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Slab pull and indentation tectonics: insights from 3D laboratory experiments

Abstract : We investigate, using 3D laboratory experiments, how the dynamics of indentation process are affected by the evolution at depth of the oceanic and continental subductions. Lithospheric plates are modelled by sand silicone plates floating on glucose syrup, and the density contrast between oceanic and continental lithospheric plates and asthenosphere is reproduced. Analogue experiments model the convergence between two lithospheric plates, a small continent indenting a large continental plate. We show that the surface deformation in front of the indenter and above the oceanic subduction zone depends on the behaviour of the slab below the collision zone. Slab break-off following the subduction of the small continent favours the indentation process, because it results in an increasing compression in front of the indenter, and extension above the neighbouring oceanic subduction, both of them being responsible for the appearance of the indenter-like geometry of the plate boundary. When the slab does not deform significantly at depth, in contrast, the closure of the oceanic domain in front of the indenter is followed by a longer period of continental subduction, during which the tectonic regime within the wide continent remains quite homogeneous. Comparing the presented analogue experiments with the subductions both part of the Arabian indenter within Eurasia, our results suggest that the different tectonic regime on both sides of the Arabia indenter may partly result from the probable occurrence of a detachment at depth under eastern Anatolia.
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Submitted on : Thursday, September 11, 2008 - 1:52:19 PM
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Vincent Regard, Claudio Faccenna, Joseph Martinod, O Bellier. Slab pull and indentation tectonics: insights from 3D laboratory experiments. Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors, Elsevier, 2005, 149 (1-2), pp.99-113. ⟨10.1016/j.pepi.2004.08.011⟩. ⟨hal-00320634⟩



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