True polar wander associated with continental drift on a hypothetical Earth

Masao Nakada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Long-term true polar wander of the Earth (TPW) has generally been discussed by taking into account convective processes in the mantle such as downgoing slabs and upwelling plumes. Here I examined a relationship between continental drift and TPW on a hypothetical Earth with no such convective processes in the mantle. I evaluated temporal changes in moments of inertia owing to continental drift during a period of ∼250 Ma based on a paleogeographic reconstruction, in which I estimated the lateral density heterogeneities by factoring in the observed mean land elevation of continents and average age of the oceanic lithosphere. The predictions for a viscoelastic Earth model with plausible viscosity models indicate that the long-term TPW might have been affected by continental drift throughout Cenozoic and Mesozoic times, which has wholly proceeded by maintaining isostasy at a certain depth, as well as convective processes in the mantle.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)513-522
Number of pages10
Journalearth, planets and space
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geology
  • Space and Planetary Science


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