Evidence for surface uplift of the Atlas Mountains and the surrounding peripheral plateaux: Combining apatite fission-track results and geomorphic indicators in the Western Moroccan Meseta (coastal Variscan Paleozoic basement)

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This work represents an initial attempt to link the evolution of the topography in relation to the general tectonic framework of western Morocco. For this purpose, in a section of the Western Moroccan Meseta different tools are combined in order to attain the general objective. Apatite fission-track (AFT) data of granitic rocks of the Rabat–Khenifra area give ages around 200 Ma with track length distributions which are compatible with the thermal models already established for the area. An inverse correlation between AFT ages and elevation is observed which is compatible with previous models indicating northward tilting of the whole Western Moroccan Meseta which is younger than 20–25 Ma. In order to test this possibility a detailed analysis of the topography at different scales in the estern Moroccan Meseta has been performed. Results indicate that two open folds with different amplitudes are recognized and that the one with wider wavelength could correspond to a lithospheric fold as previously stated by other authors on the basis of independent geological arguments. The northward tilting proposed based on the AFT data agrees with the results obtained in the analysis of the topography which reinforces the presence of a very open fold with a wavelength of 200–300 km in the north-western limb of the Western Moroccan Meseta.
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