Sheared continent-ocean margins: An overview

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Continent-ocean fracture zones are the fossil transform offsets located along passive rifted continental margins. Kinematic models identify at least two principal stages in their evolution. During the first stage as rifting proceeds, continent-continent shearing dominates a narrow region in which the transform fault will eventually rupture. High-standing continental marginal ridges 50-100 km wide and bounding deep sedimentary basins, are derived in such settings. In stage two as sea-floor spreading proceeds, the younger oceanic block slides along the active transform, heating the older continental block, and possibly induces thermal uplift and accompanying denudation. Magnetic injection into the continental block at depth may also induce an isostatic uplift. After ridge-transform intersection time, mechanical coupling between the continental and oceanic blocks may influence the stratigraphy and structure of these margins.

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Geo-Marine Letters

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