Change in tectonic force inferred from basin subsidence

implications for the dynamical aspects of back-arc rifting in the western Mediterranean

Tadashi Yamasaki, Randell Stephenson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A method has been developed that allows temporal changes in tectonic force during rift basin formation to be inferred from observed tectonic subsidence curves and has been applied to the Gulf of Lions (the Provencal Basin) and the Valencia Trough in order to gain some understanding of the dynamical aspects of back-arc basin rifting in the western Mediterranean Sea. Two distinct tectonic force regimes active at different times during the evolution of each of these back-arc basins are identified. The first, which can be seen in both basins, is characterized by tensional forces that gradually abate with time to vanish some similar to 20 my after the onset of rifting. The magnitude of tectonic force required to initiate the rifting process is significantly greater in the Valencia Trough than in the Provencal Basin. Subsequently, the dynamic development of these back-arc basins differs. In the Provencal Basin, there is a renewal of force, with extensional deformation concentrated in the central part of the rift whereas, in the Valencia Trough, the second tectonic force regime is inferred to be one that causes compression that subsequently relaxes. Such temporal patterns of tectonic force are interpreted to be related to the causative driving processes, allowing constraints to be placed on the transient interaction between the overriding and subducting plates in a back-arc setting. The models also allow inferences to be made about the rheological structure of the lithosphere. A significant variation of initial crustal thickness is inferred for the Provencal Basin but not for the Valencia Trough. In both basins, a wet rheology is required in order to initiate rifting given currently accepted bounds on tectonic force magnitudes; adoption of a dry rheology leads to insufficiently high strain rates for significant lithosphere extension in both cases. (c) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)174-183
Number of pages10
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Volume277
Issue number1-2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2009

Keywords

  • tectonic subsidence
  • tectonic force
  • back-arc basin
  • lithosphere rheology
  • crustal heterogeneity
  • subduction dynamics
  • Eastern Iberian margin
  • plate boundary forces
  • Valencia trough
  • continental lithosphere
  • sedimentary basins
  • numerical experiments
  • extensional basins
  • subduction zones
  • retreating slabs
  • heat-flow

Cite this

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title = "Change in tectonic force inferred from basin subsidence: implications for the dynamical aspects of back-arc rifting in the western Mediterranean",
abstract = "A method has been developed that allows temporal changes in tectonic force during rift basin formation to be inferred from observed tectonic subsidence curves and has been applied to the Gulf of Lions (the Provencal Basin) and the Valencia Trough in order to gain some understanding of the dynamical aspects of back-arc basin rifting in the western Mediterranean Sea. Two distinct tectonic force regimes active at different times during the evolution of each of these back-arc basins are identified. The first, which can be seen in both basins, is characterized by tensional forces that gradually abate with time to vanish some similar to 20 my after the onset of rifting. The magnitude of tectonic force required to initiate the rifting process is significantly greater in the Valencia Trough than in the Provencal Basin. Subsequently, the dynamic development of these back-arc basins differs. In the Provencal Basin, there is a renewal of force, with extensional deformation concentrated in the central part of the rift whereas, in the Valencia Trough, the second tectonic force regime is inferred to be one that causes compression that subsequently relaxes. Such temporal patterns of tectonic force are interpreted to be related to the causative driving processes, allowing constraints to be placed on the transient interaction between the overriding and subducting plates in a back-arc setting. The models also allow inferences to be made about the rheological structure of the lithosphere. A significant variation of initial crustal thickness is inferred for the Provencal Basin but not for the Valencia Trough. In both basins, a wet rheology is required in order to initiate rifting given currently accepted bounds on tectonic force magnitudes; adoption of a dry rheology leads to insufficiently high strain rates for significant lithosphere extension in both cases. (c) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.",
keywords = "tectonic subsidence, tectonic force, back-arc basin, lithosphere rheology, crustal heterogeneity, subduction dynamics, Eastern Iberian margin, plate boundary forces, Valencia trough, continental lithosphere, sedimentary basins, numerical experiments, extensional basins, subduction zones, retreating slabs, heat-flow",
author = "Tadashi Yamasaki and Randell Stephenson",
year = "2009",
month = "1",
day = "15",
doi = "10.1016/j.epsl.2008.10.011",
language = "English",
volume = "277",
pages = "174--183",
journal = "Earth and Planetary Science Letters",
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TY - JOUR

