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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10481/32086

Title: Arc-parallel vs back-arc extension in the Western Gibraltar arc: Is the Gibraltar forearc still active?
Authors: Balanya, Juan Carlos
Crespo-Blanc, Ana
Díaz-Azpiroz, Manuel
Expósito Ramos, Inmaculada
Torcal Medina, Federico
Pérez-Peña, José Vicente
Booth-Rea, Guillermo
Issue Date: 2012
Abstract: Extremely tight arcs, framed within the Eurasia-Africa convergence region, developed during the Neogene on both sides of the western Mediterranean. A complex interplate deformation zone has been invoked to explain their structural trend-line patterns, the shortening directions and the development of back-arc basins. Updated structural and kinematic maps, combined with earthquake data covering the complete hinge zone of the western Gibraltar arc help us to explore the mode of strain partitioning from 25My ago to present. During the Miocene, the strain partitioning pattern showed arc-perpendicular shortening in the active orogenic wedge –assessed from the radial pattern of tectonic transport directions– accompained by subhorizontal stretching. Structures accommodating stretching fall into two categories on the basis of their space distribution and their relationships with the structural trend-line pattern: i) arc-parallel stretching structures in the external wedge (mainly normal faults and conjugate strike-slip faults); and ii) extensional faults developed in the hinterland zone in which transport directions are centripetal towards the Alborán back-arc basin. Pliocene to Recent deformational structures together with focal solutions from crustal earthquakes (n=167; 1.5<Mw<6.3) support that this strain partitioning pattern still occurs. By contrast, the eastern end zones of the western Gibraltar arc, especially during the last 5My, underwent intense transpression tectonics with a NW to NNW main shortening axis. These results agree with a still active Gibraltar forearc, governed by westward migrating subduction retreat or subcontinental mantle delamination.
Sponsorship: This study was supported by Spanish research projects of the Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación (CGL2008-03249, CGL2009-11384 and CONSOLIDER-INGENIO2010-CSD2006-00041), and of the Junta de Andalucía (RNM 215 and RNM3713).
Publisher: Universidad de Barcelona; Instituto de Ciencias de la Tierra Jaume Almera
Keywords: Forearc tectonics
Strain partitioning
Crustal earthquakes
Gibraltar arc
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10481/32086
ISSN: 1695-6133
Rights : Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License
Citation: Balanya, J.C.; et al. Arc-parallel vs back-arc extension in the Western Gibraltar arc: Is the Gibraltar forearc still active?. Geologica Acta, 10(3): 249-263 (2012). [http://hdl.handle.net/10481/32086]
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