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Geological Society of America Special Papers
Collisional delamination in New Guinea: The geotectonics of subducting slab
breakoff
Mark Cloos, Benyamin Sapiie, Andrew Quarles van Ufford, et al.

Geological Society of America Special Papers 2005;400; 1-51
doi:10.1130/2005.2400

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Notes

Geological Society of America

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Geological Society of America
Special Paper 400
2005

Collisional delamination in New Guinea:
The geotectonics of subducting slab breakoff
Mark Cloos
Benyamin Sapiie
Andrew Quarles van Ufford
Richard J. Weiland
Paul Q. Warren
Timothy P. McMahon
Department of Geological Sciences, University of Texas, Austin, Texas 78712, USA

ABSTRACT

The spine of the island of New Guinea, the Central Range, is a 1300 km long by
100 to 150 km wide mountain belt with numerous peaks over 3 km elevation. This
mountain belt began to form when the Australian passive margin entered a north-
dipping subduction zone in the Middle Miocene. Regional relationships and fieldwork
near the Ertsberg (Gunung Bijih) mining district in the western Central Range are
the basis for making a detailed reconstruction of the events leading up to, and during,
collisional orogenesis.
Most of New Guinea can be divided into five lithotectonic belts. From north to
south, these are an accreted arc terrane, an upturned forearc basement, an underly-
ing metamorphic belt, a highlands fold-and-thrust belt, and a foreland basin. In west-
ern New Guinea, the accreted arc/forearc is the northwestern end of the Melanesian
Arc Terrane that was the product of two phases of subduction volcanism since the
Eocene. This terrane is largely buried under debris shed northwards from the Cen-
tral Range. The crystalline leading edge of the accreted arc/forearc terrane, the Irian
Ophiolite Belt of Jurassic age, is upturned forearc basement forming the north flank
of the Central Range. The ophiolite is underlain by the Ruffaer Metamorphic Belt,
which comprises continental rise and slope sediments and probably some trench axis
deposits that underwent subduction deformation and metamorphism since the Early
Miocene. The metamorphic belt grades into the highlands fold-and-thrust belt, which
contains carbonate shelf strata at least as young as 15 Ma. Kilometer-scale, angular
to rounded folds are the dominant structures. Regional sedimentologic relationships
indicate the highlands area has constituted a 500+ km long landmass since ca. 12
Ma. The southern flank of the western Central Range is a giant 300 km long by 30
km wide basement block that has been thrust southwards since 8 Ma, forming the
Mapenduma anticline. Minor, but widely distributed, magmatism occurred along the
spine of the western highlands from ca. 7.5 to 2.5 Ma. There is abundant evidence for
minor left-lateral strike-slip faulting subparallel to the upturned bedding that was
concurrent with igneous activity at 4–3 Ma.
These relationships, combined with consideration of the mechanical properties
of the crust and lithospheric mantle, are the basis for the construction of a series of
lithospheric-scale cross sections illustrating the process of collisional delamination.
Subduction tectonism and metamorphism began at ca. 30 Ma. Underthrusting of

Cloos, M., Sapiie, B., Quarles van Ufford, A., Weiland, R.J., Warren, P.Q., and McMahon, T.P., 2005, Collisional delamination in New Guinea: The geotectonics
of subducting slab breakoff: Geological Society of America Special Paper 400, 51 p., doi: 10.1130/2005.2400. For permission to copy, contact editing@geosociety.
org. ©2005 Geological Society of America.

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2 M. Cloos et al.

Australian continental margin sediments was well under way by ca. 15 Ma, when
small isolated islands emerged. Bulldozing of the sediment cover formed an elongate
landmass by ca. 12 Ma, and siliciclastic sediment was shed southwards, overwhelm-
ing carbonate shelf sedimentation. Collisional orogenesis due to the jamming of the
subduction zone and initiation of thick-skinned crust-involved deformation began at
ca. 8 Ma. Magma generation due to asthenospheric upwelling and decompression of
stretched lithospheric mantle occurred from ca. 7.5 to 3 Ma. Contractional deforma-
tion in the western highlands ended at ca. 4 Ma, when this region became a site of
minor northwest-striking, left-lateral strike-slip faulting. Since ca. 2 Ma, offset has
been localized along the Yapen fault zone near the north coast of the island.
Collisional delamination involved the decapitation of the crust, continued sinking
of the subducted lithosphere, and the upwelling of asthenosphere into the rupture as
fast as it separated. This ensuing adiabatic decompression melting manifested itself
as a short-lived magmatic event and up to 2.5 km of vertical uplift, both centered on
the spine of the collision-generated orogenic belt. Collisional orogenesis is still under
way beneath the eastern Central Range, with delamination-generated magmatism in
its waning stages. Starting at ca. 8 Ma, the tear rupturing the subducting Australian
lithosphere propagated from west to east at a rate of ~150 km/m.y.

Keywords: collision, delamination, New Guinea, subduction, orogeny.

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Geological Society of America
Special Paper 400
2005

Chapter 1
Geology of the Central Range of Western New Guinea

INTRODUCTION The Central Range of New Guinea began to form when
the Australian passive margin entered a north-dipping sub-
The spine of the island of New Guinea, the Central Range, duction zone in the Middle Miocene. Convergence resulted
is a major orogenic belt that formed as the result of the con- in the emplacement of a forearc basement complex on top of
vergence between the Australian and Pacific plates (Fig. 1). In deformed passive margin strata and Australian continental
fact, Wegener (1924, p. 67–70) described the island as a site of crust. Distinct stages in the orogeny are dated from regional
Cenozoic mountain building due to continental drift. Dewey sedimentologic, metamorphic, and magmatic relationships.
and Bird (1970) considered New Guinea as the type locality of Australian-Pacific plate motions place tight constraints on the
recent island arc–continent collision. Tectonism has occurred kinematic evolution of the island during the Cenozoic. These
on a grand scale with the New Guinea orogen, comparable in observations, combined with consideration of the mechanical
size to the western U.S. Cordillera (Silver and Smith, 1983). properties of oceanic and continental lithosphere, are the basis

132o E 136o E 140o E 144o E 148o E 152o E
gh

Pacific Ocean Pacific
Trou

Mussau T
0 100 200 mi < ~ 4 Ma
Pacific/Caroline ~25
2
o
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r at o
0 100 200 300 km / yea 43
Manokwar Plate 11 c
m
a t ~2
i Tr
oug 4M ea
ra

rou
o h ~ 5 - 3 Ma ~ /y
0 Manus Trench
+ to cm 0o
30

gh
10 cm / year at ~270o? 9 .5
SFZ New Ki
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ea T
renc
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il
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1000 YFZ h u
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Salawati m T
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Ba aw

Bintinui Basin
Se t Sea
dr

ra IOB Melane MDZ
en

m s i an
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T WO Arc
LF

ro BTFZ
u B
T

g
h Pk. Jaya, Ter
+ 4884 m
10 IDI r a ne
4o S Irian Ad 4o S
TA F Z F T B 00 m el
BD be
MA rt Bismarck Plate
gh

Banda u
DM Pa
ou

R
Sea Ertsberg pu M
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Cen u Fi
u T

District tra M KA nn
l R UA T is
F te
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rr c
EXPLANATION ge e
re
n
Fo i n T
re ita
Ophiolites and ultramafic rocks Br
la New Solomon
Approximate limit of underthrust
Kepulauan Arafura Indonesia n Sea
Ta s m

Tr
TanimbarAustralian continental crust Sea d ob
ria
10

nd o
ug 8 S
Papua New Tro
00

Exposed continental basement POB h
an

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m

Inactive deformation front
AF

Slow convergence (< 2 cm/yr)
Australian Plate
TB

Rapid convergence (> 2 cm/yr)
Active spreading oceanic ridge
Precambrian Phanerozoic
L
in

Active strike-slip fault zone Wood-
basement basement
e

lark
Inactive strike-slip fault zone
Relative plate motion vector with Coral Rise
respect to the Australian plate
140o E Aust. 144o E Sea 148o E 152o E

Figure 1. Tectonic map of New Guinea, adapted from Hamilton (1979), Cooper and Taylor (1987), Dow et al. (1988), and Sapiie et al. (1999).
AFTB—Aure fold and thrust belt, FTB—fold-and-thrust belt, IOB—Irian Ophiolite Belt, TFB—thrust-and-fold belt, POB—Papuan Ophiolite
Belt, BTFZ—Bewani-Torricelli fault zone, MDZ—Mamberamo deformation zone, YFZ—Yapen fault zone, SFZ—Sorong fault zone, WO—Wey-
land overthrust. Continental basement exposures are concentrated along the southern flank of the Central Range: BD—Baupo Dome, MA—Map-
enduma anticline, DM—Digul monocline, IDI—Idenberg Inlier, MUA—Mueller anticline, KA—Kubor anticline, LFTB—Legguru fold-and-thrust
belt, RMFZ—Ramu-Markham fault zone, TAFZ—Tarera-Aiduna fault zone. The Tasman line separates continental crust that is Paleozoic and
younger to the east from Precambrian to the west.

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4 M. Cloos et al.

for drawing a series of scaled diagrams illustrating the process (DeMets et al., 1990, 1994). The present-day pole of rotation for
of collisional delamination beneath New Guinea. Pacific-Australian motions is located near New Zealand. Con-
This report is divided into three chapters. Chapter 1 sum- sequently, along the 2000 km length of the Australian-Pacific
marizes the geology of the western Central Range in the area plate boundary in the New Guinea region, the calculated vec-
where we made our regional transect. Chapter 2 concerns the tor for current relative motion varies by <5° in direction and <5
mechanics of collisional delamination—the process we envi- km/m.y. in speed.
sion to account for the pattern—and the timing of deforma- Global plate reconstructions indicate that the relative
tion, metamorphism, sedimentation, and magmatism. These motion between the Australian and Pacific plates changed in the
concepts should be applicable to all similar collisional settings. latest Cenozoic. This recent change in Pacific plate motion has
Chapter 3 presents a series of scaled, lithospheric-scale cross been estimated as occurring at 5 Ma based upon the bend in
sections illustrating the late Cenozoic tectonic evolution of the Hawaiian seamount chain at Oahu (Cox and Engebretson,
western New Guinea. 1985). Analysis of deviations in magnetic anomalies along the
East Pacific Rise indicates the change dates between 5.0 and
GEOLOGY OF WESTERN NEW GUINEA 3.2 Ma (Pollitz, 1986), most specifically at 3.9 Ma (Harbert and
Cox, 1989, 1990). As will be discussed, we believe this change
Geologic Framework is a direct result of the collision that formed the Central Range of
New Guinea. The global plate reconstructions of Scotese et al.
The outline of the island of New Guinea has been described (1988) indicate that the relative Australian-Pacific plate motion
as similar to a bird flying westward with an open mouth (Fig. in the New Guinea region changed in azimuth by ~9° clockwise
1). As a result, the island is commonly geographically divided and increased in speed by ~15 km/m.y. (see arrows on Fig. 1). In
into the Bird’s Head, Neck, Body, and Tail regions. The northern other words, the current local relative motions are more oblique
half of the island is underlain by the Melanesian Arc Terrane that to the strike of the Central Range and slightly faster than they
was built on Mesozoic ocean crust. The southern half is underlain were during the mountain-forming collision.
by Australian continental crust. The collisional welding of the The ocean crust in most of the west-central Pacific Basin is
oceanic terrane onto the Australian continental margin generated Jurassic; however, crust north of New Guinea is early Cenozoic.
the Central Range, the 1300 km by 100 to 150 km mountain- The origin of this area of seafloor is a tectonic conundrum, and it
ous spine with numerous peaks over 3 km elevation. The range occurred before the time period of primary interest in this report.
stretches from the Bird’s Neck (~135° E) to the Bird’s Tail (Papuan More significantly, most of this area of anomalously young sea-
Peninsula, ~146° E) (Dewey and Bird, 1970; Hamilton, 1979). floor was named the Caroline plate, and it has a debatable move-
The northern accreted arc/forearc terrane is largely buried ment history (Weissel and Anderson, 1978). Hegarty et al. (1983)
beneath sediments shed northwards from the Central Range (Fig. identified the Mussau Trough as the eastern boundary between
1). The crystalline leading edge (forearc basement) of this sub- the Pacific and Caroline plates. They concluded that there has
duction system, the Irian Ophiolite Belt, is upturned and exposed been at most a few tens of kilometers of convergence at this
along the lower slopes of the north flank of the Central Range. location, but that it is currently inactive or nearly so (Hegarty
The southern half of the island is composed of rocks depos- and Weissel, 1988) (see Fig. 1). Thus, the Caroline plate (or bet-
ited on top of Australian continental basement. The western ter, microplate) must have moved in a direction and at a rate that
Central Range can be subdivided, from north to south, into three is nearly the same as that of the Pacific plate. Cloos (1992b) con-
parts: the Ruffaer Metamorphic Belt, the highlands fold-and- cluded that the Caroline microplate is simply a broken corner
thrust belt, and the foreland basin. The metamorphic and fold- of the Pacific plate that was a distinct kinematic entity for only
and-thrust belts are composed of deformed Australian passive a short period, between ca. 5 and 3 Ma. As will be discussed,
margin strata. The southern flank of the range contains several this is considered to be a globally minor, but locally significant,
windows into uplifted continental basement (Fig. 1). The fore- adjustment in the collisional tectonic movements that generated
land basin contains a thick wedge of late Cenozoic siliciclastic the Central Range. Movement of the Caroline microplate caused
debris that was shed southwards. These strata blanket carbon- a short-lived episode of strike-slip faulting in the core of the
ate shelf deposits on top of transitional continental crust that was western highlands, which aided the ascent of magmas (Sapiie
thinned during Mesozoic rifting. and Cloos, 2004). However, compared to the many tens of kilo-
meters of contractional deformation prior to and during the col-
Cenozoic Plate-Tectonic Setting lisional orogenesis, a few kilometers of strike-slip movements
are very minor.
The Central Range of New Guinea is almost entirely the
product of late Cenozoic convergence between the Australian Active Tectonism
and Pacific plates. Since ca. 3 Ma, the relative tectonic motion
between these plates for a location in the middle of the Cen- Most of the seismicity occurring beneath the island of New
tral Range is at a rate of 114 km/m.y. along an azimuth of 252° Guinea is clustered near the Huon Peninsula, the Mamberamo

Source data from the Institute for Research in Seismology (IRIS) catalog. The station at Sentani has a speed and direction of movement that is intermediate to the two major plates. 2014 Figure 2. NGT—New Guinea Trench. Modified from Sapiie et al. but the basic kinematics are apparent. . AT—Aru Trough. Merauke. indicating that some (most?) of the relative motion is accommodated along the eastern segment of the New Guinea Trench (Wewak segment). The difference between Biak and Yapen indicates ~5 cm/yr of left-lateral motion along the Yapen fault zone. June 1997. and Saumlakki are moving with the Australian plate. The published survey data are only for a six-year period. ST—Seram Trough. Aru. The stations at Timika. TAFZ—Tarera-Aiduna fault zone.org on June 5. YFZ—Yapen fault zone. (1999). and the Mamberamo deformation zone. The Bird’s Head block with stations at Biak. Downloaded from specialpapers. MDZ—Mamberamo deformation zone. BTFZ—Bewani-Torricelli fault zone. Wamena. and Sorong are moving in directions that parallel those of the Pacific plate.gsapubs. Manokwari. Fak Fak is moving nearly parallel to the Biak station but slower. B: Movement detected during global positioning system (GPS) survey from 1991 to 1997 by Stevens et al. Note the very limited seismicity beneath areas with elevations higher than 1000 m. A: The distribution of earthquake epicenters in the New Guinea region for all depths with magnitude M > 4 from 1977 to 1997. The difference between the Kaimana and Timika/Aru stations indicates ~6 cm/yr of left-lateral motion along the Tarera-Aiduna fault zone. (2002).

org on June 5. and Wamena are moving with the 12°S Sea Australian plate (Fig. ended in the western part of the Cen. and geologic vergence is occurring along the Seram Trough (Fig. region. Nearly all of the “deep” events under New Guinea are shallower than 75 km. Coral nated by northwest-trending thrust mechanisms (Fig. Source data from Harvard Centroid Moment Tensor (CMT) catalog. 1994. At 9°S Sea depths less than 50 km. 4) (Cardwell relations for a transect in this area are summarized below. 4) with left-lateral strike-slip offsets (McCaffrey and Abers. Earthquake focal mechanisms in the New Guinea region from 1987 to 1997. indicating that Pacific. Convergent movements appear to be fastest gion and the abundance of normal-type mechanisms in the Aru Trough along the eastern part of the New Guinea Trench. these stations are moving slowly southwards. 2014 6 M. Jaya 4884 m the eastern Central Range (Fig.. is an irregular swampy landscape Aru Arafura Indonesia Papua New Guinea Trough with active fields of mud volcanoes (Williams et al. The conclusion is that tral Range. 3°N Strike-slip Thrust Normal Abers and McCaffrey (1988) found that the 18 largest events Pacific Ocean in their data set were located beneath central and eastern New 0° Mamberamo Guinea. Depth 50 . 1999). which we term the “Mamberamo deformation 15°S zone” connecting the Bewani-Torricelli and Yapen left-lateral 130°E 135°E 140°E 145°E 150°E strike-slip fault zones (Fig. and the Bird’s Neck (Fig.to northwest-striking 3°S 91186 79114 82088 high angle (up to 65°) reverse faulting along the southern flank of Pk. Timika. Cloos et al. 1974. 1999).100 km Collisional deformation is ongoing in eastern New Guinea 3°N Strike-slip Thrust Normal with rapid uplift forming the famous raised terraces on the Finn- isterre/Huon Peninsula (Chappell. 1987a. 2A). B: Depths 50–100 km. and Coral stations in Merauke. just west of the international border 90342 88254 87323 85238 88268 and north of the Central Range.. Subsidiary movements form a band of normal faulting to the south along the Aru Trough and more diffuse normal faulting to the north (Fig. 3). but is ongoing in the eastern part. located in front of this actively uplifting forearc terrane. 2B) (Puntodewo et al. Silver et al. left-lateral. Region strike-slip faulting near the south end of the Mamberamo region 87161 81229 78115 8207879175 and deep-seated (20 to 50 km deep) west.. 1984). Abbott et al. 1994a). Modified from Sapiie et al. 9°S tions at Sorong and Biak are moving with the Pacific plate. Fig. Figure 3. Extremely oblique con. if not entirely. The overall pattern of active movements indicates that the There are several geologic factors that make the tectonics of the convergence that formed the mountainous spine of the island eastern Central Range somewhat different from that of the west- has largely. (1999). ern part. The large events indicate west-trending. Some Sea 12°S earthquakes occur as deep as ~100 km. there are few A.. region is the highly active Tarera-Aiduna fault zone (TAFZ. north of the and to the north in the Bird’s Neck region. We believe this region is a broad Australia 0 300 km convergent bend. June 1997. 251 2326 Arafura Sea GPS measurements for the period 1991–1997 provide Indonesia Papua New Guinea important new information on the active plate kinematics. 1991). Note the concentration under is moving with the Pacific plate. Relative to the Australian plate. and they have a variety of focal mechanisms (Fig... Thrust-type mechanism are Mamberamo region.gsapubs. The eastern Central Range high. 2002). and decreasing to zero to the west. Note the occurrence of north- Australian relative movement is localized out to sea along the west-trending thrust-type focal mechanisms under the Mamberamo re- New Guinea Trench. Sta. 3) (Sapiie et al. The southern boundary of this the Mamberamo area and the large variations in orientation and type. and they will be discussed later. seismic and GPS data that indicate active tectonic movements. A: Depths <50 km. 3A). 78102 87168 4884 m 1000 87021 are being slowly pushed southwards above a décollement that m 77191 86288 82073 6°S 2125 78283 7916480264 89149 surfaces near the south flank of the mountain belt. 4) (Sapiie et al. Stevens et al. 1991. 1980). B. 1994b). 0° Pacific Ocean The uplifting peninsula is the western end of the forearc block to the New Britain subduction zone (Davies et al. Jaya lands. The stations with movements that are most different from Australia 0 300 km either the Pacific or Australian plates are the ones at Sentani and 15°S 130°E 135°E 140°E 145°E 150°E Yapen near the north coast.. were concentrated in the western part of the range. found along the southern flank of the Central Range in Papua New The GPS data clearly indicate that the Bird’s Head region Guinea. 3B). Notably. Our field studies the collisional orogeny forming the spine of the island is time- . as are et al. Downloaded from specialpapers.. 1000 m 8723 8615 Bird's 88163 8415 85154 8416 87075 87075 87075 8609 84153 6°S Neck 86043 78203 86043 80177 The Mamberamo region. earthquake focal mechanisms are domi. Depth < 50 km earthquakes beneath areas with elevation higher than 1000 m. Abbott et al. 3°S Pk...

