Deep Structure and Evolution of the Baikal Rift Zone
The varying structural pattern of the Baikal system of rift valleys and faults is defined by interaction of the rift-forming stress field and the structural grain of the basement. The most prominent feature is the central segment of the rift zone which embraces the deepest and largest Baikal depression and is confined to the suture zone between two major lithospheric plates, the Precambrian Siberian platform and its folded border, the Sayan-Baikal highlands.
The mechanism of the Baikal rift zone formation was a complex process with alternating phases of crustal fracturing and plastic extension. In addition to the anomalous upper mantle layer beneath the Baikal rift zone, a large-scale anomalous mantle region has recently been discovered, whose lower boundary descends to 300 – 700 km below the rift zone and adjacent mountain areas.
The high seismicity of the Baikal rift zone is mainly related to the recent tectonic activity of the rift valleys. The latter form a distinct evolutionary succesion: incipient — embryonic — mature — aborted rift depressions.
KeywordsDeep Structure Rift Zone Rift Valley Siberian Platform Continental Rift
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