Effects of upper mantle heterogeneities on lithospheric stress field and dynamic topography
Solid Earth Discussions
The orientation and tectonic regime of the observed crustal/lithospheric stress field contribute to our knowledge of different deformation processes occurring within the Earth's crust and lithosphere. In this study, we analyze the influence of the thermal and density structure of the upper mantle on the lithospheric stress field and topography. We use a 3D lithosphere-asthenosphere numerical model with power-law rheology, coupled to a spectral mantle flow code at 300 km depth. Our results are
... . Our results are validated against the World Stress Map 2016 and the observation-based residual topography. We derive the upper mantle thermal structure from either a heat flow model combined with a sea floor age model (TM1) or a global S-wave velocity model (TM2). We show that lateral density heterogeneities in the upper 300&thinsp;km have a limited influence on the modeled horizontal stress field as opposed to the resulting dynamic topography that appears more sensitive to such heterogeneities. There is hardly any difference between the stress orientation patterns predicted with and without consideration of the heterogeneities in the upper mantle density structure across North America, Australia, and North Africa. In contrast, we find that the dynamic topography is to a greater extent controlled by the upper mantle density structure. After correction for the chemical depletion of continents, the TM2 model leads to a much better fit with the observed residual topography giving a correlation of 0.51 in continents, but this correction leads to no significant improvement in the resulting lithosphere stresses. In continental regions with abundant heat flow data such as, for instant, Western Europe, TM1 results in relatively a small angular misfits of 18.30° between the modeled and observation-based stress field compared 19.90° resulting from modeled lithosphere stress with s-wave based model TM2.