Deformable Plate Modelling

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Rigid vs Deformable Plate Models

As exploration becomes increasingly focused on deep-water continental margins, there is a corresponding increased awareness of the importance of plate kinematic analyses and deformable plate tectonic reconstructions as exploration tools.

Rigid plate kinematic models do not adequately model the complex multiphase breakup history of the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans.

As continental crust is extended on rifted margins prior to breakup, there is plate overlap along these margins when plates are reconstructed using rigid plate kinematic models alone.

Shortening of the crust takes place on convergent margins resulting in underfit when the plates are reconstructed.

The accurate reconstruction and restoration of plate margins required a new approach to plate kinematics and a new generation of plate reconstruction software.

PlateDEF models quantify and accommodate the amount and direction of crustal stretching and shortening for key tectonic events at convergent, extensional and transform margins.



Whittaker, R. C. Karpuz. R., Wheeler. W, & Ady, B. 2000: 4D regional tectonic modeling [of the North Atlantic]: plate reconstructions using a geographic information system. PETEX Convention, London, Abstract

Srivastava S. P., & Verhoef, J., 1992: Evolution of Mesozoic sedimentary basins around the North Central Atlantic: a preliminary plate kinematic solution. In J. Parnell (Ed.), Basins on the Atlantic Seaboard: petroleum geology, sedimentology and basin evolution, Geological Society, Special Publication, 62, 397-420.

GeoArctic's deformable plate reconstruction method advances earlier ideas first put forward by Srivastava and Verhoef (1992) for the removal of extension at plate margins. Their approach, however, used a gross estimation of crustal stretching (Beta) factors from the measurement of plate overlap, which cannot account for lateral, depth-dependent, and time-dependent variations in the amount and direction of extension or movement in the vertical plane due to tectonic subsidence.

Whittaker et al (2000) first described a 4D deformable plate reconstruction using Beta factors calculated from 3D tectonic subsidence maps as input into GeoArctic's deformable modelling software. This method has since evolved to include the wide range of geological processes responsible for basin development as input into a deformable plate model.Calculations of vertical movement and lateral, depth-dependent, and time-dependent variations in the amount and direction of stretching are stored as 3D surfaces in the PlateDEF model. The information stored in the 3D surface can be applied to any gridded or vector datasets such as structure maps, palaeogeographic maps, wells, licence blocks, and seismic lines, etc. to restore their geometry through geologic time.



Copyright 2016 GeoArctic Ltd. - Deformable Plate Reconstructions





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