18 Nov 2022
18 Nov 2022
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Role of inheritance during tectonic inversion of a rift system in a thick- to thin-skin transition: Analogue modelling and application to the Pyrenean – Biscay System

Jordi Miró1, Oriol Ferrer1, Josep Anton Muñoz1, and Gianreto Manastchal2 Jordi Miró et al.
  • 1Institut de Recerca GEOMODELS, Departament de Dinàmica de la Terra i de l’Oceà, Facultat de Ciències de la Terra, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, 08028, Spain
  • 2Institut de Physique du Globe de Strasbourg, CNRS-UMR 7516, EOST, Université de Strasbourg, Strasbourg, 67084, France

Abstract. The reactivation of former rift systems and passive margins during tectonic inversion and its incorporation into fold-and-thrust belts results into significant structural variability not only between internal to external domains, but also along-strike. The Basque-Cantabrian and Asturian systems are among the best examples to address the role of along-strike changes in rift inheritance since they show a transition from salt to basement inherited structures limited by a transition zone separating thick- from thin-skin structural domains. While both domains have been widely described in the literature, the transfer system separating the two is yet little investigated due to the poor seismic imaging and the lack of large-scale exposures. This contribution aims to address the linkage between basement-controlled (i.e., autochthonous) and salt decoupled (i.e., allochthonous) domains and how deformation is accommodated in the transitional domain in between. An experimental program based on analogue models has been designed inspired by the transition from the thin-skinned Basque – Cantabrian Pyrenees to the east and the thick-skinned Asturian Massif to the west. The experimental results show that oblique structures form in the transitional domain, which position depends on the active structures occurring in both surrounding thick- and thin-skinned domains. Nevertheless, their orientation and evolution are controlled by the underlying decoupling horizon (i.e., salt). The deformation in the thick-skinned domain produces significant topography over a narrow deformation area due to the lack of effective decoupling levels. On the contrary, deformation in the thin-skinned domain is more distributed due to decoupling, resulting in a wider deformation area of less topography. As a result, syn-contractional sedimentation is occurring mainly in the foreland basin in front of the thick-skinned domain, whereas it is observed in the foreland but also in piggy-back basins in the thin-skinned domain.

Jordi Miró et al.

Status: open (until 11 Jan 2023)

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Jordi Miró et al.

Jordi Miró et al.


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Short summary
Using the Asturian – Basque-Cantabrian System and analogue (sandbox) models, this work focuses on the linkage between basement-controlled and salt-decoupled domains, and how deformation is accommodated in between both during extension and subsequent inversion. Analogue models show significant structural variability in the transitional domain, with oblique structures that can be strongly modified by syn-contractional sedimentation. Experimental results are consistent with the case study.