Abstract

We propose a model for the exhumation of Late Miocene coesiteeclogite in the Woodlark Rift of Papua New Guinea. Reorganization within the obliquely convergent Australian–Pacific plate boundary zone led to formation of the Woodlark microplate. Counterclockwise rotation of the microplate relative to the Australian plate resulted in extensional reactivation of a subduction thrust (subduction inversion) and the exhumation of high- and ultrahigh-pressure (HP-UHP) rocks within the Australian–Woodlark plate boundary zone. The model invokes plate tectonic processes to drive rapid exhumation and predicts spatial and temporal patterns of exhumation to assess its applicability to HP-UHP terranes worldwide.

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