The Amundsen Sea Embayment of West Antarctica is in a prominent location for a series of tectonic and magmatic events from Paleozoic to Cenozoic times. It played a central role in the rifting and break-up of greater New Zealand from West Antarctica as it is the location where the junction of Chatham Rise and Campbell Plateau (New Zealand) lies conjugate to the West Antarctic margin. New seismic, magnetic and gravity data from the Amundsen Sea Embayment and Pine Island Bay reveal the crustal thickness and tectonic lineations. The Moho is 24-22 km deep on the shelf. NE-SW trending magnetic and gravity anomalies and the thin crust indicate a former rift zone that was active during or in the run-up to breakup between Chatham Rise and West Antarctica before or at 90 Ma. NW-SE trending gravity and magnetic anomalies, following a prolongation of Peacock Sound between Thurston Island and Ellsworth Land, indicate the extensional southern boundary to the Bellingshausen Plate which was active between 79 and 61 Ma. However, both lineation trends, NE-SW and NW-SE, seem to be observed over broad regions. This infers stepwise and multiple rift and extension phases over a wide period of time before, during and after the break-up between New Zealand and West Antarctica.
Helmholtz Research Programs > MARCOPOLI (2004-2008) > MAR2-Palaeo Climate Mechanisms and Variability