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Conference Papers Year : 2011

Oceanic-type accretion may begin before complete continental break-up

Laurent Geoffroy
A.R. Viana


Oceanic accretion is thought to be the process of oceanic crust (and lithosphere) edification through adiabatic melting of shallow convecting mantle at oceanic spreading ridges. It is usually considered as a post-breakup diagnostic process following continents rupturing. However, this is not always correct. The structure of volcanic passive margins (representing more than 50% of passive continental margins) outlines that the continental lithosphere is progressively changed into oceanic-type lithosphere during the stage of continental extension. This is clear at least, at crustal level. The continental crust is 'changed' from the earliest stages of extension into a typical -however thicker- oceanic crust with the typical oceanic magmatic layers (from top to bottom: lava flows/tuffs, sheeted dyke complexes, dominantly (sill-like) mafic intrusions in the lower crust). The Q-rich continental crust is highly extended and increases in volume (due to the magma) during the extensional process. At the continent-ocean transition there is, finally, no seismic difference between this highly transformed continental crust and the oceanic crust. Using a large range of data (including deep seismic reflection profiles), we discuss the mantle mechanisms that governs the process of mantle-assisted continental extension. We outline the large similarity between those mantle processes and those acting at purely-oceanic spreading axis and discuss the effects of the inherited continental lithosphere in the pattern of new mafic crust edification.
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insu-00670266 , version 1 (15-02-2012)


  • HAL Id : insu-00670266 , version 1


Laurent Geoffroy, P.V. Zalan,, A.R. Viana. Oceanic-type accretion may begin before complete continental break-up. AGU Fall Meeting 2011, Dec 2011, San Francisco, United States. pp.T23D-2432. ⟨insu-00670266⟩
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