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Authors: Gasperini, Luca* 
Ligi, Marco* 
Accettella, Daniela* 
Bosman, Alessandro* 
Cuffaro, Marco* 
Lodolo, Emanuele* 
Martorelli, Eleonora* 
Muccini, Filippo* 
Palmiotto, Camilla* 
Polonia, Alina* 
Title: Late Miocene to recent tectonic evolution of the Macquarie Triple Junction
Journal: Geology 
Series/Report no.: 2/51 (2023)
Publisher: GSA
Issue Date: 2023
DOI: 10.1130/G50556.1
Abstract: The Pacific, Antarctic, and Macquarie lithospheric plates diverge from the Macquarie Triple Junction (MTJ) in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, south of Macquarie Island. Morphobathymetric, magnetic, and gravity data have been used to understand the evolution of the three accretionary/transform boundaries that meet at the MTJ. Plate velocities, estimated near the MTJ and averaged over the past 3 m.y., indicate an unstable ridge–fault–fault triple junction. The long life (>6 m.y.) of this configuration can be attributed to a rapid increase in spreading asymmetry along the Southeast Indian Ridge segment as it approaches the MTJ, and to transtension along the southernmost strand of the Macquarie–Pacific transform boundary. A major change in plate motion triggered the development of the Macquarie plate at ca. 6 Ma and makes clear the recent evolution of the MTJ, including (1) shortening of the Southeast Indian Ridge segment; (2) formation of the westernmost Pacific-Antarctic Ridge, which increased its length over time; and (3) lengthening of the two transform boundaries converging in the MTJ. The clockwise change of the Pacific-Antarctic motion (ca. 12–10 Ma) led to complex geodynamic evolution of the plate boundary to the east of the triple junction, with fragmentation of the long-offset Emerald transform fault and its replacement over a short time interval (1–2 m.y.) with closely spaced, highly variable transform offsets that were joined by short ridge segments with time-varying asymmetries in the spreading rates.
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