Playing jigsaw with Large Igneous Provinces - A plate tectonic reconstruction of Ontong Java Nui, West Pacific

Katharina.Hochmuth [ at ]


The three largest Large Igneous Provinces (LIP) of the western Pacific – Ontong Java, Manihiki and Hikurangi plateaus – were emplaced during the Cretaceous Normal Superchron and show strong similarities in their geochemistry and petrology. The plate tectonic relationship between those LIPs, herein referred to as Ontong Java Nui, is uncertain, but a joined emplacement was proposed by Taylor [2006]. Since this hypothesis is still highly debated and struggles to explain features such as the strong differences in crustal thickness between the different plateaus, we revisited the joined emplacement of Ontong Java Nui in light of new data from the Manihiki Plateau. By evaluating seismic refraction/wide-angle reflection data along with seismic reflection records of the margins of the proposed “Super”-LIP, a detailed scenario for the emplacement and the initial phase of break-up has been developed. The LIP is a result of an interaction of the arriving plume head with the Phoenix-Pacific spreading ridge in the early Cretaceous. The break-up of the LIP shows a complicated interplay between multiple micro-plates and tectonic forces such as rifting, shearing and rotation. Our plate kinematic model of the western Pacific incorporates new evidence from the break-up margins of the LIPs, the tectonic fabric of the seafloor as well as previously published tectonic concepts such as the rotation of the LIPs. The updated rotation poles of the western Pacific allow a detailed plate tectonic reconstruction of the region during the Cretaceous Normal Superchron and highlights the important role of LIPs in the plate tectonic framework.

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ISI/Scopus peer-reviewed
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DOI 10.1002/2015GC006036

Cite as
Hochmuth, K. , Gohl, K. and Uenzelmann-Neben, G. (2015): Playing jigsaw with Large Igneous Provinces - A plate tectonic reconstruction of Ontong Java Nui, West Pacific , Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 16 (11), pp. 3789-3807 . doi: 10.1002/2015GC006036


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