The processes that drastically thinned and rapidly exhumed the Alborán Domain in southern Spain are poorly understood. Consequently, there are two endmember geodynamic models for the Betic-Rif region: (1) subduction of oceanic lithosphere, followed by slab rollback and back-arc extension, or (2) accretion of thick and gravitationally unstable continental lithosphere, followed by rapid exhumation and late-orogenic extensional collapse.
My Ph.D. investigated the mm- to km-scale tectonic evolution of Alpujárride Complex, which is the largest tectonic unit of the Alborán Domain. My research techniques include structural geology, microstructural analysis, metamorphic petrology, thermobarometry and geochronology. In the Alpujárride Complex, I studied the relationship between metamorphism and regional patterns of deformation (i.e. stretching lineations, major recumbent folds and low-angle normal faults).
The results of my work provide a new structural and kinematic framework for the Alborán Domain, including a major reinterpretation of the orogenic architecture in the Betics. I also propose a new geodynamic model for the Betic-Rif arc; contrasts in gravitational potential energy within the orogenic system drove late-orogenic extension and the relative motion of the Alborán Domain with respect to Iberia.