We apply a novel workflow utilising the BEM-Earth geodynamic software to analyse the global coupled plate-mantle dynamics at 50 Ma. A subduction history model based on kinematic data going as far back as 80 Ma was developed using the GPlates software. Advection of the plates into the mantle takes into account the absolute plate motions and lithospheric thickness derived from its age to produce an estimated density heterogeneity initial model condition in the upper mantle. The resulting global model consists of regions of a mantle viscosity and density structure that is post-processed to ensure smooth non-overlapping 3D surfaces. BEM-Earth is then free to evolve the model toward the 50 Ma solution. The evolution of the model is driven by self-consistent buoyancy driven mantle dynamics. We use the model velocity output to quantify changes in forces driving the plates before and after 50 Ma. We analyse the rapid change in plate motion of India, Africa and plates in the Pacific Ocean basin by considering slab-pull, ridge-push and mantle drag/suction forces that naturally result from such top-down driven mantle flow. We compare the results with plate kinematic reconstructions and other geological observations.
AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts
- Pub Date:
- December 2011
- 3040 MARINE GEOLOGY AND GEOPHYSICS / Plate tectonics;
- 8157 TECTONOPHYSICS / Plate motions: past;
- 8170 TECTONOPHYSICS / Subduction zone processes