Gondwana breakup and plate kinematics: Business as usual



[1] A tectonic model of the Weddell Sea is built by composing a simple circuit with optimized rotations describing the growth of the South Atlantic and SW Indian oceans. The model independently and accurately reproduces the consensus elements of the Weddell Sea's spreading record and continental margins, and offers solutions to remaining controversies there. At their present resolutions, plate kinematic data from the South Atlantic and SW Indian oceans and Weddell Sea rule against the proposed, but controversial, independent movements of small plates during Gondwana breakup that have been attributed to the presence or impact of a mantle plume. Hence, although supercontinent breakup here was accompanied by extraordinary excess volcanism, there is no indication from plate kinematics that the causes of that volcanism provided a unique driving mechanism for it.