Ridge Spreading, Subduction, and Sea Level Fluctuations

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Science  16 Nov 1990:
Vol. 250, Issue 4983, pp. 970-972
DOI: 10.1126/science.250.4983.970


A numerical model of mantle convection shows that sea level fluctuations are not simply associated with temporal changes in ocean c plate spreading. In the dynamic model, sea level rises rapidly and then falls toward a steady value (but one still higher than the initial) following increased ridge spreading; this time dependence results from profound changes in the deep thermal structure under ocean and continent. The use of past variations in oceanic spreading to infer sea level fluctuations is called into question. With more realistic models and better continental stratigraphy, constraints may be placed on the viscosity structure of the mantle.

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