What Drives Plate Motions?

Authors: Yongfeng Yang

Plate tectonics that principally describes earth’s plate motion and terrestrial features was long thought to be a manifestation of mantle dynamics. However, an in-depth investigation finds the convection currents incompetent in explaining plate motion. Here we propose, the daily tide loadings around the margins of continents yield unequal pressures onto continental slopes, the net effect of these pressures is to push continents to horizontally move. The travelling continents, by means of basal friction, moderately entrain the continental crusts beneath them and adjoining oceanic crusts, creating weaker motions and terrestrial features for the latter. Quantitatively estimation shows that the pressures yielded due to tide loadings provide South American, African, Indian, and Australian continents respectively a motion of 33, 20, 64, and 71 mm/year. A torque effect likely contributes rotation to North American and Eurasian continents, while the combination of two lateral push forces respectively from North American Plate and from Australian Plate gives Pacific Plate unusual motion (nearly orthogonal to the Australian Plate’s).

Comments: 24 Pages. Significant improvement is made in this version.

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Submission history

[v1] 2017-05-18 03:55:34
[v2] 2017-05-19 03:12:42
[v3] 2017-06-20 02:07:58

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