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Convective Self-Compression of Cratons and the Stabilization of Old Lithosphere

Paul, J and Conrad, CP and Becker, TW and Ghosh, A (2023) Convective Self-Compression of Cratons and the Stabilization of Old Lithosphere. In: Geophysical Research Letters, 50 (4).

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1029/2022GL101842


Despite being exposed to convective stresses for much of the Earth's history, cratonic roots appear capable of resisting mantle shearing. This tectonic stability can be attributed to the neutral density and higher strength of cratons. However, the excess thickness of cratons and their higher viscosity amplify coupling to underlying mantle flow, which could be destabilizing. To investigate the stresses that a convecting mantle exerts on cratons that are both strong and thick, we developed instantaneous global spherical numerical models that incorporate present-day geoemetry of cratons within active mantle flow. Our results show that mantle flow is diverted downward beneath thick and viscous cratonic roots, giving rise to a ring of elevated and inwardly-convergent tractions along a craton's periphery. These tractions induce regional compressive stress regimes within cratonic interiors. Such compression could serve to stabilize older continental lithosphere against mantle shearing, thus adding an additional factor that promotes cratonic longevity. © 2023. The Authors.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Geophysical Research Letters
Publisher: John Wiley and Sons Inc
Additional Information: The copyright for this article belongs to the Authors.
Keywords: Geodynamics; Lithology; Shearing, Convecting mantle; Craton; Exposed to; High viscosities; High-strength; Mantle convection; Mantle flow; Neutral densities; Self-compression; Tectonic stability, Numerical models, continental lithosphere; craton; geodynamics; mantle convection; numerical model; stress field; viscosity
Department/Centre: Division of Mechanical Sciences > Centre for Earth Sciences
Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2023 09:19
Last Modified: 15 Mar 2023 09:19
URI: https://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/80976

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