Three-dimensional lithospheric deformation and gravity anomalies associated with oblique continental collision in South Island, New Zealand.

Scherwath, Martin, Stern, T., Davey, F. and Davies, R. (2006) Three-dimensional lithospheric deformation and gravity anomalies associated with oblique continental collision in South Island, New Zealand. Open Access Geophysical Journal International, 167 (2). pp. 906-916. DOI 10.1111/j.1365-246X.2006.03085.x.

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Isostatic considerations exhibit differences between the northern, central and southern parts of the Pacific–Australian plate collision in South Island, New Zealand. In the northern part mean elevations are moderate and the gravity low is small; the central part contains the highest elevations, and gravity and elevations correspond to each other relatively well; and in the southern part the gravity low is strongest whereas the mean elevations are moderate again. These differences indicate changes in the character of the isostatic compensation and are explained by increased thickening and widening of the crustal root from north to south, and also by the long wavelength gravity response to a mantle density anomaly that increases towards the south. A simple 3‐D gravity model is derived that includes the detailed crustal structures from the South Island GeopHysical Transect (SIGHT) experiment as well as a high‐density anomaly in the mantle inferred from teleseismic data. The model indicates that cold and, therefore, dense upper mantle material penetrates the asthenosphere to a greater extent in the south, similar to the behaviour of an apparently highly ductile lower crust. As plate reconstruction suggests more lithospheric shortening in the north, our model corresponds to lithospheric material escaping laterally to the south, almost perpendicular to the compression caused by lithospheric shortening of the mantle. Therefore, in addition to the prevailing mantle shear in New Zealand, there may also be a component of extrusional mantle creep beneath the Southern Alps orogen, which could have caused some of the observed large seismic anisotropy in this region. We may have also found evidence for submerged Eocene–Miocene oceanic lithosphere beneath the southeastern part of South Island that has been unaccounted for after plate reconstruction.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: continental collision, creep, gravity anomalies, isostasy, lithospheric deforma- tion, South Island
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB4 Dynamics of the Ocean Floor > FB4-GDY Marine Geodynamics
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.1111/j.1365-246X.2006.03085.x
ISSN: 0956-540X
Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2008 16:52
Last Modified: 16 Jul 2018 09:23

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