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Journal Articles Earth and Planetary Science Letters Year : 2017

A genetic link between transform and hyper-extended margins


The similarity between the geometry of the West African and South American coastlines is among one of the strongest natural observations supporting the plate tectonic paradigm. However, using classical plate tectonic approaches to model these conjugate transform margins results in a high degree of variability in palaeogeographic reconstructions. Using state-of-the-art 3D coupled thermo-mechanical numerical models, we simulate for the first time, crustal deformation at the onset of oceanisation along large offset oblique margins. Our models show that obliquity causes oceanic rift propagation to stall, resulting in an apparent polyphased tectonic evolution, and in some circumstances leads to the formation of hyper-extended margins. As a result, conjugate margins located at the edge of future fracture zones are highly asymmetric from rifting to spreading, with their lengths differing by a factor of 5 to 10, before the the final phase of break-up occurs. Accounting for this discrepancy should ameliorate future palaeogeographic reconstructions.
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hal-01493997 , version 1 (22-03-2017)



Laetitia Le Pourhiet, Dave A. May, Lucas Huille, Louise Watremez, Sylvie Leroy. A genetic link between transform and hyper-extended margins. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 2017, 465, pp.184-192. ⟨10.1016/j.epsl.2017.02.043⟩. ⟨hal-01493997⟩
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