Deep structure of the Demerara Plateau and its two-fold tectonic evolution: from a volcanic margin to a Transform Marginal Plateau, insights from the conjugate Guinea Plateau

Type Article
Date 2022
Language English
Author(s) Graindorge DavidORCID1, Museur Thomas1, 2, Klingelhoefer FraukeORCID2, Roest WalterORCID2, Basile C.3, Loncke L.4, Sapin F.5, Heuret A.ORCID6, Perrot Julie1, Marcaillou B.ORCID7, Lebrun J-FORCID8, Déverchère JacquesORCID1
Affiliation(s) 1 : University of Brest, CNRS, IUEM, Plouzané, France
2 : Ifremer, Centre de Brest, UR Géosciences Marines, BP 70, 29280 Plouzané, France
3 : ISTerre, UMR-CNRS 5275, Observatoire des Sciences de l'Univers de Grenoble, Université Joseph Fourier, Maison des Géosciences, 1381 rue de la Piscine, 38400 St. Martin d'Hères, France
4 : University of Perpignan Via Domitia, Centre de Formation et de Recherche sur les Environnements Méditerranéens (CEFREM), UMR 5110, 52 Avenue Paul Alduy, 66100, Perpignan, France
5 : Total SA, Centre Scientifique et Technique Jean Feger (CSTJF), Avenue Larribau, 64018, Pau, France
6 : Université de Guyane, Géosciences Montpellier, Université de Montpellier, CNRS Université des Antilles, Cayenne, Guyane
7 : University Côte d'Azur, CNRS, Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur, IRD, Géoazur, Valbonne, France
8 : Géosciences Montpellier, Université de Montpellier, CNRS, Université des Antilles, Pointe à Pitre, Guadeloupe (FWI)
Source Geological Society, London, Special Publications (0305-8719) (Geological Society of London), 2022 , Vol. 524 , N. 1 , P. ???
DOI 10.1144/SP524-2021-96

Transform marginal Plateaus (TMPs) are large and flat structures commonly found in deep oceanic domains, but origin and relationship to adjacent oceanic lithosphere remain poorly understood. This paper focuses on two conjugate TMPs, the Demerara Plateau off Suriname and French Guiana and the Guinea Plateau, located at the junction of the Jurassic Central Atlantic and the Cretaceous Equatorial Atlantic Oceans. The study helps to understand (1) the tectonic history of both Demerara and Guinea Plateaus, (2) the relationship between the Demerara Plateau and the adjacent oceanic domains and finally, (3) to throw light on the formation of Transform Marginal Plateaus (TMPs). We analyze two existing wide-angle seismic derived velocity models from the MARGATS seismic experiment (Demerara Plateau), and adjacent composite industrial seismic lines covering the Demerara and Guinea Plateaus. The Demerara Plateau displays a 30 km thick crust, subdivided into 3 layers, including a high velocity lower crust (HVLC). The velocities and velocity gradients do not fit values of typical continental crust but instead correspond to 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 made of extrusive volcanic rocks of the same magmatic origin, forming thick seaward (westward) dipping reflectors (SDRs) sequences. This SDR complex extends to the Guinea Plateau as well and was emplaced during hotspot (Sierra Leone)-related volcanic rifting preceding the Jurassic opening of the Central Atlantic and forming the western margin of the plateau. N-S composite lines linking Demerara and Guinea plateaus reveal the spatial extent of the SDR complex but also a preexisting basement ridge separating the two plateaus. The entire Demerara-Guinea margin would therefore be an inherited Jurassic volcanic margin bordering the Central Atlantic Ocean to the east, with as a possible conjugate being the Bahamas Plateau on the other side of the ocean. This margin was then reworked during a non-coaxial Cretaceous second phase of rifting potentially accompanied by a magmatic event. Opening of the northern margin occurs in a transform mode splitting the Jurassic volcanic margin in two parts (Guinea and Demerara TMPs), conceivably along a pre-existing basement ridge. Rifting of the eastern part of the Demerara Plateau occurred surprisingly along the eastern limit of the Jurassic SDR complex, forming the present-day eastern divergent margin of the Demerara Plateau. After that stage, the Demerara and Guinea plateaus are individualized on each side of the Equatorial Atlantic. This study also highlights the major contribution of thermal anomalies related to hotspots and superposed tectonic phases in the case of other TMPs which share numerous characteristics with the Demerara Plateau.

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Graindorge David, Museur Thomas, Klingelhoefer Frauke, Roest Walter, Basile C., Loncke L., Sapin F., Heuret A., Perrot Julie, Marcaillou B., Lebrun J-F, Déverchère Jacques (2022). Deep structure of the Demerara Plateau and its two-fold tectonic evolution: from a volcanic margin to a Transform Marginal Plateau, insights from the conjugate Guinea Plateau. Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 524(1), ??? Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :