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Controls of the structure of subducted slabs

An Erratum to this article was published on 27 October 1988


Numerical simulations of subducting slabs are formulated in which the shape and dip of the slab are determined by the dynamics of the flow, rather than imposed a priori. The dip of slabs is a function of the time since the initiation of subduction. Slabs fold, develop a kink in dip, and thicken on entry into a high-viscosity lower mantle. Comparison of the simulations with seismic observations suggest that the lower mantle is at least 10–30 times more viscous than the upper mantle.

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Gurnis, M., Hager, B. Controls of the structure of subducted slabs. Nature 335, 317–321 (1988).

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