Morphotectonics and strain partitioning at the Iberia–Africa plate boundary from multibeam and seismic reflection data.

Terrinha, P., Matias, L., Vicente, J., Duarte, J., Luís, J., Pinheiro, L., Lourenço, N., Diez, S., Rosas, F., Magalhães, V., Valadares, V., Zitellini, N., Roque, C. and Víctor, L. Mendes (2009) Morphotectonics and strain partitioning at the Iberia–Africa plate boundary from multibeam and seismic reflection data. Marine Geology, 267 (3-4). pp. 156-174. DOI 10.1016/j.margeo.2009.09.012.

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The Gulf of Cadiz, off SW Iberia and the NW Moroccan margin, straddles the cryptic plate boundary between Africa and Eurasia, a region where the orogenic Alpine compressive deformation in the continental collision zone passes laterally to the west to strike-slip deformation. A set of new multibeam bathymetry, multi-channel and single-channel seismic data presented here image the main morphological features of tectonic origin of a significant part of the Gulf of Cadiz from the continental shelf to the abyssal plain. These morphotectonic features are shown to result from the reactivation of deeply rooted faults that changed their kinematics from the early Mesozoic rifting, through the Late Cretaceous–Paleogene collision, to the Pliocene–Quaternary thrusting and wrenching. The old faults control deep incised, more than 100 km long canyons and valleys. Several effects of neotectonics on deep water seabed are shown. These include: i) the complex morphology caused by wrenching on the 230 km long WNW–ESE faults that produced en echelon folds on the sediments; ii) the formation of up to 5 km wide crescent shaped scours at roughly 4 km water depth by reactivation of thrusts; iii) 10 km long creep folds on the continental slope; and iv) the formation of landslides on active fault escarpments. The present day deformation is partitioned on NE–SW thrusts and WNW–ESE to W–E strike-slip faults and is propagating northwards on N–S trending thrusts along the West Iberia Margin from 35.5°N to 38°N, which should be considered for seismic hazard.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Gulf of Cadiz; Southwest Iberia Margin; multibeam bathymetry; morphotectonics; seismotectonics; wrench tectonics; strain partitioning; migration of deformation
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
Publisher: Elsevier
Projects: FLOWS
Date Deposited: 27 Jan 2015 13:46
Last Modified: 27 Jan 2015 13:46

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