Abstract

New models of magnetic data are presented that provide insight into the early stages of rifting and breakup between Morocco and Nova Scotia. The margins, which began forming during the Late Triassic rifting and Middle Jurassic separation of the North American and African plates, display considerable variability in deeper crustal structure, faulting style, and basin geometry along their length. The central and northeastern portions of the Nova Scotia margin show characteristics of a magma-poor margin, with a high degree of crustal thinning and a complex ocean-continent transition zone with little direct evidence of volcanism. In contrast, the margin to the southwest of Nova Scotia has clearly recognized characteristics of a volcanic-style rifted margin, including seaward-dipping reflector (SDR) sequences that are interpreted as rift-related volcanic flows overlying basement. These SDRs are coincident with a strong linear magnetic anomaly, the East Coast Magnetic Anomaly (ECMA), which shares many characteristics with the West African Coast Magnetic Anomaly (WACMA). Both magnetic anomalies change character and diminish in amplitude northward along the margins. The new models show the expected decrease in magnetic source material towards the northeastern end of the margin and suggest that modest amounts of igneous material, emplaced at or near the edge of the thinned continental crust, will satisfy the observed anomalies in this magma-poor section of the margin. These new interpretations and supporting evidence indicate volcanism was a factor along much of the margin during early rifting between Nova Scotia and Morocco.

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