Mantle Dynamics in the Wilson Cycle
Published:November 11, 2019
2019. "Mantle Dynamics in the Wilson Cycle", Fifty Years of the Wilson Cycle Concept in Plate Tectonics, R. W. Wilson, G. A. Houseman, K. J. W. McCaffrey, A. G. Doré, S. J. H. Buiter
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This review discusses the thermal evolution of the mantle following large-scale tectonic activities such as continental collision and continental rifting. About 300 myr ago, continental material amalgamated through the large-scale subduction of oceanic seafloor, marking the termination of one or more oceanic basins (e.g. Wilson cycles) and the formation of the supercontinent Pangaea. The present day location of the continents is due to the rifting apart of Pangaea, with the dispersal of the supercontinent being characterized by increased volcanic activity linked to the generation of deep mantle plumes. The discussion presented here investigates theories regarding the thermal evolution of the mantle (e.g. mantle temperatures and sub-continental plumes) following the formation of a supercontinent. Rifting, orogenesis and mass eruptions from large igneous provinces change the landscape of the lithosphere, whereas processes related to the initiation and termination of oceanic subduction have a profound impact on deep mantle reservoirs and thermal upwelling through the modification of mantle flow. Upwelling and downwelling in mantle convection are dynamically linked and can influence processes from the crust to the core, placing the Wilson cycle and the evolution of oceans at the forefront of our dynamic Earth.
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Fifty Years of the Wilson Cycle Concept in Plate Tectonics
CONTAINS OPEN ACCESS
Fifty years ago, Tuzo Wilson published his paper asking ‘Did the Atlantic close and then re-open?’. This led to the ‘Wilson Cycle’ concept in which the repeated opening and closing of ocean basins along old orogenic belts is a key process in the assembly and breakup of supercontinents. The Wilson Cycle underlies much of what we know about the geological evolution of the Earth and its lithosphere, and will no doubt continue to be developed as we gain more understanding of the physical processes that control mantle convection, plate tectonics, and as more data become available from currently less accessible regions.
This volume includes both thematic and review papers covering various aspects of the Wilson Cycle concept. Thematic sections include: (1) the Classic Wilson v. Supercontinent Cycles, (2) Mantle Dynamics in the Wilson Cycle, (3) Tectonic Inheritance in the Lithosphere, (4) Revisiting Tuzo's question on the Atlantic, (5) Opening and Closing of Oceans, and (6) Cratonic Basins and their place in the Wilson Cycle.