EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Crustal architecture under the NE Brazil syn-rift basins from receiver functions: Evidence of deep magmatic processes.

Jordi Julià, Miro Döring, and Thabita Barbosa
Jordi Julià et al.
  • Programa de Pós-Graduação em Geodinâmica e Geofísica, UFRN, Natal, Brazil (

NE Brazil is scarred by a number of aborted rift basins that developed from the same extensional stresses that lead to the opening of the South Atlantic. Extension started in Late Jurassic times, with the formation of an AfroBrazilian Depression south of the Patos Lineament, and continued through the Early Berriasian along two NS trending axes of deformation: Recôncavo-Tucano-Jatobá (RTJ) and Gabon-Sergipe-Alagoas (GSA). In the Late Berriasian - Early Barremian, rifting jumped North of the Pernambuco Lineament to progress along the NE-SW trending Cariri-Potiguar (CP) axis. In the Late Barremian, approximately coinciding with the opening of the Equatorial Atlantic, rifting aborted along the RTJ and CP axes and continued along the GBA trend eventually resulting in continental break-up. Extension-related magmatic activity seems to have been restricted to break-up along the marginal basins, although dyke swarms bordering the Potiguar basin (Rio Ceará-Mirim) seem to be associated to early extension stages in NE Brazil and three subparallel dolerite dykes, with K-Ar dates of 105±9 Ma, were inferred indirectly from aeromagnetic and outcrop data East of the RTJ axis. Aiming at better understanding the structure and evolution of the syn-rift basins of NE Brazil, a total of 20 seismic stations were deployed between October 2018 and January 2021 along the CP and RTJ trends. The deployment, funded by the national oil company Petrobras, included both broadband and short-period stations borrowed from the Pool de Equipamentos Geofísicos do Brasil. These stations complemented a number of permanent broadband stations belonging to the Rede Sismográfica do Brasil. Receiver functions were obtained for each of the seismic stations from teleseismic P-wave recordings and S-wave velocity models were developed from their joint inversion with dispersion velocities from an independent tomographic study. In the RTJ basins, our results show that the crust is about 41 km thick and displays a thick (5-8 km) layer of fast-velocity material (> 4.0 km/s) at its bottom; in the Potiguar basin, our results show a thinner crust of about 30-35 km underlain by an anomalously slow (4.3-4.4 km/s) uppermost mantle. We argue that those anomalous layers are the result of syn-rift and/or post-rift magmatic intrusions, which would have had the effect of increasing velocity at lower crustal levels under the RTJ basins and decreasing velocity at uppermost mantle depths under the Potiguar basin. If correct, ou interpretation would imply that, in spite of an overall lack of evidence at shallow levels, deep magmatic processes have played a role in the formation and evolution of the syn-rift basins of NE Brazil.

How to cite: Julià, J., Döring, M., and Barbosa, T.: Crustal architecture under the NE Brazil syn-rift basins from receiver functions: Evidence of deep magmatic processes., EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-9962,, 2022.