Mountain Building

The study of active mountain ranges as well as recent developments in numerical and analog modeling have yield many significant insights on the coupling and feed-back relations between climate dependent surface processes and internal deformation in orogenic wedges and thrust-and-fold belts. Taiwan was the first orogen where it has been proposed that rock uplift rates equal erosion rates, thus defining the concept of steady-state orogens. It is also the most remarkable example of friction-dominated orogenic wedge, chosen because it is submitted to very high and rapid climatic and tectonic forcing. However, many questions remain open, particularly those concerning the mechanical origin and the quantification of coupling relations at different time and space scales, in wedges undergoing climatic and/or tectonic forcings. In particular, the links between the mechanisms of deformation and the surface processes (erosion, landscape evolution, sedimentation) need to be further quantified and modeled. Our scientific objectives thus aim at unraveling deformation processes and their interactions with climate-controlled surface processes using morpho-structural studies and multiple simulation approaches.

There will be three sub-axis allowing dealing with:

(1) Short-term deformation and landscape evolution: the contribution of seismic increments to mountain building (1a-1ka);

(2) Landscape and mountain range evolution under fluctuating tectonic and climatic boundary conditions: testing the steady-state hypothesis (1ka-1Ma);

(3) The finite picture: long-term structural and tectonic background of the Taiwan orogen (beyond 1Ma)