Continental Configurations and Mantle Reference Frames over Geological Time

  • J. D. A. Piper
Conference paper


The mapping of magnetic anomalies generated by ocean crustal spreading and the sampling of this crust by deep drilling have produced a detailed kinematic model for growth, destruction and relative movements of the outer quasi-rigid shell of the Earth (the Lithosphere) during the last part of geological times. The refinement of this model, and its extension into more ancient epoch is limited by the inexorable consumption of the ancient and dense oceanic lithosphere back into the asthenosphere at the subduction zones. Earth scientists are now actively extending the concepts of global mobility derived from the surface layer of the globe to the interior comprising the silicate mantle and iron-nickel core. Much interest centres on the nature of the mantle layer adjoining the core at the core-mantle boundary (CMB), the topography of this zone, and the implications of these parameters for the processes of heat release from the Earth’s interior. The key observations come from seismic tomography, material properties at high temperatures and pressures, and satellite geodesy. Collectively, this evidence has important consequences for our understanding of mantle convection and the mobility of the Earth’s interior, but it is limited by lack of the time dimension. The latter is provided by the study of the magnetic field incorporating geomagnetism (over historical times) and palaeomagnetism (over geological times) with which this review is largely concerned.


Continental Crust Geological Time Lower Mantle Spin Axis Mantle Convection 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. D. A. Piper
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Earth SciencesUniversity of LiverpoolLiverpoolEngland

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