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Numerical modelling of Cretaceous Pyrenean Rifting: The interaction between mantle exhumation and syn‐rift salt tectonics

Abstract : The preshortening Cretaceous Pyrenean Rift is an outstanding geological laboratory to investigate the effects of a pre‐rift salt layer at the sedimentary base on lithospheric rifting. The occurrence of a pre‐rift km‐scale layer of evaporites and shales promoted the activation of syn‐rift salt tectonics from the onset of rifting. The pre‐ and syn‐rift sediments are locally affected by high‐temperature metamorphism related to mantle ascent up to shallow depths during rifting. The thermo‐mechanical interaction between décollement along the pre‐existing salt layer and mantle ascent makes the Cretaceous Pyrenean Rifting drastically different from the type of rifting that shaped most Atlantic‐type passive margins where salt deposition is syn‐rift and gravity‐driven salt tectonics has been postrift. To unravel the dynamic evolution of the Cretaceous Pyrenean Rift, we carried out a set of numerical models of lithosphere‐scale extension, calibrated using the available geological constraints. Models are used to investigate the effects of a km‐scale pre‐rift salt layer, located at the sedimentary cover base, on the dynamics of rifting. Our results highlight the key role of the décollement layer at cover base that can alone explain both salt tectonics deformation style and high‐temperature metamorphism of the pre‐rift and syn‐rift sedimentary cover. On the other hand, in the absence of décollement, our model predicts symmetric necking of the lithosphere devoid of any structure and related thermal regime geologically relevant to the Pyrenean case.
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Thibault Duretz, Riccardo Asti, Yves Lagabrielle, Jean‐pierre Brun, Anthony Jourdon, et al.. Numerical modelling of Cretaceous Pyrenean Rifting: The interaction between mantle exhumation and syn‐rift salt tectonics. Basin Research, Wiley, In press, ⟨10.1111/bre.12389⟩. ⟨insu-02270635⟩

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