The South Atlantic rift system developed during the Mesozoic breakup of Africa and South America. These continental masses belonged to the Gondwana Palaeozoic super-continent. Rifting started in the south, and propagated toward the north. Lithospheric stretching and rifting in northeastern Brazil culminated with the onset of sea floor spreading, which probably occured in late Aptian to early Albian times and took place along transform fractures in the equatorial rift zone.
The South Atlantic rift system created two very different margins around Brazil: the North and East Brazilian margins. The North Brazilian Equatorial margin evolved in response to strike-slip motion between Brazil and Africa, resulting in complex shear-dominated basins. In contrast, the East Brazilian margin, evolved into a passive margin, as a consequence of orthogonal crustal extension.Potential field data are powerful resources for reducing costs and interpretation risks when petroleum exploration advances towards new frontiers. It helps to characterize the transition between continental and oceanic crust, refine the crustal architecture of sedimentary basins, locate major depocenters, and identify master fault zones, all of which are crucial in the evaluation of new exploratory frontiers in the ultra-deep water province of the petroleum system in the South Atlantic.
Based on integrated analysis of seismic reflection, potential field data and modelling the aims of this thesis are to: (1) study and model the crustal structure; (2) refine the continent-ocean boundary/transition; (3) refine the tectonic and structural setting; (4) refine the margin segmentation due to a number of transfer systems and within a framework of simplified plate reconstruction; and finally (5) discuss the architecture and development of the conjugate margins.