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We review the tectonic evolution of the southwest Pacific east of Australia from ca 120 Ma until the present. A key factor that developed early in this interval and played a major role in the subsequent geodynamic history of this region was the calving off from eastern Australia of several elongate microcontinental ribbons, including the Lord Howe Rise and Norfolk — New Caledonia Ridge. These microcontinental ribbons were isolated from Australia and from each other during a protracted extension episode from ca 120 to 52 Ma, with oceanic crust accretion occurring from 85 to 52 Ma and producing the Tasman...

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