Geodetic Evidence for a Buoyant Mantle Plume Beneath the Eifel Volcanic Area, NW Europe

This is a Preprint and has not been peer reviewed. The published version of this Preprint is available: https://doi.org/10.1093/gji/ggaa227. This is version 3 of this Preprint.

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Authors

Corné Kreemer , Geoffrey Blewitt, Paul M. Davis

Abstract

The volcanism of the Eifel volcanic field (EVF), in west-central Germany, is often considered an example of hotspot volcanism given its geochemical signature and the putative mantle plume imaged underneath. EVF’s setting in a stable continental area provides a rare natural laboratory to image surface deformation and test the hypothesis of there being a thermally buoyant plume. Here we use Global Positioning System (GPS) data to robustly image vertical land motion (VLM) and horizontal strain rates over most of intraplate Europe. We find a spatially-coherent positive VLM anomaly over an area much larger than the EVF and with a maximum uplift of ~1 mm yr−1 at the EVF (when corrected for glacial isostatic adjustment). This rate is considerably higher than averaged over the Late-Quaternary. Over the same area that uplifts, we find significant horizontal extension surrounded by a radial pattern of shortening, a superposition that strongly suggests a common dynamic cause. Besides the Eifel, no other area in NW Europe shows significant positive VLM coupled with extensional strain rates, except for the much broader region of glacial isostatic adjustment. We refer to this 3D deformation anomaly as the Eifel Anomaly. We also find an extensional strain rate anomaly near the Massif Central volcanic field surrounded by radial shortening, but we do not detect a significant positive VLM signal there. The fact that the Eifel Anomaly is located above the Eifel plume suggests the plume causes the anomaly. Indeed, we show that buoyancy forces induced by the plume at the bottom of the lithosphere can explain this remarkable surface deformation. Plume-induced deformation can also explain the relatively high rate of regional seismicity, particularly along the Lower Rhine Embayment.

DOI

https://doi.org/10.31223/osf.io/yab5d

Subjects

Earth Sciences, Geophysics and Seismology, Physical Sciences and Mathematics, Tectonics and Structure, Volcanology

Keywords

and mantle plumes, Continental tectonics: extensional, Dynamics: convection currents, Europe, Intra-plate processes, Satellite geodesy

Dates

Published: 2020-02-25 02:25

Last Updated: 2020-05-09 04:00

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License

Academic Free License (AFL) 3.0

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