EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Mesozoic evolution of the Atlantic-Tethys junction: a kinematic description

Gianluca Frasca1 and Gianreto Manatschal2
Gianluca Frasca and Gianreto Manatschal
  • 1CNR, IGG, Torino, Italy (
  • 2Université de Strasbourg, CNRS, ITES UMR 7063, Strasbourg, France

Diverging plates are reconstructed through well-defined time-steps and direction of motion thanks to oceanic magnetic anomalies and fracture zones. None of these two oceanic features can nevertheless be used if the divergent boundaries are reactivated in orogenic belts. Convergence erases indeed the dense oceanic material and the related kinematic markers and leave as main witnesses suture zones and associated remnants of the former continental margins. The pre-orogenic plate template of the Alps remains debated for this reason, leading to debate on the size of subducted oceanic domains, and on the complex paleogeography at the Tethys-Atlantic junction. Unravelling size and fate of the pre-orogenic domain remains difficult and asks for a new, holistic restoration approach. Here we use a rift domain approach that enables us to quantify width and formation ages of margins of the Iberia-Eurasia-Adria-Africa plate boundaries. We jointly use a global kinematic restoration software (Gplates) and new rift concepts that allow us to propose a tight fit restoration and evolution of the Atlantic Tethys junction during the Mesozoic. Kinematic restorations of the Mesozoic evolution of what is now the Western Mediterranean must build on independent approaches. A first approach is the correct restoration of the major surrounding plates. A second approach is the restoration of the intra-continental extension accommodated in reactivated rifted margins that can be in the order of several hundreds of kilometers. Remnants of the former margins allow to define so-called building blocks and appear as a good base for restoration where vestiges of a standard oceanic crust are missing.

How to cite: Frasca, G. and Manatschal, G.: Mesozoic evolution of the Atlantic-Tethys junction: a kinematic description, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-7288,, 2023.