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Published September 14, 2001 | public
Journal Article

Top-Down Tectonics?


Geophysicists disagree whether Earth's mantle is a single convective cell or whether it is divided into convective layers. In his Perspective, Anderson reviews the evidence and concludes that the case for layered convection is strong. He also argues that plate tectonics may be driving upper mantle convection, rather than the other way around as traditionally believed. Sophisticated convection simulations will be needed to test this hypothesis.

Additional Information

© 2001 American Association for the Advancement of Science. This paper represents contribution number 8828, Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology. This work has been supported by NSF grant EAR 9726252.

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August 19, 2023
October 19, 2023