Cenozoic evolution of Neotethys and implications for the causes of plate motions
Article first published online: 21 OCT 2003
Copyright 2003 by the American Geophysical Union.
Geophysical Research Letters
Volume 30, Issue 20, October 2003
How to Cite
2003), Cenozoic evolution of Neotethys and implications for the causes of plate motions, Geophys. Res. Lett., 30, 2036, doi:10.1029/2003GL017992, 20., , , and (
- Issue published online: 21 OCT 2003
- Article first published online: 21 OCT 2003
- Manuscript Accepted: 2 SEP 2003
- Manuscript Revised: 26 AUG 2003
- Manuscript Received: 17 JUN 2003
 Africa-North America-Eurasia plate circuit rotations, combined with Red Sea rotations and new estimates of crustal shortening in Iran define the Cenozoic history of the Neotethyan ocean between Arabia and Eurasia. The new constraints indicate that Arabia-Eurasia convergence has been fairly constant at 2 to 3 cm/yr since 56 Ma with slowing of Africa-Eurasia motion to <1 cm/yr near 25 Ma, coeval with the opening of the Red Sea. Ocean closure occurred no later than 10 Ma, and could have occurred prior to this time only if a large amount of continental lithosphere was subducted, suggesting that slowing of Africa significantly predated the Arabia-Eurasia collision. These kinematics imply that Africa's disconnection with the negative buoyancy of the downgoing slab of lithosphere beneath southern Eurasia slowed its motion. The slow, steady rate of northward subduction since 56 Ma contrasts with strongly variable rates of magma production in the Urumieh-Dokhtar arc, implying magma production rate in continental arcs is not linked to subduction rate.