The direct observation of geodynamic processes is naturally limited because they are too slow and too deep in Earth. In the last decades, numerical models have been widely used in the geoscientific community worldwide in order to test and bring forth new hypothesis about the geodynamic evolution of Earth's crust and mantle, allowing for the simulation of rock's deformational behaviour in terms of the geological timescale. This project aims to conduct numerical models in order to test different geodynamic scenarios of the Cretaceous South Atlantic rifting process between the South American and African plate, which stand that continental rifting preferentially reactivated the Neoproterozoic orogenic lithosphere of the Brasiliano-Pan African orogens. Our 2-D and 3-D models will test rheological variations between orogenic and cratonic lithospheres and the role of lithospheric-scale shear zones during continental rifting. The natural geodynamic analogue for comparison is represented by the rifted conjugate margins in the Central South Atlantic, which carries an important inherited thermomechanical history linked to the Brasiliano Araçuaí-West Congo Orogen, which in turn was surrounded by the cratonic São Francisco-Congo lithosphere during the Neoproterozoic.This research project will bring forth important results that will allow for a better understanding of the behaviour of continental lithosphere under extension during the development of continental margin sedimentary basins. Moreover, our results are expected to lead to significant implications on the configuration of the continental lithosphere during the Neoproterozoic and thus in the paleogeographic models for Gondwana Supercontinent.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: