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Abstract

The segmented East Indian continental margin developed after the Early Cretaceous break-up from Antarctica. Its continental crust terminates abruptly without considerable thinning along the Coromondal strike-slip segment and thins considerably before it terminates in the orthogonal rifting segments. The segments have an exhumed continental mantle corridor oceanwards of them. This, proto-oceanic crust, corridor varies in width from segment to segment, indicating a relationship with varying break-up-controlling tectonics of the adjacent margin segments.

The top of the proto-oceanic crust is imaged by a higher reflectivity zone, while its base does not have any distinct signature. A contorted system of reflectors represents its internal structure. Its gravity signature is a longer-wavelength anomaly with peak values up to 30 mGal less negative than surrounding values. Its magnetic signature is represented by a positive anomaly with peak values of 0–56 nT. Wide proto-oceanic segments are adjacent to margin segments that are preceded by the orthogonally rifting Cauvery, Krishna–Godavari and Mahanadi rift zones. A narrow proto-oceanic segment is adjacent to the margin segment initiated by the dextral Coromondal transfer zone. A combination of seismic interpretation and gravity/magnetic forward modelling indicates that proto-oceanic crust is most probably composed of lower crust slivers and unroofed hydrated upper mantle, being formed between the late rifting and the organized sea-floor spreading.

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