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Mesozoic/Cenozoic Tectonic Events Around Australia

Müller, R. Dietmar and Gaină, Carmen and Tikku, Anahita and Mihut, Dona and Cande, Steven C. and Stock, Joann M. (2000) Mesozoic/Cenozoic Tectonic Events Around Australia. In: History and Dynamics of Global Plate Motions. Geophysical monograph. No.121. American Geophysical Union , Washington, DC, pp. 161-188. ISBN 9780875909790.

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We use an absolute and relative plate motion model for the plates around Australia to identify major plate tectonic events, evaluate their causes, and investigate their effects on anomalous intraplate subsidence or uplift and on the history of oceanic crustal accretion. An event at ~136 Ma is marked by the onset of sea floor spreading between Greater India and Australia. At about this time long-lived subduction east of Australia ceased, probably due to subduction of the Phoenix-Pacific spreading ridge, changing this plate boundary to a transform margin. Between 130 and 80 Ma, Australia and East Antarctica moved eastward in the Atlantic-Indian mantle hotspot reference frame. This can be plausibly linked to ridge push from the NW -SE oriented spreading center NW of Australia and to the inferred geometry and continued subduction of the Phoenix plate beneath the West Antarctic margin. A drastic change in spreading direction between the Indian and Australian plates from NE-SW to N-S occurred at about 99 Ma, possibly caused by a change in absolute motion of the Pacific Plate. Chron 27 (~61 Ma) marks the onset of relative motion between East and West Antarctica, and a change in the relative motion between Australia and Antarctica. It may be linked to the subduction of a segment of the Neo-Tethyan Ridge. Both events caused anomalous subsidence on the Northwest Shelf of Australia. The almost stationary position of Australia w.r.t. the mantle from -80 Ma to -40 Ma may reflect the progressive subduction of the Pacific-Phoenix ridge to the east of New Zealand preceding 80 Ma, resulting in a diminished trench suction force east of Australia. Preliminary reconstructions to close the Pacific-Australian plate circuit based on recently collected geophysical data indicate that a tectonic event at 43 Ma may mark the onset of renewed subduction east of Australia. At the same time spreading in the Wharton Basin between India and Australia ceased, and tectonic reactivation is recorded in the Bass Strait. Excess late Tertiary subsidence on the northwest shelf of >500 m matches the anomalous depth of the Argo abyssal plain ocean floor. This anomalous subsidence may express largescale intraplate deformation in the Indian Ocean. Asymmetries in oceanic crustal accretion around Australia are caused mainly by hotspot-ridge and coldspot-ridge interaction.

Item Type:Book Section
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Müller, R. Dietmar0000-0002-3334-5764
Stock, Joann M.0000-0003-4816-7865
Additional Information:© 2000 American Geophysical Union. We thank John Veevers, Richard Gordon, and an anonymous reviewer for constructive comments which improved the quality of the manuscript. This work was supported by the Australian Research Council, the Australian Geological Survey Organization and the University of Sydney.
Group:Seismological Laboratory
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Australian Research CouncilUNSPECIFIED
Australian Geological Survey OrganizationUNSPECIFIED
University of SydneyUNSPECIFIED
Series Name:Geophysical monograph
Issue or Number:121
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20140416-154731979
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Official Citation:Müller, R. D., Gaina, C., Tikku, A., Mihut, D., Cande, S. C. and Stock, J. M. Mesozoic/Cenozoic Tectonic Events Around Australia, in The History and Dynamics of Global Plate Motions (eds M. A. Richards, R. G. Gordon and R. D. Van Der Hilst), American Geophysical Union, Washington, D. C.. doi: 10.1029/GM121p0161
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:44994
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:21 Apr 2014 22:48
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 16:59

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