The identification of recent major tectonic structures in the Galicia continental margin and adjacent abyssal plains was carried out by means of a quantitative analysis of the linear structures having bathymetric expression on the seabed. It was possible to identify about 5800 lineaments throughout the entire study area, of approximately 271,500 km2. Most lineaments are located in the Charcot and Coruña highs, in the western sector of the Galicia Bank, in the area of the Marginal Platforms and in the northern sector of the margin. Analysis of the lineament orientations shows a predominant NE–SW direction and three relative maximum directions: NW–SE, E–W and N–S. The total length of the lineaments identified is over 44,000 km, with a mode around 5000 m and an average length of about 7800 m. In light of different tectonic studies undertaken in the northwestern margin of the Iberian Peninsula, we establish that the lineaments obtained from analysis of the digital bathymetric model of the Galicia continental margin and adjacent abyssal plains would correspond to fracture systems. In general, the orientation of lineaments corresponds to main faults, tectonic structures following the directions of ancient faults that resulted from late stages of the Variscan orogeny and Mesozoic extension phases related to Triassic rifting and Upper Jurassic to Early Cretaceous opening of the North Atlantic Ocean. The N–S convergence between Eurasian and African plates since Palaeogene times until the Miocene, and NW–SE convergence from Neogene to present, reactivated the Variscan and Mesozoic fault systems and related physiography.
International Journal of Earth Sciences – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 6, 2017
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