Current global plate kinematics from GPS (1995-2007) with the plate-consistent reference frame

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Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth
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Apr 30
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We present the vectors of rotation of 10 major lithospheric plates, estimated from continuous GPS observations at 192 globally distributed stations; 71 stations were selected as representing stable plate regions. All days for the period 1995.0-2007.0 were included in the analysis. In contrast to previous GPS plate models, our model is independent of international terrestrial reference frames (ITRF). The origin of our plate-consistent reference frame is the center of plate rotation (CP) rather than the center of mass of the entire Earth's system (CM) as in recent versions of ITRF. We estimate plate rotations and CP by minimizing the misfit between the horizontal velocities predicted by the plate model and the observed GPS velocities. If any version of ITRF is used as the reference frame, the drift of the ITRF origin relative to CP cannot be neglected in estimation of plate rotation vectors and plate-residual station velocities. The model of the plate kinematics presented here addresses the problem debated since the beginning of the space geodesy: how big are disagreements between the current plate motions and the motions averaged over several million years? We compare the vectors of relative plate rotations estimated here with the published vectors from GPS and geologic models. We also discuss the integrity of individual plates as exhibited by plate-residual station velocities. For seven largest plates, the RMS value of plate-residual station velocities in stable plate interiors is 0.5-0.9 mm/a; this value is an upper bound on deviation of real plates from infinite stiffness.


297CVTimes Cited:3Cited References Count:53

Doi 10.1029/2007jb005353