1994). which formed at 3 Ma in the western Central Range (van the highlands. gen. Modified from Sapiie et al. is small in volume. is the Ok Tedi deposit The presence of volcanic rocks in the highlands of New formed at ca. LFZ—Lagaip fault zone. In Papua widely scattered occurrence. (2002). but little studied because of the Guinea (Rush and Seegers. Dow (1977) . 2014 Geology of the Central Range of Western New Guinea 7 Figure 4. A brief discus. Inactive strike-slip fault zones in the core of the Central Range: DFZ—Derewo fault zone. Tectonic features include: PTFB—Papuan thrust-and-fold belt. BTFZ—Bewani-Torricelli fault zone. RMFZ—Ramu-Markham fault zone. 1990). Arrows show relative motion of the Pacific plate and short-lived Caroline microplate with respect to the Australian plate. MDZ—Mamberamo deformation zone. 1991. New Guinea and just across the border into Indonesia.org on June 5. 5). but MAGMATISM IN THE HIGHLANDS no less significant because it indicates ore-forming processes occurred along the length of the highlands. Downloaded from specialpapers.y. ago. difficulty of access and deep weathering. far been discovered in intrusive bodies associated with this volca- sion is now required of a most distinctive aspect of the Central nism (Fig. MacDonald and Arnold. It is of considerable economic inter. YFZ—Yapen fault zone. WT—Waipona Trough. Neogene igneous rocks in central New Guinea (136° E to 147° erally of intermediate composition. Smaller.5 Ma near the international border in Papua New Guinea has long been known.gsapubs. Another major gold deposit formed at Porgera at ca. 5). SFZ—Sorong fault zone. In eastern New Guinea. TAFZ—Tarera-Aiduna fault zone. (1999) in light of the results of the GPS survey of Stevens et al.. TFZ—Tahin fault zone. Nort et al. RFZ—Ransiki fault zone. This magmatism. 1. transgressive. but of E) occur along the spine of the Central Ranges (Fig. Seismotectonic interpretation of New Guinea. The largest is the Grasberg and associated orebod- Range orogeny: collision-related volcanism along the spine of ies. 5). the orogeny is now at the est because two giant porphyry copper/gold ore districts have so same stage as the event to the west ~3–4 m. 6 Ma (Fig.

and Pliocene (hereafter Pliocene) volcanism has been best The equivalent-age magmatic rocks that intruded into. in and next to the Bird’s Neck.gsapubs. BTFZ—Bewani-Torricelli fault zone.V.. Dow similar pattern is seen. are present at the eastern end of the Central Range. or faulted studied within the Ertsberg mining district (McMahon. Bladon. 5).. 1975. 1999). 1996. 1987b) (Fig. this very latest Miocene duction along the Trobriand Trough (Davies et al. 1994. the Fly-Highlands province (McMahon.5 to 2. Modified from McMahon (2001). YFZ—Yapen fault zone. 1990) and westernmost end of the Irian this province to near the Papua New Guinea border. Figure 5. IOB—Irian Ophiolite Belt (dashed outlines).. personal commun. O’Connor et al. 1968. O’Connor. a bodies range from 7. 1996. 2000a. There are two distinct magmatic provinces. Major copper and gold ore deposits formed during this phase of magmatism at Grasberg/ Ertsberg. recognized a belt of magmatism into deformed Australian con. Cloos et al.5 Ma (Dow. 1988. in the Weyland al.. unlike the occurrence in Papua et al. Late Cenozoic magmatism in New Guinea. occur within the allochthonous ~300 km long gap where minerals exploration geologists found arc/forearc terrane. eastern New Guinea was generated by southwest-dipping sub. MDZ—Mamberamo deformation zone. POB—Papuan Ophiolite Belt (dashed outlines). 2000b). Downloaded from specialpapers.. north of a zone of younger than 7 Ma intrusive and volcanic In the western Central Range. Ok Tedi. there are small occurrences of no Tertiary igneous rocks in outcrop or in float (G. Many Pleistocene volcanic centers. Miocene magmatism from 20 to 10 Ma is known as the Maramuni Arc and intrudes Australian continental basement in eastern New Guinea (Dow. the Maramuni-age igneous rocks. 5 Ma) volcanic rocks near Nabire north of the Wey. lacking Late Tertiary igneous activity is where elevations are Maramuni magmatism into the continental basement of almost entirely less than 2000 m (Fig. 1994a. 1986. 1988). MV—Minjauh volcanic field.. 1994. Parris. 1986. the Melanesian Arc Terrane near the Bird’s Head probably tinental basement. young (ca. and Porgera. the Maramuni Arc. 5) (Dow et al. The younger magmatic province dates since 7 Ma and is concentrated along the spine of the Central Range. 2000a. volcanic rocks crop out between 136° E and 137° 50′ E. McDowell et New Guinea. Notably. 2014 8 M. the part of the highlands land overthrust (Fig. In addition. there is an Ophiolite Belt (Weiland.). Ma intrusive and volcanic rock.org on June 5. However. Dated Nearly 500 km to the west. Similar-age igneous rocks in western New Guinea are only found in the allochthonous Weyland overthrust and along the western end of the Irian Ophiolite Belt. 2000b). WO—Weyland overthrust. nearly all of the intrusive and rocks. the Fly-Highlands province (FHP). This belt is now divisible into a zone of 20–9 were translated into their present position by plate convergence. In the western Central Range. 1). which occurs An origin 500 km or more to the northeast is possible. onto. 1977). Note the lower elevations and lack of magmatism between ~138° E and 140° E in the Central Range. Page. . From the eastern end of overthrust (Dow et al. McMahon.

tral Range at 3 Ma. middle of the range (138° E to 140° E). where the mountains are Hamilton (1979) showed seismic reflection profiles across the typically less than 2 km high. 1990). 1). and Cullen and Pigott (1989) argued for south-dipping som et al. for they have trace lels the north coast of the island from ~134° 30′ E to ~144° E element characteristics that are similar to basalts from intra. why would magmas largely blanket a basement of faulted and folded Australian apparently prefer to intrude the very highest parts of the moun- passive margin sediments (Mackenzie. we gene volcanism in the eastern highlands (Fig. 4) (Sapiie et al. the tism so concentrated along the spine of the highlands? Subduc- magmatic rocks in the Fly-Highlands province are of Plio. significance. 2A and 3). Guinea Trench by subduction reversal in the Miocene. Isotopic studies show these mag. 1994c) and in the Minjauh volcanic field ~30 km to the attempted to reconcile the puzzling tectonic geometry by con- northwest (Fig. 5). 5) is not a true conclude that the concentration of magmatism along the axis of indicator of a greater amount of volcanism. should actually be only thinly blanketed by young volcanic flows. mas. there is evidence for recent . They tal margin that were previously deformed during the collision. 2001). (1978) GPS data (Stevens et al.. Wide areas are the highlands... region (Figs. These volcanic complexes collision-generated mountain belt. that indicate south-dipping underthrusting. (Fig. tion magmas are generated at depths of 100–120 km.. 5). It would be Pleistocene age (Fig. and the highest part no less. 1992). The map pattern in the eastern cussion of this feature is now warranted to clarify its geodynamic Central Range is probably similar to that in the western Cen. The only deep earthquakes are the boundary separating Precambrian and Phanerozoic base. if any. proitic (McMahon. 2000). as at this bathymetric depression. As discussed. a seismic profile near 135° argued for south-dipping subduction reversal following arc-con. 1984). Most nota. Milsom et lands province show little. However. Fig. unusual compositions that indicate a the subduction reversal model creates several geodynamic enig- source in lithospheric mantle (Housh and McMahon. 1983). In sum. 1971. This is expected. and blanketed sedimentary rocks of the Australian continen. proposed that this magmatic event was triggered by a steepening The igneous rocks postdate large-scale folding and some of the of the north-dipping subducted Australian plate to near-vertical. 1) explanation that will be discussed later. Dow. 1979) E contained similar features. Hamilton. 1977). 2001).org on June 5. A similar. For those who advocate recent subduction surfacing Precambrian crust (Hamilton et al. We believe this observation has an trench between 141° E and 143° 40′ E (Wewak segment. evidence of contamination by al. Finally. p. 2001). Most of the Plio-Pleistocene igneous rocks in Papua New NEW GUINEA TRENCH—A REACTIVATING RELICT Guinea have arc-type major element compositions (Whalen et al.. E indicates that there has been no shortening of the sediment within tinent collision. a few intrusions in the western Central Range are lam. and this conclusion is now well supported by subduction prior to arc-continent collision. 1976. 5). scattered occurrences to 100 km depth under the Mamberamo ment in the Australian continent (Fig. 2002). Ripper and McCue (1983). Mackenzie and Johnson.. The 6 Ma intrusions The New Guinea Trench is a bathymetric low that paral- at the Porgera gold deposit are an exception. The magmas intruded cluding that highlands magmatism is not subduction-generated. 1979. as the primary evidence that convergence generated the New bly. Johnson et isotopic data from Pleistocene volcanic rocks of the Fly-High. al. just ended. There is a seeming lack of igneous activity in the zones (Fig. convergence must be either very the province is east of the Tasman Line (Plumb. mas incorporated an old. 1987. but expected. Downloaded from specialpapers. this cluster of earthquakes Igneous rocks younger than 7 Ma have a distinctive attri. Most of the intrusions have high K and LILE (large The mechanical picture is that tighter bending of the subducted ion lithophile element) contents and low Nb and Ti contents plate caused fracturing and uplift that somehow induced melting (McMahon.. is explainable as due to local convergence along a bend connect- bute—most are found at or near the highest elevations on the ing the Bewani-Torricelli and Yapen left-lateral strike-slip fault island (Fig. but tain belt? some are tilted as a result of the ongoing tectonic movements A fundamental conclusion of this paper is that this magmatic (Davies. some dis- have been removed by erosion. faulting. 5) (McMahon. Hamilton (1973. 1990). 1979a. Moreover. 1992). 1999). Why was magmatism so short-lived? Why is this magma- In the eastern Central Range of Papua New Guinea.g. Cooper and Taylor the western end of the trench since the middle to late Miocene (Mil- (1987). Another difference is that ous south-dipping Wadati-Benioff seismic zone (e. glaciated volcanoes are fortuitous for the zone of magma generation to be centered over still recognizable. 2014 Geology of the Central Range of Western New Guinea 9 1994b.. The apparently greater abundance of late Neo. Distinct. 2000). Most workers apparently agree that there is no obvi- plate settings (Richards et al. 254) cited the highlands volcanism Precambrian crust (Housh and McMahon. However.. and stated that unpub- Several models have been proposed to explain the origin lished seismic profiles across the trench between 135° E and 139° of the magmatism in the highlands. They are mineralogically and chemically of lithospheric mantle that had been enriched in volatiles during similar to volcanic arc rocks. at least in the sense of conventional plate-tectonic theory. 1979b). and probable Quaternary activity suggests a 1000+ km strike length to precisely parallel the spine of the several centers are only dormant. radiogenic component indicative of Hamilton (1979. a period of Cretaceous subduction beneath the region. slow. Cooper and Taylor.gsapubs. belt was not generated by steady-state subduction. Johnson et al. Because of the tectonic importance placed on the New slightly older. volcanic blanket in the western highlands would Guinea Trench by Hamilton (1979) and other workers. 1982. or just starting.

Diagnostic fossil localities are marked. We mapped ing district. and from Jurassic to late Cenozoic time strata accu- when Pacific plate motion changed and subduction began along mulated in a passive margin. est volcanics in the highlands. The seismic reflection profiles along the east. New Guinea Trench was somehow linked to that on the Trobri. From 50 km (near Timika airport) to as much as site of south-dipping subduction from the Eocene to early Mio.. in and near the Ertsberg (Gunung Bijih) min- ing district. the region the context of any subduction reversal model.. Cloos et al. Parrot and Dugas. Uplifted masses of these rift and passive mar- and Dewey. This caused magmatism forming the now accreted Outer Australian continental margin was rifted in the Triassic (Veevers Melanesian Arc Terrane that first started to form at ca. just a of Australia toward the equator (Quarles van Ufford. the stratigraphy in our area of field investigation of the Neogene Bismarck Arc at 145° E. 1977. 5). RANGE Our field studies were centered in the core of the western Central Range. the Ruffaer underthrusting occurred at the New Guinea Trench since ca. subduction rever. correlates with that in the Bird’s Head and Neck regions a few overrides the north-facing trench.. there is no kinematic evidence that 100+ km of duma anticline. 1984). HEAT—heavy and sampled the section along the road from Timika in the low. (1975). Brown et al. continent approached equatorial latitudes. Note the northwest trend of kilometer-scale folds in the min- highest peak between the Himalayas and the Andes. 12 Ma along the 500+ km strike length that forms the GEOLOGIC TRANSECT—WESTERN CENTRAL foreland basin (Quarles van Ufford and Cloos. 1996). a subduction reversal model does not explain why supposed arc volcanism ended at Foreland Basin—Buried Continental Shelf ca. north of the Bird’s Tail area was first studied in detail by Martodjojo et al. We along the access road. Their lithologies record the northward movement least some recent convergence (Hamilton. This does not. equipment access trail. the foothills. The few kilometers of underthrusting can account for all observations passive margin sediments changed from dominantly siliciclastic known to us. be briefly described below. the elevation is less than 100 m. slowly subsiding shelf environment major fracture zones along the western Pacific from New Zea. an Indonesia-Australia tralian plate. in their models. 1991). 1). In the mining dis- fact that the eastern end of the trench lies to the west of most trict. 1997b). Irian Jaya Geological Mapping Project. collaboration (Dow et al. For (Fig. in essence the geometry proposed by Johnson et al. landslide scarps. are 34 km of nearly continuous roadcut from the base of the Even more problematical from a tectonics perspective is the mountain to near the crest of the range (Fig. From south to north. gin strata occur along the southern flank of the western Central ern part of the New Guinea Trench (140° E to 145° E) indicate at Range (Fig. 6). 1988). et al.org on June 5. He concluded this trench was the mountain front. It is concluded that the eastern end of the trench has in the Jurassic to carbonate-bearing in the Late Cretaceous and been reactivated as the latest tectonic adjustment associated with carbonate-dominated in the Cenozoic as the northern part of the arc/forearc-continent collision. Outcrops and petro- sal (reactivation) is just beginning at the eastern end of the New leum exploration drill holes near the southern slope indicate that Guinea Trench and has yet to produce arc magmatism. convergence (a few tens of km?) along the eastern end of the New lands to Tembagapura near the Ertsberg mining district. and river and stream bottoms (Cloos. however.. 1). the mountain. The stratigraphy along the access road and mine and Trough in easternmost New Guinea. . There Guinea Trench. 10 metamorphic terrane. 1). It will be shown of extensive field studies from 1976 to 1982 that were part of the that magmatism related to north-dipping subduction of the Aus. These will Ma—an age for subduction initiation required to explain the old. North of the Pleistocene volcanoes of the Fly-Highlands province in of the mining district. 1997a. siliciclastic sediments flooded the shallow carbonate shelf begin- ning at ca. 2005). 1984. the location of several world-class copper and gold Figure 6. The underlying cene. which. 1979). explain the westward truncation the most part. Central Range are the foreland basin.. Casey Symonds. In addition. 1991). the highlands fold-and-thrust belt. but not at the western end.gsapubs. or the recent activity in the eastern highlands. 43 Ma. 2014 10 M. Hamilton (1979) and Cooper and and foot transect. This geometry is perplexing in hundred kilometers to the west (Pieters et al. we analyzed more than 20 km of roadcut exposure. (1978). the lithotectonic belts of the western patible with all the field relations. In other words. Pigram and land to Japan (Hilde et al. outcrop was largely limited to scattered cliff Taylor (1987) suggested that south-dipping subduction on the faces. 3 Ma in the western highlands. is the only tectonic scenario proposed to date that is com. 1979. Zir- consider it notable that these deposits are at elevations of 3–4 km cons yield late Precambrian fission track ages for three samples in the greenschist facies slates of the Kariem Formation near the base of the and within a few kilometers of Puncak Jaya (Carstenz Peak). where access was by helicopter insertion Papua New Guinea (Fig. A dis- All of the above leads us to believe that Kroenke (1984) is tributary system of meandering channels near the coast changes correct in deducing that the New Guinea Trench is a relict of an to shallow braided channels within a few tens of kilometers of the earlier period of subduction. the Mapen- In short. However. 1983). The foreland basin is a broad area of swampy jungle. Modified from Quarles von Ufford (1996). and the Irian Ophiolite Belt. 100 km inland. Downloaded from specialpapers. Geology in the Ertsberg (Gunung Bijih) mining district and porphyry and gold orebodies that formed at 3 Ma (Fig. 1980. (Pigram and Panggabean.

2014 .org on June 5.gsapubs.Downloaded from specialpapers.

B: Interpreted movement history for the formation of the Mapenduma anticline based upon apatite fission track thermochronology (after Weiland and Cloos.gsapubs.org on June 5. The Ertsberg intrusion in the mining district is dated at 3 Ma and crosscuts the kilometer-scale folds (McDowell et al. 1996). Formation abbreviations as on Figure 6. 2014 Figure 7. It is likely the Mapenduma anticline formed by reactivating a steeply dipping Mesozoic normal fault. Note the homoclinal north limb of the Mapenduma anticline. 1996). Downloaded from specialpapers. A: Cross section A–A′ located on Figure 6. Initial thin-skinned folding changed to thick-skinned basement-involved deformation. ..

