▪ Abstract 

Orogenic collapse is a process that transfers gravitational potential energy from regions of high potential energy to regions of lower potential energy. This transfer is classically considered to be accomplished by extension in the orogenic core and by synchronous shortening in foreland regions of the orogen. Not all extensional features in collisional mountain belts need, however, reflect orogenic collapse. Normal faulting, thrust faulting, and strike-slip faulting are all active in different parts of the Alps today and reflect complex local responses to ongoing Europe-Adria convergence. The Western Alps is the only area today where extension and shortening radial to orogen trend occur synchronously and where orogenic collapse may be an important process. Elsewhere in the Alps, normal faults are oriented at a high angle to orogen trend and were primarily active in Oligocene and Miocene time. Most present-day activity in the Central and Eastern Alps is on strike-slip faults that are accommodating lateral extrusion of material rather than orogenic collapse.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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