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Slab Rollback Orogeny Model: A Test of Concept

Dal Zilio, Luca and Kissling, Edi and Gerya, Taras and van Dinther, Ylona (2020) Slab Rollback Orogeny Model: A Test of Concept. Geophysical Research Letters, 47 (18). Art. No. e2020GL089917. ISSN 0094-8276. doi:10.1029/2020gl089917.

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Buoyancy forces associated with subducting lithosphere control the dynamics of convergent margins. In the postcollisional stage these forces are significantly reduced, yet mountain building and seismicity are ongoing, albeit at lower rates. We leverage advances of a newly developed seismo‐thermo‐mechanical modeling approach to simulate tectonic and seismicity processes in a self‐driven subduction and continental collision setting. We demonstrate that the rearrangement of forces due to slab breakoff, in the postcollisional stage, causes bending and rollback of the residual slab, suction forces, and mantle traction at the base of the upper plate, while stress coupling transfers to the shallow crust. Our results provide an explanation for the postcollisional evolution of the Central Alps, where the so‐called Slab Rollback Orogeny model explains the slow yet persistent upper plate advance, the height of the mountain range, and a seismicity pattern consistent with the different tectonic regimes throughout the orogen.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Dal Zilio, Luca0000-0002-5642-0894
Kissling, Edi0000-0001-9575-7951
Gerya, Taras0000-0002-1062-2722
van Dinther, Ylona0000-0002-4273-8287
Additional Information:© 2020 American Geophysical Union. Issue Online: 15 September 2020; Version of Record online: 15 September 2020; Accepted manuscript online: 25 August 2020; Manuscript accepted: 23 August 2020; Manuscript revised: 12 August 2020; Manuscript received: 16 July 2020. This study was funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) Swiss‐AlpArray SINERGIA (2‐77090‐14), the Early Postdoc Mobility fellowship (P2EZP2_184307), and the Drinkward Fellowship at Caltech. Numerical simulations were performed on ETH cluster Euler. This work has benefited from several discussions with F. Capitanio. We thank M. Gurnis, W. Spakman, M. Faccenda, B. Kaus, G. Pozzi, K. Ueda, and A. Ceccato for constructive comments. We thank the editor and two anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and suggestions for improving the manuscript. Data Availability Statement: Figures were made using perceptually uniform colormaps (Crameri, 2018). Data related to this study can be downloaded online (from
Group:Seismological Laboratory
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)2-77090-14
Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)P2EZP2_184307
Subject Keywords:Slab Rollback Orogeny; Collision; Slab rollback; slab breakoff; Post‐collision; Central Alps
Issue or Number:18
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200826-112743450
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Dal Zilio, L., Kissling, E., Gerya, T., & van Dinther, Y. (2020). Slab Rollback Orogeny model: A test of concept. Geophysical Research Letters, 47, e2020GL089917.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:105120
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:26 Aug 2020 19:01
Last Modified:01 Jun 2023 22:47

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