Tectonic microplates in a wax model of sea-floor spreading

Richard F Katz, Rolf Ragnarsson, Eberhard Bodenschatz
2005 New Journal of Physics  
Rotating, growing microplates are observed in a wax analogue model of sea-floor spreading. Wax microplates are kinematically similar to sea-floor tectonic microplates in terms of spreading rate and growth rate. Furthermore, their spiral pseudofault geometry is quantitatively consistent with Schouten's oceanic microplate model. These results suggest that Schouten's edge-driven microplate model captures the kinematics of tectonic microplate evolution on Earth. Based on the wax observations, a
more » ... observations, a theory for the nucleation of overlapping spreading centres, the precursors of tectonic microplates, is developed.
doi:10.1088/1367-2630/7/1/037 fatcat:ax44auphnbaf7hgiwmtq43fg5u