Tectonic stresses in the lithosphere

Tectonic stresses in the lithosphere Various types of observables (earthquake focal mechanisms, in situ measurements and geological deformations) give information about the large scale lithospheric stress field. The latter has often been explained by postulating appropriate forces acting at the edges and beneath the plates. This approach ignores the role of mass heterogeneities within the lithosphere. Here we analyze the effect of both boundary and internal forces on the stress pattern and show that both contributions are of comparable magnitude. The presence of internal sources makes the problem three‐dimensional. We show however that it can be reduced to a two‐dimensional plane stress formulation, whereby the edge forces are expressed by the ‘non hydrostatic stresses’ and the basal shear is increased by the addition of a term proportional to the gradient of the mean vertical stress. For the oceanic lithosphere we derive a compression that increases with age. The comparison with geophysical observables yields an upper bound of a few bars on the magniude of the basal drag. For the continents we infer the existence of an underlying upper mantle somewhat denser than under oceans. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Tectonics Wiley

Tectonic stresses in the lithosphere

Tectonics, Volume 2 (3) – Jun 1, 1983

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Copyright © 1983 by the American Geophysical Union.
ISSN
0278-7407
eISSN
1944-9194
DOI
10.1029/TC002i003p00315
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Various types of observables (earthquake focal mechanisms, in situ measurements and geological deformations) give information about the large scale lithospheric stress field. The latter has often been explained by postulating appropriate forces acting at the edges and beneath the plates. This approach ignores the role of mass heterogeneities within the lithosphere. Here we analyze the effect of both boundary and internal forces on the stress pattern and show that both contributions are of comparable magnitude. The presence of internal sources makes the problem three‐dimensional. We show however that it can be reduced to a two‐dimensional plane stress formulation, whereby the edge forces are expressed by the ‘non hydrostatic stresses’ and the basal shear is increased by the addition of a term proportional to the gradient of the mean vertical stress. For the oceanic lithosphere we derive a compression that increases with age. The comparison with geophysical observables yields an upper bound of a few bars on the magniude of the basal drag. For the continents we infer the existence of an underlying upper mantle somewhat denser than under oceans.

Journal

TectonicsWiley

Published: Jun 1, 1983

References

  • Tectonics and topography for a lithosphere containing density heterogeneities
    Fleitout, Fleitout; Froidevaux, Froidevaux
  • Tectonic stress in the plates
    Richardson, Richardson; Solomon, Solomon; Sleep, Sleep
  • The heat flow through oceanic and continental crust and the heat loss of the Earth
    Sclater, Sclater; Jaupart, Jaupart; Galson, Galson

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