Evolution and structure of the Upper Rhine Graben — quantitative insights from numerical modelling approaches


The Upper Rhine Graben forms the major segment of the Cenozoic Rift system of Western Europe. Although the rift was the target of many seismic and geological investigations, the style of lithospheric extension below the inferred faults, the depth to detachment, and the amounts of horizontal extension and lateral translation are still being debated. In this study, the date base to the Upper Rhine Graben was subjected to a finite element approach in order to include thermomechanical processes of the lithosphere as well as erosion and sedimentation. The study concentrated on the consequences of extension and lateral translational events on the structure and evolution in terms of basin geometry, sediment layer thicknesses, Moho elevation, and shoulder uplift on a lithospheric scale. The numerical approach was three dimensional in order to incorporate the lateral crustal heterogenities in the Upper Rhine area and the varying ambient stress field...
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