Reconstructing Extensional Basin Architecture and Provenance in the Marrakech High Atlas of Morocco: Implications for Rift Basins and Inversion Tectonics Academic Article uri icon


  • AbstractThe Moroccan Atlas developed through a multiphase tectonic history including PermianJurassic continental rifting and CretaceousCenozoic intracontinental shortening. New detrital zircon (DZ) UPb geochronologic results from the OurikaZat region in the Marrakech High Atlas constrain the sediment provenance of prerift sediment sources and synrift and postrift basin fill. Prerift PrecambrianCambrian units contain Neoproterozoic DZ from the PanAfrican orogeny. Ordovician rocks contain diagnostic 0.95 to 1.28Ga DZ that are absent in the West African Craton, suggesting distal sediment sources. Permian rift basin fill contains Permian zircons that constrain maximum deposition age and diagnostic of northern Meseta domain sediment sources. New mapping and crosssection construction demonstrate that Permian basin fill accumulated in a halfgraben above a southward dipping normal fault that likely guided subsequent inversion. Triassic rift basin fill thickens southward, above a likely northward dipping normal fault. The change in rift basin geometry was accompanied by catchment reorganization, the introduction of southern rift flank sediment sources, and subbasin integration. The southern catchment expanded to encompass MesoArchean rocks of the Reguibat Shield situated >800km southward. Existing and new provenance results from postrift strata document onset of recycling of Atlas rift basin fill during the midCretaceous and before the onset of compressional inversion. These results highlight the interaction between deformation and sediment routing in an extensional basin and sediment dispersal patterns across continental margins during multiphase deformation. Stratigraphic, structural, and provenance characteristics reveal that the Atlas rift shares similarities with highangle and supradetachment basin models, emphasizing the diverse nature of extensional styles.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 3.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Perez, N. D., Teixell, A., Gomez-Gras, D., & Stockli, D. F.

citation count

  • 22

complete list of authors

  • Perez, Nicholas D||Teixell, Antonio||Gomez-Gras, David||Stockli, Daniel F

publication date

  • May 2019