Tectonic and magmatic processes along the transform margin of Southern Africa


Giant shear processes shaped Africa's southern margin during the breakup of the supercontinent Gondwana. They acted along a more than 1000 km long transform fault, whose remnant structure the Agulhas-Falkland Fracture Zone stretches today from the Falkland Plateau to the southeastern margin of Africa. A study of the processes which initiated such a long-offset transform fault and acted during their active phase is essential to understand how this sheared margin developed. Africa’s southern margin is not only one of the best examples to study the sharp continent-ocean-transition zones, the marginal ridge, fracture zone, and basin structures usually associated with transform margins, but it provides the unique opportunity to study how excessive magmatic processes acted which formed a Large Igneous Province at a sheared margin. In this thesis, I use seismic refraction, seismic reflection data and plate-tectonic reconstructions to investigate the structure and dynamics of this margin. These are ideal methods as they lead to high-quality velocity-depth models showing the present-day structure across the margin and provide timing and geometries by means of plate kinematics...
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