It is becoming increasingly apparent that continental rifting, breakup, and ocean spreading contain significant complexities not easily explained by standard models. Recent discoveries of the importance of obliquity during rifting and continental material far offshore, such as beneath Iceland, the Comoros, Kerguelen, Jan Mayen and Mauritius, challenges conventional tectonic models. The coincidence of many regions of anomalous intraplate- or on-ridge volcanism with continental material, often detected geochemically, hints at imminent breakthroughs in our geodynamic understanding of the ocean floor and rifting processes. New models for the complex dynamics of continental breakup, including precursory deformation and magmatism, the role of shearing, structural inheritance, the structure and meaning of magnetic anomalies, the structural variability at passive margins, the development of spreading centres and the difficult birth of new oceans are required. These models must account for the complex features that are observed, including hybrid crust, marginal ridges, rift axis migration, isolated blocks of heavily rotated lithosphere in the ocean, anomalous bathymetry, and the geochemistry of lavas.
In this session, we explore the formation, evolution, structure, composition and underlying mechanisms controlling the formation of complex oceanic regions and continental margins. We seek case histories from around the globe addressing different geoscience disciplines, such as marine geophysics, seismology, ocean drilling, geochemistry, plate kinematics, tectonics, structural geology, numerical and analogue modelling, sedimentology and geochronology. We particularly encourage cross-disciplinary presentations, thought-provoking studies that challenge conventions, and submissions from early career researchers.
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