TitleCenozoic deformational structures on the Galicia Bank Region (NW Iberian continental margin)
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsVázquez J.T., Medialdea T., Ercilla G., Somoza L., Estrada F., Puga M.C.Fernández, Gallart J., Gràcia E., Maestro A., Sayago M.
JournalMarine Geology
Date Publishedmar
KeywordsCenozoic, fault reactivation, Galicia Bank, morphostructure, physiography, tectonics
AbstractAn analysis of Cenozoic tectonics was carried out on the Galicia Bank Region by means of 750 km of single-channel and 155 km of multi-channel vertical seismic profiles and multibeam bathymetry. This work forms part of a general study aimed at determining the geological risk in the wreck area of the Prestige oil tanker. Several structures affecting the post-rift sedimentary units were identified: I) Faults inherited from the Lower Cretaceous propagating rift (reactivated and non-reactivated), including reactivated normal (N-S, NW-SE) and transfer (NE-SW) faults; and II) Structures resulting from compressive episodes in the Paleogene to Upper Miocene and the Upper Miocene to the Present, including a) neotectonic normal faults decoupled from the basement structure, b) folds and flexures and c) reverse faults (NE-SW to ENE-SWS) related to the Bay of Biscay subduction, that are the most striking regional structures. The characterization of structural style, sedimentary post-rift unit deformation and morphological trends were used to carry out a detailed study of the morphostructure of the Galicia Bank Region. Six morphostructural provinces were differentiated, from E to W: 1) the Galicia Interior Basin related to a main graben; 2) the Transitional Zone, which is a horst and graben territory; 3) the Galicia Bank Main Horst; 4) the Half-Graben Domain; 5) the Deep Galicia Margin, whose structure shows rotated blocks; and 6) the Northwestern Flank, characterized by reverse faults. The Transitional Zone and the Galicia Bank provinces are assumed to be the two morphostructural provinces of the Galicia Bank marginal platform. The origin of the Cenozoic deformation must have been related to reactivation processes during the Pyrenean orogeny. We propose that the fault pattern observed in the study area is related to the phase of renewed Mesozoic fault activity. Polyphase extension in the rifting stage and Cenozoic movements have produced an extensional interference pattern that is evident in the physiography. The decouplage between basement tectonics and upper sedimentary unit tectonics suggests the presence of a viscous layer. A thrust-related main antiform related to the Bay of Biscay subduction is proposed to explain the origin of the Galicia Bank morphology. © 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.