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Dynamic uplift during slab flattening

Davila, FM; Lithgow-Bertelloni, C; (2015) Dynamic uplift during slab flattening. Earth and Planetary Science Letters , 425 pp. 34-43. 10.1016/j.epsl.2015.05.026. Green open access

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Abstract

Subduction exerts a strong control on surface topography and is the main cause of large vertical motions in continents, including past events of large-scale marine flooding and tilting. The mechanism is dynamic deflection: the sinking of dense subducted lithosphere gives rise to stresses that directly pull down the surface. Here we show that subduction does not always lead to downward deflections of the Earth's surface. Subduction of young lithosphere at shallow angles (flat subduction) leaves it neutrally or even positively buoyant with respect to underlying mantle because the lithosphere is relatively warm compared with older lithosphere, and because the thickened and hence drier oceanic crust does not undergo the transformation of basalt to denser eclogite. Accounting for neutrally buoyant flat segments along with large variations in slab morphology in the South American subduction zone explains along-strike and temporal changes in dynamic topography observed in the geologic record since the beginning of the Cenozoic. Our results show that the transition from normal subduction to slab flattening generates dynamic uplift, preventing back-arc marine flooding.

Type: Article
Title: Dynamic uplift during slab flattening
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.epsl.2015.05.026
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2015.05.026
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2015. This manuscript version is published under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Non-derivative 4.0 International licence (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0). This licence allows you to share, copy, distribute and transmit the work for personal and non-commercial use providing author and publisher attribution is clearly stated. Further details about CC BY licences are available at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0.
Keywords: flat subduction, dynamic topography, Andes
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Earth Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1477316
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