Ocean basin evolution and global-scale plate reorganization events since Pangea breakup

Seafloor ages from Müller et al.Citation
Müller, R.D., Seton, M., Zahirovic, S., Williams, S.E., Matthews, K.J., Wright, N.M., Shephard, G.E., Maloney, K.T., Barnett-Moore, N., Hosseinpour, M., Bower, D.J., Cannon, J., 2016. Ocean basin evolution and global-scale plate reorganization events since Pangea breakup, Annual Reviews of Earth and Planetary Sciences, in press.

We present a revised global plate motion model with continuously closing plate boundaries ranging from the Triassic at 230 Ma to the present day, assess differences between alternative absolute plate motion models, and review global tectonic events. Relatively high mean absolute plate motion rates around 9–10 cm yr-1 between 140 and 120 Ma may be related to transient plate motion accelerations driven by the successive emplacement of a sequence of large igneous provinces during that time. A ~100 Ma event is most clearly expressed in the Indian Ocean and may reflect the initiation of Andean-style subduction along southern continental Eurasia, while an ~80 Ma acceleration of mean rates from 6 to 8 cm yr-1 reflects the initial northward acceleration of India and simultaneous speedups of plates in the Pacific. An event at ~50 Ma expressed in relative, and some absolute plate motion changes around the globe and in a reduction of global mean velocities from about 6 to 4–5 cm yr-1, indicates that an increase in collisional forces (such as the India-Eurasia collision) and ridge subduction events in the Pacific (such as the Izanagi-Pacific Ridge) play a significant role in modulating plate velocities.

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Supplementary data
Seafloor-spreading agegrids of the ocean floor
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Individual netcdf-formatted paleo-age grids and GPlates-compatible jpg image files of the grids can be downloaded from here:

Global plate velocities from 230 Ma to present-day

Any questions, please email: dietmar.muller@sydney.edu.au, maria.seton@sydney.edu.au or sabin.zahirovic@sydney.edu.au

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