Quantification and restoration of extensional deformation along the Western Iberia and Newfoundland rifted margins



[1] Many recent papers describe the structure of the Iberia and Newfoundland rifted margins; however, none of them propose kinematic restorations of the complete rift system to quantify the amount of extension necessary to exhume mantle and initiate seafloor spreading. In our study, we use two pairs of cross sections considered as conjugate lines: one across the Galicia Bank-Flemish Cap and the other across the Southern Iberia Abyssal Plain-Flemish Pass. Both transects have been imaged by reflection- and refraction-seismic methods and have been drilled during Ocean Drilling Program Legs 103, 149, 173, and 210. Drilling penetrated parts of the rift stratigraphy and the underlying basement. The cross sections can therefore be considered as the best-documented conjugate transects across present-day hyperextended, magma-poor rifted margins. The aim of this paper is threefold: (1) provide a detailed description of the crustal architecture of the two conjugate sections, (2) define the extensional structures and their ages, and (3) quantify the amount of strain and strain rate accommodated along these lines. This paper proposes a quantitative description of extension along the Iberia-Newfoundland rift system and discusses the limitations and problems in quantifying extensional deformation along hyperextended rifted margins.