Impact of the lithosphere on dynamic topography: insights from analogue modeling

Andrea Sembroni*, Agnes Kiraly, Claudio Faccenna, Francesca Funiciello, Thorsten W. Becker, Jan Globig, Manuel Fernandez

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Density anomalies beneath the lithosphere are expected to generate dynamic topography at the Earth's surface due to the induced mantle flow stresses which scale linearly with density anomalies, while the viscosity of the upper mantle is expected to control uplift rates. However, limited attention has been given to the role of the lithosphere. Here we present results from analogue modeling of the interactions between a density anomaly rising in the mantle and the lithosphere in a Newtonian system. We find that, for instabilities with wavelengths of the same order of magnitude as lithosphere thickness, the uplift rate and the geometry of the surface bulge are inversely correlated to the lithosphere thickness. We also show that a layered lithosphere may modulate the topographic signal. With respect to previous approaches our models represent a novel attempt to unravel the way normal stresses generated by mantle flow are transmitted through a rheologically stratified lithosphere and the resulting topographic signal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2693-2702
Number of pages10
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 28 Mar 2017
Externally publishedYes


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