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Crustal configuration of the Naama and El Bayadh region of northwest Algeria: Inferences from gravity and magnetic analysis

Abstract : Northwestern Algeria is located where the Saharan Atlas borders the Saharan Platform along the South Atlas Front. The origin of the South Atlas Front is controversial, thus a detailed gravity and magnetic analysis constrained by seismic reflection profiles and well data were conducted to determine the structural configuration of this region. A residual gravity anomaly map created using upward continuation and a reduced to the pole magnetic anomaly map indicated a series of northwest-trending maxima anomalies parallel to the Atlassic orogeny folds and faults and east-trending maxima within the Benoud foreland basin. These maxima mostly coincide with Paleozoic basement uplifts based on seismic reflection profiles. Depth analyses based on upward continuation, and two-dimensional forward modeling of the gravity and magnetic data indicated that the source of the maxima are mainly 5 km in depth with the magnetic sources being approximately 0.5 km deeper than the gravity sources. The gravity and magnetic models indicate that the source bodies are steep-sided and coincide with interpreted faults from the seismic reflection profiles. The maxima anomalies are mainly caused by basement uplifts instead of variations in density and/or magnetic susceptibility in the Paleozoic or older basement lithologies. The South Atlas Front and the Saharan Atlas on the central and eastern portions of Algeria is governed by a thin-skinned tectonics style involving the Mesozoic-Cenozoic sedimentary cover. While the western part was probably controlled by a mixed thin- and thick-skinned tectonic style with the reactivation of deeply rooted Triassic and Jurassic faults during Tertiary compressive events in the interpreted Paleozoic basement.

Our gravity and magnetic models illustrate a crustal architecture model of the Paleozoic basement which is consistent with a north-dipping basement normal fault between less deformed Saharan Platform than the more deformed Atlassic domain. Such a crustal model aids in determining the nature of the Atlassic orogeny as geological and geophysical studies have been determining the variations of structural styles along its entire length.

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Submitted on : Wednesday, June 8, 2022 - 4:44:31 PM
Last modification on : Saturday, June 25, 2022 - 3:17:23 AM



Walid Farhi, Hakim Saibi, Kevin Mickus, yoann Quesnel, Abdelwahab Aktouf, et al.. Crustal configuration of the Naama and El Bayadh region of northwest Algeria: Inferences from gravity and magnetic analysis. Journal of African Earth Sciences, Elsevier, 2022, 192, ⟨10.1016/j.jafrearsci.2022.104572⟩. ⟨insu-03690966⟩



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