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Basin and Range

cont-cont collisions can end with collision (Alps) they can progress to indenter tectonics (southeast Asia) ultimately, India will either drive through Asia or the indenting will stop depends on the driving force - plate margin, or subplate? one possibility is for indenting to stop, and the Indian plate to break south of India what would happen if Eurasia + India moved south and overrode the Carlsberg Ridge? today the Nazca-Antarctic ridge is being overridden by South America in last 20 m.y., the Pacific-Farallon ridge has been overridden by North America what effects are found?

Basin and Range


western USA shows the effects of ridge subduction history of Farallon convergence:
30 Ma
http://pubs.usgs.gov/publications/text/Farallon.html

20 Ma

10 Ma

today

leading corner of Farallon Plate has been subducted ridge processes get extinguished sub-lithospheric convection cycles may continue much of western USA is now extensional

Basin and Range


extensional tectonics can be identified by landscape: "Basin and Range" undoing the extension:

the distance from Salt Lake City to San Francisco has increased by almost 50% since Eocene.

Basin and Range


extends from Mexico to northwestern USA extension began about 20 Ma in a NE-SW direction today it more E-W extension, at 10-50 mm/a evidence for extension: high mean elevation (1000 - 2000 m asl) internal drainage divide (Great Basin - partly climatic)

evidence for extension: GPS station velocities are measured:

Basin and Range

10 mm/a

http://quake.wr.usgs.gov/study/deformation/Papers/BnR_Science/Fig1.html

red and blue arrows represent extension amount and direction (Basin & Range, Sierra Nevada, respectively) green lines are mapped active faults.

Basin and Range

series of (tilted) normal fault blocks valleys consist of grabens or half-grabens ranges are horsts, or high ends of tilted blocks bounding faults steep at surface, become listric at depth some faults extend deep into continental crust where very large extension has occurred, upper crustal material has been stripped off, exhuming the lower crust.

"extensive extension" first recognized in northern Canadian Cordillera by Wernicke Wernicke model

Basin and Range

results:
Basin and Range tectonic denudation core complexes shallow Moho positive gravity anomaly many horizontal mylonites.

Basin and Range

Wernicke extension is now recognized in almost all extensional environments continents and oceans results in asymmetrical margins in a rifting situation results in gradual crustal thinning in a continental margin why does it break (almost) horizontally? breaks along lines of weakness all lines of weakness are horizontal - sedimentary-basement contact, layering in the crust, etc.

Basin and Range

http://www-sst.unil.ch/research/plate_tecto/teaching.htm

Basin and Range

Basin and Range


why is there extension in the Basin and Range in the first place? extension started about 25 Ma - same time as the beginning of subduction of the East Pacific Rise when slab drops off, mantle oozes around it huge positive gravity anomaly fast uplift of Colorado Plateau (since 5 Ma) as a result of thermal expansion arc fast spreading underplating

arrival of EPR end of subduction

old slab drops off

Basin and Range


associated magmatism in the Basin and Range swept from Idaho to Las Vegas and New Mexico to Las Vegas as the slab gradually peeled off and sank today, crust is thin under Basin and Range (20-25 km) sub-Moho mantle velocity is low (to 7.5 km/s) - a result of much magma

Basin and Range


Basin and Range scenario is probably unusual, but not impossible in other areas anywhere extension occurs in continental crust, the Wernicke model is preferred (at several scales): continent rifting (Scotian margin) continent extension (Basin and Range) rift valley formation (East Africa, Rhine, Lake Baikal) how would we recognise it in the geologic record? core complexes (LP metamorphism) bimodal volcanism (adiabatic warming melts mantle, extra heat melts crust basalt + rhyolite terrestrial deposits (can be marine in advanced stages).