Research ArticleGEODYNAMICS

The convergence history of India-Eurasia records multiple subduction dynamics processes

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Science Advances  06 May 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 19, eaaz8681
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aaz8681

Abstract

During the Cretaceous, the Indian plate moved towards Eurasia at the fastest rates ever recorded. The details of this journey are preserved in the Indian Ocean seafloor, which document two distinct pulses of fast motion, separated by a noticeable slowdown. The nature of this rapid acceleration, followed by a rapid slowdown and then succeeded by a second speedup, is puzzling to explain. Using an extensive observation dataset and numerical models of subduction, we show that the arrival of the Reunion mantle plume started a sequence of events that can explain this history of plate motion. The forces applied by the plume initiate an intra-oceanic subduction zone, which eventually adds enough additional force to drive the plates at the anomalously fast speeds. The two-stage closure of a double subduction system, including accretion of an island arc at 50 million years ago, may help reconcile geological evidence for a protracted India-Eurasia collision.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

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