Complex layered deformation within the Aegean crust and mantle revealed by seismic anisotropy

Endrun, B., Lebedev, S., Meier, T., Tirel, C. and Friederich, W. (2011) Complex layered deformation within the Aegean crust and mantle revealed by seismic anisotropy Nature Geoscience, 4 (3). pp. 203-207. DOI 10.1038/ngeo1065.

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Continental lithosphere can undergo pervasive internal deformation, often distributed over broad zones near plate boundaries. However, because of the paucity of observational constraints on three-dimensional movement at depth, patterns of flow within the lithosphere remain uncertain. Endmember models for lithospheric flow invoke deformation localized on faults or deep shear zones or, alternatively, diffuse, viscous-fluid-like flow. Here we determine seismic Rayleigh-wave anisotropy in the crust and mantle of the Aegean region, an archetypal example of continental deformation. Our data reveal a complex, depth-dependent flow pattern within the extending lithosphere. Beneath the northern Aegean Sea, fast shear wave propagation is in a North-South direction within the mantle lithosphere, parallel to the extensional component of the current strain rate field. In the south-central Aegean, where deformation is weak at present, anisotropic fabric in the lower crust runs parallel to the direction of palaeo-extension in the Miocene. The close match of orientations of regional-scale anisotropic fabric and the directions of extension during the last significant episodes of deformation implies that at least a large part of the extension in the Aegean has been taken up by distributed viscous flow in the lower crust and lithospheric mantle.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: lattice preferred orientations metamorphic core complexes continental lithosphere mediterranean region azimuthal anisotropy active tectonics evolution surface flow sea
Research affiliation: Kiel University
Refereed: No
DOI etc.: 10.1038/ngeo1065
ISSN: 1752-0894
Date Deposited: 15 Dec 2011 05:07
Last Modified: 05 Oct 2017 03:47

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