A re-evaluation of arc-continent collision and along-arc variation in the Bismarck Sea region, Papua New Guinea

Holm, R.J., and Richards, S.W. (2013) A re-evaluation of arc-continent collision and along-arc variation in the Bismarck Sea region, Papua New Guinea. Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, 60 (5). pp. 605-619.

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The Bismarck Sea region of Papua New Guinea is marked by recent arc-continent collision giving rise to a highly dynamic tectonic environment, characterised by complex plate interactions that are yet to be fully understood. We present a new crustal and upper mantle crustal architecture model for northeastern Papua New Guinea and western New Britain that reveals complex tectonic geometries of overprinting slab subduction and partial continental subduction, resulting in a unique setting in which to investigate along-arc magmatic variation. Earthquake hypocentre databases are combined with detailed topography and seafloor structure together with geology and regional-scale gravity to unravel the sub-surface structure of northeastern Papua New Guinea. These data are used in conjunction with an updated 3-D slab map of the region to propose a new interpretation of the area whereby Australian continental crust extends as an underthrust block beneath the accreted Finisterre Terrane. The subducting continental crust combined with slab stagnation has resulted in a complex pattern of arc-related geochemical signatures from east to west along the Bismarck arc. In the east, where the Solomon Sea plate is subducting beneath New Britain, the sedimentary component is low, whereas in the west, the arc volcanics exhibit a greater sedimentary component, consistent with subduction of Australian crustal sediments. As a result, a new plate reconstruction is provided for the region together with a forward-looking reconstruction of the Papuan peninsula, the Solomon Sea plate and New Britain that illustrates that the same process will likely be repeated in some 5-10m.y.

Item ID: 29377
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1440-0952
Keywords: Papua New Guinea, Bismarck arc, arc-continent collision, gravity, seismicity, arc geochemistry
Date Deposited: 18 Sep 2013 05:26
FoR Codes: 04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0403 Geology > 040313 Tectonics @ 50%
04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0403 Geology > 040304 Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology @ 20%
04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0404 Geophysics > 040499 Geophysics not elsewhere classified @ 30%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970104 Expanding Knowledge in the Earth Sciences @ 90%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9610 Natural Hazards > 961099 Natural Hazards not elsewhere classified @ 10%
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