The Moho in extensional tectonic settings: Insights from thermo-mechanical models

S. Cloetingh, E. Burov, L. Matenco, F. Beekman, F. Roure, P.A. Ziegler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The lithospheric memory is key for the interplay of lithospheric stresses and rheological structure of the extending lithosphere and for its later tectonic reactivation. Other important factors are the temporal and spatial migration of extension and the interplay of rifting and surface processes. The mode of extension and the duration of the rifting phase required to lead to continental break-up are to a large extent controlled by the interaction of the extending plate with slab dynamics. The finite strength of the lithosphere has an important effect on the formation of extensional basins. This applies both to the geometry of the basin shape as well as to the record of vertical motions during and after rifting. We demonstrate a strong connection between the bulk rheological properties of Europe's lithosphere and the evolution of some of Europe's main rifts and back-arc systems. The thermo-mechanical structure of the lithosphere has a major impact on continental break-up and associated basin migration processes, with direct relationships between rift duration and extension velocities, thermal evolution, and the role of mantle plumes. Compressional reactivation has important consequences for post-rift inversion, borderland uplift, and denudation, as illustrated by poly-phase deformation of extensional back-arc basins in the Black Sea and the Pannonian Basin region.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)558-604
Number of pages47
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013


  • Lithosphere rheology
  • Lower crustal flow
  • Moho imagery
  • Mode of rifting
  • Stress regimes
  • Lithospheric memory


Dive into the research topics of 'The Moho in extensional tectonic settings: Insights from thermo-mechanical models'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this