Editorial for tectonophysics special issue progress in understanding passive continental margins

Gabriele.Uenzelmann-Neben [ at ] awi.de


The causes of continental breakup are still poorly understood. More and more it becomes evident that classical concepts of deep-mantle versus intra-plate forces controlling continental breakup and shaping the subsequent evolution of the bordering passive margins, including associated vertical and horizontal movements, need to be revised. Instead of thinking in terms of active versus passive rift models or magma-poor versus magma-rich margins, concepts are needed that perceive these geodynamic processes in a three dimensional continuum evolving through time. The South Atlantic margins, often considered as a classical example for a plume related continental breakup, seem to be a perfect site to revisit and to test such new concepts. Traces of intense magmatism are present on both conjugate margins as well as aseismic ridges connecting them with a supposed current plume location below the island of Tristan da Cunha. Of these ridges, the Walvis Ridge has been interpreted as one of the major hotspot trails in the South Atlantic. The German priority program SAMPLE (DFG-SPP 1375: South Atlantic Margin Processes and Links with onshore Evolution), funded by the German Science Foundation (DFG) from 2008 to 2016, addressed a number of fundamental questions related to the processes responsible for opening of the South Atlantic and the subsequent evolution of both continental margins. This volume assembles new results emerging from multidisciplinary research in the SAMPLE projects and those of other groups working in the region.

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DOI 10.1016/j.tecto.2017.04.018

Cite as
Scheck-Wenderoth, M. , Uenzelmann-Neben, G. , Trumbull, R. B. and Kukla, P. (2017): Editorial for tectonophysics special issue progress in understanding passive continental margins , Tectonophysics, 716 , pp. 1-3 . doi: 10.1016/j.tecto.2017.04.018

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