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Asian collisional subduction; a key process driving formation of the Tibetan Plateau

Anne Replumaz, F. Funiciello, R. Reitano, C. Faccenna and M. Balon
Asian collisional subduction; a key process driving formation of the Tibetan Plateau
Geology (Boulder) (September 2016) 44 (11): 943-946


Using silicone slabs as a model analogue for lithospheric plates subducting into a box of glucose syrup, as an analogue of the mantle, we explore the subduction of continental lithosphere in a context of intercontinental collision. The continental indenter pushed by a piston, reproducing the collision, attached to a dense oceanic plate, subducts to two-thirds of the depth of the mantle box. We show that, surprisingly, the continental plate attached to the back wall of the box subducts, even if not attached to a dense oceanic slab. The engine of this subduction is not the weight of the slab, because the slab is lighter than the mantle, but the motion of the piston, which generates horizontal tectonic forces. These are transmitted to the back wall plate through the indenter and the upper plate at the surface, and by the advancing indenter slab through the mantle at shallow depth. We define this process as collisional subduction occurring in a compressional context. The collisional subduction absorbs between 14% and 20% of the convergence, and represents an unexplored component of collisional mass balance. The transmission of tectonic forces far from the collision front favors the formation of a wide plateau. Our experiments reproduce adequately the amount and geometry of the Asian lithosphere subduction episodes inferred during the collision, leading us to conclude that it reproduces adequately the physics of such process.

ISSN: 0091-7613
EISSN: 1943-2682
Serial Title: Geology (Boulder)
Serial Volume: 44
Serial Issue: 11
Title: Asian collisional subduction; a key process driving formation of the Tibetan Plateau
Affiliation: Universite Grenoble Alpes, Institut des Sciences de la Terre, Grenoble, France
Pages: 943-946
Published: 20160928
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 12
Accession Number: 2016-094409
Categories: Solid-earth geophysics
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 1 table, sketch map
N20°00'00" - N53°00'00", E74°00'00" - E135°00'00"
Secondary Affiliation: Universita degli Studi Roma Tre, ITA, Italy
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 201646
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