The tectonic evolution of the South Atlantic from Late Jurassic to present.

Nürnberg, Dirk and Müller, Dietmar (1991) The tectonic evolution of the South Atlantic from Late Jurassic to present. Open Access Tectonophysics, 191 . pp. 27-53. DOI 10.1016/0040-1951(91)90231-G.

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An improved tectonic database for the South Atlantic has been compiled by combining magnetic anomaly, Geosat altimetry and onshore geologic data. We used this database to obtain a revised plate-kinematic model. Starting with a new fit-reconstruction for the continents around the South Atlantic, we present a high-resolution isochron map from Chron M4 to present.
Fit reconstructions of South America and Africa that require rigid continental plates result in substantial misfits either in the southern South Atlantic or in the equatorial Atlantic. To achieve a fit without gaps, we assume a combination of complex rift and strike-slip movements:

(1) along the South American Parana-Chacos Basin deformation zone
(2) within marginal basins in South America (Salado, Colorado Basin) and
(3) along the Benue Trough/Niger Rift system in Africa. These faults are presumed to have been active before or during the breakup of the continents.

Our model describes a successive “unzipping” of rift zones starting in the southern South Atlantic. Between 150 Ma (Tithonian) and approximately 130 Ma (Hauterivian), rifting propagated to 38 °S, causing tectonic movements within the Colorado and Salado basins. Subsequently, between 130 Ma and Chron M4 (126.5 Ma), the tip of the South Atlantic rift moved to 28 °S, resulting in intracontinental deformation along the Parana-Chacos Basin deformation zone. Between Chron M4 and Chron MO (118.7 Ma) rifting propagated into the Benue Trough and Niger Rift, inducing rift and strike-slip motion. After Chron MO, the equatorial Atlantic began to open, while rifting and strike-slip motion still occurred in the Benue Trough and Niger Rift. Since Chron 34 (84 Ma), the opening of the South Atlantic is characterized by simple divergence of two rigid continental plates.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: South Atlantic, tectonic evoltion
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB1 Ocean Circulation and Climate Dynamics > FB1-P-OZ Paleo-Oceanography
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.1016/0040-1951(91)90231-G
ISSN: 0040-1951
Date Deposited: 18 Feb 2008 17:27
Last Modified: 21 Mar 2018 12:17

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