Integrated gravity and topography analysis in analog models:Intraplate deformation in Iberia

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Trends in the topography of the Iberian Peninsula show a pronounced contrast.In the western part of the Iberian microplate the main topographic highs trend E-W toNE-SW and are periodically spaced with wavelengths of 250 km. Conversely, in thenortheastern part, the region of the Iberian Chain, topography is more irregular and strikedirections vary from NW-SE to E-W and NE-SW. We relate this phenomenon toshortening of a continental lithosphere, which contains two different, well-defined domainsof lithospheric strength. Our hypothesis is supported by physical analog models.A new processing method has been developed to assist the interpretation of the modelresults. It utilizes spectral analysis of gravity and topography data derived from theexperiments. Folding of the crust and mantle lithosphere yields periodic gravityfluctuations, while thickening processes lead to localized gravity lows. In this waygravity data can be used to distinguish between the two forms of lithosphere deformationand to correlate areas that underwent the same type of deformation. Gravity modelinghas been performed under full in-depth control of the experimental lithosphere structure.As such, gravity signals from the models may be compared to field gravity data forbetter understanding the underlying deformation mechanism.
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