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Geology reviewed for the Falkland Islands and their offshore sedimentary basins, South Atlantic Ocean

Stone, Philip. 2016 Geology reviewed for the Falkland Islands and their offshore sedimentary basins, South Atlantic Ocean. Earth and Environmental Science Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 106 (2). 115-143. 10.1017/S1755691016000049

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Abstract/Summary

The position of the Falkland Islands adjacent to the South American continental margin belies the close association of their geology with that of South Africa. A Mesoproterozoic basement is unconformably overlain by a Silurian to Devonian succession of fluvial to neritic and shallow marine, siliciclastic strata. This is disconformably succeeded by a largely Permian succession that, near its base, includes a glacigenic diamictite and, thence, passes upwards into a succession of deltaic and lacustrine strata. The lithological succession and the character of its deformation bear striking similarities to the Cape Fold Belt and Karoo retroarc foreland basin. Swarms of Early Jurassic dykes were coeval with the Karoo magmatism and the initial break-up of Gondwana; Early Cretaceous dykes were intruded during the opening of the South Atlantic Ocean. Offshore sedimentary basins surrounding the archipelago contain Late Jurassic to Palaeogene successions and are currently the focus of hydrocarbon exploration. Best known is the North Falkland Basin, a classic failed rift. To the SE, the passive margin, Falkland Plateau Basin may also be rift-controlled, whilst the South Falkland Basin is a foreland basin created at the boundary of the South American and Scotia plates. The role of the Falkland Islands during the breakup of Gondwana remains controversial. Compelling evidence from the onshore geology favours rotation of an independent microplate from an original position adjacent to the Eastern Cape, South Africa. Alternative interpretations, justified largely from offshore geology, favour extension of the Falkland Plateau as a fixed promontory from the South American margin.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1017/S1755691016000049
ISSN: 1755-6910
Date made live: 29 Jul 2016 13:28 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/514068

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