Plate-driving forces over the Cenozoic era

D. M. Jurdy, M. Stefanick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Plate reconstructions are used to estimate plate torques for the Cenozoic Era, assuming a dynamical balance between active torques (slab-pull and ridge-push) and plate drag, as the passive torque. In a published one-dimensional model for the motion of an oceanic plate the plate drag balances slab-pull and ridge-push; expressing each of these forces in terms of age and subduction rate and using values at 15 trenches, coefficients are found which give a least squares fit. Here we have retained a common age factor, which gives a greater weight to older, more rapidly moving plates, and the contribution due to ridge-push is larger than that found in the previous study, but still much smaller than the slab-pull force. This one-dimensional force model is generalized to two-dimensional plates moving over the Earth's surface, and we obtain a torque balance equation in which slab-pull and ridge-push torques are proportional to boundary chord vectors, with the weights depending on powers of subduction velocity at the middle of the chords. For each plate we find the unique angular velocity which satisfies the torque balance requirement, and this balance torque is compared with the plate drag torque obtained from the plate's geometry and (reconstructed) angular velocity. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11,833-11,844
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research
Issue numberB10
StatePublished - Jan 1 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology


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