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Late-stage orogenic processes: How to link surface motion with distinct lithospheric processes, FWFP22110 - N21AlDi-Adria

PhD Student MSc student MSc student MSc student Researcher Researcher

External collaborator
Franz Neubauer
Bianca Heberer
Esther Bartel
Reinhard Wagner
Markus Ellinger
Andreas Etzel
Manfred Bernroider
Johann Genser

Istvan Dunkl, University of Göttingen
Sibila Borojević Šoštarić, Technical University of Zagreb

Project description

Continent-continent collision is driven by subduction of the heavy mantle portion of the continental lithosphere. Upper crustal layers are scraped off the subducting plate and are accumulated piling up an orogenic wedge. When the resistance against subduction is exceeding the downward-directed force, mantle sectors of the subducting lithosphere can detach (slab break-off) and the orogenic wedge is suddenly uprising. Another process proposed is slab delamination. These three processes cause differential vertical motion, magmatism and are driven by distinct motion directions of the subducting/indenting plate and orogenic wedge. Late-stage intraplate convergence and indentation results in vertical motion, too. The surface signatures of these and other late-stage intra-lithospheric processes are not well understood, and the proposed project is aimed at studying specific large-scale spatial and age distribution patterns of vertical surface motion in the orogenic wedge and in the associated peripheral foreland basin. The selected principal working area is the arcuate Friuli orocline at the transition of the Southern Alps to the Dinarides on the front of the ca. northward moving Adriatic microplate. A variety of deep-lithospheric processes including subduction reversal and slab-break-off have been proposed to be responsible for the Oligocene-Recent geodynamic evolution of that specific area, and these hypotheses could be assessed by the proposed project. The large-scale uplift/exhumation pattern derived from apatite fission-track thermochronology and (U-Th-Sm)/He dating coupled with geomorphic analysis of the mountains and subsidence analysis in the Adriatic Sea and its Venetian-Istrian foreland and kinematic studies will form the base for the interpretation of deep-lithospheric tectonic processes. The analysis of the new data in conjunction with existing data allows distinction between various superimposed late-stage orogenic processes. Results could be also applied to other orogens


KEIL, M., NEUBAUER, F., 2015. Orogen-parallel extension and topographic gradients east of the Tauern window: a possible indication of intra-orogenic raft tectonics? Austrian Journal of Earth Sciences, 108/1, 6–17,

NEUBAUER, F., 2014. The structure of the Eastern Alps: from Eduard Suess to present-day knowledge. Austrian Journal of Earth Sciences, 107/1, 83–93.

BARTEL, E.M., NEUBAUER, F., HEBERER, B., GENSER, J., 2014. States of paleostress north and south of the Periadriatic fault: Comparison of the Drau Range and the Friuli Southalpine wedge. Tectonophysics, 637, 305–327.

BARTEL, E.M., NEUBAUER, F., HEBERER, B., GENSER, J., 2014. A low-temperature ductile shear zone: The gypsum-dominated western extension of the brittle Fella-Sava Fault, Southern Alps. Journal of Structural Geology, 69, 18–31.

HEBERER, B., ANZENBACHER, T., NEUBAUER, F., GENSER, J., DONG, Y., DUNKL, I., 2014. Polyphase exhumation in the Western Qinling Mountains, China: Rapid Early Cretaceous cooling along a lithospheric-scale tear fault and pulsed Cenozoic uplift. Tectonophysics, 617, 31–43. OA

CAPORALI, A., NEUBAUER, F., STANGL, G. ZULIANI, D., 2013. Modeling surface GPS velocities in the Southern and Eastern Alps by finite dislocations at crustal depths. Tectonophysics, 590, 136-150,

CARPORALI, A., NEUBAUER, F., STANGL, G. ZULANIi, D., 2013. Modeling surface GPS velocities in the Southern and Eastern Alps by finite dislocations at crustal depths. Tectonophysics, 590, 136-150,

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