The Canada Basin compared to the southwest South China Sea: Two marginal ocean basins with hyper-extended continent-ocean transitions

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© 2016 Elsevier B.V. Both the Canada Basin (a sub-basin within the Amerasia Basin) and southwest (SW) South China Sea preserve oceanic spreading centres and adjacent passive continental margins characterized by broad COT zones with hyper-extended continental crust. We have investigated strain accommodation in the regions immediately adjacent to the oceanic spreading centres in these two basins using 2-D backstripping subsidence reconstructions, coupled with forward modelling constrained by estimates of upper crustal extensional faulting. Modelling is better constrained in the SW South China Sea but our results for the Canada Basin are analogous. Depth-dependent extension is required to explain the great depth of both basins because only modest upper crustal faulting is observed. A weak lower crust in the presence of high heat flow and, accordingly, a lower crust that extends far more the upper crust are suggested for both basins. Extension in the COT may have continued even after seafloor spreading has ceased. The analogous results for the two basins considered are discussed in terms of (1) constraining the timing and distribution of crustal thinning along the respective continental margins, (2) defining the processes leading to hyper-extension of continental crust in the respective tectonic settings and (3) illuminating the processes that control hyper-extension in these basins and more generally.

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