2016 HGS Sheriff Lecture - The Second Half of Plate Tectonics
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Monday, November 7, 2016
Westchase Hilton • 9999 Westheimer
Social Hour 5:30–6:30 p.m.
Dinner 6:30–7:30 p.m.
Cost: $45 pre-registered members; $50 for non-members/ ALL walk-ups (Credit Cards Now Accepted);
$40 for Emeritus/Life/Honorary; $10 for HGS student members if pre-registered and pre-paid.
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Speaker: John Suppe
University of Houston
The Second Half of Plate Tectonics: Finding the last ~200Ma of subducted lithosphere and incorporating it into plate reconstruction
Tomographic imaging is increasingly being used to explore the Earth from the reservoir scale to the global scale. Here we show that petroleum 3D interpretation, data integration, and restoration technologies represent powerful resources for making significant discoveries based on modern tomographic imaging. We illustrated the importance of tomographic data using examples from
 global plate tectonics and  the structural geology of mountain belts.
Precise plate-tectonic reconstruction of the Earth has been constrained largely by the seafloor magnetic-anomaly record of the present oceans formed during the dispersal of the last supercontinent since ~200Ma. The corresponding world that was lost to subduction, which accounts for ~100% of the surface area of the Earth, has been only sketchily known. We have developed methodologies, largely within a modified Gocad software environment, to map in 3D these subducted slabs of lithosphere in seismic tomography and to unfold them to the Earth surface, constraining their initial size, shapes and locations (Fig. 1). Slab edges are commonly formed at times of plate reorganization (for example bottom edges typically record initiation of subduction) such that unfolded slabs fit together in picture-puzzle fashion at times of reorganization, as we illustrate for the Nazca slab at ~80Ma and the western Pacific slabs between Kamchatka and New Zealand at ~50Ma (see Fig. 2). Mapping to date suggests that a relatively complete and decipherable record of lithosphere subducted over the last ~200Ma may exist in the mantle today, providing a storehouse for new discoveries.
We illustrate our procedure for obtaining slab-constrained plate-tectonic models from tomography with our recent study of the Philippine Sea plate, whose motions and tectonic history have been the least known of the major plates because it has been isolated from the global plate and hotspot circuit by trenches. We mapped and unfolded 28 subducted slabs in the mantle under East Asia and Australia/Oceania to depths of ~1200km, with a subducted area of ~25% of present-day global oceanic lithosphere. We then incorporated them as constraints into a new globally-consistent plate reconstruction of the Philippine Sea and surrounding East Asia, leading to a number of new and unexpected insights, including:  discovery of a major (8000 km x 2500 km) set of vanished oceans that we call the East Asia Sea that existed between the Pacific and Indian Oceans, now represented by flat slabs in the lower mantle under present-day Philippine Sea, eastern Sundaland and northern Australia,  the Philippine Sea plate collided with the Ryukyu/SW Japan continental margin of Eurasia in arc-arc collision ~20Ma, and  the Philippine Sea nucleated as a small trench back-arc system along the East Asian Sea/Pacific boundary, adjacent to the Manus plume, somewhat analogous to the more recent nucleation of the Bismarck Sea at the same Manus plume.
Tomographic images also represent a major driver of new insight into the structure and tectonics at a finer scale, for example at the scale of mountain belts, particularly when coupled with the resource of petroleum 3D interpretation, data integration, and restoration technologies. We illustrate this for the Taiwan mountain belt, which is an active arc-continent collision. Tomographic mapping has led to the discovery of deep rift and continental-margins basins underneath the Taiwan mountain belt (Fig. 3) and has illuminated the unexpected ways in which arc-continent collision and flipping of subduction with reversal of thrust polarity is accomplished in 4D.
Dr. John Suppe is Distinguished Professor at the University of Houston Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. He also currently holds the positions of Blair Distinguished Professor of Geology Emeritus at Princeton University and Distinguished Chair Professor at National Taiwan University. He earned his undergraduate degree from University of California Riverside and his Ph.D. from Yale University in 1969. He is an expert in structural geology and global tectonics.
Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
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|Kirstie Haynie||Advanced PhD||Tectonic Drivers of the Wrangell Block Forearc sliver: Insights from 3D Geodynamic Models|
|Lin Xiong||Advanced PhD||Anti-aliasing filters for deriving high-accuracy DEMs from TLS data: a case study from Freeport, Texas|
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|Elmira Chabyshova||Advanced Masters & 1st Year PhD||Seismic reflectivity in porous permeable fluid-saturated thin layered media|
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|Wanda Crupa||First Year MS||Active Tectonic Deformation of Western Indian Plate Boundary: Example from Chaman Fault System|
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|Yang Wang||Advanced PhD||Dynamic Young's moduli and Poisson's ratios for VTI medium|
|Yipeng Li||Advanced PhD||The metamorphic P-T-t path of Pamir Muztaghata dome|
|Yuan Tian||Advanced PhD||Topography-coupled resonance between Mars normal-modes and the tidal force of the Phobos|
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|David Lankford-Bravo||Undergraduate||Location of the continent-ocean boundary “step-up fault” and its influence on passive margin fold belts of the western Gulf of Mexico|
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|Luchen Li||Advanced PhD||Understanding slab-mantle interaction by 3D seismic imaging of reflectivity in the mantle wedge|
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|Eric Lunn||1st Year PhD||Barreirinhas and Ceara Basins of Northern Equatorial Brazil: Upper and Lower Plate Transition Theory Over The Romanche Fracture Zone - A Seismic Study To Determine Structure, Stratigraphy, and Petroleum Potential|
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9999 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX 77042
|HGS Member||$ 45.00|
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