GSA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, USA - 2016

Paper No. 55-7
Presentation Time: 3:25 PM


MOORES, Eldridge M., Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of California, Davis, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616 and SIMMONS, Nathan A., Atmospheric, Earth, and Energy Division, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, CA 94550,

Since the "Plate Tectonic Revolution" some 40-50 years ago, "traditional" plate tectonic reconstructions notably have included oceanic regions, as well as the Circumpacific, Alpine-Himalayan, and older orogenic regions preserved in continents. Simultaneous independent revolutions in transportation, imagery, communication, measurement, and presentation provide new ways to look at the Earth and its history.

Recent studies provocatively linking deep mantle seismic tomography and surface-near surface plate tectonics include:

  • L. Kellogg et al. (1999, 2013) on global interaction of a hot abyssal mantle layer with deeply subducted lithospheric.slabs;
  • Vandermeer et al. (2012) on Circumpacific deep seismic structure and exotic terranes that originated in a pre-Pacific Panthalassa ocean;
  • Sigloch and Mihalynuk (2013) on collision of long-lived west-dipping intra-oceanic subduction zone(s) with the North American Cordillera (cf., Moores, et al., 1970, 1998, 2002; and Schweickert and Cowan;1975); 
  • Simmons et al. (2015) on the presence of a long-lived north-dipping subducted slab beneath the Southeast Indian Ocean, suggesting collision of one or more exotic terranes with Gondwana prior to opening of the Indian Ocean over the previously subducted slab(s); and 
  • Wu et al. (2016) on previous existence of "East Asian Sea" plates, between the Tethyan and Pacific realms.

These and other analyses provide fresh insight into and models of the tectonic history of Earth regions that sharply differ from "traditional" plate tectonic models. The mid-lower mantle preserves a record of Earth's tectonic activity extending into Earth's past well beyond the ≤200 Ma record of Earth's oceans. Integration of the mantle's tectonic record with that from shallow/surface regions may result in a new revolution in Global Tectonics.