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Space geodetic estimates of the rate of Nazca-South America convergence and Nazca-Pacific spreading averaging over several years show that present day rates are significantly slower than the 3 million year average NUVEL-1A model. The implied rates of deceleration are consistent with longer term trends extending back to at least 20 Ma, about the time of initiation of Andes growth, and may reflect consequences of ongoing subduction and construction of the Andes, e.g., increased friction and viscous drag on the subducted slab as the leading edge of South America thickens.

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Geophysical Research Letters, v. 26, issue 22, p. 3405-3408

Copyright 1999 by the American Geophysical Union.