3. Sedimentation in the Indian Ocean Through Time

  1. J.R. Heirtzler,
  2. H.M. Bolli,
  3. T.A. Davies,
  4. J.B. Saunders and
  5. J.G. Sclater
  1. Thomas A. Davies1 and
  2. Robert B. Kidd2

Published Online: 23 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1029/SP009p0061

Indian Ocean Geology and Biostratigraphy

Indian Ocean Geology and Biostratigraphy

How to Cite

Davies, T. A. and Kidd, R. B. (1977) Sedimentation in the Indian Ocean Through Time, in Indian Ocean Geology and Biostratigraphy (eds J.R. Heirtzler, H.M. Bolli, T.A. Davies, J.B. Saunders and J.G. Sclater), American Geophysical Union, Washington, D. C.. doi: 10.1029/SP009p0061

Author Information

  1. 1

    Department of Geology, Middlebury College, Middlebury, Vermont

  2. 2

    Institute of Oceanographic Sciences, Wormley, Godalming, Surrey, United Kingdom

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 23 MAR 2013
  2. Published Print: 1 JAN 1977

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780875902081

Online ISBN: 9781118664919



The nature and distribution of the Mesozoic and Cenozoic sediments of the Indian Ocean, as revealed by deep-sea drilling, are summarized and paleobathymetric reconstructions are used to show probable patterns of sedimentation in Late Cretaceous, Early Eocene and Early Oligocène times. Mesozoic sedimentation was characterized by relatively rapid accumulation of clays in the restricted Wharton and Mozambique basins. Calcareous and terrigenous sediments accumulated around the margins of these basins. In the early Tertiary more open conditions prevailed, but tectonic activity and changing bottom circulation have resulted in a patchy and discontinuous record, especially in the Eocene and early Oligocene. Oligocene to Recent patterns of sedimentation closely resemble those of the present day.

Accumulations of terrigenous sediment in the western and northern parts of the Indian Ocean are clearly related to tectonic activity in the neighboring land areas, and there is a sharp distinction between ocean basins with abundant terrigenous sediment input (Mozambique, Mascarene, Arabian, Somali, northern Central Indian) and those without (South Central Indian, Wharton). Hiatuses in the early Tertiary sedimentary record can be related to changing patterns of bottom circulation associate with glaciation in Antarctica and the subsequent development of strong bottom circulation. The pattern of bottom circulation changed with the development of the present circumpolar circulation, permitting sedimentation to resume in many places.