Rifting and pre-rift lithosphere variability in the Orphan Basin, New foundland margin, Eastern Canada
M. Gouiza, J. Hall and G. Bertotti
Journal name: Basin Research
Issue: Vol 27, No 4, August 2015 pp. 367 - 386
Info: Article, PDF ( 5.28Mb )
The Orphan Basin, lying along the Newfoundland rifted continental margin, formed in Mesozoic time during the opening of the North Atlantic Ocean and the breakup of Iberia/Eurasia from North America. To investigate the evolution of the Orphan Basin and the factors that governed its formation, we (i) analysed the stratigraphic and crustal architecture documented by seismic data (courtesy of TGS), (ii) quantified the tectonic and thermal subsidence along a constructed geological transect, and (iii) used forward numerical modelling to understand the state of the pre-rift lithosphere and the distribution of deformation during rifting. Our study shows that the pre-rift lithosphere was 200-km thick and rheologically strong (150-km-thick elastic plate) prior to rifting. It also indicates that extension in the Orphan Basin occurred in three distinct phases during the Jurassic, the Early Cretaceous and the Late Cretaceous. Each rifting phase is characterized by a specific crustal and subcrustal thinning configuration. Crustal deformation initiated in the eastern part of the basin during the Jurassic and migrated to the west during the Cretaceous. It was coupled with a subcrustal thinning which was reduced underneath the eastern domain and very intense in the western domains of the basin. The spatial and temporal distribution of thinning and the evolution of the lithosphere rheology through time controlled the tectonic, stratigraphic and crustal architecture that we observe today in the Orphan Basin.