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Keywords:

  • magma-poor rifted margin;
  • rifting;
  • breakup;
  • morphotectonic evolution;
  • sedimentary architecture;
  • Iberia;
  • Newfoundland

[1] Most of the conceptual ideas concerning sedimentary architecture and tectonic evolution of deep rifted margins are based on either intracontinental rift basins or proximal margins, both of which underwent only small amounts of crustal thinning. In this paper, we investigate the tectonosedimentary and morphotectonic evolution related to continental breakup of the highly extended, deep Iberia-Newfoundland margins. Our results show that continental breakup is a complex process distributed in time and space. On the basis of mapping of dated seismic units and borehole data we are able to identify two major phases of extension. During a first phase, dated as Tithonian to Barremian (145–128 Ma), deformation is related to exhumation of mantle rocks; basins become younger oceanward, and fault geometry changes from upward to downward concave resulting in complex sedimentary structures and basin geometries. A second phase, dated as latest Aptian (112 Ma), overprints previously exhumed mantle and accreted juvenile oceanic crust over more than 200 km leading to the formation of basement highs. The observed complex breakup history challenges classical concepts of rifting and leads to new interpretations for the tectonosedimentary evolution of deep rifted margins.