|Dynamic causes of the relation between area and age of the ocean floor|
|Coltice, N.; Rolf, T.; Tackley, P.J.; Labrosse, S. (2012). Dynamic causes of the relation between area and age of the ocean floor. Science (Wash.) 336(6079): 335-338. dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1219120|
|In: Science (Washington). American Association for the Advancement of Science: Washington DC. ISSN 0036-8075, more|
The distribution of seafloor ages determines fundamental characteristics of Earth such as sea level, ocean chemistry, tectonic forces, and heat loss from the mantle. The present-day distribution suggests that subduction affects lithosphere of all ages, but this is at odds with the theory of thermal convection that predicts that subduction should happen once a critical age has been reached. We used spherical models of mantle convection to show that plate-like behavior and continents cause the seafloor area-age distribution to be representative of present-day Earth. The distribution varies in time with the creation and destruction of new plate boundaries. Our simulations suggest that the ocean floor production rate previously reached peaks that were twice the present-day value.