Magmatism at the west Iberia non-volcanic rifted continental margin: evidence from analyses of magnetic anomalies

Russell, S.M.; Whitmarsh, R.B.. 2003 Magmatism at the west Iberia non-volcanic rifted continental margin: evidence from analyses of magnetic anomalies. Geophysical Journal International, 154 (3). 706-730.

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We discuss the magmatic development of the west Iberia non-volcanic rifted continental margin in the North Atlantic Ocean. So-called 'non-volcanic' rifted continental margins are characterized by a lack of syn-rift magmatism and are considered to be largely amagmatic. However, this is clearly an oversimplification since seafloor spreading itself is a magmatic process and it is implausible that seafloor spreading begins instantaneously. We concentrate our attention on the recently described zone of exhumed continental mantle (ZECM) to investigate what magmatic processes accompanied the breakup of the continental lithosphere and the subsequent formation of the ZECM leading to the onset of seafloor spreading. We use magnetic anomalies supplemented by the interpretations of multichannel seismic reflection profiles and wide-angle seismic experiments presented elsewhere. Forward and inverse modelling of a sea-surface magnetic anomaly chart and of surface and deep-towed magnetometer profiles shows that anomalies within the ZECM differ in trend, amplitude and source type from those in the adjacent oceanic crust and thinned continental crust. The ZECM anomalies appear to be caused by elongated source bodies within 8 km of the top of the acoustic basement aligned parallel to the margin. We interpret such bodies as syn-extensional intrusions that increase in volume oceanward. They eventually merge in the vicinity of a margin-parallel, basement peridotite ridge to give rise to a continuous crust that records reversals in the Earth's magnetic field from the time of anomaly M4(N)-M5(R), i.e. to mark the onset of seafloor spreading. We find no evidence for anomalies formed by seafloor spreading, at either slow or ultraslow rates, before M5(R) (128 Ma)

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 0956-540X
Additional Keywords: magmatism, magnetic anomalies, rifted margin, west iberia
Date made live: 12 May 2004 +0 (UTC)

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