Articles | Volume 8, issue 4
Solid Earth, 8, 817–825, 2017
https://doi.org/10.5194/se-8-817-2017
Solid Earth, 8, 817–825, 2017
https://doi.org/10.5194/se-8-817-2017

Research article 07 Aug 2017

Research article | 07 Aug 2017

Breaking supercontinents; no need to choose between passive or active

Martin Wolstencroft and J. Huw Davies

Download

Interactive discussion

Status: closed
Status: closed
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
Printer-friendly Version - Printer-friendly version Supplement - Supplement
Download
Short summary
A key aspect of plate tectonics is the periodic assembly and subsequent break-up of supercontinents. There is strong evidence that this has happened repeatedly over geological history, but exactly how a supercontinent breaks up is still debated. In this paper, we use computer modelling of Earth's interior to show that the force needed to break a supercontinent should always arise from a combination of global-scale passive pulling apart and active pushing apart forces driven by the mantle.