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Structure and geodynamic evolution of the Central Bransfield Basin (NW Antarctica) from seismic reflection data
Prieto, M.J.; Canals, M.; Ercilla, G.; De Batist, M. (1998). Structure and geodynamic evolution of the Central Bransfield Basin (NW Antarctica) from seismic reflection data. Mar. Geol. 149(1-4): 17-38
In: Marine Geology. Elsevier: Amsterdam. ISSN 0025-3227; e-ISSN 1872-6151, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 
    VLIZ: Open Repository 314 [ OMA ]


Authors  Top 
  • Prieto, M.J.
  • Canals, M.
  • Ercilla, G.
  • De Batist, M., more

    The Bransfield Basin is a young active rift basin located between the northern margin of the Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands margin. Deception and Bridgeman Islands divide the Bransfield Basin in three subbasins, the western, central and eastern. Specific morpho-tectonic features and sediment fill differentiate each subbasin. The structure and geodynamic evolution of the Central Bransfield Basin, which is in a stage of incipient seafloor spreading, have been investigated in detail from a dense grid of single-channel seismic reflection data. The Central Bransfield Basin is dominated by two families of normal faults which are oriented northeast and northwest. The NE-trending faults define three graben systems that are roughly parallel to the basin axis. In an across-basin direction, the mean trend of this family of faults ranges from N71 (the graben system nearest to the Antarctic Peninsula) over N64 (the intermediate graben system), to N53 (the graben system nearest to the South Shetland Islands). The NW-trending family of faults is responsible for the deepening of the basin from southwest to northeast. Both families of faults define the overall Central Bransfield Basin structure, resulting in a complex division of the basin floor. Additionally, tens of volcanic edifices are located on the basin floor, the larger ones being associated to the NW-trending faults. Interaction of tectonics and sedimentation give place to the differentiation of three tectonostratigraphic units, TU1, TU2 and TU3 (from oldest to youngest). TU1 occupies the southernmost graben system, and it is affected by the NE-trending bounding normal faults. TU2 extends further northwestwards than TU1 and essentially fills the intermediate graben system. TU3 represents a further extension of the sediment infill over most of the Central Bransfield Basin, and marks the initiation of the infill of the northernmost graben system. Faults bounding this graben also determine the straight and abrupt morphology of the South Shetland Islands margin. The observed arrangement of the graben systems and the filling tectonostratigraphic units reveal a migration of extensional tectonics and associated depocentres from the Antarctic Peninsula margin to the South Shetland Island margin. The left-lateral rotation from N71 to N53 in the mean trend of the three successive graben systems could have been produced by the oblique subduction of the Phoenix plate and the effect of the sinistral strike-slip movement of the South Scotia Ridge, 200 km northeastwards of the Central Bransfield Basin.

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