Lithospheric Stress Tensor from Gravity and Lithospheric Structure Models

Mehdi Eshagh, Robert Tenzer

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

In this study we investigate the lithospheric stresses computed from the gravity and lithospheric structure models. The functional relation between the lithospheric stress tensor and the gravity field parameters is formulated based on solving the boundary-value problem of elasticity in order to determine the propagation of stresses inside the lithosphere, while assuming the horizontal shear stress components (computed at the base of the lithosphere) as lower boundary values for solving this problem. We further suppress the signature of global mantle flow in the stress spectrum by subtracting the long-wavelength harmonics (below the degree of 13). This numerical scheme is applied to compute the normal and shear stress tensor components globally at the Moho interface. The results reveal that most of the lithospheric stresses are accumulated along active convergent tectonic margins of oceanic subductions and along continent-to-continent tectonic plate collisions. These results indicate that, aside from a frictional drag caused by mantle convection, the largest stresses within the lithosphere are induced by subduction slab pull forces on the side of subducted lithosphere, which are coupled by slightly less pronounced stresses (on the side of overriding lithospheric plate) possibly attributed to trench suction. Our results also show the presence of (intra-plate) lithospheric loading stresses along Hawaii islands. The signature of ridge push (along divergent tectonic margins) and basal shear traction resistive forces is not clearly manifested at the investigated stress spectrum (between the degrees from 13 to 180).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2677-2688
Number of pages12
JournalPure and Applied Geophysics
Volume174
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2017
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Gravity
  • lithospheric stress
  • Moho
  • tectonics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology

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