Modeling with COMSOL the Interaction Between Subducting Plates and Mantle Flow

J. Rodríguez-González[1], A.M. Negredo[1], P. Petricca[2], and E. Carminati[2][3]

[1]Departamento de Geofísica y Meteorología, Facultad de CC. Físicas, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Madrid, Spain
[2]Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, Università di Roma La Sapienza, Roma, Italy
[3]Istituto Geologia Ambientale e Geoingegneria – CNR, Roma, Italy

Subduction processes have great importance as are related to volcanism and earthquake occurrence. Old and cold plates should subduct steeper than younger ones, but the subduction angle is highly variable and does not always correlate with the age of the plates. Some researchers propose a global or net westward drift of the lithosphere relative to the mantle and this assessment is still a matter of debate. Geophysical evidence suggests that polarity of the subduction could affect the angle of subduction. The relative motion between lithosphere and underlying mantle would affect the geometry of subduction. We have run several simulations in which a horizontal flux has been imposed on the sublithospheric mantle to test its effect.