Journal article

ON THE GRAVITATIONAL POTENTIAL OF THE EARTHS LITHOSPHERE

DD COBLENTZ, RM RICHARDSON, M SANDIFORD

TECTONICS | AMER GEOPHYSICAL UNION | Published : 1994

Abstract

The mean potential energy of the lithosphere is useful for defining the tectonic reference state (TRS) of the Earth and can be used to constrain the ambient state of stress in the plates. In the absence of external forces applied at the base or along plate boundaries a lithospheric column with the potential energy of the TRS would remain undeformed. Thus the difference between the potential energy of a lithospheric column and the TRS determines whether the column is in an extensional, joeutral, or compressional state of stress. We evaluate and intraplate variations about this mean, using a simple, first‐order lithospheric density model. This model assumed that the continental geotherm is lin..

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