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A Tertiary asthenospheric flow beneath the southern French Massif Central related to the west Mediterranean extension evidenced by upper mantle seismic anisotropy

Abstract : Upper mantle flow beneath the French Massif Central is investigated using teleseismic shear wave splitting induced by seismic anisotropy. About 25 three component stations (short period, intermediate and broad-band) were installed during the period 1998-1999 in the southern Massif Central, from the Clermont Ferrand volcanic area to the Mediterranean sea. Teleseismic shear waves (SKS, SKKS and PKS) were used to determine the splitting parameters: the fast polarization direction and the delay time. Delay times ranging between 0.7 and 1.5 s have been observed at most of the sites. The azimuths of the fast split shear waves trend homogeneously NW-SE in the southern Massif Central suggesting a homogeneous mantle flow beneath this area. The observed NW-SE direction differs from the N100°E Pyrenean anisotropy further South. It does not appear to be correlated to Hercynian structures nor to the present-day motion of the plate but is well correlated to the Tertiary extension direction. We propose that the opening of the western Mediterranean induced by the rotation of the Corsica-Sardinia lithospheric bloc and the roll-back to the SE of the Tethys slab may have generated a large asthenospheric mantle flow beneath the southern Massif Central and a deflection of the up going plume centered beneath the northern Massif Central toward the SE.
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Guilhem Barruol, Michel Granet. A Tertiary asthenospheric flow beneath the southern French Massif Central related to the west Mediterranean extension evidenced by upper mantle seismic anisotropy. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Elsevier, 2002, 202 (1), pp.31-47. ⟨10.1016/S0012-821X(02)00752-5⟩. ⟨insu-00150214⟩

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