Guiding of Tectonic Plate Motions by Transform Faults
Transform faults are strike-slip faults that accommodate lateral offsets between spreading segments of mid-ocean ridges. Because plates cannot move perpendicular to them, transform faults may exert a control on plate motions that has not been previously considered.
This project will introduce a force that resists plate motions perpendicular to transform faults into a larger-scale force balance that has previously been used to predict plate motions. We anticipate that this inclusion of this force may help to explain some discrepancies between observed plate motions and those predicted by the force balance.
Students can expect to gain an understanding of plate tectonic processes, experience with numerical modeling techniques and should expect to publish their results in a scientific journal.