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Eastern Indian Ocean microcontinent formation driven by plate motion changes


Whittaker, JM and Williams, SE and Halpin, JA and Wild, TJ and Stilwell, JD and Jourdan, F and Daczko, NR, Eastern Indian Ocean microcontinent formation driven by plate motion changes, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 454 pp. 203-212. ISSN 0012-821X (2016) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2016 Elsevier B.V.

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2016.09.019


The roles of plate tectonic or mantle dynamic forces in rupturing continental lithosphere remain controversial. Particularly enigmatic is the rifting of microcontinents from mature continental rifted margins, with plume-driven thermal weakening commonly inferred to facilitate calving. However, a role for plate tectonic reorganisations has also been suggested. Here, we show that a combination of plate tectonic reorganisation and plume-driven thermal weakening were required to calve the Batavia and Gulden Draak microcontinents in the Cretaceous Indian Ocean. We reconstruct the evolution of these two microcontinents using constraints from new paleontological samples, 40Ar/39Ar ages, and geophysical data. Calving from India occurred at 101-104 Ma, coinciding with the onset of a dramatic change in Indian plate motion. Critically, Kerguelen plume volcanism does not appear to have directly triggered calving. Rather, it is likely that plume-related thermal weakening of the Indian passive margin preconditioned it for microcontinent formation but calving was triggered by changes in plate tectonic boundary forces.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:plate tectonics, rifting, microcontinent, mantle plume, seafloor spreading
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Geology
Research Field:Structural geology and tectonics
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the earth sciences
UTAS Author:Whittaker, JM (Associate Professor Jo Whittaker)
UTAS Author:Halpin, JA (Dr Jacqueline Halpin)
ID Code:111729
Year Published:2016
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (DE140100376)
Web of Science® Times Cited:32
Deposited By:Oceans and Cryosphere
Deposited On:2016-10-04
Last Modified:2017-11-17

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