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Post‐orogenic evolution of the southern Pyrenees... 
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Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2011 9:00 pm
Posts: 238
Post Post‐orogenic evolution of the southern Pyrenees...
Basin Research: Post‐orogenic evolution of the southern Pyrenees: constraints from inverse thermo‐kinematic modelling of low‐temperature thermochronology data

The late‐stage evolution of the southern central Pyrenees has been well documented but controversies remain concerning potential Neogene acceleration of exhumation rates and the influence of tectonic and/or climatic processes. A popular model suggests that the Pyrenees and their southern foreland were buried below a thick succession of conglomerates during the Oligocene, when the basin was endorheic. However, both the amount of post‐orogenic fill and the timing of re‐excavation remain controversial. We address this question by revisiting extensive thermochronological datasets of the Axial Zone. We use an inverse approach that couples the thermo‐kinematic model Pecube and the Neighbourhood inversion algorithm to constrain the history of exhumation and topographic changes since 40 Ma. By comparison with independent geological data, we identified a most probable scenario involving rapid exhumation (>2.5 km Myr−1) between 37 and 30 Ma followed by a strong decrease to very slow rates (0.02 km Myr−1) that remain constant until the present. Therefore, the inversion does not require a previously inferred Pliocene acceleration in regional exhumation rates. A clear topographic signal emerges, however: the topography has to be infilled by conglomerates to an elevation of 2.6 km between 40 and 29 Ma and then to remain stable until ca. 9 Ma. We interpret the last stage of the topographic history as recording major incision of the southern Pyrenean wedge, due to the Ebro basin connection to the Mediterranean, well before previously suggested Messinian ages. These results thus demonstrate temporally varying controls of different processes on exhumation: rapid rock uplift in an active orogen during late Eocene, whereas base‐level changes in the foreland basin control the post‐orogenic evolution of topography and exhumation in the central Pyrenees. In contrast, climate changes appear to play a lesser role in the post‐orogenic topographic and erosional evolution of this mountain belt.

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Fri Jan 06, 2012 10:43 am
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