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Timing and causes of the mid-Cretaceous global plate reorganization event
Swedish Museum of Natural History, Department of Geology.
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2020 (English)In: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, ISSN 0012-821X, E-ISSN 1385-013X, Vol. 534Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Global plate reorganization events (GPREs) can have profound impact on plate velocities, climate and the biotic cycle but the timing and triggers for GPREs remain debated. The timing and causes of the mid-Cretaceous GPRE, one of only two GPREs since the breakup of Pangea, remains poorly constrained because it occurred during the Cretaceous Normal Superchron. Here, we provide a new plagioclase Ar-40/Ar-39 age of 103.82 +/- 0.54 Ma (2 sigma) at DSDP site 256 along the world's clearest curved fracture zones in the Wharton Basin, off NW Australia. Using Monte Carlo simulations, we compute that the mid-Cretaceous GPRE commenced at 111.2(-1.2)(+1.3) Ma (95% confidence). The mid-Cretaceous GPRE was associated with a significant plate deceleration (minimum similar to 26%), similar to the Eocene GPRE, implying that this process is fundamental to plate reconfigurations. We propose that the mid-Cretaceous GPRE was caused by slab-breakoff and cessation of the south-dipping subduction zone in the Mesotethys Ocean at ca. 111 Ma. Ultimately, we posit that subduction zone initiations and cessations are the primary triggers for both post-Pangean GPREs and that top-down processes may be the fundamental drivers for GPREs. (C) 2020 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2020. Vol. 534
Keywords [en]
Ar-40/Ar-39 geochronology; Wharton Basin; eastern Gondwana; Neotethys; subduction; slab pull
National Category
Geology
Research subject
The changing Earth
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:nrm:diva-4055OAI: oai:DiVA.org:nrm-4055DiVA, id: diva2:1510957
Available from: 2020-12-17 Created: 2020-12-17 Last updated: 2020-12-17Bibliographically approved

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Merle, Renaud E.
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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
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