A new central Pangaea fit (type A) is proposed for the late Ladinian (230 Ma), together with a plate motions model for the subsequent phases of rifting, continental breakup and initial spreading in the central Atlantic. This model is based on: (1) a reinterpretation of the process of formation of the East Coast Magnetic Anomaly along the eastern margin of North America and the corresponding magnetic anomalies at the conjugate margins of northwest Africa and the Moroccan Meseta; (2) an analysis of major rifting events in the central Atlantic, Atlas and central Mediterranean and (3) a crustal balancing of the stretched margins of North America, Moroccan Meseta and northwest Africa. The process of fragmentation of central Pangaea can be described by three major phases spanning the time interval from the late Ladinian (230 Ma) to the Tithonian (147.7 Ma). During the first phase, from the late Ladinian (230 Ma) to the latest Rhaetian (200 Ma), rifting proceeded along the eastern margin of North America, the northwest African margin and theHigh, Saharan and Tunisian Atlas, determining the formation of a separate Moroccan microplate at the interface between Gondwana and Laurasia. During the second phase, from the latest Rhaetian (200 Ma) to the late Pliensbachian (185 Ma), oceanic crust started forming between the East Coast and Blake Spur magnetic anomalies, whereas the Morrocan Meseta simply continued to rift away from North America. During this time interval, the Atlas rift reached its maximum extent. Finally, the third phase, encompassing the time interval from the late Pliensbachian (185 Ma) to chron M21 (147.7 Ma), was triggered by the northward jump of the main plate boundary connecting the central Atlantic with the Tethys area. Therefore, as soon as rifting in the Atlas zone ceased, plate motion started along complex fault systems between Morocco and Iberia, whereas a rift/drift transition occurred in the northern segment of the central Atlantic, between Morocco and the conjugate margin of Nova Scotia. The inversion of the Atlas rift and the subsequent formation of the Atlas mountain belt occurred during the Oligocene–early Miocene time interval. In the central Atlantic, this event was associated with higher spreading rates of the ridge segments north of the Atlantis FZ. An estimate of 170 km of dextral offset of Morocco relative to northwest Africa, in the central Atlantic, is required by an analysis of marine magnetic anomalies. Five plate tectonic reconstructions and a computer animation are proposed to illustrate the late Triassic and Jurassic process of breakup of Pangaea in the central Atlantic and Atlas regions.

Breakup of Pangaea and plate kinematics of the central Atlantic and Atlas regions

SCHETTINO, Antonio;
2009-01-01

Abstract

A new central Pangaea fit (type A) is proposed for the late Ladinian (230 Ma), together with a plate motions model for the subsequent phases of rifting, continental breakup and initial spreading in the central Atlantic. This model is based on: (1) a reinterpretation of the process of formation of the East Coast Magnetic Anomaly along the eastern margin of North America and the corresponding magnetic anomalies at the conjugate margins of northwest Africa and the Moroccan Meseta; (2) an analysis of major rifting events in the central Atlantic, Atlas and central Mediterranean and (3) a crustal balancing of the stretched margins of North America, Moroccan Meseta and northwest Africa. The process of fragmentation of central Pangaea can be described by three major phases spanning the time interval from the late Ladinian (230 Ma) to the Tithonian (147.7 Ma). During the first phase, from the late Ladinian (230 Ma) to the latest Rhaetian (200 Ma), rifting proceeded along the eastern margin of North America, the northwest African margin and theHigh, Saharan and Tunisian Atlas, determining the formation of a separate Moroccan microplate at the interface between Gondwana and Laurasia. During the second phase, from the latest Rhaetian (200 Ma) to the late Pliensbachian (185 Ma), oceanic crust started forming between the East Coast and Blake Spur magnetic anomalies, whereas the Morrocan Meseta simply continued to rift away from North America. During this time interval, the Atlas rift reached its maximum extent. Finally, the third phase, encompassing the time interval from the late Pliensbachian (185 Ma) to chron M21 (147.7 Ma), was triggered by the northward jump of the main plate boundary connecting the central Atlantic with the Tethys area. Therefore, as soon as rifting in the Atlas zone ceased, plate motion started along complex fault systems between Morocco and Iberia, whereas a rift/drift transition occurred in the northern segment of the central Atlantic, between Morocco and the conjugate margin of Nova Scotia. The inversion of the Atlas rift and the subsequent formation of the Atlas mountain belt occurred during the Oligocene–early Miocene time interval. In the central Atlantic, this event was associated with higher spreading rates of the ridge segments north of the Atlantis FZ. An estimate of 170 km of dextral offset of Morocco relative to northwest Africa, in the central Atlantic, is required by an analysis of marine magnetic anomalies. Five plate tectonic reconstructions and a computer animation are proposed to illustrate the late Triassic and Jurassic process of breakup of Pangaea in the central Atlantic and Atlas regions.
2009
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11581/201405
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