Geokinematics of Central Europe: New insights from the CERGOP-2/Environment Project
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The Central European Geodynamics Project CERGOP/2, funded by the European Union from 2003to 2006 under the 5th Framework Programme, benefited from repeated measurements of thecoordinates of epoch and permanent GPS stations of the Central European GPS Reference Network(CEGRN), starting in 1994. Here we report on the results of the systematic processing of availabledata up to 2005. The analysis has yielded velocities for some 60 sites, covering a variety of CentralEuropean tectonic provinces, from the Adria indenter to the Tauern window, the Dinarides, thePannonian Basin, the Vrancea seismic zone and the Carpathian Mountains. The estimated velocitiesdefine kinematical patterns which outline, with varying spatial resolution depending on the stationdensity and history, the present day surface kinematics in Central Europe. Horizontal velocities areanalyzed after removal from the ITRF2000 estimated velocities of a rigid rotation accounting forthe mean motion of Europe: a ~2.3 mm/yr north-south oriented convergence rate between Adria andthe Southern Alps that can be considered to be the present day velocity of the Adria indenterrelative to the European foreland. An eastward extrusion zone initiates at the Tauern Window. Thelateral eastward flow towards the Pannonian Basin exhibits a gentle gradient from 1-1.5 mm/yrimmediately east of the Tauern Window to zero in the Pannonian Basin. This kinematic continuityimplies that the Pannonian plate fragment recently suggested by seismic data does not require aspecific Eulerian pole. On the southeastern boundary of the Adria microplate, we report a velocitydrop from 4-4.5 mm/yr motion near Matera to ~1 mm/yr north of the Dinarides, in the southwesternpart of the Pannonian Basin. A positive velocity gradient as one moves south from West Ukraineacross Rumania and Bulgaria is estimated to be 2 mm/yr on a scale of 600-800 km, as if the crustwere dragged by the counterclockwise rotation along the North Anatolian Fault Zone. This regimeapparently does not interfere with the Vrancea seismic zone: earthquakes there are sufficiently deep(> 100 km) that the brittle deformation at depth can be considered as decoupled from the creep atthe surface. We conclude that models of the Quaternary tectonics of Central and Eastern Europeshould not neglect the long wavelength, nearly aseismic deformation affecting the upper crust in theRomanian and Bulgarian regions.
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