The goal of the proposed project is to use 3D dynamical modelling to investigate the interplay of convergence and extension in convergent continental orogens. Special emphasis will be on the Alpine-Carpathian-Pannonian geological system of eastern Europe. This region has been intensely investigated through geological and geophysical observations and is thus well suited as a natural laboratory for testing and investigating mechanisms that drive deformation in convergent orogens.
The Alpine-Carpathian-Pannoni an system formed during the Neogene when extension in the Pannonian Basin was simultaneous with contractional deformation in the surrounding orogens. Previous studies have shown that gravitational instabilities may play a fundamental role in the tectonics of mountain ranges. In general, the lithosphere is colder and thereby denser than the astenosphere. Under some circumstances this may cause the lithosphere to sink into the underlying astenosphere. I wish to investigate how such gravitational instabilities may affect the evolution of continental orogenic systems.
The evolution of Alpine-Carpathian-Pannonian region is strongly three-dimensional. Therefore I propose to use and further develop a newly developed parallel 3D finite element code designed to efficiently solve lithospheric scale geodynamic problems. I wish to investigate how parameters such as density, viscosity, temperature, regional stress field and initial geometry affect the evolution of orogenic systems.
The main investigation, while specific to the Alpine-Pannonian-Carpathian region, may provide insight into the rheological properties of Earth materials and general constraints on the deformation mechanisms controlling the evolution of continental orogens.
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