Extraction of a lithospheric cooling signal from oceanwide geoid data

John DeLaughter, Seth Stein*, Carol A. Stein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


The geoid, an equipotential surface of Earth's gravity field, reflects the distribution of mass within the planet and hence a variety of geodynamic processes. Because these data are dominated by sublithospheric processes, notably mantle convection, they have not played a major role in the ongoing debate concerning models of the thermal evolution of oceanic lithosphere. Application of spatial filtering to the age derivative of the geoid, however, extracts an age-dependent signal which reflects lithospheric thermal evolution. The data are much better fit by a thin (about 100 km thick) thermal plate than by a cooling halfspace, and so provide a valuable constraint complementary to and consistent with the variations in oceanic depth and heat flow with age.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-181
Number of pages9
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Dec 30 1999


  • Geoid
  • Lithosphere
  • Plate tectonics
  • Thermal history

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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