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Journal Articles Terra Nova Year : 1997

Why do continents break-up parallel to ancient orogenic belts?

Guilhem Barruol
Andrea Tommasi


The frequently observed parallelism between rifts and the pre­ existing orogenic fabric of continents suggests that the inherited tectonic fabric of the lithosphere influences the rupture of continents. We propose that the existence of a pervasive fabric in the lithospheric mantle induces an anisotropie strength in the lithosphere, that guides the propagation of continental rifts. Subcrustal mantle mechanical anisotropy is supported by (i) the anisotropie strength of olivine, (ii) an ubiquitous tectonic fabric in exposed mantle rocks, and (iii) measurements of seismic and electrical anisotropy. During major episodes of continent Rifting parallel to orogenic belts Ocean-opening through rifting and continent break-up is frequently related to the occurrence ofhotspots. There is, howevcr, a discrepancy between hot­ spots acting as pin point sources of heat and the linear extent of rifts over thou­ sands ofkilometres. Moreover rifts tend to parallel pre-existing orogenic fab­
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hal-01389721 , version 1 (29-10-2016)



A Vauchez, Guilhem Barruol, Andrea Tommasi. Why do continents break-up parallel to ancient orogenic belts?. Terra Nova, 1997, 9, pp.62 - 66. ⟨10.1111/j.1365-3121.1997.tb00003.x⟩. ⟨hal-01389721⟩
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