PerspectiveGeophysics

Constraining lithospheric flow

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Science  30 Sep 2016:
Vol. 353, Issue 6307, pp. 1495-1496
DOI: 10.1126/science.aai8442

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Summary

The motion of Earth's tectonic plates—the lithosphere—is driven by the subduction of relatively cold and dense oceanic plates into the mantle. The resulting forces drive the motions of continental plates, but the manner in which this happens depends on the effective viscosities of the lithosphere and mantle. On page 1515 of this issue, Liu and Hasterok (1) discuss a novel method of constraining viscosities of the lithosphere from geophysical data.