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This book summarizes our present understanding of the formation of passive continental margins and their oceancontinent transitions. It outlines the geological, geophysical and petrological observations that characterize extensional systems, and how such observations can guide and constrain dynamic and kinematic models of continental lithosphere extension, break-up and the inception of organized seafloor spreading.
The book focuses on imaging, mapping and modelling lithospheric extensional systems, at both the regional scale using dynamic models to the local scale of individual basins using kinematic models, with an emphasis on capturing the extensional history of the Iberia and Newfoundland margins. The results from a number of other extensional regimes are presented to provide comparisons with the North Atlantic studies; these range from the Tethyan realm and the northern Red Sea to the western and southern Australian margins, the Basin and Range Province, and the Woodlark basin of Papua New Guinea. All of these field studies, combined with lessons learnt from the modelling, are used to address fundamental questions about the extreme deformation of continental lithosphere.