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Accueil du site → Doctorat → Allemagne → 2009 → Tectonic and climatic forcing in orogenic processes : the foreland basin point of view, Alborz mountains, N Iran

Universität Potsdam (2009)

Tectonic and climatic forcing in orogenic processes : the foreland basin point of view, Alborz mountains, N Iran

Ballato Paolo

Titre : Tectonic and climatic forcing in orogenic processes : the foreland basin point of view, Alborz mountains, N Iran

Tektonische und klimatische Verstärkung in orogenen Prozessen : die Perspektive der Vorlandbecken, Elburs Gebirge, Nord-Iran

Auteur : Ballato Paolo

Université de soutenance : Universität Potsdam

Grade : Dr.rer.nat 2009

Foreland-basin systems are excellent archives to decipher the feedbacks between surface and tectonic processes in orogens. The sedimentary architecture of a foreland-basin system reflects the balance between tectonic subsidence causing long-term accommodation space and sediment influx corresponding to efficiency of erosion and mass-redistribution processes. In order to explore the effects of climatic and tectonic forcing in such a system, I investigated the Oligo-Miocene foreland-basin sediments of the southern Alborz mountains, an intracontinental orogen in northern Iran, related to the Arabia-Eurasia continental collision. This work includes absolute dating methods such as 40Ar/39Ar and zircon (U-Th)/He thermochronology, magnetostratigraphy, sedimentological analysis, sandstone and conglomerate provenance study, carbon and oxygen isotope analysis, and clay mineralogy study. Results show a systematic correlation between coarsening-upward cycles and sediment accumulation rates in the basin on 105 to 106yr time scales. During thrust loading phases, the coarse-grained fraction supplied by the uplifting range is stored in the proximal part of the basin (sedimentary facies retrogradation), while fine-grained sediments are deposited in distal sectors. Variations in sediment provenance during these phases of enhanced tectonic activity give evidence for erosional unroofing phases and/or drainage-reorganization events. In addition, enhanced tectonic activity promoted the growth of topography and associated orographic barrier effects, as demonstrated by sedimentologic indicators and the analysis of stable C and O isotopes from calcareous paleosols and lacustrine/palustrine samples. Extensive progradation of coarse-grained deposits occurs during phases of decreased subsidence, when the coarse-grained fraction supplied by the uplifting range cannot be completely stored in the proximal part of the basin. In this environment, a reduction in basin subsidence is associated with laterally stacked fluvial channel deposits, and is related to intra-foreland uplift, as documented by growth strata, tectonic tilting, and sediment reworking. Increase in sediment accumulation rate associated with progradation of vertically-stacked coarse-grained fluvial channels also occurs. Paleosol O-isotope data shows that this increase is related to wetter climatic phases, suggesting that surface processes are more efficient and exhumation rates increase, giving rise to a positive feedback. Furthermore, isotopic and sedimentologic data show that starting from 10-9 Ma, climate became less arid with an increase in seasonality of precipitation. Because important changes were also recorded in the Mediterranean Sea and Asia at that time, the evidence for climatic variability observed in the Alborz mountains most likely reflects changes in Northern Hemisphere atmospheric circulation patterns. This study has additional implications for the evolution of the Alborz mountains and the Arabia-Eurasia continental collision zone. At the orogenic scale, the locus of deformation did not move steadily southward, but stepped forward and backward since Oligocene time. In particular, from 17.5 to 6.2 Ma the orogen grew by a combination of frontal accretion and wedge-internal deformation on time scales of ca. 0.7 to 2 m.y. Moreover, the provenance data suggest that prior to 10-9 Ma the shortening direction changed from NW-SE to NNE-SSW, in agreement with structural data. On the scale of the entire collision zone, the evolution of the studied basins and adjacent mountain ranges suggests a new geodynamic model for the evolution of the Arabia-Eurasia continental collision zone. Numerous sedimentary basins in the Alborz mountains and in other locations of the Arabia-Eurasia collision zone record a change from a tensional (transtensional) to a compressional (transpressional) tectonic setting by 36 Ma. I interpret this to reflect the onset of subduction of the stretched Arabian continental lithosphere beneath central Iran, leading to moderate plate coupling and lower- and upper-plate deformation (soft continental collision). The increase in deformation rates in the southern Alborz mountains from 17.5 Ma suggests that significant upper-plate deformation must have started by the early Miocene most likely in response to an increase in degree of plate coupling. I suggest that this was related to the subduction of thicker Arabian continental lithosphere and the consequent onset of hard continental collision. This model reconciles the apparent lag time of 15-20 m.y between the late Eocene to early Oligocene age for the initial Arabia-Eurasia continental collision and the onset of widespread deformation across the collision zone to the north in early to late Miocene time

Mots clés  : Akkumulationsraten ; Kontinentale Kollision ; Sedimentfazies ; Stabile Isotopen ; Vorlandbecken — accumulation rates ; continental collision ; foreland basin ; sedimentary facies ; stable isotopes


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