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Journal Articles Tectonophysics Year : 2007

Modelling the extension of heterogeneous hot lithosphere

D. Sokoutis
  • Function : Author
Giacomo Corti
  • Function : Author
Marco Bonini
  • Function : Author
Sierd Cloetingh
  • Function : Author
T.P.O. Mauduit
  • Function : Author
Piero Manetti
  • Function : Author
Jean-Pierre Brun
  • Function : Author
  • PersonId : 840706


The consequences of weak heterogeneities in the extension of soft and hot lithosphere without significant previous crustal thickening has been analysed in a series of centrifuge models. The experiments examined the effects of i) the location of heterogeneities in the ductile crust and/or in the lithospheric mantle, and ii) their orientation, perpendicular or oblique to the direction of bulk extension. The observed deformation patterns are all relevant to the so-called "wide rifting" mode of extension. Weak zones located in the ductile crust exert a more pronounced influence on localisation of deformation in the brittle layer than those located in the lithospheric mantle: the former localise faulting in the brittle crust whereas the latter tend to distribute faulting over a wider area. This latter behaviour depends in turn upon the decoupling provided by the ductile crust. Localised thinning in the brittle crust is accompanied by ductile doming of both crust and mantle. Domains of maximum thinning in the brittle crust and ductile crust and mantle are in opposition. Lateral differences in brittle crust thinning are accommodated by lateral flow in the ductile crust and mantle. This contrasts with "cold and strong" lithospheres whose high strength sub-Moho mantle triggers a necking instability at the lithosphere-scale. This also differs from the extension of thickened hot and soft lithospheres whose ductile crust is thick enough to give birth to metamorphic core complexes. Thus, for the given lithospheric rheology, the models have relevance to backarc type extensional systems, such as the Aegean and the Tyrrhenian domains.

Dates and versions

insu-00197185 , version 1 (14-12-2007)



D. Sokoutis, Giacomo Corti, Marco Bonini, Sierd Cloetingh, T.P.O. Mauduit, et al.. Modelling the extension of heterogeneous hot lithosphere. Tectonophysics, 2007, 444 (1-4), pp.63-79. ⟨10.1016/j.tecto.2007.08.012⟩. ⟨insu-00197185⟩
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