Modeling of craton stability using a viscoelastic rheology.

Beuchert, Marcus J., Podladchikov, Yuri Y., Simon, Nina S. C. and Rüpke, Lars (2010) Modeling of craton stability using a viscoelastic rheology. Open Access Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 115 (B11). B11413. DOI 10.1029/2009JB006482.

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Archean cratons belong to the most remarkable features of our planet since they represent continental crust that has avoided reworking for several billions of years. Even more, it has become evident from both geophysical and petrological studies that cratons exhibit deep lithospheric keels which equally remained stable ever since the formation of the cratons in the Archean. Dating of inclusions in diamonds from kimberlite pipes gives Archean ages, suggesting that the Archean lithosphere must have been cold soon after its formation in the Archean (in order to allow for the existence of diamonds) and must have stayed in that state ever since. Yet, although strong evidence for the thermal stability of Archean cratonic lithosphere for billions of years is provided by diamond dating, the long-term thermal stability of cratonic keels was questioned on the basis of numerical modeling results. We devised a viscoelastic mantle convection model for exploring cratonic stability in the stagnant lid regime. Our modeling results indicate that within the limitations of the stagnant lid approach, the application of a sufficiently high temperature-dependent viscosity ratio can provide for thermal craton stability for billions of years. The comparison between simulations with viscous and viscoelastic rheology indicates no significant influence of elasticity on craton stability. Yet, a viscoelastic rheology provides a physical transition from viscously to elastically dominated regimes within the keel, thus rendering introduction of arbitrary viscosity cutoffs, as employed in viscous models, unnecessary.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Meeresgeologie; Volcanology; craton stability, viscoelasticity, viscosity ratio, temperature-dependent viscosity
Research affiliation: OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB4 Dynamics of the Ocean Floor > FB4-MUHS
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB4 Dynamics of the Ocean Floor > FB4-JRG-B3 Seabed Resources
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.1029/2009JB006482
ISSN: 2169-9356
Projects: Future Ocean
Date Deposited: 16 Dec 2010 08:52
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2019 17:52

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