Continental Deformation in Asia

Because of its large spatial extend, Asia has long been used as a natural laboratory to study how and why continents deform. After decades of research on continental tectonics, there is however no consensus either on the mode of deformation of continents, or on the forces that drive their deformation. For some, continental lithosphere deforms as a mosaic of rigid lithospheric blocks bounded by fast-slipping faults affecting the entire thickness of the lithosphere. In that view, deformation in the Asian continent is solely driven by boundary forces due to the India-Eurasia collision. For others, deformation is pervasive and continents can be treated as a continuously deforming viscous medium where faults play a minor role. In that view, deformation in Asia is driven for a large part by buoyancy forces resulting from crustal thickening in response to the India-Eurasia collision.

Discriminating between these models and understanding the dynamic of continental deformation requires, among other data sets, spatially dense measurements of lithospheric strain rates covering the whole deforming area. Our work in Asia addresses the issue of the dynamic of continental deformation through a combination of geodetic observations and deformation models.

Arrows show current velocities in Asia measured by GPS.

Data-oriented papers:

  1. GPS measurements of crustal deformation in the Baikal rift zone, Siberia
  2. New constraints on current deformation in Asia from continuous GPS measurements at Ulan Baatar, Mongolia
  3. GPS measurements of crustal deformation in the Baikal-Mongolia area (1994-2002): Implications for current kinematics of Asia
  4. Continental deformation in Asia from a combined GPS solution
    1. Find associated press release here
    2. On Science Daily...

Model-oriented papers:

  1. Dynamics of intracontinental extension in the Northern Baikal Rift zone, Siberia, using lithospheric-scale numerical models.
  2. Are post-seismic effects of the M=8.4 Bolnay earthquake (July 1905) still influencing GPS velocities in the Mongolia-Baikal area?
  3. Constraints on the viscosity of the continental crust and mantle from GPS measurements and postseismic deformation models in Western Mongolia
  4. Fault interaction and stress triggering of 20th century earthquakes in Mongolia
  5. Dynamics of continental deformation in Asia

Other links:

  1. Report on "Global Positioning System measurements of active crustal deformation in Western Mongolia
  2. Baikal web site, J. Deverchere (in French).
  3. CEO demonstration case study: Satellite techniques applied to seismic risk assesment in Lake Baikal, Siberia.