Effects of lateral variations in lithospheric thickness and mantle viscosity on glacially induced relative sea levels and long wavelength gravity field in a spherical, self-gravitating Maxwell Earth
The effects of lateral variations in lithospheric thickness and mantle viscosity on glacially induced relative sea level (RSL) changes and the secular rate of change of the Earth's long wavelength gravity field in a spherical, self-gravitating, incompressible visco-elastic earth are investigated using the Coupled-Laplace-Finite-Element method. The ICE-4G deglaciation model is used with gravitationally self-consistent sea levels in realistic oceans to describe the load. Lateral variations in mantle viscosity and lithospheric thickness are inferred from seismic tomography model S20A. The full 3-D earth model, which includes all the lateral heterogeneities in the lithosphere and mantle, gives a better fit to the global RSL data than the related laterally homogeneous model. However, the situation is less clear for the observed secular drift of the low degree geopotential coefficients J˙l because of the uncertain contribution of recent melting. But, the full 3-D model can fit the J˙2 observation if recent melting contributes about 1.0 mm/a of equivalent sea level rise. It predicts that the GIA induced secular gravity rate of change to be detected by the GRACE mission in the southern part of Hudson Bay is about 1.2 to 1.6 μgal/a. Moreover, the contributions of lateral heterogeneities from individual layers in the mantle or in the lithosphere are studied. The contribution from the transition zone (420-670 km) is generally opposite to that from its neighboring layers and thus can mask their effects. As a consequence, the effects from the deep lower mantle become dominant for RSL and secular rate of change of gravity over Laurentide. For the secular rates of change for degrees 2-4 geopotential coefficients, the contribution is mostly from lateral heterogeneities in the deeper mantle. The effects of background viscosity profiles are also investigated and are found to be significant for all these observables.