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Thrust-wrench interference tectonics in the Gulf of Cadiz (Africa-Iberia plate boundary in the North-East Atlantic): Insights from analog models

Abstract : In the Gulf of Cadiz key segment of the Africa-Iberia plate boundary (North-East Atlantic ocean), three main different modes of tectonic interference between a recently identified wrench system (SWIM) and the Gulf of Cadiz Accretionary Wedge (GCAW) were tested through analog sand-box modeling: a) An active accretionary wedge on top of a pre-existent inactive basement fault; b) An active strike-slip fault cutting a previously formed, inactive, accretionary wedge; and c) Simultaneous activity of both the accretionary wedge and the strike-slip fault. The results we obtained and the comparison with the natural deformation pattern favor a tectonic evolution comprising two main steps: i) the formation of the Gulf of Cadiz Accretionary Wedge on top of inactive, Tethyan-related, basement faults (Middle Miocene to ~ 1.8 Ma); ii) subsequent reactivation of these basement faults with dextral strike-slip motion (~ 1.8 Ma to present) simultaneously with continued tectonic accretion in the GCAW. These results exclude the possibility of ongoing active SWIM wrench system cross-cutting an inactive GCAW structure. Our results also support a new interpretation of the SWIM wrench system as fundamentally resulting from strike-slip reactivation of an old (Tethyan-related) plate boundary.
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João Duarte, Filipe Rosas, Pedro Terrinha, Marc-André Gutscher, Jacques Malavielle, et al.. Thrust-wrench interference tectonics in the Gulf of Cadiz (Africa-Iberia plate boundary in the North-East Atlantic): Insights from analog models. Marine Geology, Elsevier, 2011, 289 (1-4), pp.135-149. ⟨10.1016/j.margeo.2011.09.014⟩. ⟨insu-00643630⟩

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