The Plate Tectonics Theory is the most important discovery in all of earth sciences. It is based on the concept of plates (lithosphere) that float over the asthenosphere. Although the lithosphere is a basic building block of the plate tectonics theory, its nature, its thickness, its boundary with the asthenosphere (LAB) are still matter of heated debates. Here we propose to image the LAB and internal structure of the lithosphere at a very high-resolution using a combination of different geophysical methods in a systematic manner across the Atlantic Ocean (Trans-Atlantic) for a lithosphere of 0-100 Ma age. Along with using seismological and magnetotelluric methods, we propose to use a technology newly developed for the oil and gas exploration that is capable of providing a seismic reflection image down to 120 km depth with a few hundred metres resolution, resolving the controversy on the formation and evolution of the oceanic lithosphere once and for all, filling the gap between seismological and seismic reflection methods, opening up a new frontier of research, and creating synergy between academic and industrial research to address fundamental scientific problems. These new seismic data should also provide images of melt lenses in the mantle beneath the spreading centre axis, if present, which will help us to build a new model of melt generation and migration from the mantle. We should also be able to image deep penetrating faults that might have been generated due to the cooling of the lithosphere as it moved away from the spreading centre, allowing the development of a new model of hydration of the oceanic lithosphere, which would be extremely valuable for the understanding of the earthquake process at subduction zones. The imaging of the structure down to 120 km in an oceanic environment would be a major breakthrough, and likely to open up new horizons for deep seismic imaging.
Field of science
- /engineering and technology/environmental engineering/energy and fuels/fossil energy/gas
- /social sciences/sociology/social problems/migration
- /natural sciences/earth and related environmental sciences
- /natural sciences/earth and related environmental sciences/geology/seismology/plate tectonics
Call for proposal
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