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Neotectonic Deformation in Central Eurasia: A Geodynamic Model Approach

AuthorsTunini, Lavinia ; Jimenez-Munt, Ivone ; Fernandez, Manel ; Vergés, Jaume ; Bird, Peter
Issue DateNov-2017
PublisherBlackwell Publishing
CitationJournal of Geophysical Research Solid Earth, 122(11): 9461–9484 (2017)
AbstractCentral Eurasia hosts wide orogenic belts of collision between India and Arabia with Eurasia, with diffuse or localized deformation occurring up to hundreds of kilometers from the primary plate boundaries. Although numerous studies have investigated the neotectonic deformation in central Eurasia, most of them have focused on limited segments of the orogenic systems. Here we explore the neotectonic deformation of all of central Eurasia, including both collision zones and the links between them. We use a thin-spherical sheet approach in which lithosphere strength is calculated from lithosphere structure and its thermal regime. We investigate the contributions of variations in lithospheric structure, rheology, boundary conditions, and fault friction coefficients on the predicted velocity and stress fields. Results (deformation pattern, surface velocities, tectonic stresses, and slip rates on faults) are constrained by independent observations of tectonic regime, GPS, and stress data. Our model predictions reproduce the counterclockwise rotation of Arabia and Iran, the westward escape of Anatolia, and the eastward extrusion of the northern Tibetan Plateau. To simulate the observed extensional faults in the Tibetan Plateau, a weaker lithosphere is required, provided by a change in the rheological parameters. The southward movement of the SE Tibetan Plateau can be explained by the combined effects of the Sumatra trench retreat, a thinner lithospheric mantle, and strik-slip faults in the region. This study offers a comprehensive model for regions with little or no data coverage, like the Arabia-India intercollision zone, where the surface velocity is northward showing no deflection related to Arabia and India indentations. ©2017. American Geophysical Union.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/2017JB014487
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