Abstract

We have established a new plate kinematic model of the central and North Atlantic oceans between North America, Africa, Meseta, Iberia, Flemish Cap, and Galicia Bank from Late Triassic to Late Cretaceous to better understand the nature and timing of rifting of Nova Scotia and Morocco conjugate continental margins since Late Triassic. The maps of salt distributions at the Sinemurian–Pliensbachian limit (190 Ma; after salt deposition) and in middle Bajocian (170 Ma) show that an area of the Nova Scotia margin is devoid of allochthonous salt and that an area of similar size located oceanward of the West African Coast Magnetic Anomaly shows salt deposits, suggesting that a portion of the Nova Scotia margin with its overlying salt deposits could have been transferred onto the Moroccan side right after the formation of the conjugate East Coast Magnetic Anomaly and West African Coast Magnetic Anomaly. Seven paleogeographic maps, from Late Triassic to Late Cretaceous, are presented with structural elements and magnetic lineations. They show that the connection between the Central Atlantic and the Tethys, with an aborted rift between Iberia and North America ending in the north against the Flemish Cap – Galicia Bank dam, started to deepen at the end of the first rifting phase (190 Ma ago) after the rupture of the thinned continental crust. It is only during the Early Cretaceous, after the rupture of the Flemish Cap – Galicia Bank dam, that the deep connection around Iberia was finally established between the Central and North Atlantic, the Tethys, and the Bay of Biscay.

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