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Type: Journal article
Title: High-resolution lithosphere viscosity and dynamics revealed by magnetotelluric imaging
Author: Liu, L.
Hasterok, D.
Citation: Science, 2016; 353(6307):1515-1519
Publisher: American Association for the Advancement of Science
Issue Date: 2016
ISSN: 0036-8075
Statement of
Lijun Liu and Derrick Hasterok
Abstract: An accurate viscosity structure is critical to truthfully modeling lithosphere dynamics. Here, we report an attempt to infer the effective lithospheric viscosity from a high-resolution magnetotelluric (MT) survey across the western United States. The high sensitivity of MT fields to the presence of electrically conductive fluids makes it a promising proxy for determining mechanical strength variations throughout the lithosphere. We demonstrate how a viscosity structure, approximated from electrical resistivity, results in a geodynamic model that successfully predicts short-wavelength surface topography, lithospheric deformation, and mantle upwelling beneath recent volcanism. We further show that this viscosity is physically consistent with and better constrained than that derived from laboratory-based rheology. We conclude that MT imaging provides a practical observational constraint for quantifying the dynamic evolution of the continental lithosphere.
Rights: Copyright © 2016, American Association for the Advancement of Science
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf6542
Appears in Collections:Aurora harvest 3
Geology & Geophysics publications

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