The Davie Ridge: a Marginal Transform Ridge not Formed During Continental Breakup
Abstract:The breakup of Gondwana translated Madagascar southwards relative to Africa along the Davie Fracture Zone (DFZ). This fracture zone now forms the Transform Passive Continental Margin (TPCM) from Kenya to Mozambique. The Davie Ridge (DR), a transform marginal ridge, has formed along the DFZ between 5 and 2°S and 22 and 11°S, but with little expression in-between. It has been proposed that this marginal ridge was formed by the thermal effects of a passing Mid Ocean Ridge (MOR) during the separation of Gondwana. Plate kinematic reconstructions, however, constrained by ocean magnetic anomalies, show that the MOR only passed between the north and south expressions of the DR. Therefore the positive linear gravity anomalies of the DR cannot be attributed to the effects of a passing MOR, and some other mechanism must be found to explain their formation.
Interpretation of seismic reflection profiles along the DR shows that the gravity highs occur adjacent to large basin structures. In the north this correlates with a basin-bounding basement high of ~Albian age, and in the south with the rift flank uplifts of the currently active Quirimbas graben. This suggests that the northern and southern DR segments are instead shoulder uplifts resulting from two separate extensional episodes during different stress regimes. These are the Cretaceous NE-SW extension during the breakup of the south Atlantic, and the E-W extension of the Neogene-recent Afar-East Africa rift system, respectfully. The lack of deformation and DR formation along the region of the TPCM passed by the MOR suggests it has been coupled by thermal effects and/or the injection of magma.