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

Joao Casal Duarte, Filipe Rosas, Pedro Terrinha, Marc-Andre Gutscher, Jacques Malavielle, Sonia Silva, Luis Matias

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    In the Gulf of Cadiz key segment of the Africaa??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.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)135 - 149
    Number of pages15
    JournalMarine Geology
    Issue number1-4
    Publication statusPublished - 2011

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