Pre-salt rift morphology controls salt tectonics in the Campos Basin, offshore SE Brazil

Francyne Amarante, Christopher Jackson, Leonardo Pichel, Claiton Scherer, Juliano Kuchle

Research output: Working paperPreprint


Classic models of gravity-driven salt tectonics commonly depict kinematically-linked zones of overburden deformation, characterised by updip extension and downdip contraction, separated by a weakly deformed zone associated with downdip translation above a relatively smooth base-salt surface. We use 2D and 3D seismic reflection and borehole data from the south-central Campos Basin to show that these models fail to adequately capture the complex range of structural styles forming during salt-detached gravity-driven deformation above a rugose base-salt surface. In the Campos Basin the base-salt is defined by broadly NE-trending, margin-parallel, generally seaward-dipping ramps that have up to 2 km of structural relief. We define three domains of overburden deformation: an updip extensional domain, an intermediate multiphase domain, and a downdip contractional domain. The multiphase domain is defined by large, partly fault-bounded, ramp-syncline basins, the stratigraphic record of which suggest c. 28 km of seaward gravity-driven translation of salt and its overburden since the end of the Albian. We also identify three main types of salt structures in the multiphase domain: (i) contractional anticlines that were subjected to later extension and normal faulting; (ii) passive-to-active diapirs that were later extended and widened, and which are bound on their landward margins by landward-dipping, salt-detached normal faults; and (iii) reactive (extensional) diapirs that were subsequently squeezed. We argue that this multiphase deformation occurs because of basinward translation of salt and its overburden over complex base-salt relief, consistent with the predictions of physical models and several other seismic reflection data-based studies. Critically, these complex local strains overprint margin-scale patterns of deformation.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 14 Mar 2021

Publication series

PublisherOpen Science Framework


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