[SIT20-P03] Mechanical coupling of plate motion with the subducted slab penetrating into the lowermost mantle
Our results indicate that keeping the adequate mobility of both the surface plate and the subducted slab descending in the lower mantle requires the high lower mantle viscosity and the weak slab strength. The surrounding mantle viscosity is a most important parameter that controls velocities of the surface plate and the lower mantle slab. When the viscosity of the lower mantle is small, the subducting plate reaches the bottom quickly. The yield stress affects the slab buckling near the 660 km phase transition. Small yield stress magnifies slab deformation that plays a role as an absorber of the difference in the motion of the shallow and deep sections of the subducted lithosphere. Generation of the slab buckling induces mutual enhancements between slab deformation and the motion difference in the slab sections. The depth-dependent thermal expansivity further promotes these positive feedbacks between the slab deformation and motion. The plate subduction on the shallow mantle layer is therefore encouraged in spite of the sluggish motion of the slab tip. These mechanisms do not yet quantitatively satisfy compensation for the discrepancy between the surface and slab-tip motion. This means that additional mechanism such as slab viscosity reduction induced by the phase transition is required to explain subducting lithosphere motion.