Mantle Detachment Faults and the Breakup of Cold Continental Lithosphere

Weinberg, R.F., Regenauer-Lieb, K. and Rosenbaum, G. (2007) Mantle Detachment Faults and the Breakup of Cold Continental Lithosphere. Geology, 35 11: 1035-1038. doi:10.1130/G23918A.1

Author Weinberg, R.F.
Regenauer-Lieb, K.
Rosenbaum, G.
Title Mantle Detachment Faults and the Breakup of Cold Continental Lithosphere
Journal name Geology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0091-7613
Publication date 2007-01-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1130/G23918A.1
Open Access Status
Volume 35
Issue 11
Start page 1035
End page 1038
Total pages 4
Place of publication Boulder, CO
Publisher Geological Society of America
Language eng
Subject C1
260107 Structural Geology
780104 Earth sciences
Abstract We use a novel numerical approach that fully couples the energy, momentum, and continuum equations to investigate the physics of extension and breakup of cold continental lithosphere to form new ocean basins. Unlike hot continental systems, where fl at-lying detachment faults are nucleated in the strong part of the upper crust, cold continental systems have fl at-lying detachment faults nucleating in the strong upper mantle at a relatively early stage. These detachment faults subsequently control the development of a mantle core complex and associated crustal structures. The observed structures are analogous to those developed in mid-crustal core complexes during extension of relatively thick and hot continental crust. In the cold environment, however, a strong elastic layer is developed within the mantle, shifting the stress-bearing part of the system to below the Moho. Our modeling results reproduce key tectonic elements of a natural system (the Iberia margin, offshore the Iberian Peninsula) by stretching a randomly perturbed, unpatterned lithosphere. Results also explain the “upper plate paradox” by doming of continental lithospheric mantle separated from the crust by two diffuse detachment zones dipping toward the two future continental margins. Doming is facilitated by channel fl ow of the lower crust. Keywords: extension, detachment faults, passive margin, numerical
Keyword Geology
passive margin
passive margin
numerical modeling
mantle exhumation
core complex
Metamorphic Core Complexes
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code

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Created: Wed, 20 Feb 2008, 01:48:12 EST by Carolyn Marklew on behalf of School of Earth Sciences