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    Rapid continental breakup and microcontinent formation in the western Indian Ocean

    Collier, J.S. and Minshull, T.A. and Kendall, J.-M. and Whitmarsh, R.B. and Rümpker, G. and Joseph, P. and Samson, P. and Lane, C.I. and Sansom, V. and Vermeesch, P.M. and Hammond, James O.S. and Wookey, J. and Teanby, N. and Ryberg, T. and Dean, S.M. (2004) Rapid continental breakup and microcontinent formation in the western Indian Ocean. Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union 85 (46), p. 481. ISSN 0096-3941.

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    Abstract

    Two of the main factors that determine the nature of a rifted continental margin are rheology and magmatism during extension. Numerical models of lithospheric extension suggest that both factors vary with extension rate; yet until now extension rates of studied margins, as indicated by the rate of initial seafloor spreading, are mostly less than -30 mm/yr on each margin. This article presents the first geophysical results from the Seychelles-Laxmi Ridge conjugate pair of rifted margins which separated at -65 mm/yr. The Seychelles, with its spectacular exposures of Precambrian granite, was the earliest scientifically recognized microcontinent and arguably remains the classic example of one [Wegener, 1924; Matthews and Davies, 1966]. However, it is still unknown whether microcontinents result from plumes, changes in plate-boundary forces, lithospheric heterogeneity, or a combination of these factors.

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