Longest and still longer: The Messejana-Plasencia dyke and its links with later Alpine deformation belt in Iberia

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The Messejana-Plasencia dyke (End-Triassic), NE-SW oriented, is the longest simple structure in Iberia (~500 km) and constitutes a first-order rheological discontinuity that crosses the entire crust. During the Alpine deformation, this discontinuity nucleated the Messejana-Plasencia left-lateral strike-slip fault and its related strike-slip deformation belt, consisting of a series of wide coalescent stepovers and small basins developed on the footwalls. Both structures can be followed from offshore of SW mainland Portugal to the central sector of the Spanish-Portuguese Central System. Using tectonic, geophysical, magnetic, and gravimetric analyses, our study demonstrated that it extends NE more than ~100 km below the continental sediments of the Duero Cenozoic Basin, until the Iberian Chain. We used a tectonostratigraphic analysis to determine the age of the wrench fault movement and that of the Spanish-Portuguese thrusts. In this range, the largest displacement during the Cenozoic occurred in the southern thrust of the Spanish sector of the Central System over the Madrid Cenozoic Basin, and NE-SW trending. This thrust displaces the Moho more than 10 km and probably joins the Messejana-lasencia strike-slip fault at depth. The deduced age movement for both is Oligocene-Lower-Middle Miocene, related to the intraplate stresses transmitted from the Pyrenean orogen towards its foreland. A strain partitioning process was then deduced for the simultaneous movement of both main Alpine faults in Central Iberia.