Anticline growth by shortening during crustal exhumation of the Moroccan Atlantic margin

D. Fernández-Blanco*, M. Gouiza, R. Charton, C. Kluge, J. Klaver, K. Brautigam, G. Bertotti

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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It is unclear how the crustal-scale erosional exhumation of continental domains of the Moroccan Atlantic margin and the excessive subsidence of its rifted domains affected the Late Jurassic-Early Cretaceous post-rift evolution of the margin. To constrain the km-scale exhumation, we study the structural evolution of the Jbel Amsittene. This anticline is located on the coastal plain of the Moroccan Atlantic margin, and is classically considered to have been developed initially in the Late Cretaceous by halokinesis, and by contraction during the Neogene. Contrarily, our structural analysis indicates that the anticline is a fault-propagation fold verging north with Triassic salts at its core and that it formed by shortening shortly after continental breakup of the Central Atlantic. The anticline grew by NNW-SSE to NNE-SSW contraction, as shown by syn-tectonic wedges, regional kinematic indicators and synsedimentary structures in Upper Jurassic to Lower Cretaceous rocks. It grew further and tightened during the Cenozoic, presumably in relation to the Atlas/Alpine contraction. Thus, our data and interpretation suggest that “tectonic-drives-salt” in the anticline early growth, which is coeval with the growth of other anticlines along the Moroccan Atlantic margin and widespread km-scale exhumation farther onshore. Anticline growth due to shortening argues for intraplate far-field stresses potentially linked to the geodynamic evolution of the African, American and European plates.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104125
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Structural Geology
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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