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Orocline and syntaxes formation during subduction and collision

Abstract : present work investigates the formation of curved ranges and syntaxes with scaled laboratory experiments. We simulated subduction and collision processes comparable to India-Asia configuration involving a continental upper plate and a subducting plate composed of an oceanic lithosphere and a continental indenter. The experiments reveal that the shape of the mountain range (concave, straight, or convex) and the development of syntaxes are controlled by the subduction interface, the buoyancy number (Fb) of the upper plate (i.e., thickness and viscosity), and the boundary conditions. Four end-members regimes of indentation can be defined depending on the range shape and dynamics of the upper plate. The curvature of the range is convex toward the subducting plate with syntaxes for a weak subduction fault and concave without syntaxes for a strong subduction fault. Convex curvature and syntaxes form by overthrusting of upper plate material on the subducting plate, which is faster at the center than at the extremities. They are associated with a rather flat slab (underthrusting) during continental collision. Low-Fb experiments show less pronounced curvatures associated to thickening comparable to the early stages of the India-Asia collision. In contrast, a thick and weak upper plate (high Fb) leads to gravity collapse that increases the amplitude of the curvature and lateral escape, similar to the late evolution of the Himalaya-Tibet system. Important lateral decoupling on the sides of the indenter enhances the indentation and produces sharper syntaxes.
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Last modification on : Monday, July 4, 2022 - 9:16:49 AM
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Flora Bajolet, Anne Replumaz, Romain Lainé. Orocline and syntaxes formation during subduction and collision. Tectonics, American Geophysical Union (AGU), 2013, 32, pp.1529-1546. ⟨10.1002/tect.20087⟩. ⟨insu-03620488⟩

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