1996). Fig. 12 to ca. 2000±400 m 1993. The E structure has been confirmed through field mapping to extend 200 m for ~200 km to the east and 100 km to the west of the road (Par- 950± L B ris. The regional time. the foothills are underlain by v Cenozoic two broad terraces composed of gently south-dipping conglom- eratic alluvium. The Tipuma Forma- be a thrust fault (Parris. Pigram and Panggabean. 350 m to the west and east) are conformable with the shelf limestones of the New Guinea Limestone Group (Bär et al. Triassic r r Tipuma Fm. Pigram and Ekmai SS. .gsapubs. P EO Faumai Fm. The flat-lying upper Buru Formation (younger than E L ca.. Biostratigraphic analyses have detected no stratigraphic 1050± 200 m Silur repetitions along the mine access road. 4 therein). are located Lithology Formation Thickness between the flat-lying foreland and the jagged front of the moun- tain. 2000±400 m Modio Fm. 1983). 1996). 1750±200 m enduma anticline at the location of the mine access road. New Guinea Limestone Group. with elevations less than 500 m. passive margin deposits. ~6000 m v v v v Volc. Downloaded from specialpapers. ~ 1600± 2250± 400 m 600 m Kilometer-scale folding and limited stratigraphic repetition by ~ B faulting is obvious near the southern crest of the range in the ~ Kariem Fm. 650±100 m Cretaceous Panggabean. 3850±1000 m Jurassic and younger formations. the older foreland basin deposits were folded or overridden by 1550±300 m 4600±1000 m thrust blocks. Along the v v Buru Fm. north-dipping thrust ramp. 1994). Bedding dips and formation ~ ~ A thicknesses indicate that at least 8 km of stratigraphic thickness and as much as 12 km of structural thickness are exposed on the v ~v ~v ~ v Awitagoh Fm. Weiland and Cloos. 1100 m LS Group beds of lower Buru (ca. in conglomeratic debris (molasse) as movement slowed. 1983.. 1994). and carbonate sedimentation dominated. 950±100 m of outcrop-scale folds occur. 1983). 40 m folded and exposed by erosion (Parris. 7A) (Quarles van Ufford. Mapenduma Anticline—Thick-Skinned Deformation L Kopai Fm. The Precambrian or early Paleo. upturned M New Guinea Kais Fm. This anticline is the only structure in the r southwestern Central Range that exposes Precambrian or early r r Paleozoic sediments and metasediments (Tuaba and Kariem L Formations) and metaigneous basement (Awitagoh Formation) Dev Permian (Fig. 2014 Geology of the Central Range of Western New Guinea 13 Foothills—Leading Edge of Central Range Orogenic Belt Period Epoch The foothills. 7). Deep erosion has removed the south limb of the Map. A north-dipping homoclinal limb of the Mapenduma anticline is r r exposed (Figs. >200 m north limb of the Mapenduma anticline (Fig. 1961. In latest Cretaceous Kembelangan Group east of the mine access road. ~300 km long basement-cored Mapenduma anticline (Nash et al. Aiduna Fm. 7A and 8) (Quarles van Ufford. Jurassic and Cretaceous strata are shallow marine. Approximately 10 km to the west and the east. Jurassic M 1400±300 m The most prominent structure along the southern flank of E r r the western Central Range (Fig. Tilting of the lower Buru deposits indicates Kembelangan Group Piniya Fm. West of the mine access road. 1996. forming the wide fault-bend fold above an ~30°.org on June 5. 1) is the 280°-trending. From Quarles van Ufford (1996). 1996). tion was deposited during the Triassic rifting that formed the present zoic Kariem Formation is structurally higher than the Mesozoic northern edge of the Australian continent. ? access road to the mining district. 4 Ma) indicates the flanks of the mountain were locally buried Woniwogi 1000±200 m Fm. the upper Buru Formation (Quarles van Ufford. 1994). where the 15 km wide. 4 Ma) and older formations are 1800 m Sirga Fm. 300 m The base of the Buru Formation (and equivalent formations Waripi Fm. but major folding (>100 m ampli- Precambrian tude) is not recognized in the Precambrian to Triassic strata. the foothills include low-relief Plio v folds (Sabins. Dozens .Early Paleozoic Tuaba Fm. Figure 8. Stratigraphic column and approximate formation thicknesses The southern boundary of the Mapenduma anticline must near the Ertsberg (Gunung Bijih) mining district. the northern edge of the Australian continent approached equa- tilt of beds on the north limb is consistent with a giant 30 km torial latitudes.

Range. 1991). 1970. Thus.y. Granath and Argakoesoemah. Hobson. rocks ranging in age from Precambrian (Awitagoh to Tuaba based upon changes in fold shape and truncated strata and fold Formations) to Triassic (Tipuma Formation). 1996). In other words. The average fold axis orientation calculated from The ramp forming the Mapenduma anticline is believed to a compilation of all the bedding measurements made in the be a reactivated normal fault that formed during early Mesozoic mining district has a trend of 294° and a plunge of 7°. There rifting. 7 Ma (Weiland and Cloos. An average rainfall along In the Ertsberg (Gunung Bijih) mining district. Modified from Weiland (1999). wide image along the topographic crest of the western Central and-thrust structure is most simply explained as due to reacti. forami- the southern flank of the western Central Range of ~10 m per niferal biostratigraphy of the New Guinea Limestone Group year causes deep erosion of the southern limb (Fig. and Cenozoic strata in the Mapenduma fold. They could be upturned thrust faults. and the presence of strata of the New Guinea Limestone Group. axial planes vary in style from rounded synclines to angular cline began at ca. 1986). ened to the point that the limbs ruptured. C: Varia- cleavage orientations indicate an ~210° direction of shortening tion in depth of denudation. Rocks in the Ruffaer Metamorphic Belt for the small folds along the north limb of the Mapenduma were uplifted from depths of 20–25 km. within the lower crust. At the base of the ramp. 7) Three steeply dipping. reverse slip faults indicate a shortening direction of ~205°. These structures are most simply explained as strike-slip near the base of the mountain and near the core of the Mapen. Southward movement along the Mapenduma thrust fault can ing along 17 long segments of continuous road outcrop locally only be estimated. The bedding measurements used to determine the average fold axis orientation on the northern flank of the Mapenduma Figure 9. 82). these kilometer-scale folds near the spine Deformation of the mountain belt have 300° to 310° trends. Folds with near-vertical Pliocene. The left-step- ping en echelon geometry records a component of left-lateral Near the crest of the range. En echelon overall pattern indicates folding at a scale of tens to hundreds folds near the Ertsberg mining district are marked. Downloaded from specialpapers. The detectable amount of intraformational shorten. 1996). In Papua New Guinea. 2014 14 M. Axial planar cleavage occurs in faults in the mining district formed concurrently with folding. the amplitude of folding is at wrenching concurrent with shortening. In the small folds axes. 1996). Axial from Warren (1995) and Gray (1995). but face.. trict. 7B). and could be as young has been unroofed at rates of 1–2 km/m. such as vation of a 280°-trending normal fault zone in the crystalline those in the New Guinea Limestone Group in the mining dis- basement during late Miocene collisional orogenesis and sub. 1989. and a plunge of 3°. started. This estimate is ment would have been at a depth of 20–25 km when movement a minimum. Assuming the basal detachment is currently varies from 5% to 46%. The northern slope is underlain by upturned Irian Ophiolite. locally accommodate differences in the pattern of folding and east. Angular fold hinges are seen at the outcrop scale. and Tipuma Formations (Quarles van Ufford. 8) was definitely as young as 15 Ma. 1993. 1996). 1) they are probably dip-slip faults that formed as the folds tight- (Australasian Petroleum Company. anticline. The trend of the southern flank of total stratal shortening across this well-mapped 10 km wide the Central Range appears to be nearly parallel to the trend of area is estimated at ~40% (Quarles van Ufford. are seen to have a left-stepping en echelon geometry (Fig. Aiduna. They parallel the 310° local trend of the orogen (Fig. John. estimated as 25% (Quarles van Ufford. Regionally. B: Modern topography. 1996). fission track thermochronology indicates the mid-slope region Fig. IOB—Irian Ophiolite Belt. 9). Apatite shows that carbonate shelf sedimentation (Kais Formation. upturned bedding. 1996). 6) is ~5 the location of three basement-cored structures that are tens of km by folding and ~1 km by dip-slip faulting. at locations up the mountain slope with scattered occurrences in the Modio. Similar structures have been recognized east of our field transect (Nash et al.to 070°-trending strike-slip (Quarles van Ufford. Note the limited anticline are distinctly bimodal. the kilometer scale in the Cenozoic carbonate section (Fig. that is. cleavage is well developed and dipping north. Ridd. erosion along the crest of the range as indicated by the widespread ing. the kilometer-scale folds. on average. St. . Metamorphic zones of meters. since the end of the as 12 Ma (Quarles van Ufford.gsapubs. Folds in the Southern Central Range—Thin-Skinned p. tear faults that formed during contractional deformation to duma anticline. underlying Mesozoic rift structures. 065°. The planes dip. A: Geology of the western Central Range. The average shortening accommodated at a depth of 15 km. Fold trends and southern slope is underlain by upthrusted Australian continental crust. ~65° to the northeast. a displacement of ~35 km is required to by folding on the northern limb of the Mapenduma anticline is explain the map pattern. kilometers wide (Hill. The folds and dip- 1976. indicating chevron-style fold. 1961. Horizontal reactivation of normal faults has been called upon to explain shortening across the 10 km wide mining district (Fig.org on June 5. 1996). Erosional unroofing of the southern flank of the anti. sequent denudation. Overlapping SPOT satellite images provide a 110 km zoic. exposure of Paleo. a décolle. abundant well and gravity data are several high-angle reverse faults that are low-angle to the reveal the presence of Mesozoic normal faults in the subsur. It becomes progressively less common and near-vertical dip-slip faulting along strike (Quarles van Ufford. In the eastern Central Range. On a regional scale. Cloos et al. Mesozoic. anticlines. an average trend of 130°. as intraformational thrust faults are also present.

2014 Geology of the Central Range of Western New Guinea 15 A B C .org on June 5.gsapubs. Downloaded from specialpapers.

combined with increasing like the Papuan Ophiolite Belt in the Bird’s Tail region (Davies. and cobbles in the river deposits. was first mapped by and late-stage strike-slip faulting to the south in the mining dis- Dow et al. The hornblende-plagioclase ± gar- a K-Ar white mica age of 21 Ma was obtained. several tens of kilome- ters.gsapubs. This observation. The ophiolite belt contains scattered occurrences of horn- tallization are between 28 and 20 Ma. 1995). (1993) suggest the Derewo fault zone is a north-dipping forming orebodies (Sapiie. 1998). with northward subduction beginning slightly earlier. Sapiie (1998) and Sapiie and Cloos (2004) provide an anal. widespread paragonite. The southern edge has been the belt. (1986) and Nash et al. elevations of 1 km must have risen at least 13 km. He found serpentinized nite. 9). 200 km long straight valley extending roughly east-west. 1995. reverse fault separating metamorphosed and unmetamorphosed ated dip-slip faults were reactivated as left-lateral. the forearc region had sufficiently cooled that meta. from at least 7 km beneath heat source that caused metamorphism. Rodingitic mafic dikes occur in some outcrops. 6). ferred orientations and petrographic evidence of thorough recrys. 1996). Whole-rock K-Ar ages for 15 samples with strong pre. This age range is consid. zone by analogy with the Sorong-Yapen fault zones to the north tral Range. and scattered occur.6 Ma (McDowell et al. became foliated and lineated at temperatures of 500–800 °C and at 28 Ma. block had ended.4 nized as a major structure because it forms an easily identifiable to 2. The Ruffaer Metamorphic Belt—Metamorphosed Passive magnitude of offset is unknown. 1985). Outcrops are very scarce in the deeply °C and 5–8 kbar (corresponding to maximum depths of ~25 km). 1995) that yield Jurassic Ar isotopic ered the time of peak metamorphic temperatures. The presence of parago. Exceptional exposures at the surface (thermal evolution of subduction zones discussed along mine roads revealed a comparatively minor. faults. Cloos et al. that is. based primarily upon interpretation of satellite imagery. Several contraction-gener. whereas the northern part The structural setting indicates that the Irian Ophiolite Belt. more likely. Maximum temperature and pressure ern flank. spessartine garnet. 1995). left-lateral in Cloos. A single sample ages (Weiland. phengitic muscovite. weathered basalts. Several Cretaceous ammonites were study for rocks from the Irian Ophiolite was by Weiland (1999). The first systematic petrologic studies of this slate and phyllite Irian Ophiolite Belt—Accreted Oceanic Lithosphere terrane were by Warren (1995) and Gray (1995) (Fig. 2014 16 M. found in the slate belt (Warren. Locally. 9). at least for those rocks in the belt now exposed ysis of faulting in the mining district.org on June 5. the ultramafic rocks now occurring at the belt. as the and-thrust belt to the south is gradational (Fig. 1995). if not entirely. 9).. By pressures less than 5 kbar—high-temperature/low-pressure con- ca. The first petrologic in the fold-and-thrust belt. and aerial photographs confirmed with limited field transects. the ocean floor (Fig. We conclude that net assemblage indicates that these cobbles are mafic rocks that metamorphic recrystallization in the exposed rocks started at ca. who made three field transects in the belt. This fault is recog- with the igneous activity in the district that occurred from 4. The left-lateral strike-slip system was concurrent of the Kembelangan Group (Warren. Based on field study and laboratory analysis of more than ing the ~300° local structural grain generated by the upturned 200 outcrop samples from across and along this belt. Because Jurassic seafloor was probably Weiland (1999) provided the first geochronological study of at water depths of ~5 km. chloritoid. The north- metamorphism (Fig. blende amphibolite (Warren. 2004). the Derewo fault zone juxtaposes meta- the axis of a kilometer-scale fold in the Ertsberg mining dis. ended by late Pliocene time. This distinctive structural episode caused a cumulative Field-based observation in the Ruffaer Metamorphic Belt led left-lateral offset across the mining district of a kilometer or Warren (1995) to conclude that the Derewo fault zone is a near- two at most (Sapiie. strike-slip rocks. 1995). the bound- bedding. the Ruffaer Metamorphic Belt. in the swampy lowlands. (1986). vertical strike-slip fault zone that only locally marks the bound- ary between metamorphosed and unmetamorphosed rocks. morphosed and unmetamorphosed Jurassic to Cretaceous rocks trict (Fig. is composed of mafic intru- estimates for the slates and phyllites are in the range of 250–350 sives and volcanic rocks. They showed that protoliths for most metamorphic rocks were simi. illite crystallinity. is a slab of ocean crust and upper mantle that has been rence of spessartine garnet and chloritoid in the northern part of uplifted and tilted northwards ~30°. 9) (Warren. and the ultramafics at the higher elevations along the southern part of the near absence of biotite indicate high-pressure greenschist facies belt. Nash ways for intrusion and focused the flow of hydrothermal fluids et al. The Irian Ophiolite Belt in the western Central Range was lar to the Jurassic and Cretaceous shales and siltstones exposed mapped using imagery by Dow et al. 1998). (1993) using satellite imagery trict (Sapiie and Cloos. Riedel shear strike-slip system developed with a trend parallel. Contractional deformation in the mining district must ary of the Ruffaer Metamorphic Belt with the highlands fold- have largely. ditions (Warren. This faulting created path. 3 Ma Grasberg intrusion is a nearly circular plug that crosscuts Gray. is locally phyllitic. Downloaded from specialpapers. but its length suggests move- Margin Strata ment of at least 10 km and. 1971). 20 Ma. A left-lateral sense of slip is inferred for the Derewo fault The distribution of metamorphic rocks in the western Cen. Weiland (1999) concluded this dynamic morphic recrystallization driven by residual heat in the forearc amphibolite facies metamorphism occurred at a location far out in . 1999). The southern part of the belt is slate. indicates the Irian Ophiolite Belt to the north was the unroofed to mantle depths. These black rocks form very distinctive was coarse-grained enough for complete mineral separation.

The trend arc plutonism would thermally weaken this zone of lithosphere. Similar gneissic amphibolites have been dredged along the is reported to contain clasts of “metamorphic rocks. Central Range (Quarles van Ufford. of a new subduction zone. or forearc block. As abnormal heat content in the hanging wall of the new subduc. 2005). These biostratigraphic data indicate that landmass thonous sheet thrust onto the back of the Irian Ophiolite Belt erosion began at ca. [and] slates …” (Visser and Hermes. of folds in the western highlands is N55W. for 1999). The plate margin orientation at the time of subduction axis of the line of arc volcanism (Quarles van Ufford and Cloos. The presence of the Dabera plutonic complex the Pacific and Australian plates along the trend of the Central at the leading edge of the forearc block indicates that north-dip. directly recorded in the geology of the accretionary complex. first appearance of metamorphic detritus is of great interest. Even if the shortening was 200 km. causes higher than typical peak 1988).. The Makats Formation ridge. The western and eastern parts of the Irian Ophiolite Belt (Weiland. along with the Cenderawasih Bay RATES embayment. p. The Makats Once deformation of continental rise strata began. faer Metamorphic Belt attained high-pressure greenschist facies Prior to the subduction of the edge of the Australian conti- metamorphic rocks. A similar imbrication is years. In the northwesternmost corner of the belt. with all other subduction zones. the presence of cooling plutons and thus an and-thrust belts could have easily occurred in less than 4 m. a high heat content. ping subduction beneath the Outer Melanesian Arc started at ca.org on June 5. Nonetheless. 1986) beneath the accreted rocks forming the metamorphic belt. the middle Miocene age of the unclear (Fig. mica schist. as undetected structures must This plutonic complex must have formed during the episode of be present. 100–106) indi- Dioritic plutons with arc-type chemistry are present in the cating deep (>10± km) denudation of the source landmass. the normal component of convergence is calculated as temperatures for a given depth and increases the total volume of ~50 km/m. Rupture initiation was by subduction reversal along the setting. forearc basin. 1991). are recent and probably still developing structural complications at the western end of the Central Range. Taking the average Another effect is that when still-hot arc terrane becomes the trend of these strike orientations. 15 Ma. the age of the first strata containing metamorphic Maramuni age (20–10 Ma).y. for which the structural setting is debris is uncertain. but it probably was northwest-trending. The base of thickening layer of passive margin sediments was bulldozed. previously mentioned occurrences of plutons and volcanics of Unfortunately. beramo region near the international border (Fig. obviously minimum estimates. 1984a. convergence was accommodated by movements in a shear An important field relation concerning sedimentation of zone (the subduction channel as defined by Shreve and Cloos. p.y. by several million (this interpretation is shown on Fig. it has tor of 9 cm/yr along an azimuth of S65W (from Scotese et al. K-Ar by thrust imbrication with subsidiary folding (Hobson. In the eastern high- In the eastern portion of the Irian Ophiolite Belt. the period of at least 30–4 Ma. 1984). These are for part of this complex near Dabera (Fig. This. hornblende and biotite ages of 35–28 Ma have been obtained The amount is estimated as ~100 km (Hill. Along with modest subduction km of shortening (or even 200 km) across the highlands fold- speeds of ~5 cm/yr. This precedes. and the basal section. 1996). This unit records when subduction meters in thickness. was subducted to mantle depths. a dioritic lands of Papua New Guinea. 12 overthrust to the west. 1988. and a relative plate motion vec- leading edge. 9). The this formation is early Middle Miocene (16–14 Ma) (Visser and top part was accreted. a progressively Formation contains abundant siliciclastic debris.. several hundred Hermes. for rock affected by metamorphic recrystallization during the initia. this move- south-dipping subduction that formed the New Guinea Trench ment is but a small fraction of the total convergence between (Weiland. 1962. there are the this would place important constraints on the rate of unroofing. 1986). Accretion . 9). 100–111). 1). the beginning of widespread synorogenic sedimentation documented in the much better studied and exposed Weyland to the south and on the Australian continental basement at ca.y. Mid-Atlantic Ridge (Honnorez et al. 2014 Geology of the Central Range of Western New Guinea 17 the Pacific Basin where crustal slices or mafic dikes were caught deformation first caused one or more islands to emerge near the in an oceanic transform fault zone near the formative spreading junction of the plates (the forearc high). the measured 80–100 tion of north-dipping subduction. the Irian Ophiolite Belt forearc basement occurs in the Mam. regional shortening is dominated plutonic complex is intruded into the ultramafic terrane. 2005). There is no known evidence that this magmatic basal Makats deposits indicates a substantial supply of silici- complex was intruded into the ultramafic rock exposed to the clastic sediment to the south that was transported north into the south. if not expected. 1999). 9) (Weiland. Range since 25 Ma.gsapubs. The Central Range developed in an obliquely convergent 30 Ma. We also believe SHORTENING ESTIMATES AND PLATE-TECTONIC that these occurrences.. because The strike of the western Central Range is ~N80W. Dow et al. The The magnitude of shortening recorded by observed folding most recent movements are manifestations of the switch of the and detectable thrust imbrication in the western highlands is Bird’s Head block from the Australian plate to the Pacific plate estimated to be ~80 km over the 120 km width of the western (see earlier discussion). This is mechanically reasonable. At this rate. 1999). thrust on top of the highlands fold belt (Dow and Sukamto. Downloaded from specialpapers. where arc-type magmatic rocks were Ma (Quarles van Ufford and Cloos. and the strike-parallel component as 70 km/m. 1962. We suspect that this magmatic complex is an alloch. most of the convergence is not tion zone would explain why slates and phyllites of the Ruf. in turn. initiation is uncertain. 1990). Dow et al. nent..

