Articles | Volume 12, issue 1
Research article
20 Jan 2021
Research article |  | 20 Jan 2021

Effects of basal drag on subduction dynamics from 2D numerical models

Lior Suchoy, Saskia Goes, Benjamin Maunder, Fanny Garel, and Rhodri Davies

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Cited articles

Agrusta, R., Goes, S., and van Hunen, J.: Subducting-slab transition-zone interaction: Stagnation, penetration and mode switches, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 464, 10–23,, 2017. 
Alsaif, M., Garel, F., Gueydan, F., and Davies, D. R.: Upper plate deformation and trench retreat modulated by subduction-driven shallow asthenospheric flows, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 532, 116013,, 2020. 
Becker, T. W. and Faccenna, C.: Mantle conveyor beneath the Tethyan collisional belt, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 310, 453–461,, 2011. 
Becker, T. W. and Kawakatsu, H.: On the role of anisotropic viscosity for plate-scale flow, Geophys. Res. Lett., 38, L17307,, 2011. 
Becker, T. W. and O'Connell, R. J.: Predicting plate velocities with mantle circulation models, Geochem. Geophys. Geosys., 2, 1060,, 2001. 
Short summary
We use 2D numerical models to highlight the role of basal drag in subduction force balance. We show that basal drag can significantly affect velocities and evolution in our simulations and suggest an explanation as to why there are no trends in plate velocities with age in the Cenozoic subduction record (which we extracted from recent reconstruction using GPlates). The insights into the role of basal drag will help set up global models of plate dynamics or specific regional subduction models.