Ian O NortonSenior Research Fellow, Institute for Geophysics, Jackson School of Geosciences
Fundamental understanding of the structure of passive continental margins has changed dramatically over the last few years, driven by concepts of mantle exhumation that have been demonstrated by deep drilling on the Newfoundland and Iberian margins. In these areas, large amounts of relative motion between continental blocks have been accommodated by low-angle exhumation of lower crust and mantle, as opposed to more traditional concepts of block faulting of brittle continental crust. My research is focused on understanding the structural evolution of continental margins, particularly trying to reconcile deformation amounts that can be predicted from regional-scale plate reconstructions with deformation that can be inferred from local-scale structural data.
Reconciliation of plate reconstructions with structural data also applies to compressional orogenies. In Asia, for instance, plate reconstructions that follow the collision of India with Asia can be used to predict deformation in the orogenic belt through time. It is apparent that there is a large discrepancy between predicted deformation and what can be observed on the ground; understanding this discrepancy is a topic for future research.
Areas of Expertise
Plate tectonics, structural evolution of continental margins, reconciliation of observations from structural geology with regional tectonics