Within the SAMPLE-subproject SO 425/4-2, we study the processes of continental rifting and break-up of Gondwana that lead to the formation of the South Atlantic Ocean. Using numerical modelling in three dimensions, we focus on lithospheric strength, extensional forces, lithospheric weakening factors and the role of stress concentration.
In subproject STE 907/8-1 we explore the links between subduction under South America and the rise of the South Atlantic plumes, which are present today as the Tristan, Gough, Discovery and several smaller hot spots. The initial arrival of the Tristan plume, which led to the emplacement of the Parana-Etendeka flood basalts, correlates spatially and temporally roughly with the continental break-up of Africa and South America, although its role as cause, supporting factor or consequence of break-up is debated. Consequently our study also helps to clarify the dynamics of an influencing factor of continental break-up.