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New K-Ar ages for 13 samples of basalt, gabbro, wehrlite, and trachyandesite drilled from the Brazilian continental shelf and coastline yield information about the timing of the opening of the South Atlantic and the nature of the crust seaward from the Brazil margin. The oldest basalt is 138.1 ?? 3.5 m.y. old and from offshore at 24.5??S; it represents Serra Geral flood basalt on attenuated crust in the Santos basin. Basalts from the coastline at 19.5??S are mixed with terrigenous graben sediments, and their ages confirm that rifting was underway before 130 m.y. Offshore sites in the Campos basin, ???22??-23??S, 41??W, have basalt ranging from 124 to 112 m.y. in age and mostly continental flood basalt in composition. One 112-m.y. basalt, however, is MORB-like and could therefore represent oceanic lithosphere mixed with continental crust about 50 km from the shoreline at ???22.5??S. Other samples reveal compositionally varied intraplate, passive-margin magmatism occurring 75-43 m.y. ago. They correlate with profuse contemporary alkalic magmatism on the southeastern Brazil coast and probably represent reactivation of zones of "weakness" (i.e., fracture zone-lineaments). ?? 1983.
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K-Ar ages and the opening of the South Atlantic Ocean: Basaltic rock from the Brazilian margin