Distributed and Localized Deformation Along the Lebanese Restraining Bend from Geomorphic Observations and Modeling

Wednesday, 17 December 2014: 5:45 PM
Sebastien Castelltort, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland, Liran Goren, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel and Yann Klinger, Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, Paris, France
The Dead Sea Fault System changes its orientation across Lebanon and forms a restraining bend. The oblique deformation along the Lebanese restraining bend is characterized by a complex suite of tectonic structures, among which, the Yammouneh Fault (YF), is believed to be the main strand that relays deformation from the southern section to the northern section of the Dead Sea Fault System. However, uncertainties regarding slip rates and strain partitioning in Lebanon still prevail. Here, we use morphometric analysis together with analytical and numerical models to constrain rates and modes of distributed and localized deformation along the Lebanese restraining bend.
The rivers that drain the western flank of Mount Lebanon show a consistent counterclockwise rotation with respect to an expected orogen perpendicular orientation. Moreover, a pattern of divide disequilibrium in between these rivers emerges from an application of the χ mapping technique, which aims at estimating the degree of geometrical and topological disequilibrium in river networks. These geometrical patterns are compatible with simulation results using a landscape evolution model, which imposes a distributed velocity field along a domain that represents the western flank of Mount Lebanon.
We further develop an analytical model that relates the river orientation to a set of kinematic parameters that represents a combined pure and simple shear strain field, and we find the parameters that best explain the present orientation of the western Lebanon rivers. Our results indicate that distributed deformation to the west of the YF takes as much as 30% of the relative Arabia-Sinai plate velocity since the late Miocene, and that the average slip rate along the YF during the same time interval has been 3.8-4.4 mm/yr. The theoretical model can further explain the inferred rotation from Paleomagnetic measurements.