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A dynamical model for generating Eurasian lithospheric stress and strain rate fields: Effect of rheology and cratons
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, Geophysics.
Department of Earth Science and Engineering, Imperial College, London, UK.
Max-Planck Institut für Astronomie, Heidelberg, Germany.
Department of Earth Sciences, Institute of Geophysics, ETH Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland.
2008 (English)In: Journal of Geophysical Research, ISSN 0148-0227, E-ISSN 2156-2202, Vol. 113, no B7, B07404- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

For most continents, stress models driven by plate boundary forces have successfully reproduced the main characteristics of the stress field. However, Eurasia has remained a challenge due to its large areas of intraplate deformation. We present a set of three-dimensional models of the upper mantle lithosphere system for a simplified geometry of the Eurasian plate where we try to match the first-order characteristics of the stress and strain rate fields simultaneously. For typical elastic, viscous, or plastic rheologies, high stress levels are required in order to produce realistic convergence rates between India and Asia. Our models show robustly that such stresses are transmitted throughout most of the plate, dominating locally generated stresses even in distal regions such as Europe in a manner that is not compatible with observations. Cratons with roots that extend deep into the mantle are unable to provide a significant stress-shielding effect unless the viscosity contrast between the asthenosphere and the underlying mantle is around 100 or greater. A damage rheology for the lithosphere with history-dependent behavior and material softening by a viscosity reduction of several orders of magnitude is shown to eliminate this conundrum. Continental convergence at high velocity but low stress is facilitated by the formation of long-lived shear zones similar to those observed north of the Himalayas. The low stress associated with the collision, together with the decoupling effect of the shear zones, causes the distal stress field in Europe to be controlled by the effects of the neighboring boundaries in agreement with observations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 113, no B7, B07404- p.
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-109963DOI: 10.1029/2007JB004953ISI: 000257747000001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-109963DiVA: diva2:274894
Available from: 2009-11-02 Created: 2009-11-02 Last updated: 2013-04-23Bibliographically approved

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