While mantle convection is a fundamental ingredient of geodynamics, the driving mechanism of plate tectonics remains elusive. Are plates driven only from the thermal cooling of the mantle or are there further astronomical forces acting on them? GPS measurements are now accurate enough that, on long baselines, both secular plate motions and periodic tidal displacements are visible. The now >20 year-long space geodesy record of plate motions allows a more accurate analysis of the contribution of the horizontal component of the body tide in shifting the lithosphere. We review the data and show that lithospheric plates retain a non-zero horizontal component of the solid Earth tidal waves and their speed correlates with tidal harmonics. High-frequency semidiurnal Earth's tides are likely contributing to plate motions, but their residuals are still within the error of the present accuracy of GNSS data. The low-frequency body tides rather show horizontal residuals equal to the relative motion among plates, proving the astronomical input on plate dynamics. Plates move faster with nutation cyclicities of 8.8 and 18.6 years that correlate to lunar apsides migration and nodal precession. The highfrequency body tides are mostly buffered by the high viscosity of the lithosphere and the underlying mantle, whereas low-frequency horizontal tidal oscillations are compatible with the relaxation time of the low-velocity zone and can westerly drag the lithosphere over the asthenospheric mantle. Variable angular velocities among plates are controlled by the viscosity anisotropies in the decoupling layer within the low-velocity zone. Tidal oscillations also correlate with the seismic release.

Tidal modulation of plate motions / Zaccagnino, Davide; Vespe, Francesco; Doglioni, Carlo. - In: EARTH-SCIENCE REVIEWS. - ISSN 0012-8252. - 25:(2020), pp. 1-18. [10.1016/j.earscirev.2020.103179]

Tidal modulation of plate motions

Davide Zaccagnino;Carlo Doglioni
Conceptualization
2020

Abstract

While mantle convection is a fundamental ingredient of geodynamics, the driving mechanism of plate tectonics remains elusive. Are plates driven only from the thermal cooling of the mantle or are there further astronomical forces acting on them? GPS measurements are now accurate enough that, on long baselines, both secular plate motions and periodic tidal displacements are visible. The now >20 year-long space geodesy record of plate motions allows a more accurate analysis of the contribution of the horizontal component of the body tide in shifting the lithosphere. We review the data and show that lithospheric plates retain a non-zero horizontal component of the solid Earth tidal waves and their speed correlates with tidal harmonics. High-frequency semidiurnal Earth's tides are likely contributing to plate motions, but their residuals are still within the error of the present accuracy of GNSS data. The low-frequency body tides rather show horizontal residuals equal to the relative motion among plates, proving the astronomical input on plate dynamics. Plates move faster with nutation cyclicities of 8.8 and 18.6 years that correlate to lunar apsides migration and nodal precession. The highfrequency body tides are mostly buffered by the high viscosity of the lithosphere and the underlying mantle, whereas low-frequency horizontal tidal oscillations are compatible with the relaxation time of the low-velocity zone and can westerly drag the lithosphere over the asthenospheric mantle. Variable angular velocities among plates are controlled by the viscosity anisotropies in the decoupling layer within the low-velocity zone. Tidal oscillations also correlate with the seismic release.
plate tectonics; driving forces; body tide horizontal component
01 Pubblicazione su rivista::01a Articolo in rivista
Tidal modulation of plate motions / Zaccagnino, Davide; Vespe, Francesco; Doglioni, Carlo. - In: EARTH-SCIENCE REVIEWS. - ISSN 0012-8252. - 25:(2020), pp. 1-18. [10.1016/j.earscirev.2020.103179]
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11573/1396142
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