The geographic coincidence of the Chile Ridge slab window and the Patagonia ice fields offers a unique opportunity for assessing the effects of slab window rheology on glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA). Mass loss of these ice fields since the Little Ice Age causes rapid but variable crustal uplift, 12–24 mm/yr around the North Patagonia ice field, increasing to a maximum of 41 mm/yr around the South Patagonia ice field, as determined from newly collected or processed geodetic data. We used these observational constraints in a three-dimensional Maxwell viscoelastic finite element model of GIA response above both the subducting slab and slab window in which the upper-mantle viscosity was parameterized to be uniform with depth. We found that the viscosity of the northern part of the slab window, ~2 × 1018 Pa·s, is lower than that of the southern part by approximately an order of magnitude. We propose that this along-strike viscosity contrast is due to late Cenozoic ridge subduction beneath the northern part of the slab window, which increases asthenospheric temperature and reduces viscosity.
Lateral variation in slab window viscosity inferred from global navigation satellite system (GNSS)–observed uplift due to recent mass loss at Patagonia ice fields
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Raymond M. Russo, Haipeng Luo, Kelin Wang, Boudewijn Ambrosius, Victor Mocanu, Jiangheng He, Thomas James, Michael Bevis, Rui Fernandes; Lateral variation in slab window viscosity inferred from global navigation satellite system (GNSS)–observed uplift due to recent mass loss at Patagonia ice fields. Geology 2021; doi: https://doi.org/10.1130/G49388.1
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