Over fifty years since the acceptance of plate tectonic theory the driving forces behind plate motion and plate boundary formation and evolution remain incompletely understood. In addition to plate boundary forces, mantle plumes are often invoked as a trigger for processes such as continental rifting and break-up, subduction initiation, microcontinent formation, readjustments of the world-encircling mid-ocean ridge system, and topography evolution (called dynamic topography). Moreover, the arrival of mantle plume heads at the base of the lithosphere has been invoked as the mechanism behind abrupt, short-lived changes in plate speeds and azimuths, by means of the introduction of “plume-push” forces. However, the validity of this hypothesis has recently been put into question.
In this session, we aim to bring together researchers interested in the forces driving plate tectonics, with particular emphasis on plate-plume interactions and covering cover a range of techniques from data-driven approaches to numerical modelling or laboratory experiments We welcome studies that address the links between mantle dynamics, modern-style plate tectonics, whole-lithosphere behaviour and topography, through deep time as well as during the Archaen.
We expect this session to include a diverse range of multi-disciplinary studies united by a common goal of understanding the dynamics of plate motions, mantle plumes, the plate-mantle system. and the influence on the evolution of the topography.
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