Intraplate Stresses

Intraplate tectonics often reflects the processes affecting distant plate margins. Plate interiors are usually better recorders of regional long-term stress fields than plate margins, because they are not affected by strong deformation. However, the stratigraphic sequence of plate interiors is frequently incomplete, and absence of angular unconformities or growth strata makes timing of deformation difficult. Central Europe comprises one of the most spectacular examples of intraplate shortening and rifting worldwide. It is bounded by the Mid-Atlantic ridge on one side and the Mediterranean collision zone on the other side. Even so, there is no consensus on the kinematic sequence, the precise timing and areal extent of tectonic regimes, or the plate margin events they reflect.
Here, we reconstruct the Mesozoic-Cenozoic brittle tectonic evolution of Central Europe from the Lower Saxony to the Bohemian Massif, aiming at the best spatial coverage obtainable. Detailed slip analysis of fracture populations will be combined with map-scale structures in which they occur. This will allow us to identify relative chronologies and succession of events, and to estimate strain magnitudes associated with individual states of stress. In order to produce independent, non-circular age estimates, we will try to date syn-kinematic minerals on the fault planes by radiometric methods. The results will be used to re-evaluate the brittle tectonic history and address the links between the plate interior and the plate boundary deformation.

Fault Reactivation

Fault-slip data analysis. Left: Curvilinear striae on a fault slickenside within the Muschelkalk limestone in Bad Kösen area. The striae indicate a progressive change in kinematics from reverse to oblique dextral motion on a plane sub-parallel to an inherited normal fault. Right: Stereographic projection of the fault-slip data and corresponding directions of extension and contraction (Ref: Navabpour et al. submitted).

Intraplate Stresses

Post-Triassic stress field evolution in Central Europe. Structures, states of stress and other symbols complied from different sources. Abbreviations: EFS, Elbe Fault System; FL, Franconian Lineament; HM, Harz Mountains; LG, Leinetal Graben; LRG, Lower Rhine Graben; LSB, Lower Saxony Basin; TF, Thuringian Forest; URG, Upper Rhine Graben  (Ref: Navabpour et al. submitted).

Project details:

Title: Stress Field Evolution in a Plate Interior

Acronym: InPlaSt (Intra-Plate Stresses)

Leader: Dr. Payman Navabpour

Collaborators: University of Jena and University of Göttingen

Financing: DFG, no. NA1165/2-1