In typical subduction systems, plate convergence is subperpendicular to the trench. The Gibraltar Arc System is exceptional, with its narrow subduction arc oriented N‐S and laterally “squeezed” by the NNW‐SSE tectonic convergence between Nubia and Iberia. The extent to which the slab is still coupled to the surface and how it interacts actively with the surrounding mantle is a matter of ongoing debate. Here, we analyze new densely spaced GPS data, together with crustal and mantle observations, to better understand the slab kinematics, plate dynamics, and mantle flow. In light of previous and current research, we find that subduction below the Gibraltar Arc is currently in the middle of a disruption process, with parts of it already detached and others yet coupled to the surface. In particular, the slab seems to be detached to the north of the Gibraltar Strait, with a small portion still attached to the surface or in the process of detaching below the western Betics. South of Gibraltar, the slab is still coupled to the overriding plate, although the subduction seems to be very slow or stopped. Flow of mantle material around the detached portions of the slab causes most of the surface uplift and a positive residual topography anomaly. Our findings show that the interplay between slab dynamics, mantle flow, and plate convergence explains much of the observed residual topography, surface motion, seismicity, and mantle structure.

Dynamics of the Gibraltar Arc System: A Complex Interaction Between Plate Convergence, Slab Pull, and Mantle Flow

Civiero C
;
2020-01-01

Abstract

In typical subduction systems, plate convergence is subperpendicular to the trench. The Gibraltar Arc System is exceptional, with its narrow subduction arc oriented N‐S and laterally “squeezed” by the NNW‐SSE tectonic convergence between Nubia and Iberia. The extent to which the slab is still coupled to the surface and how it interacts actively with the surrounding mantle is a matter of ongoing debate. Here, we analyze new densely spaced GPS data, together with crustal and mantle observations, to better understand the slab kinematics, plate dynamics, and mantle flow. In light of previous and current research, we find that subduction below the Gibraltar Arc is currently in the middle of a disruption process, with parts of it already detached and others yet coupled to the surface. In particular, the slab seems to be detached to the north of the Gibraltar Strait, with a small portion still attached to the surface or in the process of detaching below the western Betics. South of Gibraltar, the slab is still coupled to the overriding plate, although the subduction seems to be very slow or stopped. Flow of mantle material around the detached portions of the slab causes most of the surface uplift and a positive residual topography anomaly. Our findings show that the interplay between slab dynamics, mantle flow, and plate convergence explains much of the observed residual topography, surface motion, seismicity, and mantle structure.
2020
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https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2019JB018873
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11368/3059093
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