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  • 1
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    Nature Publishing Group
    In:  Scientific Reports, 8 (13015).
    Publication Date: 2019-02-01
    Description: What process triggered the Mediterranean Sea restriction remains debated since the discovery of the Messinian Salinity Crisis (MSC). Recent hypotheses infer that the MSC initiated after the closure of the Atlantic-Mediterranean Betic and Rifean corridors, being modulated through restriction at the Gibraltar Strait. These hypotheses however, do not integrate contemporaneous speciation patterns of the faunal exchange between Iberia and Africa and geological features like the evaporite distribution. Exchange of terrestrial biota occurred before, during and after the MSC, and speciation models support an exchange path across the East Alborán basin (EAB) located a few hundreds of km east of the Gibraltar Strait. Yet, a structure explaining jointly geological and biological observations has remained undiscovered. We present new seismic data showing the velocity structure of a well-differentiated 14-17-km thick volcanic arc in the EAB. Isostatic considerations support that the arc-crust buoyancy created an archipelago and filter bridge across the EAB. Sub-aerial erosional unconformities and onlap relationships support that the arc was active between ~10-6 Ma. Progressive arc build-up leading to an archipelago and its later subsidence can explain the extended exchange of terrestrial biota between Iberia and Africa (~7-3 Ma), and agrees with patterns of biota speciation and terrestrial fossil distribution before the MSC (10-6.2 Ma). In this scenario, the West Alboran Basin (WAB) could then be the long-postulated open-marine refuge for the Mediterranean taxa that repopulated the Mediterranean after the MSC, connected to the deep restricted Mediterranean basin through a sill at the Alboran volcanic arc archipelago.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2017-12-19
    Description: To date, the parameters that determine the rupture area of great subduction zone earthquakes remain contentious. On 1 April 2014, the Mw 8.1 Iquique earthquake ruptured a portion of the well-recognized northern Chile seismic gap but left large highly coupled areas un-ruptured. Marine seismic reflection and swath bathymetric data indicate that structural variations in the subducting Nazca Plate control regional-scale plate-coupling variations, and the limited extent of the 2014 earthquake. Several under-thrusting seamounts correlate to the southward and up-dip arrest of seismic rupture during the 2014 Iquique earthquake, thus supporting a causal link. By fracturing of the overriding plate, the subducting seamounts are likely further responsible for reduced plate-coupling in the shallow subduction zone and in a lowly coupled region around 20.5°S. Our data support that structural variations in the lower plate influence coupling and seismic rupture offshore Northern Chile, whereas the structure of the upper plate plays a minor role.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2019-09-23
    Description: The dehydration of subducting oceanic crust and upper mantle has been inferred both to promote the partial melting leading to arc magmatism and to induce intraslab intermediate-depth earthquakes, at depths of 50–300 km. Yet there is still no consensus about how slab hydration occurs or where and how much chemically bound water is stored within the crust and mantle of the incoming plate. Here we document that bending-related faulting of the incoming plate at the Middle America trench creates a pervasive tectonic fabric that cuts across the crust, penetrating deep into the mantle. Faulting is active across the entire ocean trench slope, promoting hydration of the cold crust and upper mantle surrounding these deep active faults. The along-strike length and depth of penetration of these faults are also similar to the dimensions of the rupture area of intermediate-depth earthquakes.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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