3D Models of a passive continental margin in the South Atlantic, Kwanza Basin

We plan to build and analyse a margin-wide, crustal-scale 3D structural model of the The Kwanza basin offshore Angola/Kongo and, based on this model, reconstruct the deformation history. The Kwanza Basin at the passive continental margin of the South Atlantic offers salt structures characterized by a large variety of maturity and structural styles. Salt, due to its specific material properties, behaves in a ductile manner whereas most of the surrounding rocks react brittle. Thus, if a salt layer is present in the sedimentary succession of a basin, this leads to mechanical decoupling of the layers below and above the salt. Salt movement is often initiated by regional tectonic stress and can store the effect of different stress fields. In addition, at passive continental margins regional thermal subsidence and rift shoulder uplift induce a continuously evolving slope toward the oceanic lithosphere and cause a changing gradient in load across the passive margin. This, in turn, may cause a gravitational destabilisation of the salt layer and induce salt movements. The goal of this project is to evaluate the interplay of regional subsidence/uplift and of internal (salt-tectonic) deformation in relation to the structure of the underlying crust and lithosphere.


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