Elastic thickness

The strength of a planet’s lithosphere, estimated from the analysis and modeling of gravity and topography data, reflects its bulk composition and thermal structure, and can thus provide valuable information on the evolution and heat budget of the planet. In the past decade several advances in analysis and modeling techniques have revealed a detailed picture of lithospheric strength on Earth, with significant importance for our understanding of plate tectonic cycles, continental evolution, and sea-level response to melting ice-sheets. Nonetheless, there is a long-standing debate concerning the applicability of the models and techniques used to infer lithospheric strength. Our group has made significant contributions to the resolution of the debate by obtaining the first global map of lithospheric strength and its anisotropy on continents using advanced spatio-spectral analysis techniques, developed in our group for both Cartesian and spherical geometry. Following revision of the underlying theoretical models used to infer lithospheric strength from the spectral analysis, our group applied the new approach to all terrestrial planets where high-resolution data is available (Earth, Moon, Mars, Venus). We also developed the open-source software PlateFlex to measure the elastic thickness on cartesian grids, and have applied it to China, Greenland and the Pacific Ocean.

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Pascal Audet
Associate Professor of Geophysics & University Research Chair

Publications

Effective elastic thickness over the Chinese mainland and surroundings estimated from a joint inversion of Bouguer admittance and coherence

The effective elastic thickness (Te) of the lithosphere reflects the long-term flexural strength and provides mechanical information …

Weakened Lithosphere Beneath Greenland Inferred From Effective Elastic Thickness: A Hot Spot Effect?

The effective elastic thickness (Te) of the lithosphere provides geophysical information about long‐term flexural strength and can be …

Toward mapping the effective elastic thickness of planetary lithospheres from a spherical wavelet analysis of gravity and topography

The effective elastic thickness of the lithosphere controls the flexural response to transverse loading and can be used in conjunction …

The effective elastic thickness of the continental lithosphere: Comparison between rheological and inverse approaches

Following the release of global continental effective elastic thickness (Te) maps obtained using different approaches, we now have the …

Dominant role of tectonic inheritance in supercontinent cycles

Supercontinents episodically assemble and break up, in association with the closure and opening of ocean basins. During these cycles, …

Directional wavelet analysis on the sphere: Application to gravity and topography of the terrestrial planets

The spectral relations (admittance and correlation) between gravity and topography are often used to obtain information on the density …

Mechanical controls on the deformation of continents at convergent margins

Spatial variations in the rigidity of continental plates (expressed in terms of an effective elastic thickness, Te) can have a profound …

Wavelet analysis of the coherence between Bouguer gravity and topography: application to the elastic thickness anisotropy in the Canadian Shield

We use a wavelet transform to compute the local and azimuthal variations of the coherence between Bouguer gravity and topography in …

Anisotropy of the flexural response of the lithosphere in the Canadian Shield

We show that the two‐dimensional coherence between topography and Bouguer gravity is anisotropic throughout most of the Canadian …

Variations in elastic thickness in the Canadian Shield

We have compared different spectral methods (the standard windowed Fourier transform, the multitaper method (MTM), and the maximum …