Evidence of extensional metamorphism associated to Cretaceous rifting of the North-Maghrebian passive margin: The Tanger-Ketama Unit (External Rif, northern Morocco)

M. VÁZQUEZ, L. ASEBRIY, A. AZIMOUSA, A. JABALOY, G. BOOTH-REA, L. BARBERO, M. MELLINI, F. GONZÁLEZ-LODEIRO

Abstract


The distribution pattern of diagenetic conditions to very low-grade metamorphism in the eastern Rif has been determined based on a study of clay-mineral assemblages and illite crystallinity of Mesozoic metapelites. Low-grade conditions were reached in marbles and also in the Beni-Malek serpentinites, as suggested by the mineral assemblages present in the marbles and antigorite growth in serpentinites. Previous thermochronological data are based on i) 40Ar/39Ar in amphiboles from greenschists, ii) K/Ar in white micas from metasandstones, and iii) fission tracks in apatites and zircons from metasandstones. These data indicate a Late Cretaceous age (80 Ma) for the very low- to low-grade metamorphism. We propose an evolutionary model for the Tanger-Ketama Unit consisting of a Lower Cretaceous sequence deposited in half-graben basins over an exhumed serpentinized mantle in a setting similar to the West Galician non-volcanic margin. The sediments underwent diagenesis to very low-grade metamorphism under relatively high heat flow in this extensional setting. Miocene contractional deformation of the Tanger-Ketama Unit resulted in a penetrative crenulation cleavage associated to asymmetric inclined folds. This crenulation developed, mostly by solution-transfer processes, without significant mineral growth. Miocene metamorphism reset the apatite fission-tracks, but metamorphic conditions were not high enough to reset either the K/Ar ages or the zircon fission tracks.


Keywords


Low-grade extensional metamorphism; Illite crystallinity; Kübler index; Tanger-Ketama unit; External Rif; Northern Morocco

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1344/105.000001843

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Geologica Acta (ISSN-1695-6133)
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