Slab rollback orogeny in the Alps and evolution of the Swiss Molasse basin

Schlunegger, Fritz; Kissling, Eduard (2015). Slab rollback orogeny in the Alps and evolution of the Swiss Molasse basin. Nature communications, 6(1), p. 8605. Nature Publishing Group 10.1038/ncomms9605

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The stratigraphies of foreland basins have been related to orogeny, where continent–continent collision causes the construction of topography and the downwarping of the foreland plate. These mechanisms have been inferred for the Molasse basin, stretching along the northern margin of the European Alps. Continuous flexural bending of the subducting European lithosphere as a consequence of topographic loads alone would imply that the Alpine topography would have increased at least between 30 Ma and ca. 5–10 Ma when the basin accumulated the erosional detritus. This, however, is neither consistent with observations nor with isostatic mass balancing models because paleoaltimetry estimates suggest that the topography has not increased since 20 Ma. Here we show that a rollback mechanism for the European plate is capable of explaining the construction of thick sedimentary successions in the Molasse foreland basin where the extra slab load has maintained the Alpine surface at low, but constant, elevations.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geological Sciences

UniBE Contributor:

Schlunegger, Fritz and Kissling, Eduard

Subjects:

500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology

ISSN:

2041-1723

Publisher:

Nature Publishing Group

Funders:

[4] Swiss National Science Foundation

Language:

English

Submitter:

Fritz Schlunegger

Date Deposited:

09 Nov 2015 11:34

Last Modified:

10 Mar 2021 08:17

Publisher DOI:

10.1038/ncomms9605

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.72564

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/72564

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