Role of the crustal detachements during rifting, insights from Labrador Sea
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The Labrador Sea is part of the Atlantic rift system which opens during Early Cretaceous times in the intracontinental domain. The rifting stage continues and generates an expansion center, with the establishments of an oceanic ridge during Late Cretaceous-Paleocene times. The rifting was asymmetric with a gradual propagation northward. The Cretaceous stretching and thinning of the continental crust led to the development of the transitional domain, with a controversial origin either thinned continental or oceanic. With this study, we bring new evidences for the presence of exhumed upper mantle in the transition domain based on geometry of the detachment faults, typical “S” shape, and we emphasize the role of the
detachments in the rifting of continental crust and its ultimate break-up. We observed the lateral change, from South to North, of the continental to oceanic crust transition, from a step-up to a step-down. Based on, we suggest that it might reflect the changes in the upper versus lower plate position of the Labrador Sea, a change accommodated across the Snorri Fracture Zone.