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Moroccan Crustal Response to Continental Drift

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Science  01 Jun 1973:
Vol. 180, Issue 4089, pp. 950-952
DOI: 10.1126/science.180.4089.950

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Abstract

The formation and development of a zone of spreading beneath the continental crust resulted in the breakup of Pangea and formation of the Atlantic Ocean. The crust of Morocco bears an extremely complete record of the crustal response to this episode of mantle dynamics. Structural and related depositional patterns indicate that the African margin had stabilized by the Middle Jurassic as a marine carbonate environment; that it was dominated by tensile stresses in the early Mesozoic, resulting in two fault systems paralleling the Atlantic and Mediterranean margins and a basin and range structural-depositional style; and that it was affected by late Paleozoic metamorphism and intrusion. Mesozoic events record the latter portion of African involvement in the spreading episode; late Paleozoic thermal orogenesis might reflect the earlier events in the initiation of the spreading center and its development beneath significant continental crust. In that case, more than 100 million years were required for mantle dynamics to break up Pangea.

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