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Electrical signature of modern and ancient tectonic processes in the crust of the Atlas mountains of Morocco.
Ledo Fernández, Juanjo; Jones, Alan G.; Siniscalchi, Agata; Campanyà, Joan; Kiyan, Duygu; Romano, Gerardo; Rouai, Mohamed; Arboleya, B.; Guimerà i Rosso, Joan J.; Lapenna, M.; Moretti, P.; Marcuello Pascual, Alejandro; Queralt i Capdevila, Pilar; Seddas, S.; Teixell, T.
Universitat de Barcelona
The Atlas Mountains in Morocco are considered as type examples of intracontinental chains, with high topography that contrasts with moderate crustal shortening and thickening. Whereas recent geological studies and geodynamic modeling have suggested the existence of dynamic topography to explain this apparent contradiction, there is a lack of modern geophysical data at the crustal scale to corroborate this hypothesis. Newly-acquired magnetotelluric data image the electrical resistivity distribution of the crust from the Middle Atlas to the Anti-Atlas, crossing the tabular Moulouya Plain and the High Atlas. All the units show different and unique electrical signatures throughout the crust reflecting the tectonic history of development of each one. In the upper crust electrical resistivity values may be associated to sediment sequences in the Moulouya and Anti-Atlas and to crustal scale fault systems in the High Atlas developed during the Cenozoic times. In the lower crust the low resistivity anomaly found below the Mouluya plain, together with other geophysical (low velocity anomaly, lack of earthquakes and minimum Bouguer anomaly) and geochemical (Neogene-Quaternary intraplate alkaline volcanic fields) evidence, infer the existence of a small degree of partial melt at the base of the lower crust. The low resistivity anomaly found below the Anti-Atlas may be associated with a relict subduction of Precambrian oceanic sediments, or to precipitated minerals during the release of fluids from the mantle during the accretion of the Anti-Atlas to the West African Supercontinent during the Panafrican orogeny ca. 685 Ma).
Gran Atles (Marroc : Serralada)
High Atlas Mountains (Morocco)
(c) Elsevier B.V., 2011
Elsevier B.V.

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