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Volume 20 Issue 1 (January 2010)

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Article, pp. 4-10 | Full Text | PDF (4.8MB)

Impact of erosion, sedimentation, and structural heritage on the structure and kinematics of orogenic wedges: Analog models and case studies

Jacques Malavieille

Université Montpellier 2, CNRS UMR 5243, Géosciences Montpellier, 34095 Montpellier cedex 5, France; and International Laboratory (LIA), “ADEPT,” CNRS-NSC, France-Taiwan

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Abstract

Interaction between surface and tectonic processes plays a key role in the structural evolution, kinematics, and exhumation of rocks in orogenic wedges. The deformation patterns observed in analog models show that strain partitioning has a strong impact on the vertical component of displacement of tectonic units, which in return favors erosion in domains of important uplift. Partitioning is controlled by tectonic processes and by climate-dependent surface processes, including erosion and sedimentation. The effects of partitioning include localization of deformed domains, exhumation above areas of deep underplating, and steady-state maintenance of wedges for long time periods. Simple models illustrate well how the morphostructural evolution of mountain belts is determined by these complex interactions.

Manuscript received 16 March 2009; accepted 21 September 2009

DOI: 10.1130/GSATG48A.1

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