mw 9.15 event

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Natawidjaja, D.

    2013-12-01

    The 600-km Mentawai megathrust had produced two giant historical earthquakes generating big tsunamies in 1797 and 1833. The SuGAr (Sumatran GPS continuous Array) network, first deployed in 2002, shows that the subduction interface underlying Mentawai Islands and the neighboring Nias section in the north are fully locked, thus confirming their potential hazards. Outreach activities to warn people about earthquake and tsunamies had been started since 4 months prior to the 26 December 2004 in Aceh-Andaman earthquake (Mw 9.15). Later in March 2005, the expected megathrust earthquake (Mw 8.7) hit Nias-Simelue area and killed about 2000 people, releasing the accumulated strain since the previous 1861 event (~Mw 8.5). After then many Mw 7s and smaller events occured in Sumatra, filling areas between and around two giant ruptures and heighten seismicities in neighboring areas. In March 2007, the twin earthquake disaster (Mw 6.3 and Mw 6.4) broke two consecutive segments of the transcurrent Sumatran fault in the Singkarak lake area. Only six month later, in September 2007, the rapid-fire-failures of three consecutive megathrust patches (Mw 8.5, Mw 7.9 and Mw 7.0) ruptured a 250-km-section of the southern part of the Mentawai. It was a big surprise since this particular section is predicted as a very-low coupled section from modelling the SuGAr data, and hence, bypassing the more potential fully coupled section of the Mentawai in between the 2005 and 2007 ruptures. In September 2009, a rare unexpected event (Mw 7.6) suddenly ruptured an intracrustal fault in the subducted slab down under Padang City and killed about 500 people. Padang had been in preparation for the next tsunami but not for strong shakes from near by major earthquake. This event seems to have remotely triggered another Mw 6.7 on the Sumatran fault near kerinci Lake, a few hundred kilometers south of Padang, in less than a day. Just a year later, in November 2010, again an unexpected large slow-slip event of Mw 7.8 ruptured an up-dip section of the 2007 rupture, west of the South Pagai of Mentawai Islands. It shook the region only gently but woke deadly tsunami up to 14 meter heights and killed about 500 people. Despite it has been a bit quite in the past three years but the amount of strain left on the Mentawai segment, especially under Siberut, Sipora and North Pagai Islands is about Mw 8.8 still, waiting to be released sometime in the near future. Beside Mentawai, stydies on prehistorical earthquakes and mapping off strain budget and releases along the Aceh-Andaman indicates that a Mw 8 or greater earthquake is still possible to occur in the next decades. Moreover, the status and characteristics of the megathrust section south of the Mentawai, the Sunda Strait to south Java Ocean, is largely unknown so far. Nonetheless, we do know that this southernmost section has been quite for the past several hundreds years, suggesting a possible seismic gap, and it is close to dense population of industrial and urban areas. Learning from experience, we should not just prepare for the expected of well known sources but also the unexpected ones.