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Constraints on the current rate of deformation and surface uplift of the Australian continent from a new seismic database and low-T thermochronological data

Abstract : Estimates of the current rate of deformation and surface uplift for the Australian continent are derived by integration of a new seismic database and show that parts of the continent are currently experiencing deformation at a rate of 1­ 5610716/s and uplifting at a rate of 10­50 m/Ma. In the east, these regions coincide with the regions of maximum topography, suggesting that, if this uplift rate is long-term, up to 50% of the present-day topographic relief in the southeastern Highlands and Flinders Ranges has formed in the last 10 Ma, i.e. the time we estimate for the onset of the present-day stress field experienced by the Indo-Australian Plate. These estimates are supported by fission-track data from the Snowy Mountains, which indicate that a non-negligible proportion of the present-day relief is the remnant of a much older topography formed during the various accretion or breakup events along the eastern margin of the continent in Late Paleozoic to Early Mesozoic time and that younger relief growth (i.e. younger than 100 Ma) must be limited to less than a kilometer in amplitude. By contrast, in the western part of the continent no such correlation exists between present-day topography and uplift predicted by integrating seismic strain rate over 10 Ma. This suggests that the apparently high level of seismic activity observed in the southwestern part of the Yilgarn Craton and along Proterozoic mobile belts, such as the Albany­Fraser Province of southeastern Western Australia and the Fitzroy Trough of northern Western Australia, is transient or that, contrary to what is happening in the east, erosional processes are able to remove surface relief created at the relatively slow rate of 10 m/Ma, potentially because there existed no finite amplitude topography prior to the onset of the present-day compressional stress field.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, April 21, 2009 - 2:29:28 PM
Last modification on : Friday, April 5, 2019 - 8:03:21 PM

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Jean Braun, D.R. Burbidge, F.N. Gesto, M. Sandiford, A.J.W. Gleadow, et al.. Constraints on the current rate of deformation and surface uplift of the Australian continent from a new seismic database and low-T thermochronological data. Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, Taylor & Francis, 2009, 56 (2), pp.99-110. ⟨insu-00377298⟩

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