The Hindu Kush slab break-off as revealed by deep structure and crustal deformation.

Kufner, Sofia-Katerina ORCID:; Kakar, N.; Bezada, M.; Bloch, W.; Metzger, S.; Yuan, X.; Mechie, J.; Ratschbacher, L.; Murodkulov, S.; Deng, Z.; Schurr, B.. 2021 The Hindu Kush slab break-off as revealed by deep structure and crustal deformation. Nature Communications, 12, 1685. 11, pp.

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Break-off of part of the down-going plate during continental collision occurs due to tensile stresses built-up between the deep and shallow slab, for which buoyancy is increased because of continental-crust subduction. Break-off governs the subsequent orogenic evolution but real-time observations are rare as it happens over geologically short times. Here we present a finite-frequency tomography, based on jointly inverted local and remote earthquakes, for the Hindu Kush in Afghanistan, where slab break-off is ongoing. We interpret our results as crustal subduction on top of a northwards-subducting Indian lithospheric slab, whose penetration depth increases along-strike while thinning and steepening. This implies that break-off is propagating laterally and that the highest lithospheric stretching rates occur during the final pinching-off. In the Hindu Kush crust, earthquakes and geodetic data show a transition from focused to distributed deformation, which we relate to a variable degree of crust-mantle coupling presumably associated with break-off at depth.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 2041-1723
Date made live: 22 Mar 2021 11:51 +0 (UTC)

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