Polar Standstill of the Mid-Cretaceous Pacific Plate and Its Geodynamic Implications

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Science  18 Aug 1995:
Vol. 269, Issue 5226, pp. 956-959
DOI: 10.1126/science.269.5226.956


Paleomagnetic data from the Mid-Cretaceous Mountains suggest that Pacific plate motion during the Early to mid-Cretaceous was slow, less than 0.3 degree per year, resembling the polar standstill observed in coeval rocks of Eurasia and North America. There is little evidence for a change in plate motion that could have precipitated the major volcanic episode of the early Aptian that is marked by the formation of the Ontong Java Plateau. During the volcanism, oceanic plates bordering the Pacific plate moved rapidly. Large-scale northward motion of the Pacific plate began after volcanism ceased. This pattern suggests that mantle plume volcanism exerted control on plate tectonics in the Cretaceous Pacific basin.