The equilibrium that exists between parts of the earth’s crust, which behaves as if it consists of blocks floating on the underlying mantle, rising if material (such as an ice cap) is removed and sinking if material is deposited.
- Three main processes are essential to the understanding of mechanisms of large-scale subsidence and uplift: thermal perturbations of the lithosphere, isostasy (mass balancing), and flexure.
- We know from isostasy that the crust responds to changing load distributions on its surface by vertical movements.
- Changes in relative sea level driven by glacial isostasy may have provided an additional mechanism for deglaciation.
- Example sentences
- The removal of mass at the surface by regional erosion causes an upward force of isostatic uplift as the lithosphere acts to re-establish buoyant equilibrium.
- Melt injection leads initially to isostatic uplift followed by subsidence as the melt freezes.
- The backstripping method separates isostatic and compaction effects of sediments from those of tectonic subsidence.
Late 19th century: from iso- 'equal' + Greek stasis 'station'.
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