Formation of continental microplates through rift linkage: Numerical modelling and its application to the Flemish Cap and Sao Paulo Plateau

This is a Preprint and has not been peer reviewed. This is version 1 of this Preprint.


Download Preprint


Derek Neuharth , Sascha Brune, Anne C Glerum , Christian Heine, J. Kim Welford


Continental microplates are enigmatic plate boundary features, which can occur in extensional
and compressional regimes. Here we focus on microplate formation and their temporal evolution
in continental rift settings. To this aim, we employ the geodynamic finite element software
ASPECT to conduct 3D lithospheric-scale numerical models from rift inception to continental
breakup. We find that depending on the strike-perpendicular offset and crustal strength, rift
segments connect or interact through one of four regimes: (1) an oblique rift, (2) a transform
fault, (3) a rotating continental microplate or (4) a rift jump. We highlight that rotating
microplates form at offsets >200 km in weak to moderately strong crustal setups. We describe
the dynamics of microplate evolution from initial rift propagation, to segment overlap, verticalaxis
rotation, and eventually continental breakup. These models may explain microplate size and
kinematics of the Flemish Cap, the Sao Paulo Plateau and other continental microplates that
formed during continental rifting worldwide.



Earth Sciences, Physical Sciences and Mathematics


Earth Sciences, Sao Paulo Plateau, Rift linkage, Microplate, Flemish Cap


Published: 2021-03-18 02:45


CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

Additional Metadata

Data Availability (Reason not available):

Add a Comment

You must log in to post a comment.


There are no comments or no comments have been made public for this article.