Tectonic inheritance and Pliocene-Pleistocene inversion of the Algerian margin around Algiers: Insights from multibeam and seismic reflection data

Type Article
Date 2010-03
Language English
Author(s) Strzerzynski Pierre1, 2, Deverchere Jacques1, 2, Cattaneo AntonioORCID3, Domzig Anne4, Yelles Karim5, de Lepinay Bernard Mercier6, Babonneau Nathalie1, 2, Boudiaf Azzedine5
Affiliation(s) 1 : Univ Europeenne Bretagne, Brest, France.
2 : Univ Brest Occidentale, IUEM, CNRS, UMR 6538, F-29280 Plouzane, France.
3 : IFREMER, Dept Marine Geosci, Lab Environm Sedimentaires, F-29280 Plouzane, France.
4 : Midland Valley Explorat Ltd, Glasgow G2 2HG, Lanark, Scotland.
5 : CRAAG, Algiers 16340, Algeria.
6 : Univ Nice Sophia Antipolis, CNRS, UMR 6526, F-06560 Valbonne, France.
Source Tectonics (0278-7407) (Amer Geophysical Union), 2010-03 , Vol. 29 , N. TC2008 , P. 1-22
DOI 10.1029/2009TC002547
WOS© Times Cited 34
Keyword(s) messinian salinity crisis, western mediterranean sea, northern algeria, intraplate deformation, incipient subduction, plate kinematics, salt tectonics, boundary, basin, miocene
Abstract The Algerian margin has originated from the opening of the Algerian basin about 25-30 Ma ago. The central margin provides evidence for large-scale normal faults of Oligo-Miocene age, whereas transcurrent tectonics characterizes the western margin. A set of NW-SE oriented dextral transform faults was active during basin opening and divided the 600 km long central margin into segments of similar to 120-150 km. The upper Miocene, Plio-Quaternary, and present-day tectonic setting is, however, compressional and supports the occurrence of a margin inversion, a process still poorly documented worldwide. We show that the central Algerian margin represents a rare example of inverted margin, where the process of subduction inception is particularly well expressed and helps understand how extensional and transtensive structures are involved in margin shortening. Using multibeam bathymetry and multichannel seismic reflection sections from the MAR-ADJA 2003 and 2005 cruises, we evidence Pliocene-Pleistocene shortening with contrasting styles along the margin between west (Khayr Al Din bank) and east (Boumerdes-Dellys margin) of Algiers. Pre-Miocene structures such as basement highs and transform faults appear to control changes of the deformation pattern along this part of the margin, resulting in different widths, geometries, and relative positions of folds and faults. Plio-Quaternary and active blind thrust faults do not reuse Oligo-Miocene normal and transform faults during inversion, but instead grow within the continental margin (as testified for instance by the 21 May 2003 M-w 6.8 Boumerdes-Zemmouri earthquake), at the foot of the continental slope and at the northern sides of basement highs interpreted as stretched continental blocks of the rifted margin. The inherited structures of the margin appear, therefore, to determine this deformation pattern and ultimately the earthquake and tsunami sizes offshore. The complex geometry of the fault system along the Algerian margin suggests a process of initiation of subduction in its central and eastern parts.
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Strzerzynski Pierre, Deverchere Jacques, Cattaneo Antonio, Domzig Anne, Yelles Karim, de Lepinay Bernard Mercier, Babonneau Nathalie, Boudiaf Azzedine (2010). Tectonic inheritance and Pliocene-Pleistocene inversion of the Algerian margin around Algiers: Insights from multibeam and seismic reflection data. Tectonics, 29(TC2008), 1-22. Publisher's official version : https://doi.org/10.1029/2009TC002547 , Open Access version : https://archimer.ifremer.fr/doc/00008/11883/