2004). As will be seen. whereas under. strike-slip faulting (Sapiie and Cloos. 1988b. of convergence. the ophiolite belt.gsapubs. Using this terminology. One phenomenon is clear in the continental margin. mechanical concepts are discussed echelon fold trains in the core of the highlands. magmatism. Any model for the oblique to the direction of plate convergence. 2014 18 M. the transcurrent component of 1988a. force balance on the edge of the Pacific plate as collisional oro- thus. many hundreds of kilometers of intraoceanic subduc. tion must have previously occurred to account for the previous In this chapter. for more details). Oblique conver. Downloaded from specialpapers. In Chapter 2. tectonic evolution of western New Guinea must account for these gence readily accounts for the generation of left-stepping en observations. folds in the western Central Range trend ~40° for the western Central Range of New Guinea. The estimate of 200 km of shortening in the the delamination of the lithospheric mantle and the change in the fold-and-thrust belt only applies to deformed shelf deposits and. . The extent to and summarized to provide a basis for predicting the response which the folds rotated to their present orientation is probably of the underlying lithospheric mantle during the subduction of a 10°–20°. 20+ m. left-lat- rocks of the Ruffaer Metamorphic Belt were underplated beneath eral. genesis progressed worked in concert to cause a distinct change Therefore.org on June 5. and deformation was summarized Overall. the motion began to manifest itself as northwest-trending. by offscraping widens an accretionary complex.y. line basement became uprooted. but this is uncertain. to convergence after continental crust began to underthrust. metamorphism. the pattern and timing of sedimentation. core of the western highlands: Once collision began and crystal- plating adds to the base and thickens it (see Cloos and Shreve. Cloos et al. in structural response.

B: Ap- ing behavior. In their model. A: Himalayan orogen (Bird. lithospheric mantle can peel away from the overlying continental crust and sink vertically because it is cooler and more dense than the underlying astheno- sphere. they make a force balance / lithosphere strength analysis that Central Range of New Guinea. They argue that the overall force balance driving the subducted end of the plate downwards is changed little by the collisional jamming. These workers concluded that thickened roots of lithospheric mantle form under contractional orogenic belts. 1978. It will be argued that the mechani- where subduction speeds remain faster. The “delamination” process was invoked to explain the timing of metamorphism and the generation of synorogenic magmas in the core of the Himalayas (Fig. 1981). Models for lithospheric delamination in collisional moun- faulting were considered to be possible end members of this rift. Fig. C: European Plate rupture and sinking along an inclined trajectory has Alps (Davies and von Blanckenburg. 10C). 1990. both “pure-shear” ductile necking and “simple-shear” detachment Figure 10. and We concluded that subterranean plate rifting must also have the mantle each play a predictable role in controlling the struc- occurred in the subducting Australian lithosphere beneath the tural evolution before and during collisional orogenesis at a sub- 19 . It is envisioned that where overthickened masses of cold lithospheric mantle are generated. Cloos et al. blobs detach as “litho- spheric drips” that sink vertically into the asthenosphere. Fig. a subter- ranean rifting of the subducted lithosphere must nucleate where plate bending is tightest.” We believe delamination ing upwards from the base and nearly perpendicular to the plate is the preferable descriptor of the slab breakoff process. for it (Fig. Downloaded from specialpapers. 9 therein). the crystalline crust. the subducted plate would continue to sink along its previous inclined trajectory (Fig. 10B). cal layering of the sedimentary cover. 1979).org on June 5. According to Bird (1978. They also conclude that rupture does not localize in implies that separation is strongly influenced by the mechanical the region of tightest bending. 1 therein). 1 therein). process as “collisional delamination. (1994) referred to this leads them to envision that rupture occurs by a crack propagat. been termed “slab breakoff” by Davies and von Blanckenburg (1995) and von Blanckenburg and Davies (1995). Consequently. A variant of this process was proposed by Houseman et al. Fig. and Schott and Schmeling (1998). Bird (1979) proposed that delamination was also a simple explanation for the vertical uplift of the Colorado Plateau and associated sparse magmatism. 1995. (1981). 2014 Geological Society of America Special Paper 400 2005 Chapter 2 Mechanics of Subducting Slab Breakoff by Collisional Delamination LITHOSPHERIC DELAMINATION The basic concept that lithospheric mantle could separate and sink away from continental crust was first proposed by Bird (1978). By analogy to continental rifting. Platt and England (1994). The rate of delamination tearing depends strongly upon the viscosity of the asthenosphere that must flow into the propa- gating crack (Bird and Baumgardner. palachian orogen (Sacks and Secor. 10A). A similar sinking trajectory is shown in the delamination models of Collins (1994) and Collins and Vernon (1994). rather it occurs at greater depths anisotropies in the lithosphere. Note the differing ways in which plate rupture is envisioned to occur. tain melts.gsapubs. Sacks and Secor (1990) proposed that following the jam- ming of a subduction zone by a continent or thick arc complex.

2014 20 M. large dent effects that cause fractures to form at “subcritical” differen. elastic strains can develop. brittle. long. crust and dunites to approximate the mantle (Kirby. For this reason. Where earth materials are sufficiently cool (<300–400 °C). Cloos. regimes. profound changes in regional sedimentation patterns. differential stress (σ1 – σ3) and resultant elastic strains can slowly build up over time scales of years to centuries. our mechanical reasoning is for quartzites and some other rocks to approximate continental described in detail below. The field of engineering fracture given area are nucleated. . 1987). Peak strength occurs processes occurring over million-year time scales. but poorly calibrated. at temperatures of ~600 °C and higher. the frictional resistance to renewed slip on planes of weak- ness (fault reactivation). or fluid pressures are lower. the mechanical role of fluids must be large in and near more ancient. where the pressure-dependent downward-increasing fracture strength vides an upper limit on the differential stress that can be sus. time-depen. and viscous. and earthquake waves are generated. 1992a). Downloaded from specialpapers. other factors being equal. 1987).gsapubs. Peak strength oc- curs at shallower depths where temperature gradients are higher. 12A).. At greater depth. Higher fluid pressure can lessen and even entirely negate the effects of higher confin- ing pressure because it proportionately decreases the “effective” normal stresses (Hubbert and Rubey. it only pro. There are significant. deeply eroded. resistance increases with increasing normal stress on the slip planes. Plastic and viscous behaviors are both forms of dis- tributed flow. duction zone—a sequence of events well recorded in the geology dent upon confining pressure. Under common tectonically imposed strain rates and are the basis for reconstructing the timing of geologic events at greenschist facies metamorphic temperatures of ~300 °C. 1959). the dominant factor controlling the depth of peak strength is term fracture strengths should be linearly. water-rich sediments but comparatively minor in anhy- late-stage igneous activity along the axis of the orogenic belt and drous mantle rocks. much more com- monly. fluid con- well recorded in the rock record of New Guinea that constrain the tent. Diagram illustrating the concept that the “peak strength” of the lithosphere is at depths of 10–25 km. with the viscosity as the derived previous workers who advocate delamination or slab breakoff as coefficient of proportionality. This is where the largest earthquakes in a tial stresses (Atkinson. rapid movement occurs. On this subject. strength. and differential stresses that cause elastic strains are slowly relieved by distor- RUPTURE OF THE LITHOSPHERE tion (flow) of crystals (Fig. The mechanical response of (Tsenn and Carter. or largely so. At the depths where the lithosphere has peak strength. collisional orogenic belts: porous. On the short time scales of seismic wave propagation. Cloos et al. Ruptures commonly propagate upward into zones of weak materials that are only able to sustain small differ- ential stress between events (e. probably the temperature gradient. Conventional fracture strength analysis is rooted in Mohr- Coulomb theory. Nonetheless. and fluid pressure/effective stress of western New Guinea. As permeability. but in the case of orogenic Figure 11. flows. temperature-dependent flow tained. the entire earth responds elastically. When the differ- ential stresses exceed the fracture strength or. 1983. local mechanics is well established but essentially undeveloped for strain rates are slower.g. This analysis appears to apply fairly well for short-term phenomena such as the rapid loading of rocks by earthquake-generating movements. depen. and fluid pressure gradients determine the rates and scales timing of collisional delamination. plastic.org on June 5. Two distinctive geologic phenomena are principles should also apply (Fig. Displacement along faults involves friction. Carter Fracture and Flow There are four end-member rheological behaviors in the solid earth: elastic. temperatures are higher. “Flow laws” are experimentally cali- materials at depth must be inferred. Our field observations and isotopic ages summarized earlier 1976). Earthquakes and brittle behavior involve planar faults. quartz and near Earth’s surface during the collision forming the Cen. or nearly so. olivine flows tral Range of western New Guinea. Dislocation motion controls the creep rate under a wide range of temperature conditions (Carter. Flow laws have been determined a tectonic process. They also should be found in of equilibration. our kinematic brated relationships between measured differential stress (flow picture of lithospheric behavior differs significantly from that of strength) and imposed strain rate. limit intersects the upward-increasing. 11). and thus. In most tectonic processes occurring on geologic time scales.

and the rate of flow depends upon the magnitude of the imposed differential stress or strain rate. Although rigorous quantitative extrapolation is limited by the multitude of variables (Rutter and Brodie. 1976). it is clear that as temperatures increase at greater depths. the yield strength (σy). Flow strength and viscosity decrease three (n = 3). Factors affecting plastic and viscous flow. However. Appropriate tem. Asthe- nospheric mantle behaves viscously. Ideal plastic materials have a differential stress (yield strength) that must be exceeded before any flow begins. these terms correspond to distinct end-member mechan- ical behaviors. A stress directions. flow occurs instantly to reduce the ambient differential stress to Figure 12. Plastic and Viscous Flow Many workers use the terms plastic and viscous as syn- onyms for the ductile flow of materials. such as inactive seamounts. distortion begins (Fig. 1991). Plastic materials have a finite differential stress they can support—the yield strength. 11).gsapubs. differential stress is and Tsenn. In reality. Yield strength exponentially decreases with increasing temperature. on the other hand. there is a large nian) viscous material. 1987). Real rocks are significantly non- boundaries of the flowing material..org on June 5. Newtonian. the flow strength of silicate materials decreases exponentially (Fig. respectively (Oxburgh and Turcotte. The validity of the flow at specified conditions of temperature and differential stress . imposed. In an ideal plastic material. and the differential stresses and elastic strains can build up to the point where fracture-causing earthquakes occur. 12B). but the experiments must determines the magnitudes of the differential stresses generated be done at laboratory strain rates that are more than five orders in the zone of flow. increase with decreasing temperature. values less than σy. The concept of “equivalent viscosity” refers to high that any differential stress causes flow at a rate that depends the viscosity of a material at a specific range of strain rate. The plastic flow regime in the lithosphere occurs where tem- peratures are sufficiently small that differential stresses less than some finite value. The laboratory experiments show an exponen. flow wherever differ- ential stresses are nonzero. At near-surface temperatures. and flow will occur viscosity of the material. In an ideal (Newto- is much higher than at fast strain rates. Plastic and viscous are the mechani- cal approximations that best characterize the long-term behavior of lithospheric mantle and asthenosphere. 12A). Ideal viscous materials. plastic materials will flow at rates that depend upon the Viscous materials have a negligible yield strength. This yield strength. Whenever differential stress attains the magnitude of σy. The “equivalent viscosity” is the resistance to of magnitude faster than natural conditions. As a result. and this determines the rate of flow in the underlying tial dependence on temperature and strain rate. flow occurs at a constant rate regardless gradient in strain when shearing motions are imposed on one of the of differential stress magnitude. In subduction zones. The trace water content (at ppm amounts) has also been shown to have large effects (Kohlst- edt et al. Yield strength and associated viscosity in response to even small gravitationally induced pressure gradients. at which point distortion immediately ceases. For silicate minerals. the viscosities of silicate rocks are so large that any flow is negligible. consequence of this behavior is that the viscosity is different at slow The viscous regime is where temperatures are sufficiently and fast strain rates. 2014 Mechanics of Subducting Slab Breakoff by Collisional Delamination 21 extrapolations depends upon whether the same grain-scale defor- mation mechanisms that operate in the experiments also operate in the natural conditions of interest. Downloaded from specialpapers. mantle. In homogeneous. 1995). the power-law relationship is commonly a factor of about on the viscosity (Fig. This means the equivalent viscosity at slow strain rates exponentially with increasing temperature. In environments of constant load. isotro- Lithospheric mantle behaves as a plastic material and can generally pic materials. in materials science. a displacement rate is imposed that perature conditions can be simulated. B: Most flowing geologic materials have power-law occurs in bands that are oriented at 45° from the local σ1 and σ3 (nonlinear) relationships between differential stress and strain rate. A range of force imbalances and pressure gradients can be supported. plastic or plastico-viscous yielding is concentrated transmit the push and pull forces induced by plate movement. A: The effect of temperature on in directions where the shear stress is at maximum values. can be supported indef- initely.

For larger differential stresses. 80 Ma. is thought to be caused by the presence of a small amount of melt. Although the magnitude of tion mechanism. Where movements thin or thicken the over- real rock. 1993). thermal gradients are as high as 100 °C/km. p. centrated into the hotter. dislocation glide is the dominant defor. 2014 22 M. 11).” Beneath most oceanic sufficient to transmit horizontally the typical differential stresses and some continental areas. Downloaded from specialpapers. 1990). In a section of equilibrium values. (O’Connell and Budiansky. spheric source are more common from greater depths and typically Where oceanic lithosphere is ca. relationships that are significantly nonlinear (Fig. The base of the lithosphere is a rheological boundary that is Oceanic lithosphere is best approximated as having an upper primarily temperature-controlled. 51).. mantle materials decreases progressively downwards. the yield strength of °C/km in the lower lithosphere. the low-velocity zone has a fairly arising from the push and pull forces that drive plate motion. the flow rate create variations in topography and crustal thickness. to viscously flowing asthenosphere should occur over a fairly ronment where intruding magmas advect heat upwards and ther. (Finnerty and Boyd. 11). 12B). lying lithospheric plate or where erosion and sedimentation cause ies that move. In continental areas. Nodules with sheared fabrics indicating recent flow and an astheno- Near ocean ridges. The asthenosphere is the source elastic/brittle and underlying elastic/plastic structure (Fig. The asthenosphere is where temperatures are sufficiently indicating temperature conditions just below the solidus. The frac. The transition from lithospheric mantle with some strength An important exception is the plutonic/volcanic arc envi. flow occurs in the asthenosphere to accom- modate changes in the load of the overlying lithosphere and its The Lithosphere: Brittle/Plastic Behavior cover of sediment. or strain rate. near 10 °C/km. variations in loading. viscous flow is asthenosphere occurs wherever pressure gradients are not at evenly distributed throughout the deforming body. differen- occurs. Cloos et al. 1989. Flow in the is clear that the bulk viscosity is lower if any melt is present and . relationships indicate that the gradation from negligible flow In mantle materials. and heat flow through in basalts from rift zones or ocean islands in mid-plate settings the lithosphere is primarily by conduction. basal part of the lithosphere. (high viscosity) to significant flow (low viscosity) under most mation mechanism in the regime of plastic flow. The yield strength in this depth range is with the top of the “low-velocity zone. 1987. forming a band with thickness of the shear zone at the bottom of the lithosphere. 1987). This is a condi. Laboratory experiments major zone of weakness typically exists along the line of the arc show that silicate minerals have differential stress-strain rate in the overriding plate. the flow rate is slow and the effec- that exceed the local strength of the lithosphere. indicating a minimum tempera- fracture strength near the surface or the flow strength at depth. ambient differential stresses are less than the 1100–1200 °C (Philpotts.gsapubs. it ment is substantially aided by atomic diffusion. 1977). Dislocation climb is the dominant grain-scale deforma. gravity alone can generate sufficient differential stresses tial shearing movements from normal plate motions are con- that drive local movements and continue long after plate tecto. named The Asthenosphere: Viscous Response for the slower travel times and attenuation of seismic waves. Because val of ~10 km. a flow strength to decrease downwards. of ocean ridge basaltic magmas that erupt at temperatures of Most of the time. (P < 30 kbar) and typically record temperatures less than 1100 °C. interval of ~100 °C. osphere. ture for the source region. This would correspond to a thickness inter- tions to migrate across olivine and pyroxene crystals. There is a well-established phenomenon that bears on the ture strength and flow strength intersect. Nodules with thermal gradients are in the range of ~30 °C/km in the crust textures indicating annealing and long-term static conditions and a where the heat-producing elements are concentrated. the mechanical effect of partial melting is not well calibrated.org on June 5. Once this is faster and the effective viscosity lower. As a result. In ideal homogeneous materials. Nixon and Davies. deformation can tive viscosity high. Strong supporting observations for dif- Internal density differences due to composition and temperature fering mechanical behavior with depth come from mantle nodules are rarely sufficient to cause movement. Flow-law “isostatic” adjustments occur. The low-velocity zone. and as low lithospheric source typically come from depths less than ~100 km as 5 °C/km in the underlying lithospheric mantle. flow is concentrated in weak zones and along boundar. plausible conditions of plate movement should occur across an tion where the flow of rock is limited by the ability of disloca. a condition attained where dislocation move. The base nism has ceased (extensional collapse) (Dewey et al. “peak strength” typically at depths of 10–25 km in old oceanic Geophysicists have long correlated the top of the asthenosphere lithosphere (Fig. The of the lithosphere should be thought of as a zone across which rate of these gravity-driven movements slows progressively as there is a large strain rate gradient anytime the lithosphere and erosion and sedimentation flatten topography and deeper-seated asthenosphere are moving with respect to one another. The gradient in temperature downwards causes mally weaken the wall rock. narrow zone. assuming a conductive thermal gradient of 10 of the increase in temperature with depth. Less high that rock flow by distortion of olivine and pyroxene readily than 1% melt can account for these geophysical observations occurs. thermal gradients are record temperatures ~1200–1400 °C. In oceanic lith. For Where tectonic movements generate differential stresses small differential stresses. abrupt top at ~100 km depth and gradational bottom at ~250 km depth (Anderson. thermal gradients are systematically related to plate age. In long-lived subduction systems.

