Rift-shear architecture and tectonic development of the Ghana margin deduced from multichannel seismic reflection and potential field data
Antobreh, A.A.; Faleide, J.I.; Tsikalas, F.; Planke, S.
Marine and Petroleum Geology 26.3
ISSN/ISBN: 0264-8172 DOI: 10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2008.04.005
The Ghana margin displays one of the best-known transform margins. Studies of the margin have provided the framework for a number of conceptual models aimed at understanding transform margin development worldwide. However, the deep structure of the margin is poorly known as knowledge is based only on wide-angle refraction measurements obtained from two separate localities on the margin. Consequently, complexities in the rift-shear margin architecture have been overlooked by current interpretations of margin development. Based on combined analysis of a detailed grid of approximately 2710 km multichannel (MCS) lines and potential field data, we provide new insights into the structural architecture and tectonic development of the Ghana margin. In particular, we outline the deep structure of the entire margin using a series of 2D gravity modelled transects constrained by MCS and published wide-angle data. Our study reveals more complex rift-shear margin architecture than previously envisaged. We demonstrate that the main transform boundary representing the continental extension of the Romanche Fracture Zone, is actually composed of two distinct margin segments, i.e., the ENE-WSW trending sheared margin segment of the Cote d'Ivoire-Ghana Ridge and the NE-SW trending rift-influenced sheared margin segment of the Ghana Platform. These segments evolved under varying stress regimes, and during different time intervals. West of the transform margin, divergent rifting during the Early Cretaceous initiated the development of the Deep Ivorian Basin, essentially, as a single major pull-apart structure. However, east of the shear zone, oblique rifting resulted in the development of the Eastern Ghana Slope Basin as a composite of at least two coalescing pull-apart basins displaced along strike-slip faults. Our structural interpretation of the transform boundary geometry shows that the ridge and platform margin segments were each subjected to separate thermal influences from two different migrating spreading centres. Tectonic uplift of the ridge began through transpression during mid-Albian time following a change in relative direction of plate motion from NE-SW to ENE-WSW. However, the ridge uplift was amplified by thermal heating from a previously undocumented spreading centre whose progressive westward migration along the ridge followed closely after the Albian transpressional phase. The structural architecture of the Ghana margin resulted from a combination of factors, notably, pre-existing basement structure, plate boundary geometry, the relative direction of plate motion and thermal heating.