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

Stadler, G and Gurnis, M and Burstedde, C and Wilcox, LC and Alisic, L. and Ghattas, O (2010) The dynamics of plate tectonics and mantle flow: from local to global scales. Science, 329 (5995). pp. 1033-1038. DOI 10.1126/science.1191223

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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.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: 02 - Geodynamics, Geophysics and Tectonics
Divisions: 02 - Geodynamics, Geophysics and Tectonics
Journal or Publication Title: Science
Volume: 329
Page Range: pp. 1033-1038
Identification Number: 10.1126/science.1191223
Depositing User: Sarah Humbert
Date Deposited: 18 Oct 2012 10:12
Last Modified: 23 Jul 2013 10:04

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