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Plate tectonics and net lithosphere rotation over the past 150 My

Torsvik, Trond H. and Steinberger, Bernhard and Gurnis, Michael and Gaina, Carmen (2010) Plate tectonics and net lithosphere rotation over the past 150 My. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 291 (1-4). pp. 106-112. ISSN 0012-821X. doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2009.12.055.

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We have developed an improved model of global digital palaeo-plate boundaries and plate motion to describe the distribution and history of plates since the Late Jurassic. From this history we computed net lithospheric rotation (NR) through time confirming the so-called westward drift, but only for the past 30 Myr. The NR has significantly smaller magnitudes (0.13°/My, past 5 My) than for some other plate models; it averages to 0.11 ± 0.03°/My for the past 50 My with a small but systematic increase toward the present. The westward drift, seen only for the past 30 My, is attributed to the increased dominance of a steadily growing and accelerating Pacific plate. NR shows peaks with time but only an Early Tertiary peak of 0.33°/My (when the Indian plate was undergoing the largest known acceleration/deceleration) can be interpreted with some confidence. We find a linear decreasing trend in net rotation over the past 150 My, but attribute this trend to increasing reconstruction uncertainties back in time, as subduction consumed more than half of the oceanic crust since the Jurassic. After removing a linear time-trend, we find a NR average of about 0.12°/My for the past 150 My.

Item Type:Article
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Gurnis, Michael0000-0003-1704-597X
Additional Information:© 2010 Elsevier B.V. Received 11 September 2009; revised 10 December 2009; accepted 29 December 2009. Editor: Y. Ricard. Available online 27 January 2010. We thank Giampiero Iaffaldano for stimulating one of us (THT) to gain interest in developing a revised model of global digital palaeoplate boundaries, Kevin Burke, Yanick Ricard (Editor) and three anonymous referees for comments, and Statoil and the Norwegian Research Council for financial support (GPlates Project).
Group:Seismological Laboratory
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Norwegian Research CouncilUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:plate tectonics; global digital palaeo-plate boundaries; stage poles; net lithosphere rotation; westward drift
Issue or Number:1-4
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20100401-113622730
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:17841
Deposited On:02 Apr 2010 18:37
Last Modified:08 Nov 2021 23:39

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