On the destructive tendencies of cratons:  3D geodynamics modelling of cratons and subduction

1Farrington, Rebecca; 2Cooper, Katie; 3Miller, Meghan.

1School of Earth Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria 3010, Australia 2School of the Environment, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington 99164, USA 3Research School of Earth Sciences, The Australian National University, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 2600, Australia

Subduction of lithosphere at convergent plate boundaries drives large-scale mantle flow patterns. When in the vicinity of craton margins this mantle flow can provide the potential for craton destruction. Examples of this setting can be seen along the northern margin of South America and north-western Africa where active subduction zones occur adjacent to craton margins. We present a 3D numerical geodynamic study exploring the interaction between subducting lithosphere and craton margins. We propose that subducting slabs can direct flow along craton margins, a process that may shape and carve these margins and impact the overall stability of the craton.


Rebecca is a senior research fellow in the School of Earth Sciences, Faculty of Science and the Petascale Campus Initiative, Chancellery (Research). With research expertise in computational mathematics and geodynamics, she leads a team developing the solid Earth dynamics code Underworld. As a leader in the University of Melbourne wide Petascale Campus Initiative and Auscope, the geoscience National Research Infrastructure organisation, she champions the sustainable development of academic and community-led data-intensive research programs.

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