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Thermal and mechanical structure of the central Iberian Peninsula lithosphere

Tejero López, Rosa María and Ruiz Pérez, Javier (2002) Thermal and mechanical structure of the central Iberian Peninsula lithosphere. Tectonophysics, 350 . pp. 49-62. ISSN 0040-1951

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Abstract

The central Iberian Peninsula (Spain) is made up of three main tectonic units: a mountain range, the Spanish Central System
and two Tertiary basins (those of the rivers Duero and Tajo). These units are the result of widespread foreland deformation of
the Iberian plate interior in response to Alpine convergence of European and African plates. The present study was designed to
investigate thermal structure and rheological stratification in this region of central Spain. Surface heat flow has been described
to range from f80 to f60 mW m2. Highest surface heat flow values correspond to the Central System and northern part of
the Tajo Basin. The relationship between elevation and thermal state was used to construct a one-dimensional thermal model.
Mantle heat flow drops from 34 mW m2 (Duero Basin) to 27 mW m2 (Tajo Basin), and increases with diminishing surface
heat flow. Strength predictions made by extrapolating experimental data indicate varying rheological stratification throughout
the area. In general, in compression, ductile fields predominate in the middle and lower crusts and lithospheric mantle. Brittle
behaviour is restricted to the first f8 km of the upper crust and to a thin layer at the top of the middle crust. In tension, brittle
layers are slightly more extended, while the lower crust and lithospheric mantle remain ductile in the case of a wet peridotite
composition. Discontinuities in brittle and ductile layer thickness determine lateral rheological anisotropy. Tectonic units
roughly correspond to rheological domains. Brittle layers reach their maximum thickness beneath the Duero Basin and are of
least thickness under the Tajo Basin, especially its northern area. Estimated total lithospheric strength shows a range from
2.51012 to 81012 N m1 in compression, and from 1.31012 to 1.61012 N m1 in tension. Highest values were estimated
for the Duero Basin. Depth versus frequency of earthquakes correlates well with strength predictions. Earthquake foci
concentrate mainly in the upper crust, showing a peak close to maximum strength depth. Most earthquakes occur in the southern
margin of the Central System and southeast Tajo Basin. Seismicity is related to major faults, some bounding rheological
domains. The Duero Basin is a relative quiescence zone characterised by higher total lithospheric strength than the remaining
units.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Thermal structure; Mechanical structure; Central Iberian Peninsula; Rheological profiles; Seismicity
Subjects:Sciences > Geology > Geodynamics
ID Code:10427
Deposited On:14 Apr 2010 14:42
Last Modified:06 Feb 2014 08:43

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