1988). or pool and are too weak to support the buildup of large elastic strains. Consequently. rocks should be buoyant and tend to infiltrate upwards. perhaps even at the kilome. the brittle middle part of the crust is underlain by a Where temperatures are low. continents. Strong supporting evidence for the concept of a zone of mal gradients are nearly adiabatic (~0. The geophysical properties of crust under the shelves tions. with normal thermal gradients. can produce dramatic chemical modification of the lower litho. 2014 Mechanics of Subducting Slab Breakoff by Collisional Delamination 23 progressively decreases as the amount of partial melt increases Where fluid pressures are elevated because of prograde meta- (Kohlstedt and Zimmerman. high enough suprasolidus conditions occurs. cal implication is that normal continental crust is only weakly uation because there are dramatic mechanical differences coupled to the underlying lithospheric mantle. peak strength in the lithosphere comes from the observation There is a chemical matter of special importance to issues that most large (M > 7) earthquakes originate at depths of 10– of magmagenesis. or “peak strength. apatite. increases linearly with depth.. At depth. Lithospheric mantle becomes “fertil. metasomatized lithosphere will shoreline and typically ~40 km thick in the interior (Mooney et generally have distinctive trace element and isotopic composi. The key conclusion is that the strength profile of “nor- PEAK STRENGTH IN THE CRUST AND MANTLE mal” 30+ km thick continental lithosphere is distinctly differ- ent from that of oceanic lithosphere (Fig. into the overlying lithospheric mantle. but opposite. or pass through. 1989. significant quantities of magma crust forms during continental rifting when normal faulting. Thus. 1990. to those of temperature. a component of melt from the lithospheric mantle is intermediate to that of typical continental and oceanic ter- is geochemically distinctive and detectable in magmas from ranes.y. and fluid with the olivine. In the interior of between areas capped by continental versus oceanic crust. where the largest earthquakes are normal-type ized” (metasomatized) with K. consequent elastic strains. the base of the lithosphere can temperatures are attained so that plastic flow (distributed be symbolized as an isotherm that approximates a zone perhaps strain) occurs rather than fracture. Strain rate effects on flow strength ter scale. and ductile stretching thin the crust. significant quantities of quartz (>10%?). when shallower and vice versa. only a few kilometers thick. The extreme case of higher thermal gradients occurs near spheric mantle over time. Cl. Only parts of it must contain preexisting fractures or other weak anisotropies. various for all but the thinnest continental crust. The crust under the sulfides. the effect the lithosphere is where the change from near-solidus to slightly of higher confining pressures is negated.. rare earth elements). LREEs (light and originate at depths less than 10 km. gradients readily drive internal circulation. the base of morphic dehydration or distributed partial melting. The mechani- The strength profile of lithosphere requires further eval.. and this region is commonly referred to as underlain continental rift zones (Hawkesworth et al. and ther. and exotic minerals.. magmas that are continents is always ~30 km thick at the locations near the derived from. Transitional 1992). As temperatures increase. 1990). peak strength lies within the 1990).5 °C/km). either aqueous or magmatic. rutile. the that global-scale homogenization of the asthenosphere occurs largest differential stresses. ilmenite. In areas of high thermal gradient. the deepest earthquakes are Small amounts of magma have small heat contents. These elements are “stored” in the lithospheric mantle upper mantle for old oceanic lithosphere. Most partial melt in the asthenosphere 25 km (Sibson. from density differences due to temperature and compositional High fluid pressure conditions. As will be discussed. of the strength crossover. S. 1985.gsapubs. The differential stress required for slip on composition to behave viscously. 1995). 11). time scale. . the lower crust is entirely made of granitic rock. or the forma. If. Thus. flow strength exponentially decreases. in some areas. heat enable fracturing at great depths (Fig. 11) (Brace and The near chemical uniformity of ocean ridge basalts indicates Kohlstedt. by “transitional crust” (Bond and Kominz. collisional delamination. and garnet in the asthenosphere and pressure on peak strength in oceanic and continental litho- hence are concentrated in small-degree partial melts that intrude sphere are schematically summarized on Figure 13. Scholz. At shallow depths. the strength of rocks that com. and other elements that are “incompatible” The effects of temperature gradient. amphibole. 1989. This process quakes are thrust-type and originate at depths of 25–60 km. For a given area. strain rate. and mafic intrusions increase its density. Menzies. 1980. The largest differen- Since the advent of plate tectonics. whether by infiltration or as gradient occurs in subduction zones. The extreme case of lower thermal rising into lithospheric mantle. This strongly suggests that buoyancy forces that arise are qualitatively similar. This directly indicates that thus the largest earthquakes should develop near the depth the asthenosphere is well mixed. Kohlstedt et al. McKenzie. where most large earth- small dikes. It is highly likely that tion of entirely new fractures. flow in the asthenosphere is primarily by convection. In areas upward (Roden and Murthy. as it appears. pose the crystalline basement is high because friction resists It is not necessary for the lower crust to be uniform in internal distortion. Downloaded from specialpapers. P. should be derived from a lithospheric mantle source in areas of erosion of uplifted blocks. they would rapidly cool and solidify. upward-increasing plastic flow strength (Fig. Gibson et al.org on June 5. Fe. but within the crust within phlogopite. al. ocean ridges. 1996). then intrude as dikes.” in the earth must occur at the believe that the viscosity in the asthenosphere is sufficiently crossover between downward-increasing fracture strength and low that steady convective flow occurs in this part of the mantle. 1998). most geophysicists tial stress. pyroxene. and on the 200–400 m. Ti. Consequently. 13). plastic zone that overlays the viscously behaving lower crust.

within the uppermost mantle of oceanic lithosphere. to the typical differential stresses related to plate motion is evi- tonic behavior during the subduction of continental margins dent from the observation that far away from plate boundaries. 2014 24 M. or rapidly concurrent with movements generating strongly coupled to the underlying mantle toward the interior. continental crust is progressively less aseismically. the peak strength is in the upper mantle. there are two “strong” horizons. 14). and these zones will control the nature of flow in the lower crust. The lower part of continental crust that is ~15–25 km thick behaves plastically. In areas where continental crust has thickness greater than ~25 km. and subsequent collisional orogenesis. the strong.” that is. This is plastic rather than viscous. between ~25 and 10 km in thickness.org on June 5. The overly- Only where continental crust is thinner than ~15–20 km ing crust and lower lithospheric mantle respond to movements in is it effectively “welded” to the underlying mantle (Fig. earthquakes. it probably only con. The brittle upper crust sits atop a viscous lower crust. and the overlying blanket of . and the deep subduction of the edges of continents should be commonplace over geologic time. Continental crust thinner than ~15 km thick is effectively welded to the mantle. Peak strength in normal oceanic lithosphere is within the upper mantle. The upper horizon is in the crust.gsapubs. The lower one is at the Moho in the uppermost part of the mantle. Figure 13. the behavior may be tectonics are laterally transmitted at depths of 10–25 km. and detachment from the lithospheric mantle roots can occur during collisional orogeny. oceanic plates are nearly aseismic. In areas where the crust is “transitional. Peak strength profiles for the lithosphere. and flow should be distributed. FORCE TRANSMISSION tains layers or zones of quartz-rich material. The high strength of oceanic lithosphere compared a phenomenon that should have profound ramifications for tec. Where the It is evident that the largest push and pull forces of plate lower continental crust is quartz-poor. uppermost mantle. Cloos et al. Downloaded from specialpapers. In others. Distortions can occur slowly and Taking this perspective.

the interiors of large areas of continents have generally only been affected by Considerable plastic distortion must occur in the lower litho- relatively small vertical displacements. however. slope. The overall 500+ m. and/or fault offsets or arching or doming is buckling and scattered seismicity of the seafloor in the central or basin subsidence record mid-plate vertical movements that are Indian Ocean (Weissel et al. shelf) are only weakly attached and will become bulldozed against the hanging-wall buttress as the underlying crystalline basement underthrusts and then subducts. Others cause subsidence. In the interior of continents.. Transitional crust underlying continental margins is subductable. zoic strata that cover large areas. Schematic diagram illustrating the differences in mechanical behavior from oceanic to normal continental crust. Compared to PLATE BENDING DURING SUBDUCTION structures observed in mountain belts. the giant Indian-Australian plate is contorting ~2000 km of the interior of continents is evident from the flat-lying Paleo- seaward of the collision-generated Himalayas.gsapubs. transmitted updip from the sinking end(s) of the descending plate episodes of vertical movements have occurred far from plate and the push forces applied along some edges. Imbrication of detaching crust imparts forces on the edge of the continent that can be transmitted in crust viscously coupled to the mantle for many tens to several hundred kilometers toward the interior. It is evident that the . sediment thickness. oceanic sediments is flat-lying. Variations in regional spheric mantle when it bends to subduct. horizontal stratigraphy. In this unusual rarely more than a few kilometers.y. small angular unconformities in the near- almost certainly related to the collision forming the Himalayas. Overlying sediments (rise. stability case. Europe. boundaries. 1987). Some movements cause uplift.org on June 5. 2014 Mechanics of Subducting Slab Breakoff by Collisional Delamination 25 Figure 14. Downloaded from specialpapers. Thus. Zuber. Asia. 1980. forming basins. forming arches or domes. Collisional tectonism will detach con- tinent fragments underlain by lower crust that behaves plastically. the upper part of conti- The situation for the continents is clearly very different. nental lithosphere must have a yield strength that is greater than There are broad areas of scattered seismicity in western North the differential stresses generally imparted by the pull force(s) America. Modified from Cloos (1993). A notable and active exception. and Africa.

This indicates ments many tens to hundreds of kilometers landward of a trench. We are effectively floating on the lower crust. for it is the cooler should increase as crust thickness decreases. Where buoyancy of oceanic lithosphere compared to the underlying continental crust is thinner than ~15–20 km. crustal buoyancy generates substantial bending-induced earthquakes detected near the outer rise (Isacks resistive forces that are transmitted updip and laterally toward et al. the density is nearly the same. Although the near-surface rupture of descending the interior of the continent. 2014 26 M. the crust in contact with lithospheric lithosphere and the location of the negative buoyancy requires mantle responds plastically with a yield strength that generally some discussion. but compositional factors may dominate. the density peak strength is in the upper mantle. continental detachment should typically begin many tens or even 100+ m. ated in the cooler. the geological observations of Chapter 1 will forces resisting the subduction of continental lithosphere are as be integrated with the mechanical principles discussed in Chapter large as those driving oceanic lithosphere downwards (Cloos. Crustal detachment should initiate where positively buoy- it unbends to straighten and continue descent into the mantle.. peak strength corresponds to where the magnitude strength. of the updip pull force from plate sinking is also a maximum. Normal in nature. 86). Range of New Guinea. upper 30 km of lithospheric mantle. Where subduction to believe this is the factor controlling the response of the descend- mantle depths is attempted. The lower part has a finite yield strength and thus faults with scarps up to a few hundred meters high are common responds plastically (see Fig.gsapubs. The duction. crustal thickening. the density distribution of continental shelf and slope. a zone. in the lower crust is typically warm enough to flow viscously. All of this reasoning leads to the expectation that the effects of the underlying upper mantle. 15. at the top of the asthenosphere. This mechanical outer boundary layer of the mantle. Crystalline middle crust with significant fracture and plastic flow Consequently. it has no obvious direct that cause uplift. The lower part of oceanic litho. that faulted oceanic crust remains welded to. 13). at depth is almost entirely a result of temperature difference. p. Where con. ant lithosphere begins to turn downwards to move to mantle Where the bending is tight because the subducting plate dip is depths. the cess of collisional delamination—combine to create a predict- situation is very different where continent-capped lithosphere able sequence of events. 1968). But before proceeding. Downloaded from specialpapers. 10 Ma) is driven by the inherent negative ture increases. because the buoyancy In Chapter 3. that is. bending and unbending of oceanic lithosphere occurs steadily for However. is younger than ca. normal-thickness continental crust ing plate during collisional delamination. beneath the asthenosphere. downwards to subduct. The sinking plate is most dense where it is also the strongest. well recorded in the surface geology of enters a subduction zone. This is where the crust is 15–20 km thick and transitional steep. is involved. This factor alone can explain the long-term preservation of the collisional delamination event that created the Central of old continental crust. mechanical layering during subduction zone jamming—the pro- As evident from the Himalayas and the European Alps. . The lithosphere is strong.org on June 5. 10 km or so thick. Crust underlying the continental slopes and outermost shelf Because the variation in compressibility as a function of temper- areas is effectively welded to the lithospheric mantle. 1989. As the temperature of the picture (Fig. 2 to generate a series of scaled. and any overlying sediments with negligible strength. the ocean crust and uppermost mantle fracture. 14) has considerable tectonic implications for crustal mantle at the base of the lithosphere is almost the same as that response as a continental margin enters a subduction zone. Cloos et al. and subducts with. well before 30+ km thick crust starts to bend downwards to sub- sphere must first contract as the hinge forms and then extend as duct. lithospheric-scale cross sections 1993). and the ature is comparatively small (Anderson. Their formation is concurrent with normal-type. The faster the speed of sub. 13). By the time continental crust in the seafloor between the base of the trench slope and the top that is weakly attached to the underlying mantle is forced to turn of the outer rise. there are two distinct horizons of peak strength: an upper zone of peak strength in the middle of the crystalline crust BUOYANCY OF THE LITHOSPHERE and a lower zone in the uppermost mantle (Fig. These are the collisional forces oceanic lithosphere is commonplace. and other tectonic move- long-term effect on the overall subduction process.y. Most of the negative buoyancy of an oceanic plate is gener- tinental crust is of 30+ km thickness. These hori- zons of strength are separated by the lower crust that has a flow Nearly all subduction (except where the oceanic lithosphere strength that should typically decrease downwards as tempera. the deeper such crust can be subducted before heating equivalent 1 bar density profile for the mantle is shown in Figure weakens the attachment to the underlying mantle. must detach from its mantle underpinning. Where 30+ km thick continental crust New Guinea.

During normal subduction. The high density of the uppermost mantle (up to 3.gsapubs. The lithosphere is a conductive thermal boundary layer between the surface and the asthenosphere that convects freely and maintains a near-adiabatic temperature gradient. Downloaded from specialpapers. but for oceanic lithosphere and asthenosphere. . Den- sity increase due to compression is not included. Compared to the density contrasts that drive subduction. The lower part of lithospheric mantle is nearly at the temperature of the asthenosphere and thus has nearly the same density.39 g/cm3) is due to lower temperature and resultant thermal contraction. the extreme low density of continental crust will resist subduction proportional to the amount of mass involved. the deep subduction of the thinned edges of continents (transitional crust) occurs shortly before col- lisional orogenesis begins. From this figure it is apparent that the negative buoyancy of the lithosphere resides in the upper 20 km or so of the mantle. 2014 Figure 15. Nonetheless. B: Bulk density profile of the lithosphere. the downward shearing forces imparted by the sinking of the oceanic lithosphere drags a thin layer of sediment to the depths of arc magmagenesis. “Potential temperature” is the equivalent temperature at surface pressure “corrected” for the adiabatic temperature increase with depth that results from compression. A: Temperature profile of the lithosphere. the relative density contrasts are well constrained. Absolute densities are uncertain because exact rock composition is uncertain. for it is a comparatively minor second-order phenomenon that affects hot and cold mantle to a similar magnitude. Parameters are consistent with those in Cloos (1993).org on June 5.

. Normal oceanic lithosphere. 1988a.y. the component of head-on convergence was ~5 orogenesis in Cloos (1993). Sediments simply ride on the sequential comparison of position are the relict New Guinea top of the plate and thus do not add to lithospheric buoyancy. 1988b). Once continental Underthrusting occurs before “true” subduction that involves shelf and slope deposits enter the realm of subduction-driven the downward movement of crustal materials to mantle depths. are drawn from the Central Range foreland to beyond the New nospheric mantle. which changed to transitional Australian-crust-capped crystalline basement began to be uprooted because of collisional lithosphere.). In the zone of underthrusting. loading by sediment deposition or unloading by erosion subducting Australian plate. The use of the terms “accretionary ness of ~30 km. ward extent of deformation of the descending plate. known timing constraints for the development of the orogeny ant).org on June 5. continental crust typically has a thick. width varies from a few tens of kilometers to many hundreds of During steady convergence. commonly 100–200 m high. our zone eventually jams. and in some cases the entire incoming sediment pile.y. Of Trench for the overriding plate and the Timika airport for the course. Scaled cross sections are presented to take into account all sity greater than the underlying asthenosphere (negatively buoy. increments. 1988).y. are involved. On passive margins. tinental-crust-capped lithosphere began to underthrust and when sphere. oceanic litho. the offscraping deformation is far from a steady- and the deflection of the descending plate is simply an isostatic state condition because an ever thickening wedge of sediment 29 . The base of the trench slope marks the SECTIONS seaward extent of deformation of the hanging-wall block. Where not buried by sediment. up to 500 m or kilometers. an outer rise. Offscraping and underplating occur with Material that moves under the hanging-wall block is simply no change in the speed of convergence (see discussion in Cloos underthrusting until it reaches the point where true subduction and Shreve. and northern Australia (the New Guinea region). The sections are drawn using relative Australian-Pacific and continental margins underlain by thin crust are inherently plate motions that indicate convergence at a speed of ~50 km/ subductable because the bulk density of the crystalline crust and m. neutral lithospheric Sediments deposited upon oceanic basement (abyssal plain buoyancy occurs somewhere beneath the continental shelf. inherently subductable. The cross sections lithospheric mantle is greater than that of the underlying asthe. Downloaded from specialpapers.gsapubs. With this crustal thickness. but the distinction of where steady oceanic lithosphere. Once thick slope and shelf deposits begins. as off southeastern South America (Falklands area) so thick. In this case. Several concepts need refinement to add focus on funda- At current shorelines. The outer rise marks the sea- orogeny were drawn to reflect the events recorded in the geol. deformation. Shelf and rise deposits) are deformed at the base of the trench slope. The essential geodynamic requirement is that steady orogenesis. the bulk of the pile is simply offscraped into a Sediment offscraping occurs at the front of the trench slope. Reference points for welded to the crystalline basement. Lithospheric-scale cross sections of the Central Range is located ~100 km farther seaward. the consideration of the mechanical layering of con. do cause vertical isostatic adjustments. Collisional ogy of New Guinea (discussed in Chapter 1 and summarized in orogenesis only begins when positively buoyant lithosphere is Table 1). sediments are bulldozed. In the case tinental lithosphere. Guinea Trench. the lithosphere has prism” for steady-state subduction zones and “collisional moun- a positive buoyancy that is nearly the same magnitude as the tain belt” for cases of attempted continental subduction are well negative buoyancy that drives steady subduction of 50+ Ma established in the literature. and the events generate the geologic relations An important concept is that sedimentary rocks are not depicted along section B–B′ on Figure 9. cross sections are drawn at 2 m. steadily growing mass. forced to bend downwards and begin true subduction. subducts to the depths of arc magmagenesis.. and about five million years elapsed between when con- from north-directed subduction of ocean-crust-capped litho. subduction occurs as long as the descending plate has a bulk den. When the incoming plate has a bulk density less than the that formed the western Central Range of New Guinea. prior to 5 Ma (see Scotese et al. 2014 Geological Society of America Special Paper 400 2005 Chapter 3 Palinspastic Reconstruction of Collisional Delamination in New Guinea COLLISIONAL DELAMINATION—SCALED CROSS adjustment to the load. and the physical constraints on collisional of New Guinea. a layer of sediment. the collision resulted cm/yr. sphere capped by short-lived or young island arcs (<~20 m. mental tectonic processes. the subduction ages of most events are known within time spans of 2 m.y. All but the youngest oceanic lithosphere is subduction ends and collision begins is not. As the underlying asthenosphere (positively buoyant).

GEOLOGIC EVENTS ALONG THE NORTHERN AUSTRALIAN CONTINENTAL MARGIN Western New Guinea (136°E to 141°E) Eastern New Guinea (141°E to 147°E) Indonesia Papua New Guinea Present-day • Pacific plate north of area • Bismarck microplate northeast of area. 38 to 30 Ma • Collisional orogeny in eastern New Guinea forms Papuan Peninsula.Downloaded from specialpapers. 200 to 100 Ma •• Slow passive margin subsidence. 43 Ma •• Change in Pacific plate motion forms west-dipping Izu-Bonin-Mariana and Tonga-Kermadec subduction zones and Outer Melanesian Arc Terranes 62 to 56 Ma • Coral Sea rifting forms Gulf of Papua ca. or global phenomenon . 2014 TABLE 1. 100 to 80 Ma •• Southwest-dipping subduction along northeastern edge of Australian plate. Sepik deformational and metamorphic belt. amount of magmatism unknown. 240 to 200 Ma •• Rifting of northern margin of Australia begins and truncates Tasman orogenic belt and forms broad 1000+ km wide shelf underlain by thin continental crust ca. 70 Ma •• Australian plate arrives at northerly latitudes. uplifts Papuan Ophiolite • Aure Trough is relict trench ca. Solomon • Strike-slip along Yapen fault zone microplate east of area • No Pleistocene volcanism • Convergent tectonism uplifts Huon Peninsula • Little seismicity in highlands • Widespread Pleistocene volcanism • Scattered seismicity in highlands • Thrust faulting along southern margin of highlands 4 Ma • Shortening of Irian fold-and-thrust belt ending • Shortening/unroofing of crystalline basement under • Volcanism ending along spine of western highlands Papuan thrust-and-fold belt begins • Conglomeratic sedimentation begins • Widespread volcanism along spine of eastern highlands ca.org on June 5. widespread mature quartz sandstone and shale (Kembelangan Group) ca.gsapubs. and widespread carbonate sediment accumulation begins on shelf ca. but probably minor ca. 440 to 350 Ma • Precambrian basement blanketed by cratonal shelf strata • Tasman orogeny forms mid-Paleozoic mountain Paleozoic belt that is deeply eroded • = eastern or western half of island only •• = islandwide. 5 to 3 Ma •• Caroline microplate north of island 7 Ma •• Pacific plate north of island • Shortening/unroofing of crystalline basement under Irian fold. 33 to 31 Ma •• Global sea level falls 100 m and forms unconformity on most of Australian shelf ca. • Renewed uplift of Papuan Peninsula and-thrust belt begins • Volcanism begins along spine of western highlands 10 Ma • No igneous activity into Australian crust • Ending of Maramuni arc magmatism into Australian basement 12 Ma •• Siliciclastic sediments flood carbonate shelf deposits of New Guinea Limestone Group 15 Ma •• Beginning of siliciclastic deposition on oceanic forearc basement (Makats Formation) • Peak Maramuni arc magmatism ca. 25 to 20 Ma • Subduction forming rocks in Ruffaer Metamorphic Belt from • Carbonate sedimentation blankets Sepik complex metamorphism of Australian rise and slope sediments • Siliciclastic deposition continues in Aure Trough • Beginning of Maramuni arc magmatism into Australian basement by subduction at Trobriand Trough ca.

