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Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems

Evaluating upper versus lower crustal extension through structural reconstructions and subsidence analysis of basins adjacent to the D'Entrecasteaux Islands, eastern Papua New Guinea

Authors

  • Guy Fitz,

    1. Jackson School of Geosciences, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas, USA
    2. Hess Corporation, Houston, Texas, USA
    Current affiliation:
    1. Hess Corporation, Houston, Texas, USA
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  • Paul Mann

    1. Jackson School of Geosciences, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas, USA
    2. Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Houston, Houston, Texas, USA
    Current affiliation:
    1. Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Houston, Houston, Texas, USA
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Corresponding author: G. Fitz, Hess Corporation, Hess Tower, 1501 McKinney, Houston, TX 77010, USA. (gfitz@hess.com)

Abstract

[1] The D'Entrecasteaux Island (DEI) gneiss domes are fault-bounded domes with ~2.5 km of relief exposing ultrahigh-pressure (UHP) and high-pressure (HP) metamorphic gneisses and migmatites exhumed in an Oligocene-Miocene arc-continent collision and subduction zone subject to late Miocene to recent continental extension. Multichannel seismic reflection data and well data show the Trobriand basin formed as a fore-arc basin caused by southward Miocene subduction at the Trobriand trench. Subduction slowed at ~8 Ma as the margin transitioned to an extensional tectonic environment. Since then, the Trobriand basin has subsided 1–2.5 km as a broad sag basin with few normal faults deforming the basin fill. South of the DEI, the Goodenough rift basin developed after extension began (~8 Ma) as the hanging wall of the north-dipping Owen-Stanley normal fault that bounds the basin's southern margin. The lack of upper crustal extension accompanying subsidence in the Trobriand and Goodenough basins suggests depth-dependent lithospheric extension since 8 Ma has accompanied uplift of the DEI gneiss domes. Structural reconstructions of seismic profiles show 2.3–13.4 km of basin extension in the upper crust, while syn-rift basin subsidence values indicate at least 20.7–23.6 km of extension occurred in the entire crust since ~8 Ma. Results indicating thinning is preferentially accommodated in the lower crust surrounding the DEI are used to constrain a schematic model of uplift of the DEI domes involving vertical exhumation of buoyant, postorogenic lower crust, far-field extension from slab rollback, and an inverted two-layer crustal density structure.

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