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  The rapid drift of the Indian tectonic plate

Kumar, P., Yuan, X., Kumar, M. R., Kind, R., Li, X., Chadha, R. K. (2007): The rapid drift of the Indian tectonic plate. - Nature, 449, 894-897.
https://doi.org/10.1038/nature06214

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Item Permalink: https://gfzpublic.gfz-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_236014 Version Permalink: https://gfzpublic.gfz-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_236014_3
Genre: Journal Article

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Kumar, P.1, 2, Author
Yuan, Xiaohui2, 3, Author              
Kumar, M. R.1, 2, Author
Kind, Rainer2, 3, Author              
Li, Xueqing2, 3, 4, Author              
Chadha, R. K.1, 2, Author
Affiliations:
1External Organizations, ou_persistent22              
2GEOFON, Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum, Potsdam, , ou_2634888              
32.4 Seismology, 2.0 Physics of the Earth, Departments, GFZ Publication Database, Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum, ou_30023              
42.1 Physics of Earthquakes and Volcanoes , 2.0 Physics of the Earth, Departments, GFZ Publication Database, Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum, ou_146029              

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 DDC: 550 - Earth sciences
 Abstract: The breakup of the supercontinent Gondwanaland into Africa, Antarctica, Australia and India about 140 million years ago, and consequently the opening of the Indian Ocean, is thought to have been caused by heating of the lithosphere from below by a large plume whose relicts are now the Marion, Kerguelen and Réunion plumes. Plate reconstructions based on palaeomagnetic data suggest that the Indian plate attained a very high speed (18–20 cm yr-1 during the late Cretaceous period) subsequent to its breakup from Gondwanaland, and then slowed to approx5 cm yr-1 after the continental collision with Asia approx50 Myr ago1, 2. The Australian and African plates moved comparatively less distance and at much lower speeds of 2–4 cm yr-1 (refs 3–5). Antarctica remained almost stationary. This mobility makes India unique among the fragments of Gondwanaland. Here we propose that when the fragments of Gondwanaland were separated by the plume, the penetration of their lithospheric roots into the asthenosphere were important in determining their speed. We estimated the thickness of the lithospheric plates of the different fragments of Gondwanaland around the Indian Ocean by using the shear-wave receiver function technique. We found that the fragment of Gondwanaland with clearly the thinnest lithosphere is India. The lithospheric roots in South Africa, Australia and Antarctica are between 180 and 300 km deep, whereas the Indian lithosphere extends only about 100 km deep. We infer that the plume that partitioned Gondwanaland may have also melted the lower half of the Indian lithosphere, thus permitting faster motion due to ridge push or slab pull.

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 Dates: 2007
 Publication Status: Finally published
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 Identifiers: eDoc: 10437
GFZPOF: 1.0 Globale Prozesse und Geomonitoring
GFZPOF: 2.0 Geodynamik, Stoffkreisläufe und Ressourcen
DOI: 10.1038/nature06214
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Title: Nature
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Pages: - Volume / Issue: 449 Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: 894 - 897 Identifier: CoNE: https://gfzpublic.gfz-potsdam.de/cone/journals/resource/journals353