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Mantle dynamics of continentwide Cenozoic subsidence and tilting of Australia

DiCaprio, Lydia and Gurnis, Michael and Müller, R. Dietmar and Tan, Eh (2011) Mantle dynamics of continentwide Cenozoic subsidence and tilting of Australia. Lithosphere, 3 (5). pp. 311-316. ISSN 1941-8264. doi:10.1130/L140.1.

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Australia is distinctive because it experienced first-order, broad-scale vertical motions during the Cenozoic. Here, we use plate-tectonic reconstructions and a model of mantle convection to quantitatively link the large-scale fl ooding history of the continent to mantle convection since 50 Ma. Subduction-driven geodynamic models show that Australia undergoes a 200 m northeast downward tilt as it approaches and overrides subducted slabs between Melanesia and the proto–Tonga-Kermadec subduction systems. However, the model only produces the observed continentwide subsidence, with 300 m of northeast downward tilt since the Eocene, if we assume that Australia has moved northward away from a relatively hot mantle anomaly. The models suggest that Australia’s paleoshoreline evolution can only be reproduced if the continent moved northward, away from a large buoyant anomaly. This results in continentwide subsidence of ~200 m. The additional progressive, continentwide tilting down to the northeast can be attributed to the horizontal motion of the continent toward subducted slabs sinking below Melanesia.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription
Gurnis, Michael0000-0003-1704-597X
Müller, R. Dietmar0000-0002-3334-5764
Additional Information:© 2011 Geological Society of America. Manuscript received 17 February 2011; revised manuscript received 11 June 2011; manuscript accepted 14 June 2011. We are thankful to Leif Strand from Computational Infrastructure for Geodynamics for his assistance with CitcomS. The Australian Research Council Australian Postgraduate Award administered by the University of Sydney, with additional support from National Science Foundation grant EAR-0810303, fi nancially supported Lydia DiCaprio. This work represents contribution 10022 of the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology.
Group:Seismological Laboratory
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Australian Research CouncilUNSPECIFIED
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Caltech Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences10022
Issue or Number:5
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20111017-112959484
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:27254
Deposited On:17 Oct 2011 20:10
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 16:47

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