A Caltech Library Service

Multi-scale dynamics and rheology of mantle flow with plates

Alisic, Laura and Gurnis, Michael and Stadler, Georg and Burstedde, Carsten and Ghattas, Omar (2012) Multi-scale dynamics and rheology of mantle flow with plates. Journal of Geophysical Research B, 117 . Art. No. B10402. ISSN 0148-0227. doi:10.1029/2012JB009234.

PDF - Published Version
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


Fundamental issues in our understanding of plate and mantle dynamics remain unresolved, including the rheology and state of stress of plates and slabs; the coupling between plates, slabs and mantle; and the flow around slabs. To address these questions, models of global mantle flow with plates are computed using adaptive finite elements, and compared to a variety of observational constraints. The dynamically consistent instantaneous models include a composite rheology with yielding, and incorporate details of the thermal buoyancy field. Around plate boundaries, the local resolution is 1 km, which allows us to study highly detailed features in a globally consistent framework. Models that best fit plateness criteria and plate motion data have strong slabs with high stresses. We find a strong dependence of global plate motions, trench rollback, net rotation, plateness, and strain rate on the stress exponent in the nonlinear viscosity; the yield stress is found to be important only if it is smaller than the ambient convective stress. Due to strong coupling between plates, slabs, and the surrounding mantle, the presence of lower mantle anomalies affect plate motions. The flow in and around slabs, microplate motion, and trench rollback are intimately linked to the amount of yielding in the subducting slab hinge, slab morphology, and the presence of high viscosity structures in the lower mantle beneath the slab.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Gurnis, Michael0000-0003-1704-597X
Additional Information:© 2012 American Geophysical Union. Received 14 February 2012; revised 24 August 2012; accepted 31 August 2012; published 9 October 2012. This work was partially supported by the NSF PetaApps program (OCI-0749334, OCI-0748898), NSF Earth Sciences (EAR-0426271, EAR-0810303), NSF CDI II (CMMI-1028889, CMMI-1028978), and the Caltech Tectonics Observatory (by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation). Computing resources on TACC Ranger, Lonestar, and Spur systems were provided through the NSF TeraGrid under grant TG-MCA04N026. The figures in this paper were produced using Generic Mapping Tools (GMT) and Paraview. Two anonymous reviewers are thanked for their detailed and constructive comments. This is contribution number 202 of the Caltech Tectonics Observatory.
Group:Caltech Tectonics Observatory, Seismological Laboratory
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NSF PetaAppsOCI-0749334
NSF PetaAppsOCI-0748898
NSF Earth SciencesEAR-0426271
NSF Earth SciencesEAR-0810303
Caltech Tectonics ObservatoryUNSPECIFIED
Gordon and Betty Moore FoundationUNSPECIFIED
NSF TeraGridTG-MCA04N026
Subject Keywords:geodynamics; mantle convection; plate motions; rheology; rollback; subduction
Other Numbering System:
Other Numbering System NameOther Numbering System ID
Caltech Tectonics Observatory202
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20121114-094430025
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Alisic, L., M. Gurnis, G. Stadler, C. Burstedde, and O. Ghattas (2012), Multi-scale dynamics and rheology of mantle flow with plates, J. Geophys. Res., 117, B10402, doi:10.1029/2012JB009234
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:35453
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:16 Nov 2012 18:54
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 23:15

Repository Staff Only: item control page