The Intersection between the Gloria Transform Fault and the Tore-Madeira Rise in the NE Atlantic: New Tectonic Insights from Analog Modeling Results

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Filipe Medeiros Rosas1,2, Ricardo Tomas1, Joao Casal Duarte3, Wouter Pieter Schellart3 and Pedro Terrinha2,4, (1)Universidade de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal, (2)IDL - Instituto Dom Luiz, Lisbon, Portugal, (3)Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, (4)Instituto Português do Mar e da Atmosfera, Lisboa, Portugal
The intersection between the Gloria Fault (GF) and the Tore-Madeira rise (TMR) in NE Atlantic marks a transition from a discrete to a diffuse nature along a critical segment of the Eurasia/Africa plate boundary.

To the West of such intersection, approximately since the Azores triple junction, this plate boundary is mostly characterized by a set of closely aligned and continuous strike-slip faults that make up the narrow active dextral transcurrent system of the GF (with high magnitude M>7 historical earthquakes). While intersecting the TMR the closely E-W trending trace of the GF system is slightly deflected (changing to WNW-ESE), and splays into several fault branches that often coincide with aligned (TMR related?) active volcanic plugs. The segment of the plate boundary between the TMR and the Gorringe Bank (further to the East) corresponds to a more complex (less discrete) tectonic configuration, within which the tectonic connection between the Gloria Fault and another major dextral transcurrent system (the so called SWIM system) occurs. This SWIM fault system has been described to extend even further to the East (almost until the Straits of Gibraltar) across the Gulf of Cadiz domain. In this domain the relative movement between the Eurasian and the African plates is thought to be accommodated through a diffuse manner, involving large scale strain partition between a dextral transcurrent fault-system (the SWIM system), and a set of active west-directed én-échelon major thrusts extending to the North along the SW Iberian margin.

We present new analog modeling results, in which we employed different experimental settings to address (namely) the following main questions (as a first step to gain new insight on the tectonic evolution of the TRM-GF critical intersection area): Could the observed morphotectonic configuration of such intersection be simply caused by a bathymetric anomaly determined by a postulated thickened oceanic crust, or is it more compatible with a crustal rheological (viscous) anomaly, possibly related with the active volcanism in the intersection zone? What could cause the observed deflection and splaying of the GF in the intersection with the TMR? Is the GF cutting across the TMR, or is it ending against a morpho-rheological anomaly through waning lateral propagation?