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Dynamic topography and anomalously negative residual depth of the Argentine Basin

Shepard, G. E. and Liu, L. and Müller, R. D. and Gurnis, M. (2012) Dynamic topography and anomalously negative residual depth of the Argentine Basin. Gondwana Research, 22 (2). pp. 658-663. ISSN 1342-937X. doi:10.1016/

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A substantial portion of Earth's topography is known to be caused by the viscous coupling of mantle flow to the lithosphere but the relative contributions of shallow asthenospheric flow versus deeper flow remains controversial. The Argentine Basin, located offshore of the Atlantic margin of southern South America, is one of the most anomalously deep ocean regions as it is significantly deeper than its age would suggest. Previously, the anomalous depth has been attributed to asthenospheric flow and the coupling of the South American plate's westward motion to the shallow mantle. Using a combination of geophysical observations and geodynamic modeling we propose that subducted slab-driven dynamic topography has primarily driven the long-wavelength anomalous residual basin depth since the opening of the South Atlantic. Using an inverse mantle convection model with plate motions since the early Cretaceous, we suggest that the median of present-day dynamic topography of the basin is − 400 m. When the residual basement depth is low-pass filtered the depth anomaly is − 730 m, suggesting that more than half of the residual basement depth can be attributed to deep-seated mantle dynamics. We conclude that coupled plate tectonic–mantle convection models tied to seismic tomography, bathymetry and sediment thickness data can help to elucidate the driving forces behind Earth's topography, one of the most fundamental characteristics of this planet.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Müller, R. D.0000-0002-3334-5764
Gurnis, M.0000-0003-1704-597X
Additional Information:© 2011 International Association for Gondwana Research. Published by Elsevier B.V. Received 25 September 2011. Received in revised form 11 December 2011. Accepted 12 December 2011. Available online 27 December 2011. Handling Editor: A. Aitken. Supported by StatOil, NSF Grant EAR-0810303 at Caltech and ARC Grant FL0992245 at Sydney.
Group:Seismological Laboratory
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Australian Research CouncilFL0992245
Subject Keywords:Dynamic topography; Residual basement depth; Geodynamic modeling; Argentine Basin; Subduction; Plate tectonics
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20121101-103816616
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:G.E. Shephard, L. Liu, R.D. Müller, M. Gurnis, Dynamic topography and anomalously negative residual depth of the Argentine Basin, Gondwana Research, Volume 22, Issue 2, September 2012, Pages 658-663, ISSN 1342-937X, 10.1016/ (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:35235
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:01 Nov 2012 17:53
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 23:13

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