Magnetic expression of the continent-ocean boundary between the western margin of Australia and the eastern Indian Ocean

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J.J. Veevers
J.W. Tayton
B.D. Johnson
L. Hansen


A comprehensive review of the Early Cretaceous seafloor-spreading magnetic anomalies (M0 to M10) in the eastern Indian Ocean leads to the isolation of a distinctive magnetic anomaly at the continent-ocean boundary (COB). This anomaly is traceable 2000 km southward from the rifted margin of the magnetically smooth central Exmouth Plateau, through the transform-faulted and rifted margins of the Cuvier Abyssal Plain and Carnarvon Terrace and the set of narrow spreading segments south of the Zenith-Wallaby Fracture Zone to the area west of Perth. The anomaly corresponds to the COB as indicated by: 1. the lower part of the continental slope in a mean water depth of 3.75 km for the rifted margin and 4.5 km for the transform-faulted margin and 2. a change in seismic-reflection character from the faulted breakup unconformity on the continent to the smooth but hyperbolic oceanic layer 2.  The COB anomaly at the rifted margin is modelled by modifying the magnetization of the oldest oceanic block of the seafloor-spreading sequence adjacent to the continental crust; in places, the COB anomaly is flanked by smaller anomalies modelled as rift-related dykes in the adjacent continental crust. The amplitude of the COB anomaly, commonly twice or more that of the adjacent oceanic magnetic anomalies, is due either to a thicker or a more intensely magnetized source. The COB anomaly at the transform-faulted margin is modelled by a thick vertical body that extends 10 km seaward of the COB.  The Wallaby Plateau is probably underlain by oceanic crust, as shown by the continuity of the abandoned spreading ridge of the Sonne Ridge southwestward from the Cuvier Abyssal Plain; the shape of the Wallaby Plateau and the volcanic composition of dredge-hauls indicate that it is probably a volcanic upgrowth of the oceanic crust as exemplified by Iceland today. Furthermore, like lceland, the Wallaby Plateau is crossed by magnetic anomalies that are possibly degraded seafloor-spreading anomalies. The Zenith Plateau lacks magnetic lineations and its crustal structure, like that of the Naturaliste Plateau to the south remains unknown.

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Veevers, J., Tayton, J., Johnson, B., & Hansen, L. (1984). Magnetic expression of the continent-ocean boundary between the western margin of Australia and the eastern Indian Ocean. Journal of Geophysics, 56(1), 106-120. Retrieved from
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