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Russian Geology and Geophysics

2012 year, number 3


V.G. Trifonova, T.P. Ivanovab, and D.M. Bachmanova
aGeological Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, Pyzhevskii per. 7, Moscow, 119017, Russia
bInstitute of Geosphere Dynamics, Russian Academy of Sciences, Leninskii pr. 38/6, Moscow, 117334, Russia
Keywords: Orogeny, asthenosphere, collisional shortening, volcanism
Pages: 221-233


The Late Cenozoic geodynamics of the Alpine-Himalayan belt comprised the collision between continental-lithosphere plates and blocks and the effect of the Neotethyan active residual asthenosphere, which reached the northern margin of the belt after the ocean had closed. From the late Eocene to the early Pliocene, strong deformation, lateral migrations of flaked plates, metamorphism, and magmatism (they all consolidated the crust) took place in the lithosphere with the participation of mobile asthenospheric components. In the Pliocene-Quaternary, the asthenosphere beneath the consolidated crust partly replaced the dense mantle lithosphere with remaining paleoocean mafic rocks, which subducted into the mantle. Phase transformations and deformations in the subducting metamafic slabs caused mantle earthquakes. The less compact metamafic rocks experienced metamorphic softening under the effect of the asthenosphere and incorporated into the Earth's crust. The upper-mantle and lower-crust softening led to a drastic intensification of uplifting and the formation of mountain ranges. Recent volcanism is also attributed to the activity of the Neotethyan asthenosphere.