The Alpha Crucis Carbonate Ridge (ACCR): Discovery of a giant ring-shaped carbonate complex on the SW Atlantic margin

Mascimiliano Maly, Uri Schattner, Francisco José Lobo, Rodolfo Jasão Soares Dias, Raissa Basti Ramos, Daniel de Matos Couto, Paulo Yukio Gomes Sumida, Michel Michaelovitch de Mahiques

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recently acquired bathymetric and high-resolution seismic data from the upper slope of Santos Basin, southern Brazilian margin, reveal a major geomorphological feature in the SW Atlantic that is interpreted as a carbonate ridge - the Alpha Crucis Carbonate Ridge (ACCR). The ACCR is the first megastructure of this type described on the SW Atlantic margin. The ~17 × 11-km-wide ring-shaped ACCR features tens of >100-m-high steep-sided carbonate mounds protruding from the surrounding seabed and flanked by elongated depressions. Comet-like marks downstream of the mound structures indicate that the area is presently influenced by the northward flow of the Intermediate Western Boundary Current (IWBC), a branch of the Subtropical Gyre that transports Antarctic Intermediate Water. Abundant carbonate sands and gravels cover the mounds and are overlain by a biologically significant community of living and dead ramified corals and associated invertebrates. The IWBC acts as a hydrodynamic factor that is responsible for both shaping the bottom and transporting coral larvae. We contend that the ACCR was formed by upward fluid flow along active sub-surface faults and fractures that formed by lateral extension generated by the ascending movement of salt diapirs at depth. The ACCR provides an important modern and accessible analogue for a seabed carbonate build-up related to sub-surface hydrocarbon systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number18697
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, The Author(s).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

Cite this