Articles | Volume 10, issue 1
Research article 15 Jan 2019
Research article | 15 Jan 2019
Correlation between tectonic stress regimes and methane seepage on the western Svalbard margin
Andreia Plaza-Faverola and Marie Keiding
Related subject area
Subject area: Tectonic plate interactions, magma genesis, and lithosphere deformation at all scales | Editorial team: Structural geology and tectonics, rock physics, experimental deformation | Discipline: TectonicsEffects of basal drag on subduction dynamics from 2D numerical modelsHydrocarbon accumulation in basins with multiple phases of extension and inversion: examples from the Western Desert (Egypt) and the western Black SeaLong-wavelength late-Miocene thrusting in the north Alpine foreland: implications for late orogenic processesA reconstruction of Iberia accounting for Western Tethys–North Atlantic kinematics since the late-Permian–TriassicThe enigmatic curvature of Central Iberia and its puzzling kinematicsControl of 3-D tectonic inheritance on fold-and-thrust belts: insights from 3-D numerical models and application to the Helvetic nappe systemPlio-Quaternary tectonic evolution of the southern margin of the Alboran Basin (Western Mediterranean)Surface deformation relating to the 2018 Lake Muir earthquake sequence, southwest Western Australia: new insight into stable continental region earthquakesSeismic reflection data reveal the 3D structure of the newly discovered Exmouth Dyke Swarm, offshore NW AustraliaCenozoic deformation in the Tauern Window (Eastern Alps) constrained by in situ Th-Pb dating of fissure monaziteUncertainties in break-up markers along the Iberia–Newfoundland margins illustrated by new seismic dataTectonic inheritance controls nappe detachment, transport and stacking in the Helvetic nappe system, Switzerland: insights from thermomechanical simulationsCan subduction initiation at a transform fault be spontaneous?The Geodynamic World Builder: a solution for complex initial conditions in numerical modelingFrom mapped faults to fault-length earthquake magnitude (FLEM): a test on Italy with methodological implicationsLithosphere tearing along STEP faults and synkinematic formation of lherzolite and wehrlite in the shallow subcontinental mantleA systematic comparison of experimental set-ups for modelling extensional tectonicsImproving subduction interface implementation in dynamic numerical modelsThe Bortoluzzi Mud Volcano (Ionian Sea, Italy) and its potential for tracking the seismic cycle of active faultsThe Ulakhan fault surface rupture and the seismicity of the Okhotsk–North America plate boundaryControl of increased sedimentation on orogenic fold-and-thrust belt structure – insights into the evolution of the Western AlpsAnticlockwise metamorphic pressure–temperature paths and nappe stacking in the Reisa Nappe Complex in the Scandinavian Caledonides, northern Norway: evidence for weakening of lower continental crust before and during continental collisionDeformation of feldspar at greenschist facies conditions – the record of mylonitic pegmatites from the Pfunderer Mountains, Eastern AlpsThe impact of earthquake cycle variability on neotectonic and paleoseismic slip rate estimatesFrom widespread Mississippian to localized Pennsylvanian extension in central Spitsbergen, SvalbardThe influence of detachment strength on the evolving deformational energy budget of physical accretionary prismsNew insights on the early Mesozoic evolution of multiple tectonic regimes in the northeastern North China Craton from the detrital zircon provenance of sedimentary strataThe influence of upper-plate advance and erosion on overriding plate deformation in orogen syntaxesChannel flow, tectonic overpressure, and exhumation of high-pressure rocks in the Greater Himalayas
Lior Suchoy, Saskia Goes, Benjamin Maunder, Fanny Garel, and Rhodri Davies
Solid Earth, 12, 79–93,Short summary
We use 2D numerical models to highlight the role of basal drag in subduction force balance. We show that basal drag can significantly affect velocities and evolution in our simulations and suggest an explanation as to why there are no trends in plate velocities with age in the Cenozoic subduction record (which we extracted from recent reconstruction using GPlates). The insights into the role of basal drag will help set up global models of plate dynamics or specific regional subduction models.
