Project Title: Topographic response to cessation of subduction in the Carpathian mountain range.

Supervisor: Hugh Sinclair, Simon Mudd

Objectives: The topographic record of the transition from active subduction to post-orogenic decay defines the morphology and sediment record of many mountain chains of Europe. The Carpathian mountains from Poland to Romania form an orocline with active lithospheric processes associated with shortening and seismicity taking place in the subducted slab in the south-eastern bend of the Vrancea zone. This slab is absent northward, while westward towards Poland the termination of convergence is significantly older (ca. 11 Ma in the Krakow-Tatra section); the topographic expression of this differential post-orogenic decay is evident. This project will use high resolution topographic data and measurements of erosion rates (low temperature thermochronology, 10Be cosmogenic nuclides) to find the landscape components most sensitive to this transient evolution.

Expected Results: The project will provide reconstructions of topographic change over the past 106-103 yrs. Maps of erosional flux from syn- to post-orogenic mountain ranges will be generated, and hence predictions of river catchment dynamics and consequent sediment dispersal will be provided. This has implications for the dynamics of rivers flowing across the agricultural regions of eastern Europe, and the distribution of sediment types in the surrounding sedimentary basins with significance for hydrocarbon prospectivity in the region.

Academic secondment: S. Willett (ETH), 3 months, to analyse geodynamic model predictions of topographic evolution during slab retreat. L. Matenco (Utrecht) 1 month to analyse data on Vrancea zone. Industrial secondment: CGG Services – Robertson, two times one month to integrate topographic reconstructions into regional palaeogeographies and predict patterns of sediment flux.

Links to other projects: ESR14 will share data, methods or concepts with ESR1, 3, 4, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13