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Geological Sciences Seminar: Luke Beranek, Memorial University, Newfoundland

Tuesday, Mar 9, 2021 12:00 PM
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Faculty/Staff, Students, Alumni/Friends
Department of Geological Science

Tectonics, stratigraphy, and natural resource potential of magma-poor rift margins: preliminary results from the modern Newfoundland margin (Canada) and potential ancient corollaries

Passive or rifted continental margins result from extensional processes that deform the entire lithosphere and host economically relevant, sediment-hosted base-metal and hydrocarbon resources. Magma-poor or nonvolcanic rifted margins are an end-member type of continental margin system and characterized by >100 Myr of stretching-thinning (including extreme lithospheric thinning or hyperextension), exhumation of mantle lithosphere, and volumetrically minor magmatism. Magma-poor rift margin evolution has been mostly informed by targeted marine geophysical and scientific ocean drilling studies and therefore the long-term connections between tectonic exhumation, sediment routing, and deposition during rift evolution remain uncertain. In this talk, I overview the offshore geology of the Newfoundland magma-poor rift system and use detrital zircon U-Pb & fission-track double-dating and U-Pb-Hf isotope data to constrain exhumation-related cooling and source-to-sink processes that generated Mesozoic syn-rift successions in the Grand Banks region. Ancient magma-poor rift margin elements have been recognized in mountain belts (e.g., Alps, Newfoundland Appalachians) and I will examine some of the evidence that supports magma-poor rift origins for the ancient Pacific margin of western North America, including post-breakup igneous assemblages. Modern and ancient nonvolcanic margins in the geological record are economically important and confirm that long-term (>100 Myr) rift evolution, development of lithosphere-scale faults, and rapid burial are important controls on the generation and preservation of sediment-hosted resources.

Luke Beranek is an Associate Professor of Earth Sciences at Memorial University of Newfoundland (Canada). He received his Ph.D. from the University of British Columbia, M.S. from Idaho State University, and B.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He joined Memorial University of Newfoundland in 2013 after postdoctoral research experiences at the Geological Survey of Canada and Stockholm University. His current research focuses on the source-to-sink histories and tectonic evolution of sedimentary basins.

Email Kelly Wells,, for Zoom link and password.

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