Journal article

Dripping or delamination? A range of mechanisms for removing the lower crust or lithosphere

Adam P Beall, Louis Moresi, Tim Stern

Geophysical Journal International | OXFORD UNIV PRESS | Published : 2017


Under some conditions, dense parts of the lower crust or mantle lithosphere can become unstable, deform internally and sink into the less dense, underlying asthenosphere. Two endmember mechanisms for this process are delamination and dripping. Numerical calculations are used to compare the time taken for each instability to grow from initiation to the point of rapid descent through the asthenosphere. This growth period is an order of magnitude shorter for delamination than dripping. For delamination, the growth rate varies proportionally to the buoyancy and viscosity of the sinking material, as with dripping. It also depends on the relative thickness (L'c) and viscosity (η ' c) of the weak l..

View full abstract

University of Melbourne Researchers


Awarded by ARC

Awarded by Marsden Fund

Funding Acknowledgements

This research was supported by the Geological Survey of Western Australia (AB). It was undertaken with the assistance of resources from the National Computational Infrastructure (NCI), as well as the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre. These resources operate with funding from the Australian Government (NCI and Pawsey) and the Government of Western Australia (Pawsey). This research was also supported by ARC discovery grants DP1095166 and DP130101946 (LM) and the Marsden Fund VUW1407 (TS). We thank Oguz Gogus, and an anonymous referee for their comments, which greatly contributed to an improved paper.