16A). 1984. a tec- tonized landmass that will be subjected to erosion. 16A) mation until ca. “Orogeny” is used in the classical sense as a term to describe 25 Ma: Intraoceanic Subduction the growth of subaerial mountains. 1984.” The Australian crystalline basement underlying tion zone by the Ontong Java Plateau. This is considered the product of at least two phases of arc magmatism since the the beginning of the Central Range orogeny proper. and accreting to the base of the forearc block. the precollision com. recrystallizing. Wells. the term decapitation and other mechanical adjustments due to delamina- “precollision complex” is used in this report. This event marks the beginning of crustal and the magmatic complex that dates between 35 and 30 Ma Figure 16. Crust thickness and density profiles are illustrated along with the position of neutral lithospheric buoyancy (see Cloos. 8 Ma. at which time it becomes certainly due to the jamming of the Outer Melanesian subduc- “thick-skinned. From this perspective. 1000 km wide zone of transitional continental crust that was stretched during Triassic rifting. 1989). 30 Ma. Kroenke. This plate reorganization is almost that predates the collisional jamming. 1993). the western Central Range did not become involved in the defor. (Figure 16 continues on following pages. 1976. The progressively tion of the subducting lithosphere. All of this Eocene (Coleman and Packham.) . Downloaded from specialpapers. 1986) would quickly cause a ing steady subduction predates thick-skinned deformation during precollision complex to become emergent as the pile grows in collisional orogenesis. 2014 Palinspastic Reconstruction of Collisional Delamination in New Guinea 31 is bulldozed. To differentiate this phase of tectonism. A: Lithospheric-scale cross section at 25 Ma. AUS—Australian plate. Mil- deformation is “thin-skinned” during the steady underthrusting som. 12 Ma. The New Guinea Trench (NGT in Fig. or in other words. 1985. the Irian Ophiolite Belt. ward subduction began beneath the Outer Melanesian arc. by ca. Sediment derived from the Australian continent is deforming. The Outer Melanesian Arc Terrane contains an old arc complex formed during south- dipping subduction at the New Guinea Trench from ca. 1996). umes of siliciclastic materials at ca.org on June 5. In the case Jurassic oceanic crust that formed after Triassic rifting of of the present-day island of New Guinea.gsapubs. PAC—Pacific plate. Packham. thickness and width. This 15 Ma. 25 Ma (Kroenke. a south-facing intraoceanic subduction zone (Fig. the northern edge of the Australian plate was subducted beneath plex was entirely submarine until small islands emerged at ca. forming the phyllitic rocks now exposed in the Ruffaer Metamorphic Belt. when reversal occurred and a new arc began to form by north-dipping subduction. it is greater influx of passive margin strata (larger sediment supply evident that a transient phase of thin-skinned deformation dur- as defined by Shreve and Cloos. Emergent uplifts of passive margin strata with a lateral phase of convergence in the western Pacific started when north- extent comparable to the present island started to shed large vol. The Arafura Sea and southern New Guinea are underlain by a broad.

conti. forearc block cooled. By ca. and the underlying lithosphere is thinner from the upward advection of heat in rising magma. Whether the metamorphosed sediments are Jurassic to The basal Makats deposits are early Middle Miocene. Oligocene trench axis deposits. small islands along the spine of a rising forearc neled far northwards along the trench is unclear. .org on June 5. 15 Ma. 16B) in the eastern North Coast Basin. Approximately 500 km of convergence has occurred since 25 Ma. Peak temperatures of ~350 °C were attained By 15 Ma. As the nentally derived detritus that entered the trench were subducted. Ruffaer Metamorphics under 100 km Irian Ophiolite thermally thinned NCB = North Coast Basin lithosphere NGT = New Guinea Trench under arc Figure 16 (continued). 500 km of oceanic lithosphere was Subduction reversal occurred at ca. The petrology of complex in front of the forearc block was 20 km or so thick (Fig. B: Lithospheric-scale cross section at 15 Ma. and metamorphic rocks are no longer forming at the present depths of erosion into the Ruffaer Metamorphic Belt. Continental crust is shown about to underthrust. Belt (position A in Fig. and rise strata from Jurassic to Miocene age have been bulldozed. Cloos et al. 30 Ma. 9) are relicts of the phyllitic part of the metamorphic belt is best characterized as older southwest-dipping subduction system. 1999). Makats Formation (Fig. No distinctive high at the crest of a large accretionary complex were shedding stratigraphic horizons have been found. the slates and phyllites indicate high-pressure greenschist facies 16B). Subduction of cold oceanic lithosphere has caused substantial cooling of the base of the forearc block. a progressively greater thick- The deeply accreted materials are now exposed as the Ruffaer ness of abyssal plain and rise strata entered the subduction zone. at Dabera in the Irian Ophiolite Belt (Fig. The more phyllitic rocks are nearer the Irian Ophiolite Miocene age. from the bulldozing of outer slope deposits of Jurassic to early 1995). 16A). It is most likely that emergence of small islands resulted conditions with recrystallization at depths of 15–25 km (Warren. 16–14 Ma. the Irian Ophiolite. 1983) except for the fact that the hanging-wall block contained 15 Ma: Emergence of Isolated Islands significant residual heat when subduction began because the arc was just extinguished.y. This material was of any larger pattern of faulting and folding. small islands had emerged because the accretionary between ca. The initial forearc penetratively distributed. Australian continent approached. were probably similar to the modern Mariana Trench (Bloomer. as would be expected if the protoliths block (now the uplifted Irian Ophiolite) and associated trench were poorly lithified. and the cooling arc complex in the The evidence for subaerial exposure of the top of the precol- hanging-wall block was a heat source causing metamorphism of lision complex comes from the deposition of the siliciclastic-rich the underplated materials. subducted beneath the Outer Melanesian Arc Terrane. hindering recognition debris northwards onto the forearc block. Downloaded from specialpapers. 28 and 20 Ma (Weiland. The trench axis depression is a barrier to the southward transport of sediment onto the shelf. Metamorphic Belt. Between 25 and 15 Ma. Siliciclastic detritus is shed northwards from isolated bathymetric highs to accumulate as the Makats Formation on top of the oceanic forearc block. forming a thick precollision complex that is locally emergent and subject to erosion. The new volcanic arc is well established.gsapubs. 2014 32 M. Soon after. Oligocene distal rise strata or distal Oligocene turbidites fun. Deformation in the uplifted and is now exposed in the Mamberamo region in the 15 Ma : Emergence of Isolated Islands on Forearc High South North accretionary complex of Mesozoic and Cenozoic Makats Formation rise/slope sediments in forearc basin Positive Negative buoyancy buoyancy Timika shelf slope NCB NGT Fore arc + - 50 km/m.

western Central Range because this is when widespread subaer- The subduction of cold oceanic lithosphere refrigerated the ial erosion caused a distinct regional change in sedimentation. Erosion (New Guinea Limestone Group) became widely flooded with of the emergent parts of the forearc high is the first stage in the siliciclastic detritus (Buru Formation). but this early hundreds of meters high. C: Lithospheric-scale cross section at 12 Ma. south. we think it is more appro- Metamorphic Belt rocks from beneath the Irian Ophiolite Belt. the accretionary because they were never deeply buried. that shed detritus to the north and stage of uplift and erosion is not recorded on the Australian con.gsapubs. most of the strata involved in the deformation were recently depos- Between 15 and 12 Ma. by rise and outer slope deposits that were also poorly lithified sitional crust of the Australian plate. base of the forearc block. Continental slope and outer Island in the Lesser Antilles subduction system. Now. into a pile while the negatively buoyant Australian lithosphere is steadily subducting. complex reached sufficient size to become a widespread source The paleogeography was probably similar to that near Barbados of siliciclastic detritus (Fig. shelf deposits were bulldozed into a 500+ km long landmass. but more likely because a thick pile of continental shelf no longer occurring at depths less than 25 km (see Cloos. The mechanical behavior of the deform- 12 Ma: Beginning of the Central Range Orogeny ing sediment pile is changing. erosion had probably only removed a kilometer or plex” because crystalline basement and lithospheric mantle so of the rocks. poorly lithified trench axis deposits. A trench would act as a barrier to southward to bend downwards to subduct into the mantle. thermally driven metamorphic recrystallization was debris. and the metamorphic belt exposed today was still are not involved. The deformation is thin-skinned as continental crust continues to underthrust and then bends downwards to subduct. By 12 Ma. . priate to describe the deforming mass as a “precollision com- At this time. possibly because it was filled with underthrust. sediment transport. 2014 Palinspastic Reconstruction of Collisional Delamination in New Guinea 33 north-central part of New Guinea near the international border. 150 km of plate convergence ited. 1985. The carbonate shelf for discussion of thermal evolution of subduction zones).org on June 5. Debris must also have been shed southwards. Downloaded from specialpapers. however. Mud-rich continental slope and outer shelf deposits are eroding. Before this time. By the time continental crust began to A trench no longer exists. The leading edge of the Australian continent was forced tinental margin. and all trapped sediment would have been This is the date for initiation of the orogeny forming the immediately underthrust. followed occurred via the subduction of the oceanic lithosphere and tran. 16C). and debris is shed northwards into the North Coast Basin on top of oceanic basement and southwards to flood the carbonate shelf deposits on top of the Australian continental basement. The precollision complex has become an elongate landmass extending east- west for 500+ km. lenticular. the deformation Figure 16 (continued). unroofing that eventually leads to the exposure of the Ruffaer From a geotectonic perspective. deposit had entered the zone of deformation. The cover of sediment is becoming bulldozed deeply buried beneath the forearc block.

The thickening of the sediment pile has formed an elongate landmass with elevations up to ~2 km. well-layered formations act as beams that buckle and break as Most of the overlying pile of slope and shelf sediments are off- the forces of convergence are transmitted through them. The leading edge of to compact ad lithify. Between 12 and 10 Ma. shelf deposits of Cenozoic carbonate strata form the spectacular Figure 16 (continued).org on June 5. Underthrusting control whether folding or faulting is the dominant response crystalline basement is thicker and progressively less strongly are not obvious. 100 km of plate convergence has tropic stratigraphy generates kilometer-scale folds and fault occurred via subduction of transitional crust. Thin-skinned deformation continues with the formation of kilome- ter-scale folds as thick layers of carbonate shelf strata are bulldozed. and folding is dominant. the underlying mantle that it readily moved to mantle depths. Precambrian basement under. Cloos et al. convergence continues unimpeded. well-lithified. bulldozing acts to widen the mountain belt more than causing an increase in surface eleva- . thin-skinned deformation. D: Lithospheric-scale cross section at 10 Ma. involves the thick pile of outer shelf strata. In the eastern Central thin-skinned deformation of the sedimentary cover. coupled to its mantle roots. from steady-state. The volume of sediments caught up in the deformation is steadily increasing as the landward-thickening 10 Ma: Thin-Skinned Deformation wedge of continental margin strata moves into the subduction zone. the growth of a precollision complex is far ening the orogenic belt. 16D). that is. In the western Central Range. underthrusting Australian continental base- of which is composed of Mesozoic age strata that had time ment was bending downwards to subduct. The subduction bulldozing of a layered. From this stage onwards. Folding is Range of Papua New Guinea. Austra- offsets. layered. Well-lithified outer the strata. 2014 34 M.gsapubs. The growth of the precollision complex still only involves lies the strata. highly anisotropic stratigraphy generates folds and As the zone of neutral lithospheric buoyancy has only begun to faults. the bottom part At this time. Downloaded from specialpapers. but subducting continental lithosphere still has negative buoyancy. At 10 Ma. lian continental lithosphere continues to underthrust the precol- The overall result is that the subduction bulldozing of a lision complex and then bend downwards to subduct (Fig. Lithosphere with positive buoyancy is underthrusting the precollision complex. scraped while some of the lower part is underplating and thick- At this stage. highly aniso. and imbricate thrusting is more common. At low temperatures. The factor(s) that underthrust. Paleozoic basement underlies the dominant response in the top of the pile. but in New Guinea a correlation is apparent. Shelf deposits typically accumulate as the Australian continent was thin enough and thermal gradi- well-bedded formations that extend laterally for many tens to ents were low enough that the crust was sufficiently welded to hundreds of kilometers.

it must bend downwards Group are largely removed by dissolution. the limestones of the New Guinea Limestone the point that for continued movement.org on June 5. flooding the northern shelf with ant continental basement blocks and thinning of the underlying sand. and shale (lower Buru Formation). underplating and subjected to ever increasing rates of erosion. col- The bulldozing of the incoming continental margin strata lisional orogeny actually begins with the uprooting of Australian rapidly widens and thickens the pile. If the pile became 25 km crystalline basement. Downloaded from specialpapers. occurred via the subduction of transitional crust. clastic components and the debris from the Kembelangan and two mechanical adjustments occur: decapitation of the buoy- older strata are shed to the south. The pull from the negative buoyancy of the lithosphere is transmitted updip through the cold. The thick. Collisional delamination begins as lithosphere with positive buoyancy reaches the position where it must bend downward for subduction to continue. In the continental lithosphere of positive buoyancy was underthrust to tropical climate. Convergence forearc basin. upper part of the lithospheric mantle that continues to subduct. The evidence for crustal involvement is the to the north (adding to the Makats Formation) accumulated in the initiation of movement that formed the giant Mapenduma anti- Figure 16 (continued).gsapubs. As this occurs. Rupture of the lithospheric mantle nucleates in the region of high bending strains and propagates upwards (dashed zone in figure). silt. and regionally the large folds develop a left-step. reverse or thrust faults propagate into the Between 10 and 8 Ma. to subduct into the mantle (Fig. 100 km of plate convergence has overlying folds. E: Lithospheric-scale cross section at 8 Ma. These units were attached more firmly to the underly. At 8 Ma. Thick-skinned deformation occurs because thick. Shallower movements are localized by reactivation of faults formed during Mesozoic rifting. Debris that was shed lithospheric mantle. Deeper in the pile are well-cemented of the Ruffaer Metamorphic Belt are moving slowly toward the Jurassic-Cretaceous quartzose sandstones in the Kembelangan surface as the Irian Ophiolite Belt is progressively jacked up by Group. 16E). the shorelines migrate to the north and south. As the shallow waters near the rising landmass are is oblique. . 2014 Palinspastic Reconstruction of Collisional Delamination in New Guinea 35 kilometer-scale folds now found in the highlands. Almost concurrently. The remaining silici. filled in. ing crust and underthrust to deeper levels before detaching. the resulting landmass would become ~2 km high. strong. The first effect is the thick-skinned imbrication of continental crust with decoupling in the lower crust. The rocks ping en echelon pattern. well-cemented sandstone units appear to have resisted 8 Ma: Collisional Delamination Begins folding and instead imbricated as southwest-vergent thrust sheets.

shelf strata. Convergence continues to broaden the mountain belt. 2014 36 M. Mafic magma tends to pool near the base of the crust. the ability of the mantle to respond by plastic stretching is exceeded. Cloos et al. and shortening by folding has largely ceased because the plate movements are accommodated at deeper levels. AUS—Australian plate. forming magma chambers. 9) (see Weiland and Cloos. weakly coupled crust with the The new toe for the mountain front was probably localized base of the overriding plate initiates thick-skinned imbrication of where a Mesozoic normal fault was reactivated as a thrust ramp. 1996). As the lithospheric mantle continues to subduct. In effect. and assimilating continental crust.org on June 5. The evidence for lithospheric mantle extension the southernmost imbricated crustal block begins to rise ~20 km is the volcanism that starts at 7 Ma along the spine of the western south of the deformation front separating folded from unfolded highlands. cline (Fig. ancient faults are reactivated in the brittle middle crust. F: Lithospheric-scale cross section at 6 Ma.gsapubs. PAC—Pacific plate. and magma is generated by adiabatic decompression melting. The steepening of mountain slope and enhanced precipitation initiates widespread conglomeratic (molassic) sedimentation along the mountain flanks. Figure 16 (continued).5 km. The tip of Similar basement-cored uplifts that are ~50 km long formed to . Some magma is generated by the decompression melting of lithospheric mantle. This vertical uplift has a profound effect on the pattern of denudation as orographically induced precipitation is concentrated on the flanks of the mountain. Downloaded from specialpapers. Continental blocks are detaching and moving more slowly than the mantle underpinnings. a “train wreck” has The scale of crustal involvement is enormous. Some of this crustally contami- nated magma rises to erupt along the spine of the highlands. Tectonic force from impingement of the detached crust with the base of the hanging wall is transmitted southwards into previously undeformed Australian continent. crystalline continental basement. Another effect is that shortening in the arc area inhibits the rise of magma and shuts off volcanism. The imbrication of continental blocks is much like the cars in a train wreck. The Mapenduma anticline forms where the most southerly block is pushed up a reactivated Mesozoic normal fault. Movement tends to be localized where by crystalline basement (Fig. heating wall rock. 16F). The Mapenduma begun with the detachment of blocks of crust above shear zone(s) anticline is a 300 km long. Asthenosphere upwells as fast as lithospheric separation occurs. The removal of lithospheric mantle causes an abrupt steepening of mountain slopes and an isostatic rise of as much as 2. The impingement of buoyant. Thick-skinned imbrication of basement occurs. 30 km wide fault-bend fold cored in the ductile lower crust. and plate rupture occurs.

