Introducing the concept of ‘rheologically layered lithosphere’ in tectonic studies was the source of severe headaches for geoscientists eager to better understand how the lithosphere deforms. Could you imagine the mechanical behaviour of a multilayer involving a ductile lower/middle lithospheric mantle, a rigid (or is it softened by water?) uppermost lithospheric mantle, a rigid (or is it extremely soft?) lower crust, a low-strength, ductile middle crust and a brittle upper crust? This rheological layering raises a series of fundamental questions on the mechanics of the lithosphere. How is the necessary mechanical/kinematic compatibility between these layers maintained? Are these layers mechanically...

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