, Volume 40, Issue 3, pp 225–235 | Cite as

The cretaceous dynamics of the pacific plate and stages of magmatic activity in Northeastern Asia

  • A. A. Stepashko


The dynamics of the Pacific Plate is recorded in the systematic variation of location and the 40Ar-39Ar age of seamounts in the western Pacific from 120 to 65 Ma ago. The seamounts are grouped into three linear zones as long as 5000 km. The seamounts become younger in the southeastern direction along the strike of these zones. Correlation between age and location of seamounts allows division of the history of their formation into three stages. The rate of seamount growth was relatively low (2–4 cm/yr) during the first and the third stages within the intervals of 120–90 and 85–65 Ma, whereas during the second stage (90–85 Ma), the seamounts were growing very fast (80–100 cm/yr). In the midst of this stage, at ∼87 Ma ago, the magmatic activity increased abruptly. The dynamics of seamount building is in good agreement with (1) pulses in the development of the Ontong Java, Manihiki, and Caribbean-Colombian oceanic plateaus; (2) the age of spreading acceleration in the mid-Cretaceous; and (3) the short period when the Izanagi Plate ceased to exist and the Kula Plate was formed. The variation of the seamounts’ age and location is in consistence with the hypothesis of diffuse extension of the Pacific Plate in the course of its motion with formation of impaired zones of decompression melting. The direction of extension (325°–340° NW) calculated from the strike of seamount zones is consistent with the path of the Pacific Plate (330° NW) in the Late Cretaceous. The immense perioceanic volcanic belts were formed at that time along the margin of the Asian continent. The Okhotsk-Chukchi Peninsula Belt extends at a right angle to the compression vector. Three stages of this belt’s evolution are synchronous with the stages of seamount formation in the Pacific Plate. The delay in the origination of the East Sikhote-Alin Volcanic Belt and its different orientation were caused by counterclockwise rotation of the vector of convergence of oceanic and continental plates in the mid-Cretaceous. At the same time, i.e., 95–85 Ma ago, the volcanic activity embraced the entire continental margin and the tin granites were emplaced everywhere in eastern Asia. This short episode (90 ± 5 Ma) corresponds to the mid-Cretaceous maximum of compression of the continental margin, and its age fits a culmination in extension of the Pacific Plate well.


Cretaceous Late Cretaceous Continental Margin Magmatic Activity Volcanic Belt 
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© Pleiades Publishing, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. A. Stepashko
    • 1
  1. 1.Kosygin Institute of Tectonics and Geophysics, Far East DivisionRussian Academy of SciencesKhabarovskRussia

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