Marine Geophysical Researches

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 1–14 | Cite as

The Rodriguez Triple Junction (Indian Ocean): Structure and evolution for the past one million years

  • M. Munschy
  • R. Schlich


The Rodriguez Triple Junction (RTJ) corresponds to the junction of the three Indian Ocean spreading ridges. A detailed survey of an area of 90 km by 85 km, centered at 25°30′ S and 70° E, allows detailed mapping (at a scale of 1/100 000) of the bathymetry (Seabeam) and the magnetic anomalies. The Southeast Indian Ridge, close to the triple junction, is a typical intermediate spreading rate ridge (2.99 cm a-1 half rate), trending N140°. The Central Indian Ridge rift valley prolongs the Southeast Indian Ridge rift valley with a slight change of orientation (12°). The half spreading rate and trend of this ridge are 2.73 cm a-1 and N152° respectively. In contrast, the Southwest Indian Ridge close to the triple junction is expressed by two deep-valleys (4300 and 5000 m deep) which abut the southwestcrn flanks of the two other ridges, and appears to be a stretched area without axial neovolcanic zone. The evolution of the RTJ is analysed for the past one million years. The instantaneous velocity triangle formed by the three ridges cannot be closed indicating that the RTJ is unstable. A model is proposed to explain the evolution of the unstable RRF Rodriguez Triple Junction. The model shows that the axis of the Central Indian Ridge is propressively offset from the axis of the Southeast Indian Ridge at a velocity of 0.14 cm a-1, the RTJ being restored by small jumps. This unstable RRF model explains the directions and offsets which are observed in the vicinity of the triple junction. The structure and evolution of the RTJ is similar to that of the Galapagos Triple Junction located in the East Pacific Ocean and the Azores Triple Junction located in the Central Atlantic Ocean.

Key words

oceanic spreading ridge triple junction Indian Ocean 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Munschy
    • 1
  • R. Schlich
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratoire de Géophysique Marine (CNRS UA 323)Institut de Physique du GlobeSTRASBOURG CedexFrance

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