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Title: Mechanisms of strain localisation in the lithosphere
Author: Willis, Katherine Elizabeth
ISNI:       0000 0004 8506 212X
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis examines the development of shear-zone localisation in the continental lithosphere. I use non-Newtonian, viscous models to examine the controls on strain localisation with depth and on the development of horizontal shear-zones in regions away from strength contrasts. I show how the vertical extent of strain localisation is principally controlled by lithology and geothermal gradient, and how the horizontal extent of localisation is a consequence of strain-weakening and the geometry of strength contrasts. I explore how strain localisation develops from an initial isolated weak inclusion. The progress of strain localisation follows a power-law growth that is strongly non-linear. When applied to the rheological laws for common lithospheric minerals, the temperature and stress-dependence provide a direct means of predicting the depth below which localisation does not occur. I apply the calculations to four major continental strike-slip zones and find observations from seismic data agree with the calculations. Localisation to the base of the lithosphere is not supported by the calculations or the geophysical data. I use a model configured to resemble the India-Asia convergence that includes an isolated weak region within the Tibetan Plateau area and, in selected experiments,strong regions representing the Tarim and Sichuan Basins. I rotate a strong India region into a weaker Asia and observe the evolving strain. Shear zones develop adjacent and propagate outwards from the weak region. Where the Basins are present then high strain- rate zones develop adjacent to them and the overall distribution of strain within the model is altered. A high strain-weakening component enables shear-zones to localise. Micro-plate models assume the pre-existence of such high strain regions but I show how a continuum model can initiate and grow localised deformation within a region of generally diffuse deformation.
Supervisor: Houseman, Greg ; Wright, Tim ; Hooper, Andy Sponsor: Natural Environment Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available