which contributed a small. nearly neutrally buoyant lower be substantial. however. and the edge of the into the gap in the ruptured plate. strong. Thick-skinned deformation cre- ates the south-vergent Mapenduma anticline. but move. In other words. western Central Range as a short-lived event between 7 Ma and vergence is accommodated within the ductile lower crust. The collision is having tectonic effects far to the north of the pression melting in amounts proportional to the local amount of island. collisional delamination of the 4 Ma: Collisional Delamination is Complete lithosphere is well under way. and volca. and strong tongue of upper lithospheric mantle pulls underlying mantle occurs. 100 km of additional plate conver- gence has occurred. plate (Fig. the core of the orogenic belt seismicity should be limited. another important Magma intrusion and volcanism is concentrated along the phenomenon begins to manifest itself. delam- nism along the north coast of the island shuts off. crust are solidifying faster than new melt is added. the collision the thermally weakened lithosphere beneath the arc. Magma chambers in the lower surface at the New Guinea Trench. region as noted by Milsom et al. that is as much as 2.5 km higher advection by rising magmas is at a maximum rate. The pull force from the spine of the highlands because the highest elevations develop negative buoyancy of the subducting lithosphere continues to above the zone of maximum asthenospheric upwelling and thus transmit updip through the cold. and asthenosphere is shown to rise to out from beneath the decapitated and imbricated blocks of crust the base of the crust. 1996).y. and upwelling causes more melt to form. strong tongue subduction zone. Because relatively large differential stresses will pool and form chambers near the base of the crust.y. Range. the matically distinct entity. 4 Ma.. and heating of the crust both conductively and from static uplift in less than 2 m. As this occurs. The subduc. and Pacific plates were such that a prong of spheric mantle extending north from beneath the Australian con. tralian. mantle stretching may and above the wedge of weak. McDowell et al. In other locations. Folding defor.. but to a far smaller degree. What starts as ductile neck. Beneath the orogenic belt. The broken piece. 16F. The generation of ing (Fig. Irian Ophiolite Belt is tilted upwards as it rises vertically ~2 km. Below the level of crustal decapitation. As the crystalline basement blocks Housh and McMahon. upwards or downwards is unclear. has also begun to affect areas far to the north. ous belt with peaks that were 2–3 km or so tall and generated by At this time. ~100 km of plate convergence should collision are also transmitted northward. the Pacific plate extended between New Guinea and the Mariana tinent is the piece that was beneath the pulled-out. Whether ruptures propagate In the case illustrated for the western Central Range (Figs. The upwelling asthenosphere undergoes adiabatic decom. The collision caused a sufficient change in the of uppermost mantle. By the middle Cenozoic. and 16G). the mountain. Downloaded from specialpapers.5 Ma (O’Connor et al. Mafic magma from the mantle lithospheric mantle. This piece also undergoes decompression force balance on the prong that it broke off and became a kine- melting. 1). weak asthenosphere underlies the Central 10 m. . At 6 Ma. The asthenosphere is already at a condition contact the base of the crust. The wedge of rising lower litho. deformed Australian passive margin strata is well dated in the mation almost certainly slows and may even cease as plate con. that some convergence was accommodated by reactivation of Consequently. This phenomenon would explain rapidly rose vertically about as much as the surface rose during the perplexing scarcity of seismicity now detected in the Timor the earlier prolonged phase of folding and faulting. collision-generated magmatism that intruded into margin strata begins to raft southwards (Fig. but the net result is that the 16E. 1994. Philippine. (1983). the rock strength beneath the mountain belt is low. It will be argued that along-strike variations in the degree of stretching of lower lithospheric mantle can explain the lack of 6 Ma: Thick-Skinned Deformation and Magmatism magmatism and the lesser topography of the middle segment of the Central Range. 16E) rapidly leads to rupture (Fig. and upwelling asthenosphere need not directly lithospheric mantle. of contractional deformation undergoes a vertical iso. the overlying precollision complex of deformed passive widespread. 2014 Palinspastic Reconstruction of Collisional Delamination in New Guinea 37 the west and east (Fig. the Caroline micro- lithospheric mantle is Precambrian. dense. and convective mixing of melted wall rock. Conse- (timing and amounts discussed below) above the zone of maxi. At ca. 16G). the hinge plays a critical crustal materials are assimilated by the engulfment of pieces role in localizing plate separation. In western New Guinea.gsapubs. plate motions between the Aus- rise (volumes discussed below). moved more westerly and slightly more slowly but isotopically distinctive component to the magmas (see than the parent Pacific plate. 1). Lower already exist in the area of bending.org on June 5. quently. rapidly increase as the neck thins. partial melting is initiated. asthenospheric upwelling has ended. 7). 2. and magma movement along the old subduction shear zone that reaches the generation is in the final stages. only a relatively limited stretching of the cool. directly to the base of the crust or not must play a major role As the underlying wedge of lithospheric mantle stretches and in controlling the amount of lower crustal melting that occurs. upper 30 km or so of the maximum magma generation. 16F). but the local differential stresses crust and aids decoupling of the crust from the mantle. and mum upwelling. It is probable ination of the Australian lithosphere is complete (Fig. The volumetrically minor. Whether the asthenosphere upwells of incipient melting. 2000). decompresses. causing contraction of have been distributed across the island. The front of lithospheric mantle is replaced as asthenosphere rapidly upwells isostatic uplift has propagated northwards. The effects of the Between 6 and 4 Ma. magma chambers and wall-rock heating further weakens the tion pull force remains steady. Between 8 and 6 Ma.

Strong orographically induced precipitation concentrates erosion along the southern and northern flanks of the highlands. The mud-rich rocks overlying the underplated Ruffaer Metamorphic Belt (RMB) are highly erodible and rapid erosional unroofing is under way with debris shed northwards into the North Coast Basin (NCB). detected in the mining district [Sapiie and Cloos. The kinematics are such that left-lateral strike-slip motion occurs in the highlands underlain by thinned litho- sphere. 2004] and Near the surface. and the prong of the Pacific plate between the Philippine and Australian (AUS) plates breaks off. . Magmas rise from lower crustal chambers commonly Figure 16 (continued). Collisional delamination is complete. 2014 38 M.. For the period of ca. 5–3 Ma (discussed more later). which largely buries the accreted arc terrane. and passive intrusions occur along pull-apart pathways. New Guinea. temporarily forming the Caroline microplate (CAR). the crust directly overlies upwelled asthenosphere.org on June 5. Downloaded from specialpapers. and the Australian continent abuts the Caroline microplate. Cloos et al. forming the Irian Ophiolite Belt (IOB). forming the anisotropy of the upturned bedding and major high-angle fault Yapen fault zone. The transcurrent motion was accommodated At this time. zones. and in the recently extinct arc now located at the present-day north coast of New Guinea.gsapubs. The underthrusting and imbrication of continental crust and the vertical isostatic rise driven by delamination cause addi- tional uplift and upturning of the leading edge of the Pacific plate. and magma chambers. The mantle underpinnings are exposed. Jamming of the subduction zone changes the force balance. the nature of left-lateral strike-slip motion along the Derewo fault zone in the metamorphic belt [Warren. in the highlands is strongly controlled by the local mechanical 1995]) and in the area of the recently extinct arc. heated crust.g. and magma has advected much heat to very shallow depths. Strike-slip faulting in the highlands intersects lower crustal magma chambers. by strike-slip offsets distributed across the highlands (e. this It is inferred that initial strike-slip movements from Aus- caused some Pacific-Caroline convergence at the Mussau tralian-Caroline plate interactions were concentrated in the Trough and Caroline-Australian transcurrent motion along highlands because this is where the lithosphere was weakest. G: Lithospheric-scale cross section at 4 Ma.

forming the Solomon micro- plate. Cu-Au mineralization in the Erts. ~200 km of left-lateral strike-slip berg mining district occurs as both porphyry. 1996). and the corner of the Australian plate ruptured. This fault zone is located along the axis of the just extin- (molassic) along the flanks of the mountain belt (the boulder. This probably occurred because this zone of weakness had a trend that could accommodate the imposed movements as the corner of the Caroline microplate ruptured. 2014 Palinspastic Reconstruction of Collisional Delamination in New Guinea 39 by passive intrusion into pull-apart pathways along strike-slip 2 Ma: Postcollision faults. This drives a slow regional subsidence of the highlands that will continue for tens of millions of years or until other plate-tectonic movements are initiated. PAC—Pacific plate. highlands (Weiland and Cloos. 16H). has ended. which concentrates erosion along the flanks of the cooling and converting to lithospheric mantle. zone (Fig. Deep erosion is still concentrated on the flanks of the mountain belt. This localization is due. 3 Ma (McDowell et al. the sinking plate has moved past the position of the Yapen fault The two kilometers or so of rapid isostatic uplift steep. RMB—Ruffaer Metamorphic Belt. Concurrent faulting and intrusion had a profound effect on hydrothermal fluid flow. 1996). AUS—Australian plate. and the magmatic event set off by delamination ens slopes and greatly enhances orographically induced pre.and skarn-type motion was distributed across the island (see Fig. in part.org on June 5. but still hot arc. because plate motion became localized along the Yapen fault The steepening of slopes lead to conglomeratic sedimentation zone. . The south limb of the Strike-slip movements across the highlands probably only Mapenduma anticline and the upturned ophiolitic rocks overly. to the rich upper Buru Formation). Downloaded from specialpapers. Upwelled asthenosphere cools and transforms into lithospheric mantle.gsapubs. forming the Bismarck plate. guished. The collisional delamination-generated magmatic event ends in the highlands as the lower crustal magma chamber solidifies. By 2 Ma. H: Lithospheric-scale cross section at 2 Ma. deposits at ca. 1). Between 4 and 2 Ma. Plate motion is now focused along the Yapen fault zone in the center of the recently extinct arc.. totaled a few tens of kilometers before the faults deactivated ing the metamorphic belt on the north slope are most affected. cooling and strengthening of the lithosphere beneath the high- Figure 16. The upwelled asthenosphere under the highlands is cipitation.

only crustal material remains. However. 4 Ma (Fig. approximated by analogy with the conductive thickening of As the bulk of primary melting occurs in the upwelled oceanic lithosphere with age. Bickle. and the vergent kink in the Mamberamo area (Fig. 9). as rupturing is preceded by the decapitation of the crust. the speed of subduction postorogenic. of spreading in the Bismarck Sea and the reattachment of the The reason plate separation occurs at very near the previous Caroline microplate to the Pacific plate. and from there to the Yapen-Sorong fault zones via a broad con. ca. 12 Ma. 15 Ma. litz. Red Sea. The cornerstone observation is regional subsidence of the highlands that should now total ~400 that seafloor spreading generates a column of mafic crust that m. With lesser amounts of upwelling. there is less upwelling. convergence in the region is more oblique than before fact. to that at an ocean spreading center where spreading occurs The lithosphere under the highlands should thicken at a at speeds of cm/yr rather than typical continental rifts where rate proportional to the square root of time (Parsons and Sclater. erosional unroofing began at ca. and only a few (e. 1979). 1992). 1) (Taylor. In the case of continental Erosion is fastest along the flanks of the mountain belt rifting. separation commonly occurs slowly and episodically at speeds 1977). 1986. Asthenospheric upwelling occurs Present Day as fast as the lithosphere tear develops and the subducted plate continues to sink away. 2000. Because a mountain belt is a site of erosion. Pol. expected composition of asthenospheric melts beneath New Guinea is considered known. 1988. that is.g. 2000).y. 1992). than ~2 cm/yr. but more likely it is due to major plate-tectonic adjustment Melting in the asthenospheric mantle occurs because in the neighborhood.5 est contractional movements. the amount of melt generation depends upon the speed because of orographically concentrated precipitation (Fig. ness of ~100 km and a present crustal thickness of ~20 km). Roughly concurrent with the beginning the subterranean rifting event lasted only a few million years. 2014 40 M. 1988). this subsidence is is 7 ± 1 km thick regardless of spreading rate (McKenzie and not readily detectable. but thicknesses of remaining lithosphere (Fig. points need to be added.org on June 5. the original thickness (β ≈ 2). Ocean ridge magmas are remarkably similar globally. A melt column thickness of ~5 km appears probable. 1985. No melt should be generated in the upwelled astheno- lithospheric mantle. Cloos et al.. Rio Grande). the height of the magma column is estimated for different On the north flank. 1988). 1989. and the amount of melt gen- Magmatism induced by collisional delamination has the erated is less. ing the sinking of the subducted plate are little changed. is ~5 (taking an original lithospheric thick- km/m. The magma generation process The current tectonic movements affecting New Guinea is physically the same as that beneath continental rift zones are summarized in the beginning of this report. (1–2 mm/yr) (see Fig. In the area of the Irian Using the rift zone melt model of Pedersen and Ro (1992). Cooling and lithospheric thickening causes an ever slowing zones (Pedersen and Ro. The Caroline microplate became reattached there is an upwelling of as much as 100 km. increases near the ruptured end. see also Scotese et al. 1).5 Ma (Fig. speed of subduction is that the forces (negative buoyancy) driv- tralian-Pacific plate motions changed by ~9° clockwise. Downloaded from specialpapers. lands. Stein and Stein. In the physical model outlined above. and isotopic compositions similar to directly links westward to the Bewani-Torricelli strike-slip zone mafic magmas at ocean ridges (McKenzie and Bickle. beneath New Guinea. and crust (Housh and McMahon. and the corresponding on both flanks of the mountain belt have been in the range of 1–2 stretching factor. asthenospheric mantle. Where the remaining lithosphere is about half distinctive attribute of occurring during and after the very lat. the volume of magma generation can be nosphere should have converted to lithospheric mantle since 4 estimated by analogy with models for magma generation at rift Ma. Average denudation rates Guinea. latest synorogenic and/or km. Where lithospheric mantle stretches. factor. limb of Mapenduma anticline since 8 Ma. In western New was probably minor until ca. 16G). In quently. sphere if 50% lithospheric thinning occurs at speeds slower The magmatic variations found in New Guinea are summa. the melt column thickness is ~2. trace. Ophiolite Belt. there are and hence delamination is a proportionally more significant one definite and two probable sources of melt: asthenosphere. 1). Decompression of the lower lithospheric mantle also gen- sis of similar igneous activity in other orogenic belts. Because plate sinking is fast. rized below to highlight the obvious implications for the analy. The change in the relative motion is due more the negative buoyancy of the subducting lithosphere actually to a change in the Pacific plate (Cox and Engebretson.. of separation because the “walls” surrounding the upwelling Stratigraphic relations indicate that at least 8 km and perhaps a asthenosphere are comparatively cool. This melt component to open at 3. erates primary mafic magma. resulting in adia- to the Pacific plate as the Bismarck Sea spreading center started batic decompression as great as 30 kbar. the direction of Aus. Harbert and Cox. 17). The thermal constant for thickening in this setting is of mm/yr for many millions of years. 1990) than the Australian plate melting during collisional delamination is more comparable (Wessel and Kroenke. This corre- COLLISIONAL DELAMINATION AND INDUCED sponds to a cross-sectional area of magma of ~500 km2 per km MAGMATISM strike length of delaminated area. Because this part of the mantle . Conse. Ten to 20 km of upwelled asthe. This spreading center should have major. and conductive heat structural thickness of 12 km has been removed from the south loss is significant. β.gsapubs. as much as 25 km of material has been denuded.

Although there may seem to be no reason to expect a correlation between magmatism and elevation. Locations and approximate ag. The conclusion is that a great diversity of magma composi- tion should be expected along the strike of an orogen created by collisional delamination. Hawkes. tion) causes a vertical isostatic uplift of ~2 km beyond that due ment and isotopically) distinctive and greatly different from to contraction-generated thickening of the crust and sediment one part of the planet to another (Menzies et al. Nd. The bulk of the primary magma should be spreading involves complete plate separation and generates a layer of from the asthenosphere. Downloaded from specialpapers.y.. The amount of this type of portionally less isostatic uplift and less magma generation. and mix with. Complete is fertilized over time by subduction events and other forms of removal of lithospheric mantle (and maximum magma genera- mantle metasomatism. β. li is initial length igneous activity and elevations generally less than 2000 m (Fig. The rapid rise of this magma provides the source during collisional delamination is more analogous to continental rift- ing. If residual mantle of lithospheric melt in a suite of volcanic rocks from across the was ~50 km thick (~50% thinning). the β factor is ~5 in 3 m. trace. magma is small but readily detectable from isotopic analysis. 1990. where cold lithosphere separates into two pieces. In the most detailed study of volcanic rocks in western New Guinea. Melt column thickness is calculated using the method of west and Phanerozoic in the east. syenites. of heat for most of the crustal assimilation. and along strike it should be isotopi- oceanic crust that is typically 7 km thick. 1992). Pedersen and Ro (1992) and assuming an initial asthenosphere poten- tial temperature (Fig. varies depending upon of crustal melt components. The lithospheric stretching factor. 5). these melts are chemically (trace ele. Seafloor of delamination. and a magma column height of ~5–6 km ern (Housh and McMahon. Overall. is expected (Fig. 17). The trace element the volume of magma generated depends upon the rate of lithospheric and isotopic composition of lithospheric melts is a factor that separation. the β factor is ~2 and the melt column thickness is signifi. Most likely. at the surface. Addi- the postcollision lithosphere thickness is about one-third the original tionally. at the Minjauh volcanic field. shoshonites. But before this melt could manifest itself Primary mafic magmas become modified as crustal com. in New Guinea. The pattern and amount of upwelling depends upon the degree of lithospheric stretching before tearing and the speed Figure 17. crustally derived material incorpo- rated into the suite of volcanic rocks they analyzed from across the western highlands.. melt rising beneath the amagmatic middle sec- pieces or by the melting and convective entrainment of the tor of the Central Range solidified at depth. there will be pro- worth et al. 15) of 1300 °C.org on June 5. the most distinctive chemical attribute of the primary magmas was a high potassium content. Magma volumes during collisional delamination. Consequently. and isotopic chemistries record derivation from both lithospheric and asthenospheric mantle followed by varying degrees of crustal incorporation. the process of collisional delamination actually predicts one. lf is final length. 2014 Palinspastic Reconstruction of Collisional Delamination in New Guinea 41 walls of large chambers. Where the lower lithospheric mantle has stretched and 1983) highlands. and Sr isotopic ratios by Housh and McMahon (2000) led them to conclude there was a component of at least 10%. McMahon (2001) reported four distinct suites in an area less than 25 km across: lamprophyres. 1987. is expected. Nd. Foley.y.. there is a clear isotopic manifestation thickness. to as much as 75%. 2000) and eastern (Hamilton et al.. The same is true or 4 m.gsapubs. With crustal imbrication been documented for the collisional magmatism in the west- and complete removal of lithospheric mantle as shown in Figure 16G. As batches of magma escape from the mantle. . Greater ductile necking during plate separation leaves Measurement of Pb. Subterranean plate rupture cally similar. A great isotopic diversity has how much lithosphere thinning occurred. variably differentiated magmas in lower crustal chambers. a melt column ~2 km thick western highlands of New Guinea. and Sr isotopic ratios led Housh and more residual lithospheric mantle under the collisional moun- McMahon (2000) to estimate there was a 2%–3% component tain belt (and less vertical isostatic uplift). they commonly intrude into. Complete delamination beneath New Guinea occurs in 3 can be highly variable from place to place. it must penetrate the residual lithospheric man- ponents are assimilated by the incorporation of xenolithic tle. Their bulk. a strike length of more than 700 km. Measure- ment of Pb. Where lithospheric mantle remains. cover. and calc-alkaline rocks. A 300 km long stretch along the middle of the Central gregate column thickness of dispersed melt are shown on Figures 16F Range (138° E to 141° E) is notable for an apparent lack of and 16G. of the fact that the lithospheric basement is Precambrian in the cantly less. which was diluted to varying degrees by crustal assimilation.

