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Three-dimensional thermomechanical modeling of continental break-up in South Atlantic

Principal Investigator: Dr. Stephan Sobolev SobolevRundeI

The normal continental lithosphere is thought to be much too strong to be broken by the available plate-tectonic forces. Therefore additional, still poorly understood, processes/factors
leading either to the weakening of the lithosphere or to the stress concentration or to both, must be involved in the break-up. The possible candidates are: (i) thermal and chemical effect of mantle plume, (ii) sub-lithospheric melting and magma transport, (iii) inherited lithospheric weak zones, (iv) strain weakening, (v) stress concentration at the tip of propagating rift and (vi) extensive strike-slip deformation accompanied extension. This project is aimed at investigation of possible role of all those factors in break-up at western margin of South Africa using both numerical (GFZ) and analog (VU Amsterdam)3D modeling techniques which will be accordingly extended and supplied by appropriate boundary and initial conditions based on available and new-coming geophysical, geological and petrological data. The model scenarios will be verified using observations from other SAMPLE projects.