Linking plate tectonics and mantle flow to Earth's topography
It has long been known that solid-state convection within Earth's mantle should result in deformation of its surface (Pekeris, 1935), a phenomenon referred to as dynamic topography. This topography is relatively elusive: it is transient over time scales of 1-10 m.y., it occurs over spatial scales covering a few hundred to a few thousand kilometers, and its amplitude is on the order of 1 km at long wavelengths. This amplitude is small in comparison to the secular bimodal topography of Earth (the average elevation contrast between oceans and continents is ∼4.5 km), mostly because of thickness and density contrasts at crustal and lithospheric depths, that is modulated by tectonic processes, resulting in mountain belts up to several kilometers high.
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