Effects of initial weakness on rift architecture
S. Dyksterhuis, P. Rey, R. D. Müller, L. Moresi, 2007. "Effects of initial weakness on rift architecture", Imaging, Mapping and Modelling Continental Lithosphere Extension and Breakup, G. D. Karner, G. Manatschal, L. M. Pinheiro
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Much work has been conducted investigating the primary factors controlling rift architecture, using both computational and laboratory methods. Here, we examine the effects and relative importance that different types of initial weaknesses have on extensional lithospheric deformation style. We find that the type of initial weakness included in the model plays a primary role in determining the subsequent rift mode. Models using single localized weak seeds produce symmetric narrow rifts, irrespective of whether or not strain softening is included, while models that include regions of diffuse weaknesses produce a wide rift mode. Models that include an initial weak fault tend to produce more asymmetric rifting leading to a core complex mode. By distributing the strain laterally over large areas, the ductile lower crust tends to oppose the narrow rift mode forced by the initial weakness. These results suggest that initial weaknesses may play a major role in determining the mode of rifting. Our numerical experiments confirm that low-angle faults can form as the result of rotation of initially high-angle faults. While previous studies have suggested that the rheological and thermal profiles of the lithosphere play the most important role in rift mode determination, our results illustrate that initial weaknesses could play a major role in rift mode determination, highlighting the need to make initial weaknesses a primary consideration when modelling the extensional deformation of the 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.