Crustal and mantle strengths in continental lithosphere

Is the jelly sandwich model obsolete?

Juan Carlos Afonso*, Giorgio Ranalli

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

157 Citations (Scopus)


The relative importance of the contribution of the lower crust and of the lithospheric mantle to the total strength of the continental lithosphere is assessed systematically for realistic ranges of layer thickness, composition, and temperature. Results are presented as relative strength maps, giving the ratio of the lower crust to upper mantle contribution in terms of crustal thickness and surface heat flow. The lithosphere shows a "jelly sandwich" rheological layering for low surface heat flow, thin to average crustal thickness, and felsic or wet mafic lower crustal compositions. On the other hand, most of the total strength resides in the seismogenic crust in regions of high surface heat flow, crust of any thickness, and dry mafic lower crustal composition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-232
Number of pages12
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Composition
  • Continental lithosphere
  • Relative strength maps
  • Rheology
  • Strength

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