Subduction Initiation by Plume‐Plateau Interaction: Insights From Numerical Models
- Journal Article
Rights / licenseCreative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
It has recently been demonstrated that the interaction of a mantle plume with sufficiently old oceanic lithosphere can initiate subduction. However, the existence of large lithospheric heterogeneities, such as a buoyant plateau, in proximity to a rising plume head may potentially hinder the formation of a new subduction zone. Here, we investigate this scenario by means of 3‐D numerical thermomechanical modeling. We explore how plume‐lithosphere interaction is affected by lithospheric age, relative location of plume head and plateau border, and the strength of the oceanic crust. Our numerical experiments suggest four different geodynamic regimes: (a) oceanic trench formation, (b) circular oceanic‐plateau trench formation, (c) plateau trench formation, and (d) no trench formation. We show that regardless of the age and crustal strength of the oceanic lithosphere, subduction can initiate when the plume head is either below the plateau border or at a distance less than the plume radius from the plateau edge. Crustal heterogeneity facilitates subduction initiation of old oceanic lithosphere. High crustal strength hampers the formation of a new subduction zone when the plume head is located below a young lithosphere containing a thick and strong plateau. We suggest that plume‐plateau interaction in the western margin of the Caribbean could have resulted in subduction initiation when the plume head impinged onto the oceanic lithosphere close to the border between plateau and oceanic crust. Show more
Journal / seriesGeochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
Pages / Article No.
Organisational unit03698 - Tackley, Paul / Tackley, Paul
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