We make the case for Early Cretaceous transfer zones that segment the obliquely rifted Atlantic margin of southeastern Brazil. Our interpretation is based on published literature, Bouguer-corrected gravity, regional reflection seismic profiles, and well data. In the Santos and Campos basins, Neocomian rift architecture was strongly influenced by preexisting fabric and structures of the Late Proterozoic (Brasiliano orogeny). The Atlantic margin inherited an east-northeast-west-southwest orientation so that rifting was oblique to the margin.

On a regional map of Bouguer-corrected gravity, a nearshore belt of positive anomalies correlates with an interpreted broad Moho uplift in the footwall of Neocomian extensional faults. Farther offshore, a second belt of positive anomalies correlates with a presalt ridge of eroded volcanic or basement anticlines covered by thin Aptian evaporites, interpreted as a failed spreading center. Intervening negative anomalies coincide with the main rift basin. All three belts show apparent offsets along linear zones trending west-northwest-east-southeast, which we interpret as transfer zones. The vergence of half rifts tends to change across transfer zones, compartmentalizing the rifted margin into subbasins.

Our results have implications for the risks associated with distribution, maturation, and migration of hydrocarbons within the prolific Early Cretaceous lacustrine petroleum system of the Campos and Santos basins.

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