Rheological profiles in the Central- Eastern Mediterranean

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M. Viti
D. Albarello
E. Mantovani


Seismological investigations have provided an estimate of the gross structnral features of the crust/upper mantle system in the Mediterranean area. However, this information is only representative of the short-term me- chanical behaviour of rocks and cannot help us to understand slow deformations and related tectonic processes on the geological time scale. In this work strength envelopes for several major structural provinces of the Mediterranean area have been tentatively derived from seismological stratification and heat flow data, on the assumption of constant and uniforrn strain rate (10-16 S-1), wet rocks and conductive geotherm. It is also shown how the uncertainties in the reconstruction of thermal profiles can influence the main rheological prop- erties of the lithosphere, as thickness and total strength. The thickest (50-70 km) and strongest mechanical lithospheres correspond to the coldest zones (with heat flow lower than or equal to 50 mW m-2), i.e., the Io- nian and Levantine mesozoic basins, the Adriatic and Eurasian foreland zones and NW Greece. Heat flows larger than 65 mW m-2, generally observed in extensional zones (Tyrrhenian, Sicily Channel, Northern Aegean, Macedonia and Western Turkey), are mostly related to mechanical lithospheres thinner than 20 km. The characteristics of strength envelopes, and in particular the presence of soft layers in the crust, suggest a reasonable interpretation of some large-scale features which characterize the tectonic evolution of the Central- Eastem Mediterranean.

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How to Cite
Viti, M., Albarello, D. and Mantovani, E. (1997) “Rheological profiles in the Central- Eastern Mediterranean”, Annals of Geophysics, 40(4). doi: 10.4401/ag-3884.

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