Transcurrent reactivation of Australia's western passive margin: An example of intraplate deformation from the central Indo-Australian plate

J. V. Hengesh, B. B. Whitney

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    6 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    © 2016, American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.
    Australia's northwestern passive margin intersects the eastern termination of the Java trench segment of the Sunda arc subduction zone and the western termination of Timor trough along the Banda arc tectonic collision zone. Differential relative motion between the Sunda arc subduction zone and the Banda arc collision zone has reactivated the former rifted margin of northwestern Australia evidenced by Pliocene to Quaternary age deformation along a 1400 km long offshore fault system. The fault system has higher rates of seismicity than the adjacent nonextended crustal terranes, has produced the largest historical earthquake in Australia (1941 ML 7.3 Meeberrie event), and is dominated by focal mechanism solutions consistent with dextral motion along northeast trending fault planes. The faults crosscut late Miocene unconformities that are eroded across middle Miocene inversion structures suggesting multiple phases of Neogene and younger fault reactivation. Onset of deformation is consistent with the timing of the collision of the Scott Plateau part of the passive continental margin with the former Banda trench between 3.0 Ma and present. The range of estimated maximum horizontal slip rates across the zone is ~1.4 to 2.6 mm yr−1, at the threshold of geodetically detectable motion, yet significant with respect to an intraplate tectonic setting. The folding and faulting along this part of the continental margin provides an example of intraplate deformation resulting from kinematic transitions along a distant plate boundary and demonstrates the presence of a youthful evolving intraplate fault system within the Indo-Australian plate.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1066-1089
    JournalTectonics
    Volume35
    Issue number5
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - May 2016

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