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Dynamic subsidence and uplift of the Colorado Plateau

Liu, Lijun and Gurnis, Michael (2010) Dynamic subsidence and uplift of the Colorado Plateau. Geology, 38 (7). pp. 663-666. ISSN 0091-7613. doi:10.1130/G30624.1.

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We use inverse models of mantle convection to explore the vertical evolution of the Colorado Plateau. By satisfying multiple constraints (seismic tomography, stratigraphy in the western United States and Great Plains, and other structural and volcanic data adjacent to the plateau), the model provides predictions on the continuous history of Colorado Plateau vertical motion since 100 Ma. With the arrival of the flat-lying Farallon slab, dynamic subsidence swept from west to east over the plateau and reached a maximum ca. 86 Ma. Two stages of uplift followed the removal of the Farallon slab below the plateau: one in the latest Cretaceous and the other in the Eocene with a cumulative uplift of ~1.2 km. Both the descent of the slab and buoyant upwellings raised the plateau to its current elevation during the Oligocene. A locally thick plateau lithosphere enhances the coupling to the upper mantle so that the plateau has a higher topography with sharp edges. The models predict that the plateau tilted downward to the northeast before the Oligocene, caused by northeast-trending subduction of the Farallon slab, and that this northeast tilting diminished and reversed to the southwest during the Miocene in response to buoyant upwellings.

Item Type:Article
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Gurnis, Michael0000-0003-1704-597X
Additional Information:© 2010 Geological Society of America. Manuscript received 18 August 2009. Revised manuscript received 19 February 2010. Manuscript accepted 25 February 2010. We thank B. Wernicke and J. Saleeby for helpful discussions, and R. Flowers, C. Conrad, and two other referees for helpful suggestions on the manuscript. This work was partially supported by the National Science Foundation (grant EAR-0810303) and the Caltech Tectonics Observatory (by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation). This is Contribution 10028 of the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences and Contribution 122 of the Tectonics Observatory, California Institute of Technology.
Group:Caltech Tectonics Observatory, Seismological Laboratory
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Caltech Tectonics ObservatoryUNSPECIFIED
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Other Numbering System NameOther Numbering System ID
Caltech Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences10028
Caltech Tectonics Observatory122
Issue or Number:7
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20100713-075703356
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Official Citation:Liu, L. and M. Gurnis (2010). "Dynamic subsidence and uplift of the Colorado Plateau." Geology 38(7): 663-666.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:19010
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:15 Jul 2010 23:42
Last Modified:08 Nov 2021 23:48

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