William Bosworth and Gábor Tari
Solid Earth, 12, 59–77,Short summary
Many of the world's hydrocarbon resources are found in rifted sedimentary basins. Some rifts experience multiple phases of extension and inversion. This results in complicated oil and gas generation, migration, and entrapment histories. We present examples of basins in the Western Desert of Egypt and the western Black Sea that were inverted multiple times, sometimes separated by additional phases of extension. We then discuss how these complex deformation histories impact exploration campaigns.
Samuel Mock, Christoph von Hagke, Fritz Schlunegger, István Dunkl, and Marco Herwegh
Solid Earth, 11, 1823–1847,Short summary
Based on thermochronological data, we infer thrusting along-strike the northern rim of the Central Alps between 12–4 Ma. While the lithology influences the pattern of thrusting at the local scale, we observe that thrusting in the foreland is a long-wavelength feature occurring between Lake Geneva and Salzburg. This coincides with the geometry and dynamics of the attached lithospheric slab at depth. Thus, thrusting in the foreland is at least partly linked to changes in slab dynamics.
Paul Angrand, Frédéric Mouthereau, Emmanuel Masini, and Riccardo Asti
Solid Earth, 11, 1313–1332,Short summary
We study the Iberian plate motion, from the late Permian to middle Cretaceous. During this time interval, two oceanic systems opened. Geological evidence shows that the Iberian domain preserved the propagation of these two rift systems well. We use geological evidence and pre-existing kinematic models to propose a coherent kinematic model of Iberia that considers both the Neotethyan and Atlantic evolutions. Our model shows that the Europe–Iberia plate boundary was made of two rift systems.
Daniel Pastor-Galán, Gabriel Gutiérrez-Alonso, and Arlo B. Weil
Solid Earth, 11, 1247–1273,Short summary
Pangea was assembled during Devonian to early Permian times and resulted in a large-scale and winding orogeny that today transects Europe, northwestern Africa, and eastern North America. This orogen is characterized by an
Sshape corrugated geometry in Iberia. This paper presents the advances and milestones in our understanding of the geometry and kinematics of the Central Iberian curve from the last decade with particular attention paid to structural and paleomagnetic studies.
Richard Spitz, Arthur Bauville, Jean-Luc Epard, Boris J. P. Kaus, Anton A. Popov, and Stefan M. Schmalholz
Solid Earth, 11, 999–1026,Short summary
We apply three-dimensional (3D) thermo-mechanical numerical simulations of the shortening of the upper crustal region of a passive margin in order to investigate the control of 3D laterally variable inherited structures on fold-and-thrust belt evolution and associated nappe formation. The model is applied to the Helvetic nappe system of the Swiss Alps. Our results show a 3D reconstruction of the first-order tectonic evolution showing the fundamental importance of inherited geological structures.
Manfred Lafosse, Elia d'Acremont, Alain Rabaute, Ferran Estrada, Martin Jollivet-Castelot, Juan Tomas Vazquez, Jesus Galindo-Zaldivar, Gemma Ercilla, Belen Alonso, Jeroen Smit, Abdellah Ammar, and Christian Gorini
Solid Earth, 11, 741–765,Short summary
The Alboran Sea is one of the most active region of the Mediterranean Sea. There, the basin architecture records the effect of the Africa–Eurasia plates convergence. We evidence a Pliocene transpression and a more recent Pleistocene tectonic reorganization. We propose that main driving force of the deformation is the Africa–Eurasia convergence, rather than other geodynamical processes. It highlights the evolution and the geometry of the present-day Africa–Eurasia plate boundary.
Dan J. Clark, Sarah Brennand, Gregory Brenn, Matthew C. Garthwaite, Jesse Dimech, Trevor I. Allen, and Sean Standen
Solid Earth, 11, 691–717,Short summary
A magnitude 5.3 reverse-faulting earthquake in September 2018 near Lake Muir in southwest Western Australia was followed after 2 months by a collocated magnitude 5.2 strike-slip event. The first event produced a ~ 5 km long and up to 0.5 m high west-facing surface rupture, and the second triggered event deformed but did not rupture the surface. The earthquake sequence was the ninth to have produced surface rupture in Australia. None of these show evidence for prior Quaternary surface rupture.
