Plastic weakening crust

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dens_comp.png

Plastic weakening crust

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Figure below shows impact of modification of cratonic buoyancy and cordillera lithosphere thickness on creep note all rigidity parmeters same for each model.

We observe

  • Dense Craton will retreat if dense eventually if the cordilleran lithosphere is thinned enough (<100km)
  • Very Buoyant Craton will likewise advance eventually if the cordilleran lithosphere is thinned enough (<100km) 
  • A moderate buoyancy decrease in the craton (10 or 15%) may advance or retreat depending on the lateral buoyancy contrast...?  

We know the thickness and therefore the rigidity of the Cordilleran lithosphere may influence the evolution of the edge of the craton.  

Question raised by this

  • What is the impact of a lithospheric or crustal instability in the Cordillera on the evolution of the edge of the craton?
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Below is a full suite of models testing the variation in lower crustal rigidity for different buoyancy of craton.