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WHO WE ARE
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ROTATOR

Understanding Slab Rollback-Driven Torodial-Polodial Mantle Flows and Intraplate Volcanism Across the Sicily Channel Rift Zone

PI:  E. Attias (UTIG)

co-PIs:   M. K. Sen (JSG), L. Lavier (JSG)

ROTATOR is coupled with the CREAK project  (ERC Consolidator Grant)  
led by M. Agius from the University of Malta

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Tectonic-driven passive rifting and mantle plume-driven active rifting are two mechanisms frequently invoked as the cause of continental breakups. Both mechanisms result in thermo-mechanical erosion of the lithosphere, which leads to thinning and rupture of the plate. Rifting in melt-poor and complex tectonic settings (i.e., at the boundary between subduction and rift margins) is poorly constrained. Studying rifting in such settings is essential to understanding the role of individual and multiparametric mechanisms in the overall rifting process. For example, the toroidal mantle flows around the edge of a subducting slab, and its influence on the adjacent continental plate is characterized by cascading processes that may lead to incipient continental breakup and new spreading rifts. Such a complex tectonic setting exists across the Sicily Channel Rift Zone (SCRZ). However, marine observations are limited to constraining SCRZ’s mantle flows and their effect on the overlying lithosphere.

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What do we know about SCRZ from existing shallow datasets?

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Evidence for crustal dynamics from intraplate and subduction-related volcanism (Faccenna et al., 2005), compression/extension (Devoti et al., 2011; Bahrouni et al., 2020), heat flow (Fuchs et al., 2021), seismic azimuthal/radial anisotropy and crustal thickness (Agius et al., 2022).

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What do we know about SCRZ from existing deep datasets?

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Evidence for upper mantle flow due to dynamic slab. Shear velocity structure at 100~km depth adopted from El-Sharkawy et al., (2020), shear-wave splitting from Barruol et al., (2009), and seismic surface-wave radial and azimuthal anisotropy data from Agius et al., (2022).

ROTATOR

The ROTATOR project aims to understand the complex interactions between slab-rollback mantle flows and interplate volcanism, focusing on their role in promoting geohazards in the Sicily Channel Rift Zone. The project will comprehensively view the region's tectonic activity by collecting and analyzing marine CSEM, magnetic, oceanographic, and biogeochemical datasets. Through a multidisciplinary approach, these datasets will be integrated with seismic and MT data that the CREAK project will collect and legacy numerical geodynamic models to cross-verify findings and gain deeper insights into geological processes. This research is crucial for assessing potential geohazards and informing risk management strategies, ultimately benefiting local communities and advancing scientific knowledge.
 

ROTATOR's methodologies include marine CSEM mapping subsurface resistivity, magnetic delineating tectonic features, and oceanographic measurements monitoring changes in the water column influenced by active submarine volcanism. Marine EM (MT/CSEM) and seismic data (land and ocean) will be inverted individually and jointly using advanced 3D TTI algorithms. Numerical geodynamic modeling will simulate tectonic processes and predict future geological scenarios.
 

The project's applications extend to risk mitigation, scientific advancements, and environmental impact. By understanding the interplay between tectonics and biogeochemical cycles, ROTATOR aims to contribute to climate change models and conservation efforts. Overall, ROTATOR seeks to provide valuable insights into tectonic and volcanic processes, enhancing geohazard preparedness and informing broader environmental studies.

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ROTATOR experiment:  Deplyoment of 30 OBEMs augmanting CREAK's MT and OBS sites, and performing  a CSEM survey  (six towlines). 

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PROJECT STATUS
 

The proposal is to be submitted to NSF-OCE in Septemebr 2024.

COLLABORATORS

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