Continental breakup, a first order tectonic process, commonly leaves a "failed rift" (where extension ceased before oceanic crust was formed) stranded on one side of the nascent ocean. Failed rifts commonly have considerable hydrocarbon potential (e.g. North Sea). The Galicia Interior Basin (west of Spain and Portugal), is such a rift, formed during extension preceding the opening of the Atlantic in the Cretaceous.
This project will investigate the structure and evolution of the Galicia Interior Basin by integrating three geophysical techniques: seismic reflection, seismic refraction and finite element modelling of lithospheric extension and its thermo-mechanical consequences. In each technique, the project involves training in and use of the
state-of-the-art software and supercomputer facility that are unique to Geomar. The results will improve our understanding of this basin in particular, and, more generally, of why some rifts fail and of the process of continental breakup.