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Solid Earth An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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https://doi.org/10.5194/se-2017-26
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
23 Mar 2017
Review status
A revision of this discussion paper was accepted for the journal Solid Earth (SE) and is expected to appear here in due course.
Global patterns of Earth's dynamic topography since the Jurassic
Michael Rubey1, Sascha Brune2, Christian Heine3, David Rhodri Davies4, Simon E. Williams1, and Ralph Dietmar Müller1 1Earthbyte Group, School of Geosciences, The University of Sydney, Australia
2Helmholtz Centre Potsdam, GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Potsdam, Germany
3Shell International Exploration & Production B.V., The Hague, Netherlands
4Research School of Earth Sciences, The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia
Abstract. We evaluate the spatial and temporal evolution of Earth’s long-wavelength surface dynamic topography since the Jurassic, using a series of high-resolution global mantle convection models. These models are Earth-like in terms of convective vigour, thermal structure, surface heat-flux and the geographic distribution of heterogeneity. The models generate a degree-2 dominated spectrum of dynamic topography, with negative amplitudes above subducted slabs (i.e. circum-Pacific regions and southern Eurasia) and positive amplitudes elsewhere (i.e. Africa, north-west Eurasia and the central Pacific). Model predictions are compared with published observations and subsidence patterns from well data, both globally and for the Australian and South African regions. We find that our models reproduce the long-wavelength component of these observations, although observed smaller-scale variations are not reproduced. We subsequently define “geodynamic rules” for how different surface tectonic settings are affected by mantle processes: (i) locations in the vicinity of a subduction zone show large negative dynamic topography amplitudes; (ii) regions far away from convergent margins feature long-term positive dynamic topography; (iii) rapid variations in dynamic support occur along the margins of overriding plates (e.g. Western US) and at points located on a plate that rapidly approaches a subduction zone (e.g. India and Arabia). Our models provide a predictive quantitative framework linking mantle convection with plate tectonics and sedimentary basin evolution, thus improving our understanding of how subduction and mantle convection affect the spatio-temporal evolution of basin architecture.

Citation: Rubey, M., Brune, S., Heine, C., Davies, D. R., Williams, S. E., and Müller, R. D.: Global patterns of Earth's dynamic topography since the Jurassic, Solid Earth Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/se-2017-26, in review, 2017.
Michael Rubey et al.
Interactive discussionStatus: closed
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
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RC1: 'Comments', Anonymous Referee #1, 23 Apr 2017 Printer-friendly Version 
AC1: 'Author’s reply to RC1', Michael Rubey, 31 May 2017 Printer-friendly Version Supplement 
 
RC2: 'A potential framework study for dynamic topography', Anonymous Referee #2, 28 Apr 2017 Printer-friendly Version 
AC2: 'Author’s reply to RC2', Michael Rubey, 31 May 2017 Printer-friendly Version Supplement 
Michael Rubey et al.
Michael Rubey et al.

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Short summary
Earth’s surface is constantly warped up and down by the convecting mantle. Here we derive geodynamic rules for this so-called “dynamic topography” by employing high-resolution numerical models of global mantle convection. We define four types of dynamic topography histories that are primarily controlled by the ever-changing pattern of Earth’s subduction zones. Our models provide a predictive quantitative framework linking mantle convection with plate tectonics and sedimentary basin evolution.
Earth’s surface is constantly warped up and down by the convecting mantle. Here we derive...
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