Constraints on the India-Asia convergence; paleomagnetic results from Ninetyeast Ridge

Klootwijk, CT, Gee J, Smith GM, Pierce JW.  1991.  Constraints on the India-Asia convergence; paleomagnetic results from Ninetyeast Ridge. Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program, Scientific Results. 121:777-884.


18, Solid-earth geophysics, anomalies, basalts, Cenozoic, igneous rocks, Indian Ocean, Leg 121, magnetic, magnetic minerals, magnetic properties, magnetization, natural remanent magnetization, Ninetyeast Ridge, Ocean Drilling, paleomagnetism, petrology, program, remanent magnetization, rocks, volcanic


This study details the Late Cretaceous and Tertiary northward movement of the Indian plate. Breaks in India's northward movement rate are identified, dated, and correlated with the evolution of the India-Asia convergence. Paleolatitudinal constraints on the origin of Ninetyeast Ridge are discussed, and limited magnetostratigraphic detail is provided.Nearly 1500 sediment and basement samples from Sites 756, 757, and 758 on Ninetyeast Ridge were studied through detailed alternating field and thermal demagnetization. Primary and various secondary magnetization components were identified. Breakpoint intervalsintheprimarypaleolatitudepatternforcommon-Site758wereidentified at2.7,6.7,18.5,about53,63.5-67,and68-74.5 Ma. Only the breakpoint interval at about 53 Ma reliably reflects a reduction in India's northward movement rate. The onset of this probably gradual slowdown was dated at 55 Ma (minimal age) based on the intersection of weighted linear regression lines. At the locationofcommon-Site758,northwardmovementslowedfrom 18-19.5cm/yr(fromatleast65to55Ma)to4.5cm/yr(from55 to at least 20 Ma). Reanalysis of earlier DSDP/ODP paleolatitude data from the Indian plate gives a comparable date (53 Ma) for this reduction in northward velocity.Comparison of our Ninetyeast Ridge data and Himalayan paleomagnetic data indicates that the initial contact of Greater India and Asia mayhave already been established by Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary time. The geological record of the convergence zone and the Indian plate supports the notion that the Deccan Traps extrusion may have resulted from the ensuing deformation of the Indian plate. W e interpret the breakpoint at 55+ Ma to reflect completion of the eastward progressive India-Asia suturing process.Neogene phases in the evolution of the convergence zone were correlated with significant changes in the susceptibility, NRM intensity, and lithostratigraphic profile of Site 758.These changes are interpreted to reflect and postdate tectonic phases in the evolutionofthewiderHimalayanandsouthernTibetanregion.Thechangesweredatedandinterpretedasfollows: 17.5Ma,initial uplift of the Higher Himalaya following initiation of intercontinental underthrusting; 10-10.4 Ma, increased uplift and onset of Middle Siwaliks sedimentation; 8.8 Ma, probable reduction in influx corresponding with the Nagri Formation to Dhok Pathan Formation changeover; 6.5 Ma, major tectonic phase evident throughout the wider Himalayan region and northern Indian Ocean; 5.1-5.4 Ma, onset of oroclinal bending of the Himalayan Arc,of extensional tectonism in southern Tibet, and of Upper Siwalik sedimentation; 2.5-2.7 and 1.9 Ma, major phases of uplift of the Himalayan and Tibetan region culminating in the present-day high relief.The basal ash sequence and upper flow sequence of Site 758 and the basal ash sequence of Site 757 indicate paleolatitudes at about 50°S. These support a Kerguelen hot spot origin for Ninetyeast Ridge. Consistently aberrant inclinations in the basalt sequence ofSite757mayberelatedtoasouthwardridgejumpataboutthetime(58Ma)thatthesebasaltswereerupted.Thebasalt sequence of Site 756 indicates a lower paleolatitude (about 43°S), as do parts of the basalt sequence of Site 758 which also have reversed polarity overprints. The low paleolatitudes for Site 756 may be explained by late-stage volcanism north of the Kerguelen hot spot or the influence of the Amsterdam-St. Paul hot spot.