We use a new numerical approach for global geodynamics to investigate the origin of present global plate motion and to identify the causes of the last two global tectonic reorganizations occurred about 50 and 100 million years ago (Ma) . While the 50 Ma event is the most well-known global plate-mantle event, expressed by the bend in the Hawaiian-Emperor volcanic chain, a prominent plate reorganization at about 100 Ma, although presently little studied, is clearly indicated by a major bend in the fracture zones in the Indian Ocean and by a change in Pacific plate motion . Our workflow involves turning plate reconstructions into surface meshes that are subsequently employed as initial conditions for global Boundary Element numerical models. The tectonic setting that anticipates the reorganizations is processed with the software GPlates, combining the 3D mesh of the paleo-plate morphology and the reconstruction of paleo-subducted slabs, elaborated from tectonic history . All our models involve the entire planetary system, are fully dynamic, have free surface, are characterized by a spectacular computational speed due to the simultaneous use of the multi-pole algorithm and the Boundary Element formulation and are limited only by the use of sharp material property variations . We employ this new tool to unravel the causes of plate tectonic reorganizations, producing and comparing global plate motion with the reconstructed ones. References:  Torsvik, T., Müller, R.D., Van der Voo, R., Steinberger, B., and Gaina, C., 2008, Global Plate Motion Frames: Toward a unified model: Reviews in Geophysics, VOL. 46, RG3004, 44 PP., 2008  Wessel, P. and Kroenke, L.W. Pacific absolute plate motion since 145 Ma: An assessment of the fixed hot spot hypothesis. Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol 113, B06101, 2008  L. Quevedo, G. Morra, R. D. Mueller. Parallel Fast Multipole Boundary Element Method for Crustal Dynamics, Proceeding 9th World Congress and 4th Asian Pacific Congress on Computational Mechanics, July 2010, iopscience.iop.org/1757-899X/10/1/012012.  G. Morra, P. Chatelain, P. Tackley and P. Koumoutzakos, 2007, Large scale three-dimensional boundary element simulation of subduction, in Proceeding International Conference on Computational Science - Part III, LNCS 4489, pp. 1122-1129. Interaction between two subducting slabs.
AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts
- Pub Date:
- December 2010
- 0545 COMPUTATIONAL GEOPHYSICS / Modeling;
- 3040 MARINE GEOLOGY AND GEOPHYSICS / Plate tectonics;
- 5475 PLANETARY SCIENCES: SOLID SURFACE PLANETS / Tectonics;
- 8158 TECTONOPHYSICS / Plate motions: present and recent