Deep structure of the Demerara Plateau: From a volcanic margin to a Transform Marginal Plateau

The Demerara Plateau (offshore Suriname and French Guiana) is located at the junction of the Jurassic Central Atlantic and the Cretaceous Equatorial Atlantic Oceans. The study of its crustal structure is fundamental to understanding its tectonic history, its relationship with the adjacent oceanic domains and to enlightening the formation of Transform Marginal Plateaus (TMPs). This study presents two wide-angle seismic velocity models from the MARGATS cruise seismic experiment, and adjacent composite seismic reflexion lines. The plateau itself is characterized by a 30 km thick crust, subdivided into three layers, including a high velocity lower crust (HVLC). The velocities and velocity gradients do not fit values of typical continental crust but could fit with volcanic margin or Large Igneous Province (LIP) type crusts. We propose that the, possibly continental, lower crust is intruded by magmatic material and that the upper crustal layer is likely composed of extrusive volcanic rocks of the same magmatic origin, forming thick seaward dipping reflector sequences tilted to the west. This SDR complex was emplaced during hotspot related volcanic rifting preceding the Jurassic opening of the Central North Atlantic and forming the present-day western margin of the plateau. The internal limit of the SDR complex corresponds to the future limit of the eastern margin. The Demerara Plateau would therefore be an inherited Jurassic volcanic margin boarding the Central Atlantic. This margin was reworked during the Cretaceous at the eastern limit of the Jurassic SDR complex, creating the present-day northern transform margin and the eastern divergent margin along the Equatorial Atlantic. This study also highlights the major contribution of thermal anomalies such as hotspots and superposed tectonic phases in the history of TMPs, which share a great number of characteristics with Demerara.

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Museur Thomas, Graindorge David, Klingelhoefer Frauke, Roest Walter, Basile C., Loncke L., Sapin F. (2021). Deep structure of the Demerara Plateau: From a volcanic margin to a Transform Marginal Plateau. Tectonophysics. 803. 228645 (22p.).,

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