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Cenozoic deformation of Iberia: A model for intraplate mountain building and basin development based on analogue modeling

AuthorsFernández-Lozano, J. ; Sokoutis, D.; Willingshofer, E.; Cloetingh, S. ; Vicente, G. de
Keywordsintraplate deformation
analogue modeling
Continental tectonics
Issue Date8-Jan-2011
PublisherAmerican Geophysical Union
CitationFernández-Lozano, J., D. Sokoutis, E. Willingshofer, S. Cloetingh, and G. De Vicente (2011), Cenozoic deformation of Iberia: A model for intraplate mountain building and basin development based on analogue modeling, Tectonics, 30, TC1001, doi:10.1029/2010TC002719.
AbstractInferences from analogue models support lithospheric folding as the primary response to large-scale shortening manifested in the present day topography of Iberia. This process was active from the late Oligocene-early Miocene during the Alpine orogeny and was probably enhanced by reactivation of inherited Variscan faults. The modeling results confirm the dependence of fold wavelength on convergence rate and hence the strength of the layers of the lithosphere such that fold wavelength is longest for fast convergence rates favoring whole lithosphere folding. Folding is associated with the formation of dominantly pop-up type mountain ranges in the brittle crust and thickening of the ductile layers in the synforms of the buckle folds by flow. The mountain ranges are represented by upper crustal pop-ups forming the main topographic relief. The wavelengths of the topographic uplifts, both, in model and nature suggest mechanical decoupling between crust and mantle. Moreover, our modeling results suggest that buckling in Iberia took place under rheological conditions where the lithospheric mantle is stronger than the lower crust. The presence of an indenter, inducing oblique shortening in response to the opening of the King's Trough in the north western corner of the Atlantic Iberian margin controls the spacing and obliquity of structures. This leads to the transfer of the deformation from the moving walls towards the inner part of the model, creating oblique structures in both brittle and ductile layers. The effect of the indenter, together with an increase on the convergence rate produced more complex brittle structures. These results show close similarities to observations on the general shape and distribution of mountain ranges and basins in Iberia, including the Spanish Central System and Toledo Mountains.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2010TC002719
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