New Guinea appears to have begun between 4 and 2 Ma based 4 Ma when relatively fine-grained siliciclastic sedimentation on apatite fission track thermochronology (Hill and Gleadow. dent from the physical changes during collisional delamination. The reason for the first change is obvious. Orographically induced precipitation should mantle thickness of 100 km and a imbricated crust thickness of 30 km. 1990.5 km can occur very rapidly (Fig. this occurred at ca.75 g/cm3. of molassic sedimentation late in the history of mountain belts The reason for the second sedimentological change is evi. crust density = 2. 262).org on June 5. 1993). the economically significant. 580). dated effects of enhanced incision is far less obvious because there is magmatism in the eastern highland (Fly-Highlands province) is a scarcity. as in the Colorado The Central Range–forming collision is slightly younger Plateau. Pleistocene. 2014 42 M. A distinct change in depositional styles deposition gave way to siliciclastic sedimentation with a source in orogenic belts has long been recognized as the phenomenon to the north. if not a lack. of paleohorizontal markers. and some of the volcanic centers may not be extinct. forming the Altiplano in the Andes of western South America. intrusive activity at Porgera. other factors must be involved also to produce the variations in magmatism observed along the strike of the Central Range of New Guinea. as in a collision-generated fold-and-thrust belt. but it seems very likely that stretching and residual lithospheric mantle are greater where the speed of subduction is slower. Hoffman mantle density = 3. asthenosphere and Grotzinger. the effects of entrenchment of river channels induced in eastern New Guinea (Papua New Guinea) than in western by rapid uplift that is spectacularly evident. Cloos et al. this occurred at ca. As the cooler. COLLISIONAL DELAMINATION AND SEDIMENTATION The effect on regional sedimentation patterns from the col- lisional delamination event in New Guinea has two character- istics that should be recognizable in the rock record of ancient orogenic belts: changes in provenance and style of deposition. The kinematics of delamination envisioned by these workers is different from that described above. the steepening of slopes would enhance erosion by land. With an original total lithospheric ing precipitation. 18). Where topography New Guinea. It appears likely that the crust can be a direct source of granitic magma where asthenosphere upwells to the Moho. However. In western New Guinea. Model parameters: lithospheric another of a mountain belt (Beaumont et al. The erosion of a rising landmass will show up in the rock record as a change in sedimentation pattern and types of clastic debris. a vertical isostatically driven uplift as great as PROPAGATING TEAR 2. faults offset young volcanic flows (Davies. 1989. (Pettijohn. With the exception of volumetrically minor. but the geologic effects are the same. or 100% of the lithospheric mantle.23 g/cm3. An increase in land evation corresponding to collisional delamination and removal of 50% elevation of only 1 km has a large effect on airflow and localiz. less. Whether or not there is typically some stretched resid- ual lithospheric mantle left in areas of collisional delamination is unknown. direction and the strike of the mountain belt will play a major role controlling the overall pattern of denudation. The relationship of prevailing wind density = 3. Average surface elevation and changes in average surface el- areas that become new sediment sources. Downloaded from specialpapers. consistent with those in Cloos (1993).. Nonethe. Where rock units are horizontal and uplifted topography is gentle. The formation of basement-cored structures in Papua mountain flanks. 1975. Kay and Kay (1993) argued that this occurred in the Cenozoic.gsapubs. Collins and Vernon (1994) argue that this also occurred in the Paleozoic beneath the Lachlan fold belt of eastern Australia. but is irregular. . In western (lower Buru Formation) changed to boulder-rich deposition New Guinea. The generation of topography during contractional tectonism creates uplifted Figure 18.30 g/cm3. p. In some areas. and prevailing wind the initial mean surface elevation of ~700 m will increase ~1500 m directions can greatly skew the erosion pattern to one side or with removal of 50% of the lithospheric mantle and ~2500 m with the removal of 100% lithospheric mantle. more dense lithospheric mantle is replaced by TIME-TRANSGRESSIVE OROGENESIS: asthenosphere. 12 Ma when shelf limestone (upper Buru Formation). be concentrated on the flanks of the uplift. sliding and produce an overall coarsening of sediment near the p.

3 Ma. Rupture began at ca. A reason for the anomalous behavior of the middle segment of the Central Range is unknown. along what is known as the Tasman Line (Fig.y. but collisional movements are still ongoing.y.. but it may be related to the change from Precambrian litho- sphere to the west to Phanerozoic lithosphere in the east. Schematic diagram illustrating the tear propagating from west to east beneath the Central Range of New Guinea at ca. the average relief is less than 2 km. Beneath the western Central Range. The younger timing is explainable as a result of a and imbricated Australian continental material. 5 Ma. the Australian active along the southern flank of the eastern Central Range continental margin is in the early stages of jamming the east- (Fig. younger. 3A).. propagating at a rate of ~150 km/m. 1986. 1985. and none was able to reach the surface. and the tear reached the eastern end at ca.org on June 5. the eastern end of the Central Range. removal of lithospheric mantle appears to have been complete enough to generate much topography higher than 2 km and enough magma to cause significant volcanism in the western highlands. 8 Ma beneath the Central Range. In this area. from ~138° E to 140° E. it appears that ductile stretching of the lithospheric mantle was substantial and thinning was less. 1986). Downloaded from specialpapers. tion in the backarc area. (discussed below). Timor consists of uplifted m. ern segment of the Sumatra-Java-Banda subduction zone (Mil- The corresponding timing of each stage in Papua New som et al. 2014 Palinspastic Reconstruction of Collisional Delamination in New Guinea 43 1989). 1983. Silver et al. the effects are similar to those in the western end. and there is detectable thrust deforma- 19) at a rate of ~150 km/m. 1). We consider the Timor region to be Figure 19. in the Timor region. of Timor is inactive. McCaffrey et al. perhaps to only one-half the original thickness (not illustrated in this figure). less magma was generated. The arc north west to east propagation of the tear in the subducting plate (Fig. Seismic activity indicates that convergent motions are West of New Guinea. Milsom and Audley- Guinea. In the middle of the Central Range.gsapubs. . is sequentially ~3 Charles.y. Beneath the eastern Central Range..

Early Mesozoic exten. 1).or thick-skinned. 1996. and the highlands are dominated by en echelon fold. The dif- present Central Range. Downloaded from specialpapers. Mesozoic. structural style along the strike of the Central Range were the differing basement on the two sides of the Tasman Line (Fig. tion for the change from thin-skinned to thick-skinned defor- Primary factors that must have controlled the dominant mation in many orogenic belts. The western and eastern parts of the Central Range are underlain by fundamentally different basement rock. Likewise. the Tasman Line separates base- ment intensely deformed in the late Paleozoic and intruded in the Mesozoic (Davies. stratigraphic geometry. In contrast. the rate of thickening But there is another factor. 1979a. scale deformation patterns of collisional orogenesis in New 1990. 1993. that could cause significant below normal temperatures by subduction. 120 therein). the Mapenduma anticline. The rate of thickening. Approximately 300 km east the rate and magnitude of lower crustal heating. Near the international border at ~141° E. Granath et al. to the Moho and rapidly heats and weakens the lower crust. As discussed. Granath and Argakoesoemah (1989) believe differences in the predeformational basement geometry controlled whether the mountain belt is thin. Hamilton. 1) and the nature of basement weaknesses generated (or reacti- vated) during Mesozoic rifting. point is clear: Collisional delamination provides an explana- ing (Hobson. 1989. Buchanan et al. ferences in the rate of thickening progressively decrease with time. 82) and profound effect on late-stage tectonic movements.org on June 5. The mag- at ca. lithosphere formed at spreading ridges. whether the asthenosphere upwells transect. 1990) from the Precambrian metasedi- mentary and metaigneous basement that underlies most of the Australian craton (Plumb. Both events must have produced normal fault proximately the upper 20 km of the upwelled asthenosphere has cooled and been converted to lithospheric mantle. 1991). must have a of our transect. This boundary marks the western edge of the early Paleozoic Tasman orogenic belt along the eastern Precambrian edge of the Australian craton (Fig. The geology of the eastern Central Range in Papua variations. or Cenozoic structural grains. 1979b. the initial rate of thickening is faster. or zones that were pronounced mechanical anisotropies likely to “healing. rate of thickening depends primarily upon the thickness of the litho- sphere (crust + mantle) at the end of delamination. Where the residual sion with a roughly east trend occurred along the length of the lithosphere is thinner. (1991) concluded the structure is dominated by Determination of whether preexisting Precambrian. (1996). 7 Ma. 1993). Amounts of lithospheric thickening since delamination. 1979). 1979. both Guinea is beyond the resolution of this investigation. Hill. Hill et al. the volume of magma gener- The dominant style of deformation varies along the 1300 ation should vary in proportion to the amount of residual litho- km long strike of the Central Range. In reality. Here. The Guinea (Granath and Hermeston. Buchanan and Warburton (1996). Hill (1991). an intervening layer of lithospheric mantle remains and limits ing with subsidiary thrust faulting. or formed. zoic rifting and opening of the Coral Sea propagated along a Where the initial postdelamination crustal thickness was ~30 km (the northwest trend near the southeastern part of the range (Weissel thickest zone of imbricated crust and thickened sediment cover). nitude of lithospheric mantle stretching and the thickness of residual lithospheric mantle must play a role in influencing the ALONG-STRIKE VARIATIONS IN STRUCTURAL STYLE nature of large-scale deformation during the later stages of col- lisional orogenesis. But one thin and thick-skinned thrust faulting occur with subsidiary fold. ap- and Watts. late Mesozoic–early Ceno.” is approximated by analogy with that for thickening oceanic become reactivated during collisional deformation.. Another factor is that the history of rifting and passive margin development differed between western and eastern New Figure 20. p. 2000). and McConachie et al. 1986. Buchanan. only recognizable in the con. Granath and Argakoesoemah (1989. is somewhat faster because the forearc block was previously cooled to text of collisional delamination. Cloos et al. a giant basement anticline. In the area of our field spheric mantle. (2000) believe the thrust sheets that involve basement are inverted Mesozoic normal faults. 2014 44 M. The basement of eastern New Guinea must have a significant north-trending structural grain from this major event. .gsapubs. or variations from heating and magmatism due to New Guinea is the best understood segment of all because of delamination are the dominant controlling factor in the large- drilling during hydrocarbon exploration (Carman and Carman. Fig. comparable to the condition near the western Central Range differences in structural style along orogenic strike. Paleo- kilometer-scale thrust sheets with a left-stepping en echelon zoic.

The effects are detectable across the Pacific Basin.y. the analogy with ocean spreading ridges. 2014 Palinspastic Reconstruction of Collisional Delamination in New Guinea 45 LITHOSPHERIC HEALING AFTER DELAMINATION based upon the time when pull-apart spreading became active in the Salawati Basin (Fig. The delamination of the lithospheric mantle beneath the core These plate motion changes have caused the ongoing col- of the highlands led to the rapid upwelling of the asthenosphere. pieces off the nearby corners of the Pacific and Australian plates. At ca. In the case of New Guinea. transform move- magnitude of the change should be proportional to the length of ments. TRANSOCEANIC steady convergence. However. it 100% removal of the underlying lithospheric mantle. there sphere will cause a steady subsidence of the mountain belt. time. 4). Downloaded from specialpapers. collision zones. steadily slowing thereafter. forming the Bismarck microplate Pacific plate motion makes only a small change in the speed and (Taylor. lithospheric lowering. The San occurred. 20). 1986). end-member tectonic responses appear likely: continued plate The change in force balance was not only sufficient to break convergence as before (at least for a short time) prior to subduc. ance on the edges of the colliding plates.y. Convergence at subduction speeds of a ence will occur at an average rate of ~100 m/m. but with a reversal of polarity. for the first few cm/yr would take only a few million years to contract the 10 m. In many. subduction reversal appears to be just starting after an ~5 m. tion reversal behind the oceanic arc. Harbert. thermally thinned lithosphere under the arc region and fill the mountain peaks can still be rising as the regional base level is gap under the arc and orogenic belt. 4 Ma the role of sediment supply in Shreve and Cloos. and Brocher. Under the arc. 1996). and began to move as a distinct kinematic entity become slightly convergent transform margins since the Pliocene. Once a new subduction zone is established. New Guinea may be a bit unusual in that the later part of mated to be similar to that occurring beneath oceanic lithosphere the collisional delamination process was concurrent with a major of similar thickness (Fig. strike. 5 Ma. two other plate the rupture of plate corners along the transform forming the Eas- ruptures occurred nearby. are core of the accreted arc terrane.gsapubs. or a fundamental change but enough to cause an ~9° clockwise rotation of the giant Pacific in the relative motion between the colliding plates. and residual lithospheric mantle. The latter plate. Charlton. 1 and 4). at ca. Honza et al. Hyndman and Hamilton. lithospheric shortening will occur lithospheric mantle beneath the western Central Range. there is typically an ~100 km wide zone lack- After complete removal of lithospheric mantle. 1993). 1981) have all plates. after the event.. 1987). 1991. is an ~50 km wide zone of thermally thinned lithosphere.org on June 5. As these as the Alaska-Aleutian Trench. When this occurs. can continue for many tens of millions of years. Assuming an initial crustal thick. the uplift of coastal mountains plate ruptures occurred and the spreading center opened. at least to some degree. Two the west (Figs. Because tation of the collision forming the island (Fig. 1988. 1) (Froidevaux. the Queen Charlotte system in southeastern As discussed. regional subsid. . ter and Juan Fernandez microplates (Searle et al.. Under Again. It would seem that the period of adjustment dominated by strike-slip. is appropriate. 1993). Page collision forming New Guinea. 1982. which became active at ca. If the motion of the two plates continues as before.5 Ma. 1993. 3. of the Pacific plate wedged between the Australian and Philippine and the Alpine system of New Zealand (Adams. shortening must occur within both areas. change in overall tectonic movements to ones dominated by strike ness of 20 km beneath the spine of the western Central Range and slip (explained below). and a propagating tear in the northeast corner of direction of convergence that by itself is probably essentially the Australian plate formed the Woodlark spreading center east undetectable in the rock record. such of the island (Weissel et al. 1978. and this slip activity became concentrated along the Yapen-Sorong and in turn can cause a profound change in accretionary patterns (see Bewani-Torricelli fault zones. The consequence of this is that the geom- ening of the lithospheric mantle under mountain belts is approxi. 1993). As this occurs. 1979). PLATE-TECTONIC CHANGES RELATED TO THE and it should typically nucleate within the thermally weakened COLLISION FORMING NEW GUINEA: NEARBY AND area of oceanic arcs. as the aftermath of the oblique Andreas system of California (Pollitz. has greatly increased the sediment supply to the trench. Of course. The upwelled material is cooling and converting to lithosphere at Spreading in the Bismarck Sea has created the Bismarck plate. in some places. broke off. ing lithospheric mantle.y. within the region of the recently extinct arc. etry of ongoing collision in eastern New Guinea is much less mated by analogy with the thickening of oceanic lithosphere over oblique than it was before 3 Ma. part of the Pacific plate. a rate that depends upon the thickness of the overlying sediment and the Finnisterre/Huon–New Britain Arc forearc is no longer cover. The initial rate of lithospheric mantle thickening is esti. lision in eastern New Guinea to differ from that in the west. the mountain belt. the small change in the Pacific plate broke off. a new subduction zone must form. which must also have been a manifes. A corner of subduction zones ring most of the Pacific. The jamming of a subduction zone will change the force bal.. crust. within the core of the collision-generated mountain belt and Cooling and conversion of asthenospheric mantle to litho. The rate of thick. This movement produced strike-slip faulting in the Significant adjustments along the East Pacific Rise. the Caroline microplate formed as the prong Alaska (Fitzgerald et al. The New Guinea Trench is reactivating from the east to the collision zone and the geometry of the relative motions. besides small collision-generated New Guinea highlands and in the still-warm changes in spreading rate and optimal transform orientation. a 10–20 appears convergent motion continues after collisional delamina- km thickness of asthenosphere has already been converted into tion begins.. if not most.

Imants Kavalieris. Slamet Australian plate continued to sink and broke off. yono. and W. Filewicz.332–13. Head Exploration Geologists Peter Doyle. Frachrudin southward displacement of the large basement block forming Ali. Dave Mayes. 13. Waskito. Djuharlan. Active deformation in the New Guinea that was followed by laboratory analysis of collected samples. George MacDonald. Joe the Mapenduma anticline. Todd Housh. Art Ona. Moffett. Al Edwards. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS REFERENCES CITED This paper is based primarily upon theses and dissertations Abbott..R.. Mike Burson. Budi Cahyono. 1989. 1981. Lasito Soebari. 1007–1034. C.J. Peak metamorphic temperatures Peter Sedgwick. Lanus Owaling. J. The subducted oceanic end of the McPherson. the upwelling of asthenosphere Ayub “Obi” Zagani.. dean and professor Adams. Concurrently. eds. Theory of the Earth: Boston. p. The subter. (PTFI) exploration and mine geology departments. 211–222. Roga crust-capped plate began at ca. Thrust and nappe tectonics: Geological Society [Lon- whose vision made the Ertsberg Project a unique industry. cally thank Professors Iman Soengkowo. v.A. Brannon.R. Herry Susanto. Soeba- ary prism formed small islands by ca. L. Ertsberg Project Contribution No. and McCaffrey. Freeport Indonesia Sedimentary Research. Jay Pennington.T. 15 Ma. 30 Ma at an intraoceanic subduc.. L. Fanfan.. Hamish Campbell. to the end of the long-term history of steady subduction as the We thank Fred McDowell. Sediment accretion and metamorphism include Kris Hefton. Steve Hughes. p. 93. program. the Institut Teknologi Bandung (ITB).1029/94TC01623. forming molassic boulder many others who showed us the natural wonders of their home- beds near the mountain flanks. Bambang Irawan. Nurhadi. Julianus Magal. doi: 10. Mark Gilliam. v. K. Blackwell Scientific New Guinea. Stratigraphic constraints on the development and tim- by students at the University of Texas. and Abdoerrias. Dickinson for reviews of this long-term. Boyer.L. following a subduction reversal event beneath the and special assistance during one or more phases of our work Outer Melanesian Arc. with the detachment and Pendawalima. and McClay.. N. steady subsidence of a passive margin. president and CEO of p.. began soon after as continental sediment was transported far Uttu Mekel. out to sea along the trench. that were ing of arc-continent collision in northern Papua New Guinea: Journal of made possible by the assistance of the P. Ari Suldjana. and Galewsky. Djoko tion zone by the underthrusting of the Australian continental. and change in regional sedimentation. Ben Coutts.gsapubs.D. and Alpine schists.5 Tabuni. southern Alps. geoscientists who staffed these departments during the 1990s p.. Amelius Beanal. or delamination. from 7 to 4 Ma. Collisional delamination is a common and fundamental We also thank all of our colleagues at our collaborating plate-tectonic process that occurs when subduction zones are university. in Price. 25. rifting process is to the beginning of seafloor spreading and W. don] Special Publication 9. Etinus caused a rapid. C. R. 13. tralian plate began at ca. By ca. Clark Arnold. Syaiful Bahri. The 200+ Abbott. widespread landmass was shedding siliciclastic detritus to the Eddy Suwardy. Schneider. Keith Parris. Yahdi Zaim.354. Doug MacKenzie. Freeport McMoRan and Robert E. Bambang Trisetyo. Tiranus Beanal. Judihandri.. Petrus Mote.. Structural evolution of a modern arc-continent collision in Papua New Guinea: Tectonics.org on June 5.R. relationships. Silver. which combined with mechanical considerations Gary Artmont. Jim Connelly. Austin. M. Sanusi Sukarya. New Zealand. Emi Tabuni. Wahyu Sunyoto. Koesoemadinata. . Nurhamid. paper. land. Larry Johnson. Gandhi Hermawan. 8 Ma. D. Benny Dolame. 1994b. isostatically driven vertical uplift as great as 2. a magma generation event beneath the western Central Range An extra special thanks to our Papuan field assistants. R.. E.A.V. 64. flooding the carbonate shelf. Dominikus Mom. E. Riyanto. a gio Sopareman. Publications. and Emmy Suparka. and Larry Segretson provided guidance Geologic studies in the Central Range of western New Guinea and assistance for the studies in the Ertsberg (Gunung Bijih) (near Puncak Jaya. G. Gary O’Connor. and Sugeng leads to a refined model for the tectono-magmatic effects of Widodo provided guidance and assistance for our regional collisional orogenesis. Boedi- were attained between 28 and 20 Ma. 169–183. 2014 46 References Cited CONCLUSIONS Vice Presidents Dave Potter and Steve Van Nort encour- aged the overall program and provided exceptional advice. 4884 m) have revealed field and timing mining district. academia initiative to better understand the geology of western Anderson. teau complexes..J. Geologists and related staff who provided discussion tion zone.. south. fold-and-thrust belt: Seismological evidence for strike-slip faulting and basement involved thrusting: Journal of Geophysical Research. This caused a profound Peniel Kogoya. Dean Wadsworth. Subterranean plate rifting is as fundamental Rubini Soeria-Atmadja. provided the foundation for selecting sites for our fieldwork Abers. 12 Ma.. and Rahmat ranean rifting. Chuck cited as the product of a Cenozoic arc-continent collision. Jamming of the subduc. of the Australian plate caused Wirawan. Ian Tasiran. Uplift rates and thermal structure in the Alpine fault zone of geological sciences at the University of Texas at Austin. Eddy Bastomi. The top of an accretion. The formation of the island of New Guinea has long been Mine District Geologists Tom Collinson. km of the collision-generated fold belt. Ahmed. We specifi- jammed by continental margins or very large oceanic arc/pla. v. 366 p. 1988. Muehlberger. Silver. Rudy Poedjono. P. Erwin Siregar. Downloaded from specialpapers.P. Louie Bell.D. Allen Schappert. studies that rode on the coattails of the minerals exploration North-dipping subduction of the oceanic end of the Aus. 1994a. We especially thank James R.R.. Thompson.

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