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Deep seismic data that have been shot across the world’s passive margins make us reflect that much of the subsidence that post-dates major rifting and continental separation is not thermal in origin, but structural, associated with the localization of extensional displacement on a major fault or shear zone along the subcontinental Moho. Displacement surfaces of this kind have been called ‘exhumation faults’ (Manatschal et al., 2007),‘detachment faults’ (Manatschal and Lavier, 2010; Reston and McDermott, 2011), and ‘outer marginal detachments’ (Pindell et al., in prep., and this meeting). On non-volcanic margins they may...

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