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2010
Cande, SC, Patriat P, Dyment J.  2010.  Motion between the Indian, Antarctic and African plates in the early Cenozoic. Geophysical Journal International. 183:127-149.   10.1111/j.1365-246X.2010.04737.x   AbstractWebsite

P>We used a three-plate best-fit algorithm to calculate four sets of Euler rotations for motion between the India (Capricorn), Africa (Somali) and Antarctic plates for 14 time intervals in the early Cenozoic. Each set of rotations had a different combination of data constraints. The first set of rotations used a basic set of magnetic anomaly picks on the Central Indian Ridge (CIR), Southeast Indian Ridge (SEIR) and Southwest Indian Ridge (SWIR) and fracture zone constraints on the CIR and SEIR, but did not incorporate data from the Carlsberg Ridge and did not use fracture zones on the SWIR. The second set added fracture zone constraints from the region of the Bain fracture zone on the SWIR which were dated with synthetic flowlines based on the first data set. The third set of rotations used the basic constraints from the first rotation set and added data from the Carlsberg Ridge. The fourth set of rotations combined both the SWIR fracture zone constraints and the Carlsberg Ridge constraints. Data on the Indian Plate side of the Carlsberg Ridge (Arabian Basin) were rotated to the Capricorn Plate before being included in the constraints. Plate trajectories and spreading rate histories for the CIR and SWIR based on the new rotations document the major early Cenozoic changes in plate motion. On the CIR and SEIR there was a large but gradual slowdown starting around Chron 23o (51.9 Ma) and continuing until Chron 21y (45.3 Ma) followed 2 or 3 Myr later by an abrupt change in spreading azimuth which started around Chron 20o (42.8) Ma and which was completed by Chron 20y (41.5 Ma). No change in spreading rate accompanied the abrupt change in spreading direction. On the SWIR there was a continuous increase in spreading rates between Chrons 23o and 20o and large changes in azimuth around Chrons 24 and 23 and again at Chron 21. Unexpectedly, we found that the two sets of rotations constrained by the Carlsberg Ridge data diverged from the other two sets of rotations prior to anomaly 22o. When compared to rotations for the CIR that are simultaneously constrained by data from all three branches of the Indian Ocean Triple Junction, there is a progressively larger separation of anomalies on the Carlsberg Ridge, with a roughly 25 km misfit for anomaly 23o and increasing to over 100 km for anomaly 26y. These data require that there was previously unrecognized convergence somewhere in the plate circuit linking the Indian, Capricorn and Somali plates prior to Chron 22o. We quantify this motion by summing our new Capricorn-Somalia rotations with previously published rotations for Neogene India-Capricorn motion and for early Cenozoic Somali-India motion based solely on Carlsberg Ridge data. The most likely possibility is that there was motion within the Somalia Plate due to a distinct Seychelles microplate as young as Chron 22o. The sense of the misfit on the Carlsberg Ridge is consistent with roughly 100-150 km of convergence across a boundary passing through the Amirante Trench and extending north to the Carlsberg Ridge axis between anomalies 26y and 22o. Alternatively, there may have been convergence within the Indian Plate, either along the western margin of Indian or east of the CIR in the region of the current Capricorn-Indian diffuse plate boundary. Our work sharpens the dating of the two major Eocene changes in plate motion recognized in the Indian Ocean.

1997
Tebbens, SF, Cande SC, Kovacs L, Parra JC, Labrecque JL, Vergara H.  1997.  The Chile ridge: A tectonic framework. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 102:12035-12059.   10.1029/96jb02581   AbstractWebsite

A new Chile ridge tectonic framework is developed based on satellite altimetry data, shipboard geophysical data and, primarily, 38,500 km of magnetic data gathered on a joint U.S.-Chilean aeromagnetic survey. Eighteen active transforms with fossil fracture zones (FZs), including two complex systems (the Chile FZ and Valdivia FZ systems), have been mapped between the northern end of the Antarctic-Nazca plate boundary (Chile ridge) at 35 degrees S and the Chile margin triple junction at 47 degrees S. Chile ridge spreading rates from 23 Ma to Present have been determined and show slowdowns in spreading rates that correspond to times of ridge-trench collisions. The Valdivia FZ system, previously mapped as two FZs with an uncharted seismically active region between them, is now recognized to be a multiple-offset FZ system composed of six FZs separated by short ridge segments 22 to 27 km long. At chron 5A (similar to 12 Ma), the Chile ridge propagated from the Valdivia FZ system northward into the Nazca plate through crust formed 5 Myr earlier at the Pacific-Nazca ridge. Evidence for this propagation event includes the Friday and Crusoe troughs, located at discontinuities in the magnetic anomaly sequence and interpreted as pseudofaults. This propagation event led to the formation of the Friday microplate, which resulted in the transferal of crust from the Nazca plate to the Antarctic plate, and in a 500-km northward stepwise migration of the Pacific-Antarctic-Nazca triple junction. Rift propagation, microplate formation, microplate extinction, and stepwise triple junction migration are found to occur during large-scale plate motion changes and plate boundary changes in the southeast Pacific.

Bangs, NL, Cande SC.  1997.  Episodic development of a convergent margin inferred from structures and processes along the southern Chile margin. Tectonics. 16:489-503.   10.1029/97tc00494   AbstractWebsite

Seismic reflection data acquired in the vicinity of Isla Mocha across the southern coast of Chile image structures formed along the continental margin and reveal an episodic history of accretion, nonaccretion, and possibly erosion. Structures formed at the toe of the continental slope suggest frontal accretion of 3/4 to 1 3/4 km of trench fill. Seismic images also reveal that a small accretionary wedge, 20-30 km wide, abuts the truncated continental metamorphic basement that extends seaward from beneath the shelf. The small size of the accretionary wedge on three profiles examined here is not consistent with a long history of accretion with the current deformational style, as current rates of frontal accretion could have accumulated all of the existing accretionary wedge in less than 1-2 m.y. This is a small fraction of convergence history along this margin, and the current accretionary mode has not been consistently maintained in the past. The Isla Mocha region is located between the temperate climate of central Chile and the glacial climate of southern Chile, and climatic conditions in this region have likely fluctuated sufficiently to cause significant variation in trench sediment supply. Accretionary and nonaccretionary or erosional episodes are probably linked to temporal variations in trench sediment thickness, as suggested by observations along the Chile margin. Currently, thick trench sediment correlates with accretion along the southern Chile margin, and thin trench sediment correlates with nonaccretion/tectonic erosion as near the Chile Ridge and from the Juan Fernandez Ridge to northern Chile. The Isla Mocha region also lies 900-1000 km north of the Chile triple junction, and the Chile Ridge lies approximately 2000 km to the west and has not yet collided and affected the margin near Isla Mocha. This part of the precollision zone provides an excellent reference to examine the effects of Chile Ridge collision in the development of the Chile margin. The most apparent effect of subduction of the buoyant, young crust of the Chile Ridge is a shallow trench that is nearly devoid of sediment. Consequently, the triple junction is undergoing nonaccretion or erosion, and the accretionary complex near the triple junction remains smaller than to the north or south because the current phase of rapid accretion elsewhere in the trench has bypassed the triple junction region. The interplay of subduction zone processes, such as trench sedimentation and ridge collision, has resulted in an episodic development of the margin and produced a discontinuous record of convergence history within the accretionary wedge.