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Dynamic Processes in Extensional and Compressional Settings - Mountain Building: From Earthquakes to Geological Deformation

Avouac, J.-P. (2008) Dynamic Processes in Extensional and Compressional Settings - Mountain Building: From Earthquakes to Geological Deformation. In: Treatise on Geophysics. Vol.6. Elsevier , Amsterdam, pp. 377-439. ISBN 978-0-444-52748-6.

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Mountain ranges are the most spectacular manifestation of continental dynamics. T he fact that some mountain ranges were able to maintain their topography over tens of millions of years, while their erosion was feeding large sedimentary basins, is unambiguous evidence that tectonic forces can cause sustained uplift of subsidence of the continental crust. Geologists noticed quite early on that most mountain ranges are contractional orogens, the result of horizontal contraction of the continental crust, and that they tend to form long belts separating domains with often quite different geological history (e.g., Willis, 1891; Argand, 1924). A rapid tour of active mountain ranges on Earth today shows that contractional mountain ranges can arise in a variety of contexts. Some have formed along converging plate boundaries as the result of collisions which can involve two continents (along the Himalaya, for example, as detailed in this review), a continent and an island arc (in Taiwan) (e.g., Malavieille et al., 2002a), or a continent and an oceanic plateau (in the Southern Alps of New Zealand) (e.g., Walcott, 1998). Contractional mountain ranges can also form along subduction zones without being necessarily collisional features. In the Andes for example, the stresses transmitted across a subduction zone appear to be sufficient to cause trench-perpendicular shortening (e.g., (Lamb, 2006), probably because high heat flow in the back-arc zone weakens the continental lithosphere (Hyndman et al., 2005). Mountain ranges are thus often closely associated with converging plate boundaries. However, active mountain building can also occur far away) from plate boundaries, the Tien Shan, in Central Asia, being an outstanding example (e.g., Hendrix et al., 1992 and Avouac, et al., 1993).

Item Type:Book Section
Avouac, J.-P.0000-0002-3060-8442
Additional Information:© 2007 Elsevier B.V.
Group:Caltech Tectonics Observatory, Caltech Tectonics Observatory. Indo-Asian Collision Zone, Seismological Laboratory
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20110111-120419364
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:21705
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:25 Jan 2011 22:26
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 13:18

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