Craig Magee and Christopher Aiden-Lee Jackson
Solid Earth, 11, 579–606,Short summary
Injection of vertical sheets of magma (dyke swarms) controls tectonic and volcanic processes on Earth and other planets. Yet we know little of the 3D structure of dyke swarms. We use seismic reflection data, which provides ultrasound-like images of Earth's subsurface, to study a dyke swarm in 3D for the first time. We show that (1) dyke injection occurred in the Late Jurassic, (2) our data support previous models of dyke shape, and (3) seismic data provides a new way to view and study dykes.
Emmanuelle Ricchi, Christian A. Bergemann, Edwin Gnos, Alfons Berger, Daniela Rubatto, Martin J. Whitehouse, and Franz Walter
Solid Earth, 11, 437–467,Short summary
This study investigates Cenozoic deformation during cooling and exhumation of the Tauern metamorphic and structural dome, Eastern Alps, through Th–Pb dating of fissure monazite-(Ce). Fissure (or hydrothermal) monazite-(Ce) typically crystallizes in a temperature range of 400–200 °C. Three major episodes of monazite growth occurred at approximately 21, 17, and 12 Ma, corroborating previous crystallization and cooling ages.
Annabel Causer, Lucía Pérez-Díaz, Jürgen Adam, and Graeme Eagles
Solid Earth, 11, 397–417,Short summary
Here we discuss the validity of so-called “break-up” markers along the Newfoundland margin, challenging their perceived suitability for plate kinematic reconstructions of the southern North Atlantic. We do this on the basis of newly available seismic transects across the Southern Newfoundland Basin. Our new data contradicts current interpretations of the extent of oceanic lithosphere and illustrates the need for a differently constraining the plate kinematics of the Iberian plate pre M0 times.
Dániel Kiss, Thibault Duretz, and Stefan Markus Schmalholz
Solid Earth, 11, 287–305,Short summary
In this paper, we investigate the physical mechanisms of tectonic nappe formation by high-resolution numerical modeling. Tectonic nappes are key structural features of many mountain chains which are packets of rocks displaced, sometimes even up to 100 km, from their original position. However, the physical mechanisms involved are not fully understood. We solve numerical equations of fluid and solid dynamics to improve our knowledge. The results are compared with data from the Helvetic Alps.
Diane Arcay, Serge Lallemand, Sarah Abecassis, and Fanny Garel
Solid Earth, 11, 37–62,Short summary
We propose a new exploration of the concept of
spontaneouslithospheric collapse at a transform fault (TF) by performing a large study of conditions allowing instability of the thicker plate using 2-D thermomechanical simulations. Spontaneous subduction is modelled only if extreme mechanical conditions are assumed. We conclude that spontaneous collapse of the thick older plate at a TF evolving into mature subduction is an unlikely process of subduction initiation at modern Earth conditions.
Menno Fraters, Cedric Thieulot, Arie van den Berg, and Wim Spakman
Solid Earth, 10, 1785–1807,Short summary
Three-dimensional numerical modelling of geodynamic processes may benefit strongly from using realistic 3-D starting models that approximate, e.g. natural subduction settings in the geological past or at present. To this end, we developed the Geodynamic World Builder (GWB), which enables relatively straightforward parameterization of complex 3-D geometric structures associated with geodynamic processes. The GWB is an open-source community code designed to easily interface with geodynamic codes.
Fabio Trippetta, Patrizio Petricca, Andrea Billi, Cristiano Collettini, Marco Cuffaro, Anna Maria Lombardi, Davide Scrocca, Giancarlo Ventura, Andrea Morgante, and Carlo Doglioni
Solid Earth, 10, 1555–1579,Short summary
Considering all mapped faults in Italy, empirical scaling laws between fault dimensions and earthquake magnitude are used at the national scale. Results are compared with earthquake catalogues. The consistency between our results and the catalogues gives credibility to the method. Some large differences between the two datasets suggest the validation of this experiment elsewhere.
