Transient mid-Cretaceous thermal uplift induced by lateral heating from passing oceanic lithosphere is often invoked as a mechanism for the formation of the Cote d'Ivoire-Ghana basement ridge in the Equatorial Atlantic. This heating event should have affected mid-Cretaceous sedimentary rocks along the ridge. However, organic maturity and clay mineral data on the thermal evolution of these rocks suggest that burial temperatures did not exceed 80 degreesC and that palaeo-geothermal gradients are not anomalous. Optical petrography and the stratigraphic pattern of temperature-sensitive parameters indicate that higher palaeotemperature estimates are related to admixtures of preheated, detrital organic and inorganic matter. Erosion brought the sediments to their present shallow burial depths. Lack of evidence for significant thermal alteration implies that either thermal exchange between oceanic and continental lithosphere along the Cote d'Ivoire-Ghana Transform Margin was negligible, or that lateral heating by oceanic lithosphere was not strong enough to affect the sedimentary cover of the basement ridge.
- SOUTHERN EXMOUTH PLATEAU
- EQUATORIAL ATLANTIC