Active tectonics of the western Mediterranean: Geodetic evidence for rollback of a delaminated subcontinental lithospheric slab beneath the Rif Mountains, Morocco

Abdelali Fadil*, Philippe Vernant, Simon McClusky, Robert Reilinger, Francisco Gomez, Driss Ben Sari, Taoufik Mourabit, Kurt Feigl, Muawia Barazangi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

120 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Surface deformation in Morocco, derived from five years of global positioning system (GPS) survey observations of a 22-station network, four continuously recording GPS (CGPS) stations, and four International GNSS Service (IGS) stations in Iberia, indicates roughly southward motion (∼3 mm/yr) of the Rif Mountains, Morocco, relative to stable Africa. Motion of the Rif is approximately normal to the direction of Africa-Eurasia relative motion, which is predominantly strike slip, and results in shortening of the Rif and subsequent crustal extension of the adjacent Alboran Sea region. The sense, and the N-S asymmetry of the observed deformation (i.e., no evidence for north-directed shortening in the Betic Mountains north of the Alboran Sea) cannot be easily explained in terms of crustal plate interactions, suggesting that dynamic processes below the crust are driving the recent geologic evolution of the western Mediterranean. The model that best fits the observations involves delamination and southward rollback of the African lithospheric mantle under the Alboran and Rif domains.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)529-532
Number of pages4
JournalGeology
Volume34
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2006
Externally publishedYes

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