Density distribution across the Alpine lithosphere constrained by 3-D gravity modelling and relation to seismicity and deformation

Spooner, Cameron; Scheck-Wenderoth, Magdalena; Götze, Hans-Jürgen; Ebbing, Jörg; Hetényi, György; the AlpArray Working Group,

The Alpine orogen formed as a result of the collision between the Adriatic and European plates. Significant crustal heterogeneity exists within the region due to the long history of interplay between these plates, other continental and oceanic blocks in the region, and inherited crustal features from earlier orogenies. Deformation relating to the collision continues to the present day. Here, a seismically constrained, 3-D structural and density model of the lithosphere of the Alps and their respective forelands, derived from integrating numerous geoscientific datasets, was adjusted to match the observed gravity field. It is shown that the distribution of seismicity and deformation within the region correlates well to thickness and density changes within the crust, and that the present-day Adriatic crust is both thinner and denser (22.5 km, 2800 kg m−3) than the European crust (27.5 km, 2750 kg m−3). Alpine crust derived from each respective plate is found to show the same trend, with zones of Adriatic provenance (Austro-Alpine unit and Southern Alps) found to be denser and those of European provenance (Helvetic zone and Tauern Window) to be less dense. This suggests that the respective plates and related terranes had similar crustal properties to the present-day ones prior to orogenesis. The model generated here is available for open-access use to further discussions about the crust in the region.

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Zitierform:

Spooner, Cameron / Scheck-Wenderoth, Magdalena / Götze, Hans-Jürgen / et al: Density distribution across the Alpine lithosphere constrained by 3-D gravity modelling and relation to seismicity and deformation. 2019. Copernicus Publications.

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Rechteinhaber: Cameron Spooner et al.

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