Cretaceous – Paleogene tectonic reconstructions of the South Scotia Ridge and implications for the initiation of subduction in the Scotia Sea

The Cenozoic development of the Scotia Sea and opening of Drake Passage led to the dispersal of crustal blocks of the North and South Scotia ridges that today have a strong influence on the pathway of the Antarctic circumpolar current. The pre-translation positions of the crustal fragments of the Scotia ridges are uncertain, with correlations to both the Antarctic and South American plates. We present direct geochronology (40Ar/39Ar) from Bruce and Jane banks of the South Scotia Ridge that yield Late Cretaceous – Paleogene ages indicating a pre-translation magmatic history. Basaltic magmatism from Bruce Bank is calc-alkaline, akin to Cenozoic magmatism of the South Orkney microcontinent and the South Shetlands Islands, and in agreement with pre-translation tectonic models that place the crustal blocks of the South Scotia Ridge adjacent to the northern Antarctic Peninsula arc. The intra-oceanic arc magmatism at Jane Bank is Late Cretaceous in age (97.2 ± 1.1 Ma), and is not consistent with models suggesting a Miocene origin as part of the ancestral South Sandwich arc. The development of westward-directed subduction adjacent to Jane Bank is predicted in some tectonic models as a consequence of Late Cretaceous plate dynamics that developed prior to the Oligocene – Miocene ancestral arc.


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Authors: Riley, Teal R. ORCIDORCID record for Teal R. Riley, Burton-Johnson, Alex ORCIDORCID record for Alex Burton-Johnson, Hogan, Kelly A. ORCIDORCID record for Kelly A. Hogan, Carter, Andrew, Leat, Philip T.

On this site: Alex Burton-Johnson, Kelly Hogan, Philip Leat, Teal Riley
7 July, 2023
Journal of the Geological Society / 180
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