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Crystal2Plate (from crystal-scale processes to mantle convection with self-consistent plates) extension: Influence of fluids on subduction, formation of lithosphere-scale shear zones, and influence of lithospheric heterogeneity on global plate tecton

Applicant Tackley Paul
Number 143299
Funding scheme Project funding
Research institution Institut für Geophysik ETH Zürich
Institution of higher education ETH Zurich - ETHZ
Main discipline Geophysics
Start/End 01.12.2012 - 30.11.2013
Approved amount 84'112.00
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Keywords (6)

mantle wedge; subduction; mantle convection; shear zone; plate tectonics; supercontinent

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary

The development of the theory of plate tectonics in the 1960s has shaped our knowledge and understanding of the Earth for more than four decades. Even so, many questions still remain unsolved due to the complexity of the plate-mantle system. One major unknown is the link between large-scale global characteristics like the distribution of tectonic plates and their interaction with the floating continents, and smaller-scale processes that cause localization of deformation and heterogeneity at all scales in the lithosphere. The research project presented here will investigate processes from global and regional scales in an attempt to answer the following key questions: (i) What is the role of pre-existing lithospheric heterogeneity on the evolution of plate tectonics? (ii) What are the governing processes to generate lithosphere-scale shear zones and how is subduction initiated? (iii) How do fluids and rocks interact in subduction settings and influence the evolution of subduction zones? All of these questions will be addressed using state-of-the-art numerical models of geodynamical processes, and various other disciplines of Earth sciences will give important constraints and help to push our understanding of these processes forward. The requested funding is to extend for one year the funding of three existing PhD students who were previously funded from the EU Marie-Curie network Crystal2Plate.


Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Discretization Errors in the Hybrid Finite Element Particle-in-cell Method
Thielmann M., May D. A., Kaus B. J. P. (2014), Discretization Errors in the Hybrid Finite Element Particle-in-cell Method, in PURE AND APPLIED GEOPHYSICS, 171(9), 2165-2184.
Seafloor spreading evolution in response to continental growth
Coltice N., Rolf T., Tackley P. J. (2014), Seafloor spreading evolution in response to continental growth, in GEOLOGY, 42(3), 235-238.
Statistical cyclicity of the supercontinent cycle
Rolf T., Coltice N., Tackley P. J. (2014), Statistical cyclicity of the supercontinent cycle, in GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, 41(7), 2351-2358.
Convergence of tectonic reconstructions and mantle convection models for significant fluctuations in seafloor spreading
Coltice N., Seton M., Rolf T., Mueller R. D., Tackley P. J. (2013), Convergence of tectonic reconstructions and mantle convection models for significant fluctuations in seafloor spreading, in EARTH AND PLANETARY SCIENCE LETTERS, 383, 92-100.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Yanick Ricard / ENS Lyon France (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Nicolas Coltice / Lyon University France (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Antoine Rozel/Roma Tre Italy (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Prof. Boris Kaus, Mainz University Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
Dietmar Müller / University of Sydney Australia (Oceania)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Gordon Research Seminar Talk given at a conference The supercontinent cycle and its role in global mantle dynamics 01.06.2014 South Hadley, United States of America Rolf Tobias;
EGU General Assembly Poster Discretization errors in the hybrid finite element particle-in-cell method 27.04.2014 Vienna, Austria Thielmann Marcel;
EGU General Assembly Talk given at a conference Grain size assisted formation of pseudotachylites: A numerical study 27.04.2014 Vienna, Austria Thielmann Marcel;
AGU Fall Meeting Talk given at a conference Viscoelastic convection with a free surface: Implications for the stress state of the lithosphere 09.12.2013 San Francisco, United States of America Thielmann Marcel;
13th Workshop on Numerical Modelling of Mantle Convection and Lithosphere Dynamics Poster Statistical cyclicity of the supercontinent cycle 31.08.2013 Hønefoss, Norway Rolf Tobias; Tackley Paul;
Gordon Research Conference Poster A.) Supercontinent cycles and thermochemical piles: a link between the deep and the shallow 02.06.2013 South Hadley, United States of America Rolf Tobias;
EGU General Assembly Poster Viscoelastic convection with a free surface: Implications for subduction initiation 07.04.2013 Vienna, Austria Thielmann Marcel;
EGU General Assembly Poster How to create mylonitic shear zones in the presence of shear heating 07.04.2013 Vienna, Austria Thielmann Marcel;
4th Crystal2Plate workshop Talk given at a conference b.) On the generation of supercontinent cycles in mantle convection with self-consistent plate tectonics and mobile continents 27.01.2013 Frejus, France Tackley Paul; Rolf Tobias;
AGU Fall Meeting Talk given at a conference a.) On the generation of supercontinent cycles in mantle convection with self-consistent plate tectonics and mobile continents 03.12.2012 San Francisco, United States of America Rolf Tobias; Tackley Paul;


Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
138209 Three-dimensional numerical modelling of fluid generation atop the subducting slab beneath southern Alaska 01.10.2011 Project funding

Abstract

The development of the theory of plate tectonics in the 1960s has shaped our knowledge and understanding of the Earth for more than four decades. It was one of the major advances in Earth sciences as it provides a basic framework for the processes that can be observed at Earth's surface, and also for those relevant in the deep interior of the planet and the link between the two. The principles of plate tectonics allow for a general understanding of long-term processes like plate boundary formation, continent-ocean interaction and mountain building, but also short-term, more catastrophic events like earthquakes and magmatic activity, for instance volcanic eruptions.In its original form, plate tectonics was not linked to deep Earth processes evoked by the large-scale convection of the mantle, with the result that both mechanisms were treated almost independently. However, over the last 15 years extensive research on both systems using many different techniques has led to an improved understanding of plate tectonics that is now widely accepted: mantle convection and plate tectonics are not independent processes, but are different aspects of the same process, with the tectonic plates being the surface expression of the Earth's mantle convection.Many questions, for example, regarding the driving forces of plate tectonics, have become much clearer since then, but many others still remain unsolved due to the complexity of the plate-mantle system. One major unknown in our understanding is the link between large-scale global characteristics like the distribution of tectonic plates and their interaction with the floating continents, and smaller-scale processes that cause localization of deformation and heterogeneity at all scales in the lithosphere.The research project presented here will investigate processes from global and regional scales in an attempt to answer the following key questions:(i) What is the role of pre-existing lithospheric heterogeneity on the evolution of plate tectonics?(ii) What are the governing processes to generate lithosphere-scale shear zones and how is subduction initiated?(iii) How do fluids and rocks interact in subduction settings and influence the evolution of subduction zones?All of these questions will be addressed using state-of-the-art numerical models of geodynamical processes, and various other disciplines of Earth sciences will give important constraints and help to push our understanding of these processes forward. In particular these are: geology, petrology, geochemistry, mineral physics and fluid mechanics. The international research team working on these questions consists of three senior researchers with long experience in geodynamics, numerical modeling and geology and three PhD students. The PhD students have already been funded for 3 years as part of a European Marie-Curie network (CRYSTAL2PLATE, grant agreement number: PITN-GA-2008-215353), have already made much progress related to the stated questions (including some publications) and are integrated into an interdisciplinary network. The 12-month extension requested here from SNF would allow the three student to capitalize on the advances and time investment they have already made by pushing the research much further, which would provide substantial added value and make them better prepared for the next stage of their careers. Three experienced PhD students could, in one year, accomplish much more than a single, beginning PhD student working for three years.
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