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The University of Southampton
Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton

Research project: Imaging continental breakup with ocean bottom seismic techniques: Galicia Bank continental margin

Currently Active: 

Rifted margins form through the progressive extension and thinning of continental lithosphere, eventually leading to continental breakup.

Galicia Bank (west of Spain) is one such rift margin which is amagmatic in nature. Late stage extension is accommodated by motion on faults with very low angles of dip, leading to the exhumation of serpentised upper mantle rocks. These processes form a structurally complex transition between extended continental crust and unequivocal ocean crust. Using integrated seismic techniques we hope to improve current understanding of the Galicia Bank rift margin.

Shot gathered from an OBIC ocean-bottom seismometer. Refracted and reflected arrivals will be used in the modelling process.
Figure 1


  • 44 short period four component ocean bottom seismometers
  • 26 ocean bottom hydrophones
  • 3D reflection seismic covering an area of 1280 km2

Key Objectives

  • Image the 2-D and 3-D structure of the Galicia Bank rift margin through integrated seismic methods
  • Produce 2-D and 3-D models of the lithosphere velocity structure using forward modelling and inverse tomography techniques
  • Demarcate the ocean-continent transition and define the structure which characterises it
  • Improve understanding on the formation and evolution of amagmatic rift margins
Bathymetry map of the Galicia Bank
Figure 2

Key Contacts

Mr Richard Davy

Professor Tim Minshull

Professor Jon Bull

Dr Gaye Bayrakci

Dr Marianne Karplus

PhDs and Other Opportunities


Related research groups

Geology and Geophysics
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