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Numerical Modelling of Instantaneous Plate Tectonics

Minster, J. B. and Jordan, T. H. and Molnar, P. and Haines, E. (1974) Numerical Modelling of Instantaneous Plate Tectonics. Geophysical Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society, 36 (3). pp. 541-576. ISSN 0016-8009. doi:10.1111/j.1365-246X.1974.tb00613.x.

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Assuming lithospheric plates to be rigid, we systematically invert 68 spreading rates, 62 fracture zones trends and 10^6 earthquake slip vectors simultaneously to obtain a self-consistent model of instantaneous relative motions for eleven major plates. The inverse problem is linearized and solved iteratively by a maximum likelihood procedure. Because the uncertainties in the data are small, Gaussian statistics are shown to be adequate. The use of a linear theory permits (1) the calculation of the uncertainties in the various angular velocity vectors caused by uncertainties in the data, and (2) quantitative examination of the distribution of information within the data set. The existence of a self-consistent model satisfying all the data is strong justification of the rigid plate assumption. Slow movement between North and South America is shown to be resolvable. We then invert the trends of 20 linear island chains and aseismic ridges under the assumptions that they represent the directions of plate motions over a set of hot spots fixed with respect to each other. We conclude that these hot spots have had no significant relative motions in the last 10 My.

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Additional Information:Copyright © 1974 The Royal Astronomical Society. In original form 1973 June 13. Received 1973 September 19. We are grateful to many scientists, too numerous to list, who gave us data in advance of publication. This research was supported by JPL account code 49-615-95650-0-3910, National Science Foundation Grants NSF-GA-29755, NSF-GA-36804 and NASA contract NAS 7-100. Contribution No. 2274, Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California 91109.
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Caltech Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences2274
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Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:18 Nov 2014 23:11
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 19:17

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