Continental break-up along strike-slip fault zones; observations from the Equatorial Atlantic

<p>The study focuses on Equatorial Atlantic margins, and draws from seismic, well, gravimetric and magnetic data combined with thermo-mechanical numerical modelling. </p> <p>Our data and numerical modelling indicates that early drift along strike-slip-originated margins is frequently characterized by up to 10°–20° spreading vector adjustments. In combination with the warm, thinned crust of the continental margin, these adjustments control localized transpression. </p> <p>Our observations indicate that early-drift margin slopes are too steep to hold sedimentary cover, which results in their inability to develop a moderately steep slope undergoing cycles of gravitational instability resulting in cyclic gravity gliding. These slopes either never develop such conditions or gain them at later development stages. </p> <p>Our modelling suggests that the continental margin undergoing strike-slip-controlled break-up experiences warming due to thinning along pull-apart basin systems. Pull-apart basins eventually develop sea-floor spreading ridges. Margins bounded by strike-slip faults located among pull-apart basins with these ridges first undergo cooling. However, spreading ridges leaving the break-up trace along its strike eventually pass by these cooling margins, warming them again before the final cooling proceeds. As a result, the structural highs surrounded by several source rock kitchens witness a sequential expulsion onset in different kitchens along the trajectory of spreading ridges. </p>