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.