Dynamically supported trench topography

S. Wdowinski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


A viscous flow model of a subduction zone is used to calculate the near-trench deformation and topography of the overriding plate in response to tectonic and buoyancy forces. The time evolution of the near-trench topography is investigated via a finite element technique that solves for the flow field in the overriding plate. The results indicate that the near-trench topography approaches a steady state configuration, in which the upper surface topography produces a buoyancy force that balances the tectonic force induced by the subducting slab. The model predicts that the steady state trench depth increases with the subduction rate. Transition from one steady state trench topography to another adds or removes material from the overriding plate; this may result from a change in subduction rate, angle of subduction, or subduction of a seamount. -from Author

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17,651-17,656
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research
Issue numberB12
StatePublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology


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