Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union

Probing geodynamic processes beneath the sea floor



A new initiative in oceanic mantle dynamics is being designed to test geodynamic models of plate tectonics and convection with a new generation of higher-resolution observations in the oceans. The plate tectonic revolution provided a quantitative kinematic framework for describing geodynamic processes in the solid Earth. Three and one-half decades of geological, geophysical, and geochemical observations since this revolution, coupled with increasingly sophisticated numerical models of mantle dynamics, have led to an increased understanding of how plate tectonics works and how convection stirs the interior of the Earth. However, within this broad framework, many fundamental questions remain regarding the structure, composition, and dynamics of the sub-oceanic mantle.