Evolution of the Miocene-Recent Woodlark Rift Basin, SW Pacific, inferred from sediments drilled during Ocean Drilling Program Leg 180
A. H. F. Robertson, S. A. M. Awadallah, S. Gerbaudo, K. S. Lackschewitz, B. D. Monteleone, T. R. Sharp, C. P. Huchon, B. Taylor, A. Klaus, C. K. Brooks, B. Célérier, E. H. Decarlo, J. Floyd, G. M. Frost, V. Gardien, A. M. Goodliffe, J. K. Haumu, N. Ishikawa, G. Karner, P. M. Kia, A. Kopf, R. Laronga, B. Le Gall, I. D. Mather, R. C. B. Perembo, J. M. Resig, E. J. Screaton, W. G. Siesser, S. C. Stover, K. Takahashi, P. Wellsbury, 2001. "Evolution of the Miocene-Recent Woodlark Rift Basin, SW Pacific, inferred from sediments drilled during Ocean Drilling Program Leg 180", Non-Volcanic Rifting of Continental Margins: A Comparison of Evidence from Land and Sea, R. C. L. Wilson, R. B. Whitmarsh, B. Taylor, N. Froitzheim
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The results of drilling during Ocean Drilling Program Leg 180 provide insights into fundamental processes of continental break-up, because rifting can be related to westward propagation of a spreading centre into continental crust. A generally north–south transect of holes was drilled across the Woodlark Rift on the uplifted northern rift margin on the Moresby Seamount (Sites 1114 and 1116), on the hanging wall of the low-angle (25–30°) extensional Moresby Detachment Fault (Sites 1108, 1110–1113 and 1117) and across the downflexed northern rift margin (Sites 1118, 1109 and 1115). The results, when placed in the regional tectonic context, document a history of Palaeogene ophiolite emplacement, followed by Miocene arc-related sedimentation. Regional uplift and emergence of the forearc area took place in Late Miocene time. Submergence to form the Woodlark Rift began in latest Miocene time, marked by widespread marine transgression and shallow-water deposition, accompanied by input of air-fall tephra and volcaniclastic sediments. During Pliocene time, deposition within the rift basin was dominated by deep-water turbidites, including high-density turbidites in the south. Strong extension along the north-dipping Moresby Detachment Fault was active during Pleistocene time, associated with uplift of the Moresby Seamount and shedding of fault-derived talus, mainly of meta-ophiolitic origin. During Pleistocene time, a carbonate platform was constructed to the NW, trapping clastic sediment and resulting in a switch to slower, more pelagic and hemipelagic deposition within the Woodlark Rift Basin. The marked change in rift basin configuration during Pleistocene time may relate to westward propagation of the Woodlark oceanic spreading centre at c. 2 Ma.
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Non-volcanic continental margins may form up to 30% all present-day passive margins, and remnants of them are preserved in mountain belts. The papers in this volume demonstrate the benefits of integrating offshore and onshore studies, and illustrate the range of information obtained at different scales when comparing evidence from land and sea. Data sets collected across a range of spatial scales are evaluated: thin sections, cores, outcrops, seismic reflection profiles, and other geophysical data. The outcrop scale is crucial because it enables the spatial gulf to be bridged between DSDP and ODP cores and marine seismic data. There is also the problem that basins on land and beneath the sea inevitably have had different post-rift histories resulting in their contrasting present-day elevation. In mountain belts, portions of continental margins and oceanic crust are superbly exposed, but dismembered by subsequent compressional tectonics. Off present-day passive margins, extensional features have only been slightly deformed, if at all, by compressional movements, but are buried beneath significant thicknesses of post-rift sediments and so can only be sampled by ocean drilling at a small number of points.
The first paper reviews the synergies that have occurred between investigations of the eastern North Atlantic non-volcanic margins and remnants of similar Mesozoic margins preserved in the Alps, and some later papers return to this theme. However, papers describing margins from other parts of the world show that it may be premature to use models based on the Atlantic and the Alps as the paradigm for all non-volcanic margins. The following 25 papers in the book are grouped under the following headings: (1) Margin overviews; (2) Exhumed crust and mantle; (3) Tectonics and stratigraphy; (4)Numerical models of extension and magmatism.