Geodynamics of the SW Pacific: a brief review and relations with New Caledonian geology

Type Article
Date 2020-06
Language English
Author(s) Collot Julien1, Patriat MartinORCID2, Sutherland R.3, Williams S.4, 5, Cluzel D.6, Seton M.4, 5, Pelletier B.7, Roest WalterORCID2, 8, Etienne S.1, Bordenave A.1, 8, Maurizot P.1
Affiliation(s) 1 : Service Géologique de Nouvelle-Calédonie (New Caledonia Geological Survey), BP M2, 98 849 Nouméa, New Caledonia
2 : Ifremer, UR Géosciences Marines, 29280 Plouzané, France
3 : Victoria University of Wellington, PO Box 600, Wellington 6140, New Zealand
4 : EarthByte Group, School of Geosciences, The University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia
5 : State Key Laboratory of Continental Dynamics, Department of Geology, Northwest University, Xían, China
6 : University of New Caledonia, ISEA-EA 7484, BP R4, 98 851 Nouméa, New Caledonia
7 : Geosciences Azur (UMR 6526), IRD, 101 Promenade R. Laroque, BP A5, 98800 Nouméa, New Caledonia
8 : ENSEGID, Bordeaux INP, 1 allée F. Daguin, 33607 Pessac Cedex, France
Source Geological Society, London, Memoirs (0435-4052) (Geological Society of London), 2020-06 , Vol. 51 , N. 1 , P. Chap.2, pp.13-26
DOI 10.1144/M51-2018-5
WOS© Times Cited 15

The SW Pacific region consists of a succession of ridges and basins that were created by the fragmentation of Gondwana and the evolution of subduction zones since Mesozoic times. This complex geodynamic evolution shaped the geology of New Caledonia, which lies in the northern part of the Zealandia continent. Alternative tectonic models have been postulated. Most models agree that New Caledonia was situated on an active plate margin of eastern Gondwana during the Mesozoic. Extension affected the region from the Late Cretaceous to the Paleocene and models for this period vary in the location and nature of the plate boundary between the Pacific and Australian plates. Eocene regional tectonic contraction included the obduction of a mantle-derived Peridotite Nappe in New Caledonia. In one class of model, this contractional phase was controlled by an east-dipping subduction zone into which the Norfolk Ridge jammed, whereas and in a second class of model this phase corresponds to the initiation of the west-dipping Tonga–Kermadec subduction zone. Neogene tectonics of the region near New Caledonia was dominated by the eastwards retreat of Tonga–Kermadec subduction, leading to the opening of a back-arc basin east of New Caledonia, and the initiation and southwestwards advance of the New Hebrides–Vanuatu subduction zone towards New Caledonia.

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Collot Julien, Patriat Martin, Sutherland R., Williams S., Cluzel D., Seton M., Pelletier B., Roest Walter, Etienne S., Bordenave A., Maurizot P. (2020). Geodynamics of the SW Pacific: a brief review and relations with New Caledonian geology. Geological Society, London, Memoirs, 51(1), Chap.2, pp.13-26. Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :