Underworld publication news: Crustal thickness anomalies in stable continents.

Underworld publication news: Crustal thickness anomalies in stable continents.

The Underworld team would like to congratulate Bénédicte Cenki-Tok and co-authors at the University of Sydney and the University of Montpellier on their recent publication,

B. Cenki-Tok, P.F. Rey, D. Arcay; Strain and retrogression partitioning explain long-term stability of crustal roots in stable continents. Geology doi: https://doi.org/10.1130/G47301.1.

Using Underworld the authors demonstrated a hypothesised mechanism that allows anomalous crustal roots, in stable intracontinental settings, to be preserved over hundreds of millions of years. Specifically they looked at the interplay between partial melting, the formation of garnet-pyroxene-bearing rocks, and strain rate–dependent retrogression of those rocks; resulting in the preservation of thick and strong crustal roots.

190 Million years evolution demonstrating how an orogenic continental crust regains its average thickness while preserving crustal roots (in purple)

At the heart of their work were a series of Underworld numerical models using metamorphic phase transitions (first-order); implemented with the PhaseChange() functionality seen here. The authors worked with the Underworld development team to apply PhaseChage() in the context of 2D thermo-mechanical crustal extension models. Exploring a mix of fast and slow extension conditions whilst toggling the phase changes demonstrated the viability of the new preservation mechanism.

The published model input files are available at the Underworld-Community GitHub and can be run directly on Binder, hit the button below.


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