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Abrupt tectonics and rapid slab detachment with grain damage
- Bercovici, David, Schubert, Gerald, Ricard, Yanick
- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2015 v.112 no.5 pp. 1287-1291
- cold, deformation, plateaus, slabs, tectonics
- A simple model for necking and detachment of subducting slabs is developed to include the coupling between grain-sensitive rheology and grain-size evolution with damage. Necking is triggered by thickened buoyant crust entrained into a subduction zone, in which case grain damage accelerates necking and allows for relatively rapid slab detachment, i.e., within 1 My, depending on the size of the crustal plug. Thick continental crustal plugs can cause rapid necking while smaller plugs characteristic of ocean plateaux cause slower necking; oceanic lithosphere with normal or slightly thickened crust subducts without necking. The model potentially explains how large plateaux or continental crust drawn into subduction zones can cause slab loss and rapid changes in plate motion and/or induce abrupt continental rebound.