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Sunda-Java trench kinematics, slab window formation and overriding plate deformation since the Cretaceous

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Whittaker, JM and Muller, RD and Sdrolias, M and Heine, C (2007) Sunda-Java trench kinematics, slab window formation and overriding plate deformation since the Cretaceous. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 255. pp. 445-457. ISSN 0012-821X

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Abstract

The kinematics and time-dependence of back-arc extension or compression is one of the most poorly understood aspects of
plate tectonics, and has nearly exclusively been studied from snapshots of present-day observations. Here we combine absolute and
relative plate motions with reconstructions of now subducted ocean floor to analyse subduction kinematics and upper plate strain
from geological observations since 80 Ma along the 3200 km long Sunda-Java trench, one of the largest subduction systems on
Earth. Combining plate motions and slab geometries enables us to reconstruct a time-dependent slab window beneath Sundaland,
formed through Wharton spreading ridge subduction. We find that upper plate advance and retreat is the main influence on upper
plate strain, but subduction of large bathymetric ridges, and slab-window effects, also play a significant, and at times dominant,
role. Compression in the Sundaland back-arc region can be linked to advance of the upper plate. Extension of the Sundaland backarc
region correlates with two patterns of upper plate motion, (a) retreat of the upper plate, and (b) advance of the upper plate
combined with more rapid advance of the Sundaland margin due to hinge rollback. Subduction of large bathymetric ridges causes
compression in the upper plate, especially Wharton Ridge subduction underneath Sumatra over the period 15–0 Ma. Our
reconstructions unravel the evolving geometry of a slab window underlying the Java–South Sumatra region, and we propose that
decreased mantle wedge viscosities associated with this slab-window exacerbated Palaeogene extension in the Java Sea region via
active rifting, and enabled Sumatran continental extension to continue at 50–35 Ma when upper plate advance would otherwise
have led to compression.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Earth and Planetary Science Letters
Page Range: pp. 445-457
ISSN: 0012-821X
Identification Number - DOI: 10.1016/j.epsl.2006.12.031
Additional Information:

Copyright 2007 Elsevier B.V

Date Deposited: 16 Aug 2013 02:24
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 04:53
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