Abstract

Paleomagnetic results from the Palau Islands indicate that the islands have undergone 60°-70° of clockwise rotation since mid-Oligocene time. This post-mid-Oligocene rotation is interpreted to represent the motion of the Philippine Sea plate and not a local rotation for the following reasons: (1) lack of morphologic expression of the differential rotation along the Palau-Kyushu Ridge, (2) similarity to predicted rotations obtained by using phase-shifted magnetic anomaly data, and (3) ubiquitous clockwise rotations seen in paleomagnetic data from around the Philippine Sea plate. This strong clockwise rotation of the Philippine Sea plate provides a mechanism for oblique subduction and related transcurrent motion along the margin of the Philippine archipelago.

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