Upper Pleistocene uplifted shorelines as tracers of (local rather than global) subduction dynamics

Hadrien Henry, Vincent Regard*, Kevin Pedoja, Laurent Husson, Joseph Martinod, Cesar Witt, Arnauld Heuret

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Past studies have shown that high coastal uplift rates are restricted to active areas, especially in a subduction context. The origin of coastal uplift in subduction zones, however, has not yet been globally investigated. Quaternary shorelines correlated to the last interglacial maximum (MIS 5e) were defined as a global tectonic benchmark (Pedoja et al., 2011). In order to investigate the relationships between the vertical motion and the subduction dynamic parameters, we cross-linked this coastal uplift database with the "geodynamical" databases from Heuret (2005), Conrad and Husson (2009) and Müller et al. (2008). Our statistical study shows that: (1) the most intuitive parameters one can think responsible for coastal uplift (e.g., subduction obliquity, trench motion, oceanic crust age, interplate friction and force, convergence variation, dynamic topography, overriding and subducted plate velocity) are not related with the uplift (and its magnitude); (2) the only intuitive parameter is the distance to the trench which shows in specific areas a decrease from the trench up to a distance of ~300. km; (3) the slab dip (especially the deep slab dip), the position along the trench and the overriding plate tectonic regime are correlated with the coastal uplift, probably reflecting transient changes in subduction parameters. Finally we conclude that the first order parameter explaining coastal uplift is small-scale heterogeneities of the subducting plate, as for instance subducting aseismic ridges. The influence of large-scale geodynamic setting of subduction zones is secondary.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-20
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Geodynamics
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Marine strandline
  • Shoreline
  • Uplift
  • Subduction
  • Geodynamics
  • Quaternary


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