Scenarios for microcontinent formation

Susanne Buiter

Joya Tetreault

Passive margins result from rifting and continental breakup, and often contain remnants of their rifting history in their complex structural architecture. Seismic studies reveal that magma-poor and magma-rich margins are not just a simple juxtaposition of oceanic and continental crust, but that the transition between the oceanic and continental domains may include various crustal bodies such as microcontinents and continental fragments. Microcontinents present a perplexing formation scenario: seafloor spreading ends in a region that is already warm, and thus weak, and is initiated elsewhere in a region of stronger lithosphere. In this project, we investigate various scenarios for microcontinent formation using dynamic numerical models.