Cretaceous to present kinematics of the Indian, African and Seychelles plates

graeme.eagles [ at ]


An iterative inverse model of seafloor spreading data from the Mascarene and Madagascar basins and the flanks of the Carlsberg Ridge describes a continuous history of Indian–African Plate divergence since 84 Ma. Visual-fit modelling of conjugate magnetic anomaly data from near the Seychelles platform and Laxmi Ridge documents rapid rotation of a Seychelles Plate about a nearby Euler pole in Palaeocene times. As the Euler pole migrated during this rotation, the Amirante Trench on the western side of the plate accommodated first convergence and later divergence with the African Plate. The unusual present-day morphology of the Amirante Trench and neighbouring Amirante Banks can be related to crustal thickening by thrusting and folding during the convergent phase and the subsequent development of a spreading centre with a median valley during the divergent phase. The model fits fracture zone trends in the north Arabian and east Somali basins, suggesting that they formed in India–Africa Plate divergence. Seafloor fabric in and between the basins shows that they initially hosted a segmented spreading ridge that accommodated slow plate divergence until 71–69 Ma, and that upon arrival of the Deccan–Re ́union plume and an increase to faster plate divergence rates in the period 69–65 Ma, segments of the ridge lengthened and propagated. Ridge propagation into the Indian continental margin led first to the formation of the Laxmi Basin, which accompanied extensive volcanism onshore at the Deccan Traps and offshore at the Saurashtra High and Somnath Ridge. A second propagation episode initiated the ancestral Carlsberg Ridge at which Seychelles–India and India–Africa Plate motions were accommodated. With the completion of this propagation, the plate boundaries in the Mascarene Basin were abandoned. Seafloor spreading between this time and the present has been accommodated solely at the Carlsberg Ridge.

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DOI 10.1093/gji/ggt372

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Eagles, G. and Hoang, H. H. (2014): Cretaceous to present kinematics of the Indian, African and Seychelles plates , Geophysical Journal International, 196 (1), pp. 1-14 . doi: 10.1093/gji/ggt372

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