Sedimentary and Tectonic evolution of the Cambrian-Ordovician red beds of the Atlas-Meseta domains (Morocco)

Italy Partner: IGG-CNR. Responsable Dr. Alessandro Ellero
Morocco Partner: Ecole Normale Supérieure, Université Cadi Ayyad, Marrakech. Responsable Prof. Hassan Ouanaimi

The project focuses on the study of the early Paleozoic red beds in the areas north of the High Atlas Domain, with the aim of constraining age of deposition, source areas and defining structural features. These successions were deposited in basins related to the initiation of the Palaeozoic rifting, that culminated in the opening of the Rheic Ocean separating the Gondwana continent to the south and the continents of Baltica and Avalonia to the north. The red clastic formations occur in scattered outcrops roughly distributed along the main fault zones bordering the crustal blocks of Central and Eastern Meseta. The collection and the analysis of the structural data will allow to explore the possibility whether these faults, (re)activated during Variscan and Alpine (?) tectonics, also controlled the extension, opening and evolution of sedimentary basin hosting the red beds. These formations, correlatable with similar formations especially in the Iberian and French Armorican massifs, can represent outstanding markers for paleogeographic reconstructions of NW Gondwana, enabling to better place Morocco with respect to the opening of the Rheic Ocean and to other fragments of the northern part of Gondwana at the Cambrian-Ordovician transition.