Multiphased tectonic evolution of the Central Algerian margin from combined wide-angle and reflection seismic data off Tipaza, Algeria
The origin of the Algerian margin remains one of the key questions still discussed in the Western Mediterranean sea, due to the imprecise nature and kinematics of the associated basin during the Neogene. For the first time, the deep structure of the Maghrebian margin was explored during the SPIRAL seismic survey. In this work, we present a N-S transect off Tipaza (West of Algiers), a place where the margin broadens due to a topographic high (Khayr-Al-Din Bank). New deep penetration seismic profiles allow us to image the sedimentary sequence in the Algerian basin and the crustal structure at the continent-ocean boundary. Modeling of the wide-angle data shows thinning of the basement, from more than 15a km in the continental upper margin to only 5-6a km of oceanic-type basement in the Algerian basin, and reveals a very narrow or absent transitional zone. Analysis of the deep structure of the margin indicates features inherited from its complex evolution: (1) an oceanic-type crust in the deepbasin, similarities with margins formed in a transform-type setting, a progressive deepening of the whole sedimentary cover and the thickening of the Plio-Quaternary sediments at the margin foot, coeval with a downward flexure of the basement in the basin. These features argue for a multiphased evolution of the margin, including (1) an early stage of rifting and/or spreading, a late transcurrent episode related to the westward migration of the Alboran domain, and a diffuse Plio-Quaternary compressional reactivation of the margin.