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Role of Subaerial Volcanic Rocks and Mantle Plumes in Creation of South Atlantic Margins: Implications for Salt Tectonics and Source Rocks
Martin P. A. Jackson, Jean-Michel Fonck and Carlos Cramez

Seaward-dipping reflectors (SDRs) represent flood basalts rapidly extruded during either rifting or initially subaerial sea-floor spreading. Evaporites can form on this basaltic proto-oceanic crust, as in the Afar Triangle today. Evidence for SDRs in South Atlantic deep-water regions comes from proximity to the uniquely large Paraná-Etendeka volcanic province onshore, the Tristan and Gough hot spots, drilled volcanic rocks, and seismic profiles showing SDR provinces more than 100 km wide, as much as 7 km thick, and thousands of kilometers long. SDRs are clearest adjoining the Aptian salt basins. However, we speculate that SDRs are also present but seismically obscured below the salt basins. We argue that the conjugate Aptian salt basins are post-breakup, not pre-breakup; they were separated from the start by a mid-oceanic ridge; distal salt accumulated on proto-oceanic crust, not rift basins. This hypothesis is supported by: seismic stratigraphy and structure; magnetic anomalies; plate reconstructions; and hydrothermal potash evaporites. An important implication for exploration is that thick basalts, rather than rift-age source rocks, may underlie distal parts of the salt basins.

Jean-Michel Fonck and Carlos Cramez: TotalFina Exploration and Production, 24 Cours Michelet, La Defense 10, 92069 Paris La Defense Cedex, France

For more information, please contact Martin Jackson. Telephone 512-471-9548; e-mail martin.jackson@beg.utexas.edu
March 2003
The University of Texas
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