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Publication Detail
Relationship between topography, rates of extension and mantle dynamics in the actively-extending Italian Apennines
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Authors:
    Faure Walker JP, Roberts GP, Papanikolaou I, Sammonds P, Cowie PA, Michetti AM, Wilkinson M, McCaffrey KJW, Phillips RJ
  • Publication date:
  • Pagination:
    76, 84
  • Journal:
    Earth and Planetary Science Letters
  • Volume:
  • Print ISSN:
To investigate the mechanism driving active extension in the central and southern Italian Apennines and the geography of seismic hazard, we compare spatial variations in upper crustal strain-rate measured across exposed fault scarps since 15±3. ka with data on cumulative upper-crustal strain and topographic elevation, and free-air gravity, P-wave tomography and SKS splitting delay times that are a proxy for strain in the mantle. High extensional strain-rates across the Apennines since 15±3. ka (0.4-3.1. mm/yr along 90. km transects) occur in two areas (Lazio-Abruzzo; SE Campania and Basilicata) where values for finite extensional strains that have developed since 2-3. Ma are highest (2-7. km cumulative throw), and where mean elevation in 5×90. km NE-SW boxes is >600. m; the intervening area (NW Campania and Molise) with <600. m mean elevation in 5×90km boxes has extension-rates. <0.4. mm/yr and lower values for finite extensional strains (<2. km cumulative throw). These two areas with high upper-crustal strain-rates overlie mantle that has relatively-long spatially-interpolated SKS delay times (1.2-1.8. s) indicating relatively-high mantle strains and free-air gravity values (140-160. mGals); the intervening area of lower extension-rate has shorter spatially-interpolated SKS delay times (0.8-1.2. s) and lower free-air gravity values (120. mGals). The two areas with high upper crustal strain-rates and strain, mean elevation, and mantle strain, coincide with the northern and southern edges of a slab window in the Tyrrhenian-Apennines subducting plate that has been inferred from published P-wave tomography. Together these correlations suggest that dynamic support of the topography by mantle flow through the slab window may control the present day upper crustal strain-rate field in the Apennines and the geography of seismic hazard in the region. © 2012 Elsevier B.V..
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