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Reconstructing Farallon plate subduction beneath North America back to the Late Cretaceous

Liu, Lijun and Spasojevic, Sonja and Gurnis, Michael (2008) Reconstructing Farallon plate subduction beneath North America back to the Late Cretaceous. Science, 322 (5903). pp. 934-938. ISSN 0036-8075. doi:10.1126/science.1162921.

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Using an inverse mantle convection model that assimilates seismic structure and plate motions, we reconstruct Farallon plate subduction back to 100 million years ago. Models consistent with stratigraphy constrain the depth dependence of mantle viscosity and buoyancy, requiring that the Farallon slab was flat lying in the Late Cretaceous, consistent with geological reconstructions. The simulation predicts that an extensive zone of shallow- dipping subduction extended beyond the flat-lying slab farther east and north by up to 1000 kilometers. The limited region of flat subduction is consistent with the notion that subduction of an oceanic plateau caused the slab to flatten. The results imply that seismic images of the current mantle provide more constraints on past tectonic events than previously recognized.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription material
Gurnis, Michael0000-0003-1704-597X
Additional Information:© 2008 American Association for the Advancement of Science. 8 July 2008; accepted 8 October 2008. This is contribution no. TO 88 of the Caltech Tectonics Observatory. The work was partially supported by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation through the Tectonics Observatory and the NSF through EAR-0609707. We appreciate discussions with J. Saleeby and R. D. Müller. The original CitcomS software was obtained from the Computational Infrastructure for Geodynamics (CIG) (
Group:Caltech Tectonics Observatory, Seismological Laboratory
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Gordon and Betty Moore FoundationUNSPECIFIED
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Other Numbering System NameOther Numbering System ID
Caltech Tectonics Observatory88
Issue or Number:5903
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20140214-141553000
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:43842
Deposited By: Katherine Johnson
Deposited On:14 Feb 2014 22:22
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 16:44

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