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The average depth and heat flow of oceanic lithosphere as functions of age are well described by cooling plate models in which old lithosphere approaches an asymptotic thermal structure, causing average depth and heat flow to flatten. However, some areas are significantly shallower or deeper than the global average for their age. One possibility is that the deviations reflect variations in lithospheric temperature structure. Another is that the deviations reflect processes including excess volcanism or dynamic effects of mantle flow. The first hypothesis assumes that the average flattening reflects thermal perturbations to halfspace cooling, so the temperature structures of areas...

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