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Variscan terranes in Morocco

By
Alain Piqué
Alain Piqué
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Published:
January 01, 1989

Paleozoic formations crop out extensively in Morocco, north of the West African craton. With regard to the Hercynian deformation, various structural domains can be distinguished in Morocco. The undeformed series of the southern flank of the Tindouf basin belong to the tabular cover of the Reguibate shield. Zemmour and Anti-Atlas are parts of a marginal belt, mildly deformed, around the West African craton. The Coastal Block, North-central, and Northeastern domains constitute the Moroccan Hercynian belt, which has been more or less strongly deformed between Late Devonian and Late Carboniferous times. In spite of these various states of deformation, these domains are not distinct terranes since there was a general continuity between them during Paleozoic time; they correspond to the same epicontinental shelf, itself related to the West Africa craton during early Paleozoic time. Later on, their Carboniferous sedimentary facies graded laterally from one domain to the other, and finally, no large-scale displacement occurred between them during or after their Hercynian deformation.

On the other hand, three domains show sedimentological and structural differences with the rest of Morocco, which distinguish them from the areas connected with the Western Africa craton. The Western Sahara belt is a Mauritanide klippe thrusted eastward upon the craton. The Sehoul domain probably separated during Late Cambrian and Ordovician time from northern Morocco and it was accreted again to the rest of Morocco at the end of Ordovician time by a pre-Hercynian Taconic orogeny. The Internal Rif is an alpine allochthon that was located elsewhere during Paleozoic time, probably at the prolongation of northeastern Morocco. Therefore, Western Sahara, Sehoul, and Internal Rif are Paleozoic terranes.

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Contents

GSA Special Papers

Terranes in the Circum-Atlantic Paleozoic Orogens

R. D. Dallmeyer
R. D. Dallmeyer
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Geological Society of America
Volume
230
ISBN print:
9780813722306
Publication date:
January 01, 1989

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