Map helps unravel complexities of the southwestern Pacific Ocean



The southwestern Pacific Ocean region hosts submerged continental margins, ridges, sedimentary basins, and volcanic arcs located around Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, Australia, and Fiji. The geological history of this vast region has remained controversial, and to improve understanding of the processes that controlled its geodynamical evolution, it is essential to place each piece of available data in a regional spatiotemporal framework. To this end, a new map, entitled “Structural Provinces of the Southwest Pacific,” was released by the Geological Survey of New Caledonia in May 2011. The publication consists of two parts: (1) a 40-page booklet of geological notes, which documents the nature and age of each structure and contains an associated list of references; and (2) a 3- x 4-foot poster of a structural map revealing the nature of the basement, location, and type of the main structural features (see simplified version in Figure 1) and the age of formation using the international standards for geological color codes established by the Commission for the Geological Map of the World (CGMW) (see


These maps are the continuation of Julien Collot's Ph.D. thesis, cofunded by the Economic Development Agency of New Caledonia (ADECAL) and Ifremer (Institut Français de Recherche pour l'Exploitation de la Mer), in the framework of the ZoNéCo program. We address our special thanks to D. Cluzel, B. Pelletier, P. Maurizot, S. Cande, R. Herzer, W. Roest, and M. Patriat for useful comments. We also thank the government of New Caledonia for its support. Contact for more details and copies of the map. The map can also be downloaded from