Evidence for eastward mantle flow beneath the Caribbean plate from neotectonic modeling



[1] We have applied a thin-shell modeling technique to study the neotectonics of the Caribbean plate. Kinematic conditions computed assuming rotation poles and velocities from NUVEL-1A and from recent geodetic studies have been applied at the lateral boundaries of the model to represent the motion of the adjacent plates with respect to the Caribbean. We have generated a large number of models varying the values of the fault friction coefficient and shear traction on the base of the plate exerted by mantle flow. The quality of the models has been evaluated by comparing their predictions with data on seismic strain rate, stress direction, geodetic baseline changes, and slip rates. Our results indicate that the only successful models are those with low values of fault friction coefficient and significant basal shear traction exerted by eastward mantle flow beneath the Caribbean.