Ancestral Pacific Margins in Eastern Australia Some Lessons from the Modern Pacific Rim

Mallett CW, ; Hammond RL,
Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 14
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1987
Geological maps of the Pacific Rim recently published by the Circum-Pacific Council for Energy and Mineral Resources have provided a useful perspective from which to view modern plate interaction and the evolution of modern fold belts. An important lesson from any study of modern plate interaction is that of the normality of change. The chaotic is more usual than the simple. Present day convergent margins with mixed characteristics are measures of this chaos. Indeed, the character of less than one third of the present length of the Pacific Rim can be ascribed to conventional models of plate interaction. Another lesson is that of the great mobility of oceanic crust. Enormous areas of the Pacific may not be represented in future fold belts developed at convergent boundaries unless normal consumption processes are disrupted, and even then only by linear zones a few kilometres wide. The axes of divergent boundaries creating Pacific Ocean crust have been equally mobile, with new spreading sites taking over from older sites through time. Divergent boundaries, whether active or inactive, consist of oceanic crust, and may be wholly consumed at collision sites with convergent boundaries. Their only potential contributions to fold belt evolution are transforms and magmatic activity. It is this transform component that can provide us with a mechanism to explain the apparent contradiction of both compressional and extensional features occurring together in a developing fold belt. Reconstructions for the SW Pacific are used to demonstrate that the fold belts under construction during the last 4% (Jurassic- Recent) of geologic time have involved interaction between convergent, divergent, and transform boundaries. In the last 15% of earth history (Late Proterozoic-Recent), many enigmatic features of the geologic landscape in Eastern
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