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Vertical GPS ground motion rates in the Euro-Mediterranean region: New evidence of velocity gradients at different spatial scales along the Nubia-Eurasia plate boundary

Serpelloni, Enrico; Faccenna, Claudio; Spada, Giorgio; Dong, Danan; Williams, Simon D.P.. 2013 Vertical GPS ground motion rates in the Euro-Mediterranean region: New evidence of velocity gradients at different spatial scales along the Nubia-Eurasia plate boundary. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 118 (11). 6003-6024. 10.1002/2013JB010102

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Abstract/Summary

We use 2.5 to 14 years long position time series from >800 continuous Global Positioning System (GPS) stations to study vertical deformation rates in the Euro-Mediterranean region. We estimate and remove common mode errors in position time series using a principal component analysis, obtaining a significant gain in the signal-to-noise ratio of the displacements data. Following the results of a maximum likelihood estimation analysis, which gives a mean spectral index ~ −0.7, we adopt a power law + white noise stochastic model in estimating the final vertical rates and find 95% of the velocities within ±2 mm/yr, with uncertainties from filtered time series ~40% smaller than from the unfiltered ones. We highlight the presence of statistically significant velocity gradients where the stations density is higher. We find undulations of the vertical velocity field at different spatial scales both in tectonically active regions, like eastern Alps, Apennines, and eastern Mediterranean, and in regions characterized by a low or negligible tectonic activity, like central Iberia and western Alps. A correlation between smooth vertical velocities and topographic features is apparent in many sectors of the study area. Glacial isostatic adjustment and weathering processes do not completely explain the measured rates, and a combination of active tectonics and deep-seated geodynamic processes must be invoked. Excluding areas where localized processes are likely, or where subduction processes may be active, mantle dynamics is the most likely process, but regional mantle modeling is required for a better understanding.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1002/2013JB010102
ISSN: 21699313
Additional Keywords: Global Positioning System; time series analysis; vertical velocities; geodynamics; active tectonics; Mediterranean basin
Date made live: 08 Jan 2014 14:37 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/504446

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