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Has the Coriolis force affected tectonics?

  1. Feb 26, 2008 #1
    Has the Coriolis force affected continental drift (or the flow of Earth's interior) significantly over the history of the Earth? If so, how might the shape of continents today demonstrate this?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 27, 2008 #2
    It's not that the Coriolis troughs have anything to do with it, but I find it surprizing that this page is #1 on a google with coriolis and tectonics.

    Anyway, hypothetically yes. If it's correct that geothermal heat is generated in or at the solid inner core, which should then cause convection currents in the outer core. logically, these convection cells are strongly affected by the coriolis force, as it radiates out from the spin axis.

    This heat is transferred to the mantle, forming new convection cells and hot spots, which are supposed to drive the floating plates around.

    The process is probably too chaotic and complex to do any prediction about the practical effect. For instance, the estimates of the viscosity of the outer core varies several orders of magnitude, that's hard to model, I would think.

    Last edited: Feb 27, 2008
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