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October 2008 GEOLOGY and GSA TODAY media highlights
Date:9/25/2008

t of Earth Sciences, COMET, Bullard Laboratories, Madingley Road, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire CB30EZ, UK. Pages 763-766.

Hollingsworth et al. examine how the region surrounding the eastern South Caspian Sea is deforming as a result of the collision of Arabia with Eurasia, using a combination of data from earthquakes, geology, and the shape of the landscape (which records fault movement over thousand-year time scales). The precise motions of sites within this collision zone have been previously measured using global positioning system (GPS) satellites. The data show the South Caspian is moving west relative to Eurasia and Central Iran and is therefore an example of extrusion tectonics, whereby tectonic plates move laterally to accommodate a colliding plate. Hollingsworth et al. identify major faults along the northern and southern margins of the eastern South Caspian region, which accommodate this westward extrusion. Estimates of the total lateral motion along these faults, at present-day rates of slip estimated from GPS data, show it could have been achieved in about 10 million years. The South Caspian is thought to be sliding beneath the North Caspian (a process called subduction). If subduction began with the westward extrusion of the South Caspian basin, it may also date from ~10 million years ago. This is significantly older than previous estimates for the onset of subduction, which range from 1.8 to 5.5 millions years ago. Furthermore, using GPS data for northeast Iran, the authors estimate the approximate rate of slip for major faults across the region. Knowledge of both the location and slip rate of active faults will allow a better assessment of the seismic hazard posed to communities (over 2 million people) that lie along these faults.


Anomalously diverse Early Triassic ichnofossil assemblages in northwest Pangea: A case for a shallow-marine habitable zone
Tyler Beatty et al., University of Calgary, Department of Ge
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Contact: Christa Stratton
cstratton@geosociety.org
303-357-1093
Geological Society of America
Source:Eurekalert

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