T1 - Change in tectonic force inferred from basin subsidence

T2 - implications for the dynamical aspects of back-arc rifting in the western Mediterranean

AU - Yamasaki, Tadashi

AU - Stephenson, Randell

PY - 2009/1/15

Y1 - 2009/1/15

N2 - A method has been developed that allows temporal changes in tectonic force during rift basin formation to be inferred from observed tectonic subsidence curves and has been applied to the Gulf of Lions (the Provencal Basin) and the Valencia Trough in order to gain some understanding of the dynamical aspects of back-arc basin rifting in the western Mediterranean Sea. Two distinct tectonic force regimes active at different times during the evolution of each of these back-arc basins are identified. The first, which can be seen in both basins, is characterized by tensional forces that gradually abate with time to vanish some similar to 20 my after the onset of rifting. The magnitude of tectonic force required to initiate the rifting process is significantly greater in the Valencia Trough than in the Provencal Basin. Subsequently, the dynamic development of these back-arc basins differs. In the Provencal Basin, there is a renewal of force, with extensional deformation concentrated in the central part of the rift whereas, in the Valencia Trough, the second tectonic force regime is inferred to be one that causes compression that subsequently relaxes. Such temporal patterns of tectonic force are interpreted to be related to the causative driving processes, allowing constraints to be placed on the transient interaction between the overriding and subducting plates in a back-arc setting. The models also allow inferences to be made about the rheological structure of the lithosphere. A significant variation of initial crustal thickness is inferred for the Provencal Basin but not for the Valencia Trough. In both basins, a wet rheology is required in order to initiate rifting given currently accepted bounds on tectonic force magnitudes; adoption of a dry rheology leads to insufficiently high strain rates for significant lithosphere extension in both cases. (c) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

AB - A method has been developed that allows temporal changes in tectonic force during rift basin formation to be inferred from observed tectonic subsidence curves and has been applied to the Gulf of Lions (the Provencal Basin) and the Valencia Trough in order to gain some understanding of the dynamical aspects of back-arc basin rifting in the western Mediterranean Sea. Two distinct tectonic force regimes active at different times during the evolution of each of these back-arc basins are identified. The first, which can be seen in both basins, is characterized by tensional forces that gradually abate with time to vanish some similar to 20 my after the onset of rifting. The magnitude of tectonic force required to initiate the rifting process is significantly greater in the Valencia Trough than in the Provencal Basin. Subsequently, the dynamic development of these back-arc basins differs. In the Provencal Basin, there is a renewal of force, with extensional deformation concentrated in the central part of the rift whereas, in the Valencia Trough, the second tectonic force regime is inferred to be one that causes compression that subsequently relaxes. Such temporal patterns of tectonic force are interpreted to be related to the causative driving processes, allowing constraints to be placed on the transient interaction between the overriding and subducting plates in a back-arc setting. The models also allow inferences to be made about the rheological structure of the lithosphere. A significant variation of initial crustal thickness is inferred for the Provencal Basin but not for the Valencia Trough. In both basins, a wet rheology is required in order to initiate rifting given currently accepted bounds on tectonic force magnitudes; adoption of a dry rheology leads to insufficiently high strain rates for significant lithosphere extension in both cases. (c) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

KW - tectonic subsidence

KW - tectonic force

KW - back-arc basin

KW - lithosphere rheology

KW - crustal heterogeneity

KW - subduction dynamics

KW - Eastern Iberian margin

KW - plate boundary forces

KW - Valencia trough

KW - continental lithosphere

KW - sedimentary basins

KW - numerical experiments

KW - extensional basins

KW - subduction zones

KW - retreating slabs

KW - heat-flow

U2 - 10.1016/j.epsl.2008.10.011

DO - 10.1016/j.epsl.2008.10.011

M3 - Article

VL - 277

SP - 174

EP - 183

JO - Earth and Planetary Science Letters

JF - Earth and Planetary Science Letters

SN - 0012-821X

IS - 1-2

ER -