Journal of the Graduate Research Center


This paper raises the question of whether sharp structural boundaries define the existence of equally sharply limited tectonic force fields. If so, a new parameter and boundary condition is added in the search for quantitative means to study the deformation of the earth. The illustration of a sharply defined force field of lateral tension is taken from the eastern limit of the Basin and Range Province at Guadalupe Peak, Texas. Lateral compression is shown to have sharply defined qualities along the west side of the Valley and Ridge Province of the Appalachians and the Front Range of Colorado. Contrast is illustrated by the broad spread and prolonged regional tilting of the Coastal Plain of the southeastern Atlantic seaboard. If the energy for such tectonic actions is subcrustal heat, there must be a mechanical linkage capable of producing movement in one sharply defined block and none in the adjacent one. Conduction is incapable of producing such boundaries, suggesting that convection is involved by default. If so, the convection cell must be of such a nature that it would have sharply defined operating limits. The question of how this may be established on a quantitative basis is left open.

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