A continuum model of continental deformation above subduction zones: application to the Andes and the Aegean

Shimon Wdowinski, R. J. O'Connell, P. England

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

47 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Large-scale continental tectonics of back arc (extensional) and Andean-type (compressional) environments are investigated by using the thin viscous sheet model to calculate the deformation within the continental lithosphere that is subjected to horizontal forces on its plate boundaries and to basal drag from the asthenospheric flow beneath. Calculations are compared with observations from the Andes and the Aegean; our results explain some of the features of the deformation in these regions that have heretofore not been explained by other models. Our model predicts that in a compressional environment a broad region of uplifted topography will tend to develop above a more steeply dipping slab (30°), rather than above a shallower slab (10°-15°); this is in accord with observations in the various segments of the central Andes. For an extensional environment, the model predicts that a zone of compression can develop near the trench and that extensional strain rate can increase with distance from the trench, as is observed in the Aegean. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research
Volume94
Issue numberB8
StatePublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes

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subduction zone
continuums
trench
slab
slabs
continental lithosphere
Tectonics
dipping
plate boundary
strain rate
lithosphere
Topography
drag
Drag
Strain rate
tectonics
topography
arcs
compression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Engineering(all)

Cite this

A continuum model of continental deformation above subduction zones : application to the Andes and the Aegean. / Wdowinski, Shimon; O'Connell, R. J.; England, P.

In: Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 94, No. B8, 1989.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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