Imaging, mapping and modelling continental lithosphere extension and breakup: an introduction
G. D. Karner, G. Manatschal, L. M. Pinheiro, 2007. "Imaging, mapping and modelling continental lithosphere extension and breakup: an introduction", Imaging, Mapping and Modelling Continental Lithosphere Extension and Breakup, G. D. Karner, G. Manatschal, L. M. Pinheiro
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This Special Publication is a direct outcome of a small but dedicated group of researchers who met in Pontresina, Switzerland, to review and define the fundamental observations characterizing extensional systems and their application in guiding and constraining modelling efforts and results. The various summaries of the keynote addresses give an objective overview of the state of the art in modelling lithospheric extensional systems, both from the regional scale using dynamic models to individual basins using kinematic models with an emphasis on capturing the extensional history of the Iberia and Newfoundland margins. At the heart of all of these efforts is a simple question: Exactly what mechanisms allow the continental lithosphere to be thinned to the point of rupture? Related questions are: (1) Do crustal and mantle faults play a major role in this thinning process? If so, what is their geometry and does their importance and geometry change with time? (2) Are there other mechanisms of lithospheric and crustal thinning that cannot be imaged on seismic sections? (3) How is deformation accommodated in space and time? (4) What role do inherited mechanical, thermal and/or chemical heterogeneities play in controlling strain distribution and localization? (5) When, how and to what degree does magma production affect the distribution and localization of extension? And (6) what is the stratigraphic record of continental extension and how does it document the extension of the crust and thinning of the lithospheric mantle?
The aim of this Special Publication is to address many of these fundamental questions concerning the extreme extension and thinning of continental lithosphere.
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This book summarizes our present understanding of the formation of passive continental margins and their ocean–continent transitions. It outlines the geological, geophysical and petrological observations that characterize extensional systems, and how such observations can guide and constrain dynamic and kinematic models of continental lithosphere extension, breakup and the inception of organized sea-floor spreading. The book focuses on imaging, mapping and modelling lithospheric extensional systems, at both the regional scale using dynamic models to the local scale of individual basins using kinematic models, with an emphasis on capturing the extensional history of the Iberia and Newfoundland margins. The results from a number of other extensional regimes are presented to provide comparisons with the North Atlantic studies; these range from the Tethyan realm and the northern Red Sea to the western and southern Australian margins, the Basin and Range Province, and the Woodlark basin of Papua New Guinea. All of these field studies, combined with lessons learnt from the modelling, are used to address fundamental questions about the extreme deformation of continental lithosphere.