Paleocene on-spreading-axis hotspot volcanism along the Ninetyeast Ridge: An interaction between the Kerguelen hotspot and the Wharton spreading center
Investigations of three plausible tectonic settings of the Kerguelen hotspot relative to the Wharton spreading center evoke the on-spreading-axis hotspot volcanism of Paleocene (60-54 Ma) age along the Ninetyeast Ridge. The hypothesis is consistent with magnetic lineations and abandoned spreading centers of the eastern Indian Ocean and seismic structure and radiometric dates of the Ninetyeast Ridge. Furthermore, it is supported by the occurrence of oceanic andesites at Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP) Site 214, isotopically heterogeneous basalts at Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) Site 757 of approximately the same age (59-58 Ma) at both sites. Intermix basalts generated by plume-mid-ocean ridge (MOR) interaction, exist between 11° and 17°S along the Ninetyeast Ridge. A comparison of age profile along the Ninetyeast Ridge between ODP Sites 758 (82 Ma) and 756 (43 Ma) with similarly aged oceanic crust in the Central Indian Basin and Wharton Basin reveals the existence of extra oceanic crust spanning 11° latitude beneath the Ninetyeast Ridge. The extra crust is attributed to the transfer of lithospheric blocks from the Antarctic plate to the Indian plate through a series of southward ridge jumps at about 65, 54 and 42 Ma. Emplacement of volcanic rocks on the extra crust resulted from rapid northward motion (absolute) of the Indian plate. The Ninetyeast Ridge was originated when the spreading centers of the Wharton Ridge were absolutely moving northward with respect to a relatively stationary Kerguelen hotspot with multiple southward ridge jumps. In the process, the spreading center coincided with the Kerguelen hotspot and took place on-spreading-axis volcanism along the Ninetyeast Ridge.