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Lithospheric structure across the Transantarctic Mountains constrained by an analysis of gravity and thermal structure

Open-File Report 2007-1047-SRP-022

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DOI: 10.3133/ofr20071047SRP022

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Abstract

The Transantarctic Mountains demarcate the boundary between the highly extended lithosphere of the West Antarctic Rift System and the Proterozoic East Antarctic Craton. Although the last stage of relief development was in the Eocene, the TAM retain peak elevations in excess of 4500 m. This combination of old age and high relief are difficult to reconcile, and the mechanism(s) responsible for uplift and support of this mountain range remain elusive and controversial. Recent seismic studies provide key constraints on the crustal structure. Here we constrain the lithospheric structure across this boundary by forward modeling of the gravity based on a density structure that reflects the thermal structure. Our results show that the observed very-long wavelength (>500km) gravity anomaly can be modeled by a West Antarctic lithosphere ~60 km thick, and an East Antarctic lithosphere ~250 km thick. In addition, the gravity anomaly associated with the TAM can be modeled by including the thermal effects of heat producing elements concentrated in the crust.

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Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Lithospheric structure across the Transantarctic Mountains constrained by an analysis of gravity and thermal structure
Series title:
Open-File Report
Series number:
2007-1047-SRP-022
DOI:
10.3133/ofr20071047SRP022
Year Published:
2007
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
Description:
4 p.
Larger Work Type:
Report
Larger Work Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Larger Work Title:
Antarctica: A Keystone in a Changing World--Online Proceedings for the Tenth International Symposium on Antarctic Earth Sciences. Santa Barbara, California, U.S.A.--August 26 to September 1, 2007
Other Geospatial:
Antarctica
Additional Online Files(Y/N):
N