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Tectonics of the West Antarctic rift system: new light on the history and dynamics of distributed intracontinental extension

Open-File Report 2007-1047-KP-09

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DOI: 10.3133/ofr20071047KP09

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Abstract

The West Antarctic rift system (WARS) is the product of multiple stages of intracontinental deformation from Jurassic to Present. The Cretaceous rifting phase accomplished >100 percent extension across the Ross Sea and central West Antarctica, and is widely perceived as a product of pure shear extension orthogonal to the Transantarctic Mountains that led to breakup and opening of the Southern Ocean between West Antarctica and New Zealand. New structural, petrological, and geochronological data from Marie Byrd Land reveal aspects of the kinematics, thermal history, and chronology of the Cretaceous intracontinental extension phase that cannot be readily explained by a single progressive event. Elevated temperatures in "Lachlan-type" crust caused extensive crustal melting and mid-crustal flow within a dextral transcurrent strain environment, leading to rapid extension and locally to exhumation and rapid cooling of a migmatite dome and detachment footwall structures. Peak metamorphism and onset of crustal flow that brought about WARS extension between 105 Ma and 90 Ma is kinematically, temporally, and spatially linked to the active convergent margin system of East Gondwana. West Antarctica-New Zealand breakup is distinguished as a separate event at 83-70 Ma, from the standpoint of kinematics and thermal evolution

Geospatial Extents

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Tectonics of the West Antarctic rift system: new light on the history and dynamics of distributed intracontinental extension
Series title:
Open-File Report
Series number:
2007-1047-KP-09
DOI:
10.3133/ofr20071047KP09
Year Published:
2007
Language:
English
Publisher:
National Academies Press
Publisher location:
Washington, DC
Description:
24 p.
Larger Work Type:
Report
Larger Work Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
First page:
91
Last page:
114
Other Geospatial:
Antarctica
Additional Online Files(Y/N):
N