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Thermal history, exhumation, uplift, and long-term landscape evolution of the Western South Atlantic passive continental margin, Brazil

Principal Investigators: Dr. Ulrich A. Glasmacher, Dr. Andrea FörsterGlasRundeI

The aim of the project is to quantify the temperature, exhumation, uplift, and long-term dynamic evolution of the topography of the western South Atlantic passive continental margin (WSAPCM),
Brazil. A combination of apatite and zircon fission-track and (U-Th)/He thermochronological data with t-T path modelling will be used to determine the thermal, exhumation, and uplift history. Combining our thermochronological data with morphogenetic data provided by Bubenzer+Niedermann (SPP-grant proposal) will allow establishing the long-term, dynamic, pre- to post rift landscape evolution of the WSAPCM, quantifying the endogenic and exogenic forces, and determine their variation with time. Excellent onshore outcrop conditions and complete rift to post-rift archives between Sao Paulo and Porto Alegre allow a high precision quantification of long-term processes and process-response systems. These continental margin process-response systems are caused by the interaction between endogenic and exogenic forces that are related to the rift – drift – “passive” continental margin evolution of the South Atlantic, and the climate change since the Early/Late Cretaceous climate maximum. In part, the long-term landscape evolution will be achieved by thermo-kinematic 3-D modelling, integrating surface process data by using the existing computer code Pecube. Testing model solutions (i.e. predictions) obtained for the multidimensional parameter space (thermal parameters, uplift-, erosion rate, tectonic boundaries/relative movements) against the real thermochronological and geomorphological data set, the most likely combinations of parameter rates, and values can be constrained. In a continuation of the research (2011-2014), existing and newly determined thermochronological, and geomorphological data of the eastern South Atlantic passive continental margin will be used in a thermo-kinematic 3-D modelling approach to develop a long-term dynamic landscape evolution model for the eastern South Atlantic passive continental margin as well. The combination of both models will allow quantifying the endogenic and exogenic forces, and determine their variation with time for the evolution of the South Atlantic.