Limitations on Inferring 3D Architecture and Dynamics From Surface Velocities in the India-Eurasia Collision Zone

L. Flesch, R. Bendick, S. Bischoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Surface velocities derived from Global Positioning System observations and Quaternary fault slip rates measured throughout an extended region of high topography in South Asia vary smoothly over thousands of kilometers and are broadly symmetrical, with components of both north-south shortening and east-west extension relative to stable Eurasia. The observed velocity field does not contain discontinuities or steep gradients attributable to along-strike differences in collision architecture, despite the well-documented presence of a lithospheric slab beneath the Pamir but not the Tibetan Plateau. We use a modified Akaike information criterion (AICc) to show that surface velocities do not efficiently constrain 3D rheology, geometry, or force balance. Therefore, although other geophysical and geological observations may indicate the presence of mechanical or dynamic heterogeneities within the Indian-Asian collision, the surface Global Positioning System velocities contain little or no usable information about them.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1379-1386
Number of pages8
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume45
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 16 2018

Keywords

  • Indian-Asian collision
  • continental dynamics
  • information theory
  • numerical simulation
  • tectonic kinematics

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