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Authors: Carafa, M. M. C.*
Barba, S.*
Title: Determining rheology from deformation data: The case of central Italy
Title of journal: Tectonics
Publisher: AGU
Issue Date: 2010
DOI: 10.1029/2010TC002680
Keywords: Continental neotectonics
Rheology and friction of fault zones
Rheology: crust and lithosphere
Mechanics, theory and modeling
Abstract: The study of geodynamics relies on an understanding of the strength of the lithosphere. However, our knowledge of kilometer-scale rheology has generally been obtained from centimeter-sized laboratory samples or from microstructural studies of naturally deformed rocks. In this study, we present a method that allows rheological examination at a larger scale. Utilizing forward numerical modeling, we simulated lithospheric deformation as a function of heat flow and rheological parameters and computed several testable predictions including horizontal velocities, stress directions, and the tectonic regime. To select the best solutions, we compared the model predictions with experimental data. We applied this method in Italy and found that the rheology shows significant variations at small distances. The strength ranged from 0.60.2 TN/m within the Apennines belt to 216 TN/m in the external Adriatic thrust. These strength values correspond to an aseismic mantle in the upper plate and to a strong mantle within the Adriatic lithosphere, respectively. With respect to the internal thrust, we found that strike-slip or transpressive, but not compressive, earthquakes can occur along the deeper portion of the thrust. The differences in the lithospheric strength are greater than our estimated uncertainties and occur across the Adriatic subduction margin. Using the proposed method, the lithospheric strength can be also determined when information at depth is scarce but sufficient surface data are available.
Description: Accepted for publication in Tectonics. Copyright (2010) American Geophysical Union
Appears in Collections:04.01.05. Rheology
04.01.02. Geological and geophysical evidences of deep processes
04.03.01. Crustal deformations
04.07.07. Tectonics
Papers Published / Papers in press

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