A contribution to the kinematics of plate tectonics

H. Lichtenegger*, H. Sünkel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Modern geodetic positioning techniques like VLBI, SLR, and GPS can be used for plate tectonic studies. A very simple model considers a number of rigid plates rotating individually with a constant rotation rate. An equally simple mathematical model, extended to deformable plates, is presented, based on vector calculus, which relates both absolute and relative point positioning observations to the plate rotation and deformation parameters (rotation rate, direction of rotation vector, deformation rate and direction of deformation center) in a consistent and elementary way. The determination of these plate parameters from various geodetic positioning observations is outlined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-289
Number of pages9
JournalBulletin Géodésique
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Computers in Earth Sciences
  • Developmental Biology


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