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Boonma, K., Kumar, A., Garcia-Castellanos, D. et al. Lithospheric mantle buoyancy: the role of tectonic convergence and mantle composition. Scientific Reports 9, 17953 (2019) doi:10.1038/s41598-019-54374-w


Plate subduction and delamination, two key processes driving plate tectonics, are thought to be controlled by the buoyancy of the lithospheric mantle relative to the underlying asthenosphere. Most mantle delamination models consider a lithospheric density higher than the asthenosphere to ensure negative buoyancy (slab pull). However, mineral physics show that the continental lithospheric mantle density is lighter than the asthenosphere, and that only its pressure-temperature-composition dependence makes it become denser and unstable when sinking adiabatically. Here, we explore the controls on buoyancy using a 2D thermal-diffusive model of plate convergence, considering five chemical compositions and tectonothermal ages, namely Archon (>2.5 Ga), Proton (2.5–1.0 Ga), Tecton (

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