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AuthorsPiromallo, C.* 
Spada, G.* 
Sabadini, R.* 
Ricard, Y.* 
TitleSea-level fluctuations due to subduction: The role of mantle rheology
Issue Date1997
Series/Report no.13/24 (1997)
Keywordssea level
dynamic topography
viscosity profile
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.07. Tectonophysics::04.07.02. Geodynamics 
AbstractBy means of a stratified viscoelastic Earth model we study the effect of sinking slabs on the dynamic topography, the non-hydrostatic geoid and the long-term sea level variations. Sea level fluctuations due to subduction are found to be sensitive to the nature of the 670 km seismic discontinuity and to the rheological layering of the mantle. The response of our model to both a single subduction and a realistic distribution of slabs is studied by a numerical simulation based on a simplified approach. Consistent with previous results, we find that an upper bound to relative sea level time variations associated with the initiation of a new subduction in the upper mantle is ∼0.1 mm/yr. Relative sea level changes driven by the dynamic readjustment of internal mass heterogeneities may thus be comparable with those attributed to other changes in the tectonic regime on a large scale. This confirms the relevance of subduction as an important contributor to long-term sea level fluctuations.
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