Sep 14, 2021 | 07:00 AM CST
September 14, 2021 | 7:00 a.m. - 8:00 a.m. CDT (UTC-05:00)
The South Atlantic played a key role in the formulation of plate tectonic theory, and plate modelling has come a long way since the very first computer-assisted reconstructions of this ocean basin in the 1960s. The region remains an active area of exploration interest as well as an excellent case study to discuss the past, present and future of plate modelling. We should also reflect on the reasons why discrepancies remain, decades later, between alternative models reconstructing its geological history.
Today, high-resolution studies featuring multiple closely spaced static reconstructions provide the opportunity to determine plate motions and their changes through time in more detail than ever before. They act as the foundation stones for many modern-day interpretations and simulations, providing context for regional geological and tectonic studies. In addition, they provide constraint for predictions of past climates, depositional environments, stress regimes and, ultimately, the location of natural resources. Defining accurate sets of rotations that describe plate motion, as well as quantifying the uncertainties in them, is therefore becoming increasingly important.
Besides becoming more sophisticated, modelling techniques have also somewhat diversified in recent years. This is clearly illustrated by the fact that, for any one region on the planet, it is relatively easy to find alternative (and often irreconcilable) plate reconstructions based on different data, different methodologies, or both. This poses the question “How does one choose the right plate model?” (and does such a thing even exist?). Focusing on the South Atlantic basin and using the soon-to-be released version 6.0 of the Neftex® Plate Model (which, amongst many other enhancements, includes updates to the Rocas Verdes Basin and Falklands Plateau), we will explore how unlocking the next generation of plate models requires implementing a global approach anchored on the principles of geodynamics.
Dr. Lucía Pérez-Díaz
Geodynamics Specialist at Neftex® Predictions, Halliburton Landmark