The scientists within this research line is currently developing and pursuing research projects and initiatives that are centered in the following topics:
- Structure and evolution of the Gibraltar Arc System and the Atlantic-Mediterranean transition. This is a key target in the tectonophysics topic, which implies a multidisciplinary research that was a key a part of the EUROMARGINS program and will further be developed through the TOPOMED research program recently approved by the ESF . Within this program, this team is developing extensive geological and geophysical studies including multichannel reflection and wide angle profiling with onshore/offshore recording in land and OBS instruments, structural geology, and integrated numerical modeling. This research constitutes a part of the international PICASSO initiative.
- Crustal growth and deformation in the central Iberian Peninsula. A combined multichannel reflection and wide-angle seismics experiment crossing the whole Iberian Peninsula is planned to fill in the gaps between the Pyrenees and SW-Iberia (IBERSEIS). This experiment will continue the existing IBERSEIS and ALCUDIA profiles and will be complemented with 2D and 3D integrated lithospheric modelling to relate the lateral structural variations to the geodynamic evolution of the different tectonic domains. Geological data on vertical movements and landscape evolution modeling will be performed in the Duero, Ebro and Tajo basins and surrounding orogens. This objective should be financed by the Spanish National Agency, regional governments, and mining industry. Future objectives within the Iberian peninsula include the Central orogenic system, the Iberian cordillera as well as high resolution transects across the Betics.
- Lithospheric structure and tectonic processes in collisional orogens. In the past 2 decades our group has been extensively involved in studies of several collisional orogens ( Urals, Andes, Hispanola, ...). Objectives for the coming years are the Tibet and the Zagros belts. In Tibet, we will focus on constraining the structural transitions of Tibet towards the NE and NW margins (Gobi platform and Tarim Basin). This research will be funded by the Spanish National Agency in collaboration with a Chinese-French project. In the Zagros, research has already started, focused on the study of the present-day structure and Cenozoic evolution, which resulted from the consumption of the Thetyan oceanic lithosphere and the subsequent continental collision between Arabia and Eurasia. This research is founded by NORSK-HYDRO Norwegian Oil Industry. The Atlas Mountains (SIMA-Project , funded by the Spanish agency) is also ongoing research toward unraveling the supporting mechanisms of this intraplate orogen. This latter project is developing in close collaboration with other European, Moroccan and US partners.
- Active margins and subduction zones. Active margins of major seismogenic potential are key objectives for seismic research. Main features to be constrained by seismic probing concern the nature and geometry of the lower plate, the deformation of the upper plate, the slab detachment, the mechanical and seismic couplings or the mega-thrust seismicity. An ongoing research concerns the Mediterranean subduction of the Hellenic margin, within the THALES project funded by the EU in FP6 . Future investigations will be conducted in the Pacific linear subduction of Ecuador-Colombia.
- Arc-continent collision. One of the principal mechanisms of continental crustal growth occurs with the accretion of intraoceanic volcanic arcs to the margin of a continent along a subduction zone. This was one of the important processes in the formation of old mountain belts such as the Urals, the Appalachians and the Variscides and continues today along tectonically active plate boundaries such as those in the SW Pacific or the Caribbean. Our current studies into arc-continent collision processes are focussed in the Uralides, in the Dominican Republic, and in Taiwan. The key questions being investigated include, but are not limited to; 1) the deep crustal and mantle structure through geophysical imaging, 2) processes that take place deep within the subduction channel once the continental crust has entered the subduction zone (i.e. the subduction and exhumation of material as medium or high pressure rocks), 3) the continued evolution of the arc during collision (i.e. what and how deep processes affect the retreat of the volcanic front outboard of the subduction zone and the changes to the chemical composition of the volcanism), 4) the response of the continental crust to the collision (i.e. development of an accretionary complex above a basal detachment or whole crustal failure), 5) erosion of the developing mountain belt and the formation of a foreland and a suture forearc basin, 6) the emplacement of oceanic material in the form of ophiolite massifs and, 7) place constraints on the duration of arc-continent collision orogeny.
- Understanding the physics of the European continent by means of large-scale, Pan-European Initiatives in the solid Earth domain, such as TOPOEUROPE , EuroArray , EPOS , and actively participating in Earth Science research initiatives within the FP7 and the European Reseach Council . TOPOEUROPE is a recently approved ESF-Eurocores program that will address the 4-D topographic evolution of the orogens and intra-plate regions of Europe through a multidisciplinary approach linking geology, geophysics, geochronology, geodesy and geotechnology. TOPOEUROPE integrates monitoring, imaging, reconstruction and modelling of the interplay between processes controlling continental topography and related natural hazards. EuroArray holds for its instrumental pool component, aimed at covering during a 10 years period the continental Europe and its margins with a dense array of geophysical measuring instruments, to provide an unprecedented high resolution image of the European lithosphere. Presently, an even larger-scale initiative to monitor our continent has been launched (EPOS) and it has already been included in the updated road map of the ESFRI European research infrastructures. Our research team is deeply involved in all these initiatives and, besides, we are coordinating the TOPOIBERIA project funded by the Spanish Consolider research program which focuses all this research on the Iberian micro-continent. The latter project has also provided an appropriate scenario for the initiation of the Spanish National Geophysical Instrument pool, the further development of which is also one of the objectives of this strategic plan.
Links to Research Initiatives and Projects: