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

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Authors

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

Abstract

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.

DOI

https://doi.org/10.31223/X5S60M

Subjects

Earth Sciences, Physical Sciences and Mathematics

Keywords

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

Dates

Published: 2021-03-17 23:45

License

CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

Additional Metadata

Data Availability (Reason not available):
https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.4601188

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