Speculations on the consequences and causes of plate motions

McKenzie, D. P. (1969) Speculations on the consequences and causes of plate motions. Geophysical Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society, 18 (1). pp. 1-32. ISSN 0016-8009 DOI 10.1111/j.1365-246X.1969.tb00259.x

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-246X.1969.tb00259...

Abstract

Plate theory has successfully related sea floor spreading to the focal mechanisms of earthquakes and the deep structure of island arcs. It is used here to calculate the temperature distribution in the lithosphere thrust beneath island arcs, and to determine the flow and the stress elsewhere in the mantle. Comparison with observations demonstrates that earthquakes are restricted to those regions of the mantle which are colder than a definite temperature. The flow and the stress heating in the mantle can maintain the high heat flow anomaly observed behind island arcs. Plate theory also suggests a new approach to the convection problem. The most obvious mechanism causing surface motion is the force on the plates due to the sinking lithosphere. This does not appear to be the way in which the motions are maintained. However, the input of large volumes of cold material can control convection and cause general downward movements in the mantle near island arcs. This input of cold lithosphere must cease when the island arc tries to consume a continent, since the light continental crust cannot sink through the denser mantle. Attempts to assimilate continental crust in this way can produce fold mountains, and also permit a rearrangement of convection cells.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: NIL AREP
Subjects: 02 - Geodynamics, Geophysics and Tectonics
Divisions: 02 - Geodynamics, Geophysics and Tectonics
Journal or Publication Title: Geophysical Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume: 18
Page Range: pp. 1-32
Identification Number: 10.1111/j.1365-246X.1969.tb00259.x
Depositing User: Sarah Humbert
Date Deposited: 20 May 2015 17:37
Last Modified: 20 May 2015 17:37
URI: http://eprints.esc.cam.ac.uk/id/eprint/3308

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