The late Miocene to Holocene erosion pattern of the Alpine foreland basin reflects Eurasian slab unloading beneath the western Alps rather than global climate change

Baran, Ramona; Friedrich, Anke M.; Schlunegger, Fritz (2014). The late Miocene to Holocene erosion pattern of the Alpine foreland basin reflects Eurasian slab unloading beneath the western Alps rather than global climate change. Lithosphere, 6(2), pp. 124-131. Geological Society of America 10.1130/L307.1

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We synthesized published data on the erosion of the Alpine foreland basin and apatite fission-track ages from the Alps to infer the erosional sediment budget history for the past 5 m.y. The data reveal that erosion of the Alpine foreland basin is highest in front of the western Alps (between 2 and 0.6 km) and decreases eastward over a distance of 700 km to the Austrian foreland basin (similar to 200 m). For the western Alps, erosion rates are >0.6 km/m.y., while erosion rates for the eastern foreland basin and the adjacent eastern Alps are <0.1 km/m.y., except for a small-scale signal in the Tauern Window. The results yield a large ellipsoidal, orogen-crossing pattern of erosion, centered along the western Alps. We suggest that accelerated erosion of the western Alps and their foreland basin occurred in response to regional-scale surface uplift, related to lithospheric unloading of the Eurasian slab along the Eurasian-Adriatic plate boundary. While we cannot rule out recent views that global climate change led to substantial erosion of the European Alps since 5 Ma, we postulate that regional-scale tectonic processes have driven erosion during this time, modulated by an increased erosional flux in response to Quaternary glaciations.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geological Sciences

UniBE Contributor:

Schlunegger, Fritz

Subjects:

500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology

ISSN:

1941-8264

Publisher:

Geological Society of America

Language:

English

Submitter:

Fritz Schlunegger

Date Deposited:

01 May 2015 15:29

Last Modified:

10 Aug 2015 10:45

Publisher DOI:

10.1130/L307.1

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/67901

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