Károly Hidas, Carlos J. Garrido, Guillermo Booth-Rea, Claudio Marchesi, Jean-Louis Bodinier, Jean-Marie Dautria, Amina Louni-Hacini, and Abla Azzouni-Sekkal
Solid Earth, 10, 1099–1121,Short summary
Subduction-transform edge propagator (STEP) faults are the locus of continual lithospheric tearing at the edges of subducted slabs, resulting in sharp changes in the lithospheric thickness and triggering lateral and/or near-vertical mantle flow. Here, we study upper mantle rocks recovered from a STEP fault context by < 4 Ma alkali volcanism. We reconstruct how the microstructure developed during deformation and coupled melt–rock interaction, which are promoted by lithospheric tearing at depth.
Frank Zwaan, Guido Schreurs, and Susanne J. H. Buiter
Solid Earth, 10, 1063–1097,Short summary
This work was inspired by an effort to numerically reproduce laboratory models of extension tectonics. We tested various set-ups to find a suitable analogue model and in the process systematically charted the impact of set-ups and boundary conditions on model results, a topic poorly described in existing scientific literature. We hope that our model results and the discussion on which specific tectonic settings they could represent may serve as a guide for future (analogue) modeling studies.
Dan Sandiford and Louis Moresi
Solid Earth, 10, 969–985,Short summary
This study investigates approaches to implementing plate boundaries within a fluid dynamic framework, targeted at the evolution of subduction over many millions of years.
Marco Cuffaro, Andrea Billi, Sabina Bigi, Alessandro Bosman, Cinzia G. Caruso, Alessia Conti, Andrea Corbo, Antonio Costanza, Giuseppe D'Anna, Carlo Doglioni, Paolo Esestime, Gioacchino Fertitta, Luca Gasperini, Francesco Italiano, Gianluca Lazzaro, Marco Ligi, Manfredi Longo, Eleonora Martorelli, Lorenzo Petracchini, Patrizio Petricca, Alina Polonia, and Tiziana Sgroi
Solid Earth, 10, 741–763,Short summary
The Ionian Sea in southern Italy is at the center of active convergence between the Eurasian and African plates, with many known Mw > 7.0 earthquakes. Here, a recently discovered mud volcano (called the Bortoluzzi Mud Volcano or BMV) was surveyed during the Seismofaults 2017 cruise (May 2017). The BMV is the active emergence of crustal fluids probably squeezed up during the seismic cycle. As such, the BMV may potentially be used to track the seismic cycle of active faults.
David Hindle, Boris Sedov, Susanne Lindauer, and Kevin Mackey
Solid Earth, 10, 561–580,Short summary
On one of the least studied boundaries between tectonic plates (North America–Okhotsk in northeastern Russia), which moves very similarly to the famous San Andreas fault in California, we have found the traces of earthquakes from the recent past, but before the time of historical records. This makes us a little more sure that the fault is still the place where movement between the plates takes place, and when it happens again, there could be dangerous earthquakes.
Zoltán Erdős, Ritske S. Huismans, and Peter van der Beek
Solid Earth, 10, 391–404,Short summary
We used a 2-D thermomechanical code to simulate the evolution of an orogen. Our aim was to study the interaction between tectonic and surface processes in orogenic forelands. We found that an increase in the sediment input to the foreland results in prolonged activity of the active frontal thrust. Such a scenario could occur naturally as a result of increasing relief in the orogenic hinterland or a change in climatic conditions. We compare our results with observations from the Alps.
Carly Faber, Holger Stünitz, Deta Gasser, Petr Jeřábek, Katrin Kraus, Fernando Corfu, Erling K. Ravna, and Jiří Konopásek
Solid Earth, 10, 117–148,Short summary
The Caledonian mountains formed when Baltica and Laurentia collided around 450–400 million years ago. This work describes the history of the rocks and the dynamics of that continental collision through space and time using field mapping, estimated pressures and temperatures, and age dating on rocks from northern Norway. The rocks preserve continental collision between 440–430 million years ago, and an unusual pressure–temperature evolution suggests unusual tectonic activity prior to collision.
