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Keywords:

  • volcanic passive margin;
  • Argentina continental margin;
  • rifting;
  • variability of oceanic crust;
  • Seaward Dipping Reflectors

[1] Based on a dense grid of multichannel reflection seismic lines we study the evolution of a volcanic rifted margin segment off Argentina. The segment under study is located between 44°S and 41°S. We describe in detail the facies of the extrusive basaltic complexes across the margin. These include single and multiple Inner Seaward Dipping Reflectors (SDRs) with varying architecture along the margin, Outer Highs, and Outer SDR wedges. A detailed interpretation of a transitional zone between the Inner and Outer SDR wedges is presented. Multiple Inner SDRs are concentrated at the southern part of the margin segment, while in the north only one steeply dipping wedge is present. The dip of the Inner SDR wedges changes along the margin, and we propose subsidence by loading as main cause. The transitional zone between the Inner and Outer SDR wedges becomes narrower toward the north. By correlating with magnetic data we conclude that the emplacement of the 30–100 km wide multiple Inner SDRs occurred episodically. We propose an injection center which migrated in a seaward direction with proceeding extension as the origin for the multiple Inner SDRs. A scissor-like opening of the margin segment resulted in different amounts of stretching along-strike of the margin segment and is likely the cause for the varying distribution of the extrusive basaltic complexes. The varying extension rates within the margin segment contribute to decreasing volumes of melts generated in a northward direction within this rift segment.