Abstract

Ophiolite slivers have been described recently in the core of the External zones of the Central Rif belt. The present work aims at illustrating new ophiolite slivers further east and discussing the structural position and tectonic emplacement of all these oceanic floor remnants. Their basement consists of gabbros previously dated at 166±3 Ma and their cover includes mafic breccias, micrites and radiolarites. These oceanic slivers are located within the Mesorif nappe stack at the bottom of the Senhadja nappe that roots beneath the Intrarif Ketama unit and was thrust over the more external Mesorif and Prerif units during the Cenozoic inversion of the North African paleomargin. These oceanic crust (OC) slivers belong to the same Mesorif suture zone as the Beni Malek serpentinites and Ait Amrâne metabasites from eastern Rif that also include marbles with ophiolitic clasts and derive from an ocean-continent transition (OCT) domain. After examination of the varied hypotheses that have been suggested to account for the emplacement of these units in the External Rif, we propose that obduction sampled an oceanic corridor opened between the Mesorif and Intrarif domains at the emplacement of the Rif Triassic evaporite basin. The Intrarif block should have been then separated from the African passive margin and connected with the Flysch domain south of the passive margin of the Alboran domain. The pre-collision structure of the Rif transect would involve two hyper-extended passive margins separated by a narrow oceanic transform fault corridor. Therefore the Tethys suture in the western Maghrebides would be split by the Intrarif block and would involve the Flysch zone in the north and the ophiolite bearing Mesorif suture zone in the south.

You do not currently have access to this article.