Some geophysical constraints to dynamic processes in the Southwestern Mediterranean

V. Pasquale, M. Verdoya, P. Chiozzi

Abstract


The total tectonic subsidence, thermal state and seismotectonic regime have been analysed to better constrain the dynamic processes which originated the basins of the Southwestern Mediterranean. It is argued that backarc extension and oceanic spreading are the possible and main processes which took place within a compressional framework, driven by the interaction between the African and European plates. As inferred by both subsidence and heat-flux data, in the central part of the Algerian-Balearic basin the crust is oceanic, 20 Ma old on average, originated by a spreading phase, which also affected the Ligurian-Provençal basin. The Alboran basin, which is underlain by stretched continental crust, shows an intermediate seismic activity and a few deep events, explainable by a gravitational collapse of cold lithosphere. After a review of the most recent geodynamical hypotheses, an evolutionary scheme is attempted envisaging the lateral continental escape of the Gibraltar arc. Within a convergent tectonic framework, some lithospheric material could translate almost perpendicular to the convergence direction, and undergo a lateral subduction process, secondary to the main boundary between plates.

Keywords


marginal basin;heat-flux and seismotectonic data;lateral extrusion model;Algerian-Balearic and Alboran basins;Betic cordillera-Rif system

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References


DOI: https://doi.org/10.4401/ag-4047
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Published by INGV, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - ISSN: 2037-416X