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Global tectonic reconstructions with continuously deforming and evolving rigid plates

Gurnis, Michael and Yang, Ting and Cannon, John and Turner, Mark and Williams, Simon and Flament, Nicolas and Müller, R. Dietmar (2018) Global tectonic reconstructions with continuously deforming and evolving rigid plates. Computers and Geosciences, 116 . pp. 32-41. ISSN 0098-3004. doi:10.1016/j.cageo.2018.04.007.

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Traditional plate reconstruction methodologies do not allow for plate deformation to be considered. Here we present software to construct and visualize global tectonic reconstructions with deforming plates within the context of rigid plates. Both deforming and rigid plates are defined by continuously evolving polygons. The deforming regions are tessellated with triangular meshes such that either strain rate or cumulative strain can be followed. The finite strain history, crustal thickness and stretching factor of points within the deformation zones are tracked as Lagrangian points. Integrating these tools within the interactive platform GPlates enables specialized users to build and refine deforming plate models and integrate them with other models in time and space. We demonstrate the integrated platform with regional reconstructions of Cenozoic western North America, the Mesozoic South American Atlantic margin, and Cenozoic southeast Asia, embedded within global reconstructions, using different data and reconstruction strategies.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Gurnis, Michael0000-0003-1704-597X
Yang, Ting0000-0003-2301-2525
Cannon, John0000-0003-4749-5605
Williams, Simon0000-0003-4670-8883
Flament, Nicolas0000-0002-3237-0757
Müller, R. Dietmar0000-0002-3334-5764
Additional Information:© 2018 Elsevier Ltd. Received 2 October 2017, Revised 5 April 2018, Accepted 17 April 2018, Available online 21 April 2018.
Group:Seismological Laboratory
Subject Keywords:Plate tectonics; Continental drift; Geophysics; Geodynamics; Paleogeography; Lithosphere
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20180427-124921629
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Michael Gurnis, Ting Yang, John Cannon, Mark Turner, Simon Williams, Nicolas Flament, R. Dietmar Müller, Global tectonic reconstructions with continuously deforming and evolving rigid plates, Computers & Geosciences, Volume 116, July 2018, Pages 32-41, ISSN 0098-3004, (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:86079
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:27 Apr 2018 19:55
Last Modified:15 Nov 2021 20:35

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