AuthorsR. Nerlich, S. Clark and H. Bunge
TitleReconstructing the Link Between the Galapagos Hotspot and the Caribbean Plateau
AfilliationScientific Computing, Scientific Computing
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014

Most authors agree that parts of the Caribbean plate are an igneous Plateau underlain by Farallon lithosphere that was trapped in between the North and South American plates. However, the origin of the thickened crust is debated. The theory of oceanic plateaus forming as magmatic outpouring related to a plume arrival became prominent when Large Igneous Provinces could be traced back to hotspots. The present-day proximity of the Galapagos hotspot made it an obvious candidate for associating its plume head arrival with the formation of the Caribbean Plateau. However, it was shown that in a fixed or moving Indian-Atlantic hotspot reference frame, plate reconstructions predicted the Galapagos hotspot a thousand or more kilometres away from the Caribbean plate at the time of Plateau formation (\sim88-94 Ma). Here, we calculate the goodness of fit for the Pacific hotspot reference frame and the recently developed Global Moving Hotspot Reference Frame. We show that both frames lead to good correlations between the paleo-positions of the Caribbean Plate and the Galapagos hotspot, when a docking time of the Caribbean plate to South America of 54.5 Ma is assumed. As this result is consistent with abundant evidence that lends support for a Galapagos hotspot origin of the rocks that form the Caribbean Plateau, proposed alternative mechanisms to explain the thickened crust of the Caribbean Plateau seem to be unnecessary. Finally, based on our model, we also derived an age distribution of the lithosphere underneath the thickened crust of the Caribbean Plateau.

Citation KeySimula.simula.2324

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