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Superimposed Rifting at the Junction of the Central and Equatorial Atlantic: Formation of the Passive Margin of the Guiana Shield

Abstract : The passive margin of the Guiana Shield formed at the junction of the Central and Equatorial Atlantic Oceans that developed successively by a complex rifting process that achieved the final dispersal of Western Gondwana. Yet, the resulting spatial distribution of crustal thinning along the margin remains to be mapped and its controlling parameters deciphered. We used subsurface data to map the variability of crustal thinning along the margin. We show that the margin segments width primarily depends on their obliquity to rifting extension direction. The necking domain of the transform/oblique margin segments is much narrower (<100km) than divergent segments that include hyper-extended or distal margin domains as well (200–300km). Moreover, for a similar obliquity, the width of margin segments resulting from the Central Atlantic rifting are wider than those resulting from the Equatorial Atlantic rifting. This is primarily due to the higher obliquity and rate of the latter. Additionally, along the Central Atlantic margin segments, thinning was accommodated by lower-crustal ductile deformation, the thick syn-rift in-fill was associated with magmatism and a thicker than average oceanic crust. In contrast, the Equatorial Atlantic margin segments show little ductile deformation, reduced clastic syn-rift infill and thinner than average oceanic crust. These observations suggest that the lithosphere affected by the Central Atlantic rifting was warmer than that affected by the Equatorial Atlantic rifting. Finally, the two-step thinning in the overlapping area of the two rift systems individualized a promontory of thinned continental crust that remained as the Demerara Plateau
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Contributor : Nathalie Pothier <>
Submitted on : Monday, September 13, 2021 - 8:44:04 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, September 22, 2021 - 2:58:30 PM


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Artiom Loparev, Delphine Rouby, Dominique Chardon, Massimo Dall’asta, François Sapin, et al.. Superimposed Rifting at the Junction of the Central and Equatorial Atlantic: Formation of the Passive Margin of the Guiana Shield. Tectonics, American Geophysical Union (AGU), 2021, 40 (7), ⟨10.1029/2020TC006159⟩. ⟨insu-03341865⟩



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