Felix Hentschel, Claudia A. Trepmann, and Emilie Janots
Solid Earth, 10, 95–116,Short summary
We used microscopy and electron backscatter diffraction to analyse the deformation behaviour of feldspar at greenschist facies conditions in mylonitic pegmatites of the Austroalpine basement. There are strong uncertainties about feldspar deformation, mainly because of the varying contributions of different deformation processes. We observed that deformation is mainly the result of coupled fracturing and dislocation glide, followed by growth and granular flow.
Solid Earth, 10, 15–25,Short summary
Successive earthquakes on a single fault are not perfectly periodic in time. There is some natural random variability. This leads to variations in estimated fault slip rates over short timescales though the longer-term mean slip rate stays constant, which may cause problems when comparing slip rates at different timescales. This paper is the first to quantify these effects, demonstrating substantial variation in slip rates over a few to tens of earthquakes, but much less at longer timescales.
Jean-Baptiste P. Koehl and Jhon M. Muñoz-Barrera
Solid Earth, 9, 1535–1558,Short summary
This research is dedicated to the study of poorly understood coal-bearing Mississippian (ca. 360–325 Ma) sedimentary rocks in central Spitsbergen. Our results suggest that these rocks were deposited during a period of widespread extension involving multiple fault trends, including faults striking subparallel to the extension direction, while overlying Pennsylvanian rocks (ca. 325–300 Ma) were deposited during extension localized along fewer, larger faults.
Jessica McBeck, Michele Cooke, Pauline Souloumiac, Bertrand Maillot, and Baptiste Mary
Solid Earth, 9, 1421–1436,Short summary
In order to assess the influence of deformational processes within accretionary prisms, we track the evolution of the energy budget. We track the consumption of energy stored in internal deformation of the host rock, energy expended in frictional slip, energy used in uplift against gravity and total energy input. We find that the energy used in internal deformation is < 1% of the total and that the energy expended in frictional slip is the largest portion of the budget.
Yi Ni Wang, Wen Liang Xu, Feng Wang, and Xiao Bo Li
Solid Earth, 9, 1375–1397,Short summary
Early Triassic sediments in the northeastern North Chian Craton resulted from the subduction of the Paleo-Asian oceanic plate and collision between the North China and Yangtze cratons. Late Triassic sediments resulted from the final closure of the Paleo-Asian Ocean in the Middle Triassic and exhumation of the Su–Lu Orogenic Belt. Early Jurassic change in provenance was related to the uplift of the Xing'an–Mongolia Orogenic Belt and the subduction of the Paleo-Pacific Plate.
Matthias Nettesheim, Todd A. Ehlers, David M. Whipp, and Alexander Koptev
Solid Earth, 9, 1207–1224,Short summary
In this modeling study, we investigate rock uplift at plate corners (syntaxes). These are characterized by a unique bent geometry at subduction zones and exhibit some of the world's highest rock uplift rates. We find that the style of deformation changes above the plate's bent section and that active subduction is necessary to generate an isolated region of rapid uplift. Strong erosion there localizes uplift on even smaller scales, suggesting both tectonic and surface processes are important.
Fernando O. Marques, Nibir Mandal, Subhajit Ghosh, Giorgio Ranalli, and Santanu Bose
Solid Earth, 9, 1061–1078,Short summary
We couple Himalayan tectonics to numerical simulations to show how upward-tapering channel (UTC) flow can be used to explain the evidence. The simulations predict high tectonic overpressure (TOP > 2), which increases exponentially with a decrease in UTC mouth width, and with increase in velocity and channel viscosity. The highest TOP occurs at depths < −60 km, which, combined with the flow in the UTC, forces high-pressure rocks to exhume along the channel’s hanging wall, as in the Himalayas.
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Vast amounts of methane are released to the oceans at continental margins (seepage). The mechanisms controlling when and how much methane is released are not fully understood. In the Fram Strait seepage may be affected by complex tectonic processes. We modelled the stress generated on the sediments exclusively due to the opening of the mid-ocean ridges and found that changes in the stress field may be controlling when and where seepage occurs, which has implications for seepage reconstruction.
Vast amounts of methane are released to the oceans at continental margins (seepage). The...