The ESCIN-3-1 deep seismic profile in the northwestern Galicia margin revisited
Abstract:The ESCIN-3.1 profile was acquired in 1993 offshore northwest Galicia (Spain), and recorded 20 s of near vertical reflection seismic data. This 140 km long profile was intended to provide an image of the crustal structure of this sector of the continental margin from near the coastline to the deep-sea area. The tectonic evolution of the northwest Galicia margin initiated by rifting during Late Jurassic-Early Cretaceous times and progressed to sea floor spreading during Albian- Late Cretaceous times when the Bay of Biscay opened. Subsequently, the margin was active during the convergence of Eurasia and Iberia in the Late Oligocene to Early Miocene.
Here we present a new interpretation of the mentioned profile based on a newly reprocessed depth migrated image and corresponding gravity model. In the deep-sea areas, a free-air gravity low reach up to - 120 mGal and the sea bottom is at more than 5000 m deep. The 7 km thick flat lying undisturbed sedimentary cover appears above a 10 km thick, ~120 Ma old oceanic basement. This flat sediments onlap toward the ocean-continent transition on a folded and disturbed 20 km long wedge shaped sedimentary body. A major landward dipping structure reaches from the foot of the slope to beneath the sub horizontal Moho of the continental slope. The slope has a gentle dip of about 2° in this section, and include large mass flow deposits. Fault bound sediments are imaged in the upper continental margin that could correspond to preserved syn-rift Mesozoic structures. The structure of what correspond to the continental basement in the thicker part of the margin is not well resolved. Only in the landward side of the profile a layered lower crust is seen where the Moho reaches depths of 29 km.
The ocean-continent transition in this profile may be interpreted as that of an active compressional boundary with some accretion of deep-sea sediments that are underthrust by a thinned continental margin with large submarine landslides and mass flow deposits evidence of the massive failure along the continental slope.