Miocene tectonics of the Western Alboran domain: from mantle extensional exhumation to westward thrusting
Tuesday, 15 December 2015: 15:10
306 (Moscone South)
In the frame of the Africa-Europe convergence, the Mediterranean tectonic system presents a complex interaction between subduction rollback and upper-plate deformation during the Tertiary. The western Mediterranean is characterized by the exhumation of the largest subcontinental mantle massif worldwide (the Ronda Peridotite) and a narrow arcuate geometryacross the Gibraltar arc within the Betic-Rif belt (the internal part being called the Alboran domain), where the relationship between slab dynamics and surface tectonics is not well understood. New structural and geochronological data are used to argue for 1/ hyperstrechting of the continental lithosphere allowing extensional mantle exhumation to shallow depths, followed by 2/ lower miocene thrusting. Two Lower Miocene E-W-trending strike-slip corridors played a major role in the deformation pattern of the Alboran Domain, in which E-W dextral strike-slip faults, N60°-trending thrusts and N140°-trending normal faults developed simultaneously during dextral strike-slip simple shear. The inferred continuous westward translation of the Alboran Domain is accommodated by a major E-W-trending lateral ramp (strike-slip) and a N60°-trending frontal thrust. At lithosphere-scale, we interpret the observed deformation pattern as the upper-plate expression of a lateral slab tear and of its westward propagation since Lower Miocene. The crustal emplacement of the Ronda Peridotites occurred at the onset of this westward motion.The Miocene tectonics of the western Alboran is therefore marked by the inversion of a continental rift, triggered by shortening of the upper continental plate and accommodated by E-W dextral strike-slip corridors. During thrusting and westward displacement of the Alboran domain with respect to Iberia, the hot upper plate, which involved the previously exhumed sub-continental mantle, underwent fast cooling.