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Authors: Riguzzi, F.* 
Panza, G.* 
Varga, P.* 
Doglioni, C.* 
Title: Can Earth's rotation and tidal despinning drive plate tectonics?
Issue Date: 19-Mar-2010
Series/Report no.: 1-4/484 (2010)
DOI: 10.1016/j.tecto.2009.06.012
Keywords: Plate tectonics
Earth's rotation
Tidal despinning
Earth's energy budget
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.07. Tectonophysics::04.07.02. Geodynamics 
Abstract: We re-evaluate the possibility that Earth's rotation contributes to plate tectonics on the basis of the following observations: 1) plates move along a westerly polarized flow that forms an angle relative to the equator close to the revolution plane of the Moon; 2) plate boundaries are asymmetric, being their geographic polarity the first order controlling parameter; unlike recent analysis, the slab dip is confirmed to be steeper along W-directed subduction zones; 3) the global seismicity depends on latitude and correlates with the decadal oscillations of the excess length of day (LOD); 4) the Earth's deceleration supplies energy to plate tectonics comparable to the computed budget dissipated by the deformation processes; 5) the Gutenberg–Richter law supports that the whole lithosphere is a self-organized system in critical state, i.e., a force is acting contemporaneously on all the plates and distributes the energy over the whole lithospheric shell, a condition that can be satisfied by a force acting at the astronomical scale. Assuming an ultra-low viscosity layer in the upper asthenosphere, the horizontal component of the tidal oscillation and torque would be able to slowly shift the lithosphere relative to the mantle.
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