We provide the analytical formulation for calculating the displacement and stress field forced by internal sources in a stratified, self-gravitating, viscoelastic earth. This model is specialized to study the rate of vertical motion and shear stress accumulation produced by lithospheric density anomalies. These sources are allowed to vary in the lateral direction. We show that sphericity plays a crucial role for elongated lithospheric anomalies while self-gravitation produces minor deviations from a gravitating Earth. When the model is applied to the Apennines we get, for lithospheric viscosity ranging between 1022 and 1023 Pa s, the subsidence of the plate underlying the active front of the overthrusting load to be around 0.5–1.0mm yr-1. This is consistent with the amount of sedimentation in the Adriatic foredeep. The deformation pattern is very peculiar, with the largest subsidence localized beneath the active front of the topography. Our model enlightens the impact of discontinuities of tectonic phases on vertical motions in collision zones. If lithospheric viscosity is around 1022 Pa s, vertical motions decay drastically on time scales of 105 yr if lateral migration of density anomalies comes to an end. For higher viscosities, deformation rates are maintained longer. This correlation between horizontal and vertical motions suggests that altimetric geodetic surveying along levelling lines of a few hundred kilometers can be an important tool to constrain the tectonics of the studied region. Results are also shown for vertical motions along a transect perpendicular to the Apennines, when the crustal structure inverted from Bouguer gravity data is considered. Analysis of the stress field induced by an overthrusting load shows that principal stress differences of a few bar (or a few tenths of MPa) can be accumulated on time scales of 102-103 yr. These low values agree with the average stress drop of earthquakes in the Appalachians and northern Apennines where our modelling can be applied. We find that lateral density variations certainly contribute to intraplate stresses, but they are less efficient in triggering earthquakes than other mechanisms, such as transcurrent motions along active plate margins. Seismicity induced by lateral variations of crustal and lithospheric density must be moderate, characterized by long return times. These results are in agreement with the recorded seismicity in the northern Apennines where the largest earthquakes have return times of 102 yr. If shear stress is forced by an overthrusting load, we find that the largest rate of stress accumulation in the crust is concentrated beneath the active front, close to the boundary with the ductile lithosphere. Discontinuities of tectonic phases play an important role in controlling the amount of shear stress due to density anomalies.

Ground motion and stress accumulation driven by density anomalies in a viscoelastic lithosphere. Some results for the Apennines

G.Spada
1988

Abstract

We provide the analytical formulation for calculating the displacement and stress field forced by internal sources in a stratified, self-gravitating, viscoelastic earth. This model is specialized to study the rate of vertical motion and shear stress accumulation produced by lithospheric density anomalies. These sources are allowed to vary in the lateral direction. We show that sphericity plays a crucial role for elongated lithospheric anomalies while self-gravitation produces minor deviations from a gravitating Earth. When the model is applied to the Apennines we get, for lithospheric viscosity ranging between 1022 and 1023 Pa s, the subsidence of the plate underlying the active front of the overthrusting load to be around 0.5–1.0mm yr-1. This is consistent with the amount of sedimentation in the Adriatic foredeep. The deformation pattern is very peculiar, with the largest subsidence localized beneath the active front of the topography. Our model enlightens the impact of discontinuities of tectonic phases on vertical motions in collision zones. If lithospheric viscosity is around 1022 Pa s, vertical motions decay drastically on time scales of 105 yr if lateral migration of density anomalies comes to an end. For higher viscosities, deformation rates are maintained longer. This correlation between horizontal and vertical motions suggests that altimetric geodetic surveying along levelling lines of a few hundred kilometers can be an important tool to constrain the tectonics of the studied region. Results are also shown for vertical motions along a transect perpendicular to the Apennines, when the crustal structure inverted from Bouguer gravity data is considered. Analysis of the stress field induced by an overthrusting load shows that principal stress differences of a few bar (or a few tenths of MPa) can be accumulated on time scales of 102-103 yr. These low values agree with the average stress drop of earthquakes in the Appalachians and northern Apennines where our modelling can be applied. We find that lateral density variations certainly contribute to intraplate stresses, but they are less efficient in triggering earthquakes than other mechanisms, such as transcurrent motions along active plate margins. Seismicity induced by lateral variations of crustal and lithospheric density must be moderate, characterized by long return times. These results are in agreement with the recorded seismicity in the northern Apennines where the largest earthquakes have return times of 102 yr. If shear stress is forced by an overthrusting load, we find that the largest rate of stress accumulation in the crust is concentrated beneath the active front, close to the boundary with the ductile lithosphere. Discontinuities of tectonic phases play an important role in controlling the amount of shear stress due to density anomalies.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/771939
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