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Ridge subduction sparked reorganization of the Pacific plate-mantle system 60-50 million years ago


Seton, M and Flament, N and Whittaker, J and Muller, RD and Gurnis, M and Bower, DJ, Ridge subduction sparked reorganization of the Pacific plate-mantle system 60-50 million years ago, Geophysical Research Letters, 42, (6) pp. 1732-1740. ISSN 0094-8276 (2015) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2015 American Geophysical Union

DOI: doi:10.1002/2015GL063057


A reorganization centered on the Pacific plate occurred ~53-47 million years ago. A ‘topdown’ plate tectonic mechanism, complete subduction of the Izanagi plate, as opposed to a ‘bottom-up’ mantle flow mechanism, has been proposed as the main driver. Verification based on marine geophysical observations is impossible as most ocean crust recording this event has been subducted. Using a forward modeling approach, which assimilates surface plate velocities and shallow thermal structure of slabs into mantle flow models, we show that complete Izanagi plate subduction and margin-wide slab detachment induced a major change in sub-Pacific mantle flow, from dominantly southward before 60 M to north-northeastward after 50 Ma. Our results agree with onshore geology, mantle tomography, and the inferred motion of the Hawaiian hotspot and are consistent with a plate-tectonic process driving the rapid plate-mantle reorganization in the Pacific hemisphere between 60 and 50 Ma, as reflected in tectonic changes in the Pacific and surrounding ocean basins.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Izangi, Pacific, geodynamics, plate tectonics, subduction, mid-ocean ridge
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Geophysics
Research Field:Geodynamics
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the earth sciences
UTAS Author:Whittaker, J (Associate Professor Jo Whittaker)
ID Code:99194
Year Published:2015
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (DE140100376)
Web of Science® Times Cited:130
Deposited By:IMAS Research and Education Centre
Deposited On:2015-03-17
Last Modified:2017-10-25
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