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Melanesian back-arc basin and arc development: Constraints from the eastern Coral Sea


Seton, M and Mortimer, N and Williams, S and Quilty, P and Gans, P and Meffre, S and Micklethwaite, S and Zahirovic, S and Moore, J and Matthews, KJ, Melanesian back-arc basin and arc development: Constraints from the eastern Coral Sea, Gondwana Research, 39 pp. 77-95. ISSN 1342-937X (2016) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2016 International Association for Gondwana Research

DOI: doi:10.1016/


The eastern Coral Sea is a poorly explored area at the north-eastern corner of the Australian Tectonic Plate, where interaction between the Pacific and Australian plate boundaries, and accretion of the world's largest submarine plateau - the Ontong Java Plateau - has resulted in a complex assemblage of back-arc basins, island arcs, continental plateaus and volcanic products. This study combines new and existing magnetic anomaly profiles, seafloor fabric from swath bathymetry data, ArľAr dating of E-MORB basalts, palaeontological dating of carbonate sediments, and plate modelling from the eastern Coral Sea. Our results constrain commencement of the opening of the Santa Cruz Basin and South Rennell Trough to c. 48áMa and termination at 25-28áMa. Simultaneous opening of the Melanesian Basin/Solomon Sea further north suggests that a single >á2000ákm long back-arc basin, with at least one triple junction existed landward of the Melanesian subduction zone from EoceneľOligocene times. The cessation of spreading corresponds with a reorganisation of the plate boundaries in the area and the proposed initial soft collision of the Ontong Java Plateau. The correlation between back-arc basin cessation and a widespread plate reorganisation event suggests that back-arc basins may be used as markers for both local and global plate boundary changes.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Eastern Coral Sea, Melanesia, SW Pacific, back-arc basin, subduction
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:Quilty, P (Dr Pat Quilty)
UTAS Author:Meffre, S (Professor Sebastien Meffre)
ID Code:111799
Year Published:2016
Web of Science® Times Cited:23
Deposited By:Earth Sciences
Deposited On:2016-10-07
Last Modified:2017-11-02

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