The Dispersal of East Gondwana from Continental Breakup to the Start of the Cretaceous Quiet Zone

Thursday, 18 December 2014: 11:05 AM
Joshua Kane Davis, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, United States, Lawrence A Lawver, UT Austin, Austin, TX, United States, Ian O Norton, University of Texas, Austin, TX, United States and Lisa Gahagan, Univ Texas - Inst Geophys, Austin, TX, United States
Existing plate models for the breakup of Africa and East Gondwana (Australia, East Antarctica, India, Madagascar, the Seychelles, and Sri Lanka) are problematic and require revision. Specific problems include the utilization of dubious Gondwana configurations, improbable plate motion, and/or a failure to satisfy the holistic marine magnetic anomaly data. I present here a new model for the breakup of East Gondwana. This new model begins from a constrained, pre-breakup, Gondwana configuration. Out of this initial “tight-fit” configuration, East Gondwana rifts from West Gondwana (Africa & South America) as a cohesive unit. During this breakup and subsequent seafloor spreading, East Gondwana is devoid of any internal compression or anomalous plate motion. The overall motion of East Gondwana is constrained by seafloor spreading in the coeval Somali Basin and Mozambique/Riiser Larsen Basins. Seafloor spreading in these basins is modeled using existing marine magnetic anomaly interpretations and satellite-derived gravity data. Our model is uniquely able to satisfy the magnetic anomaly observations in both of the aforementioned basins without invoking improbable plate motion or configurations. Additionally, our plate model provides valuable insight into the breakup of India and East Antarctica. In this model, we fix India to Madagascar from breakup to 90 Ma, thus eventual separation between India and East Antarctica is an output, not an input of our model. We suggest that this separation occurred diachronously from ~140 Ma in the east to ~120 Ma in the west. This modeled motion between India and East Antarctica agrees well with geophysical observations from the margin of East Antarctica and our preliminary analysis of margin character and variability.