• D Gopala Rao

      Articles written in Journal of Earth System Science

    • Paleocene on-spreading-axis hotspot volcanism along the Ninetyeast Ridge: An interaction between the Kerguelen hotspot and the Wharton spreading center

      K S Krishna D Gopala Rao L V Subba Raju A K Chaubey V S Shcherbakov A I Pilipenko I V Radhakrishna Murthy

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      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.

    • Formation of diapiric structure in the deformation zone, central Indian Ocean: A model from gravity and seismic reflection data

      K S Krishna D Gopala Rao Yu P Neprochnov

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      Analyses of bathymetry, gravity and seismic reflection data of the diffusive plate boundary in the central Indian Ocean reveal a new kind of deformed structure besides the well-reported structures of long-wavelength anticlinal basement rises and high-angle reverse faults. The structure (basement trough) has a length of about 150 km and deepens by up to 1 km from its regional trend (northward dipping). The basement trough includes a rise at its center with a height of about 1.5km. The rise is about 10 km wide with rounded upper surface and bounded by vertical faults. A broad freeair gravity low of about 20 mGal and a local high of 8 mGal in its center are associated with the identified basement trough and rise structure respectively. Seismic results reveal that the horizontal crustal compression prevailing in the diffusive plate boundary might have formed the basement trough possibly in early Pliocene time. Differential loading stresses have been generated from unequal crust/sediment thickness on lower crustal and upper mantle rocks. A thin semi-ductile serpentinite layer existing near the base of the crust that is interpreted to have been formed at mid-ocean ridge and become part of the lithosphere, may have responded to the downward loading stresses generated by the sediments and crustal rocks to inject the serpentinites into the overlying strata to form a classic diapiric structure.

    • Magnetic rock properties of the gabbros from the ODP Drill Hole 1105 A of the Atlantis Bank, Southwest Indian Ridge

      D Gopala Rao K S Krishna

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      Laboratory studies of 30 samples from 158 m long drill core of the Hole 1105 A (ODP Leg 179) of the Atlantis Bank, Southwest Indian Ridge have revealed magnetic properties of the gabbros, olivine gabbros, oxide gabbros and olivine oxide gabbros down the core. Comparison of modal proportions of the oxides, grain sizes and magnetization parameters of the rocks has confirmed that most coarse-grained oxide mineral bearing rocks record low Koenigsberger ratio (2 to 5) and median destructive fields (5 to 7 mT). Average natural remanent magnetization (Jnrm) and stable remanent magnetization (Jst) of the core samples are 5.8 A/m and 1.9 A/m, respectively. Their mean stable magnetic inclination is 66‡ ± 4‡, about 14‡ steeper than the expected dipole inclination of the area similar to the one reported at Hole 735 B. The excess inclination perhaps marks a tectonic block rotation of the reversely magnetized rocks of the bank. We interpret that gabbros and serpentinites devoid of basaltic carapace significantly contribute to seafloor spreading anomalies of the bank.

    • Seaward dipping reflectors along the SW continental margin of India: Evidence for volcanic passive margin

      K K Ajay A K Chaubey K S Krishna D Gopala Rao D Sar

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      Multi-channel seismic reflection profiles across the southwest continental margin of India (SWCMI) show presence of westerly dipping seismic reflectors beneath sedimentary strata along the western flank of the Laccadive Ridge –northernmost part of the Chagos –Laccadive Ridge system. Velocity structure, seismic character, 2D gravity model and geographic locations of the dipping reflectors suggest that these reflectors are volcanic in origin, which are interpreted as Seaward Dipping Reflectors (SDRs).

      The SDRs; 15 to 27 km wide overlain by ∼1 km thick sediment; are observed at three locations and characterized by stack of laterally continuous, divergent and off-lapping reflectors. Occurrence of SDRs along western flank of the Laccadive Ridge adjacent to oceanic crust of the Arabian Basin and 2D crustal model deduced from free-air gravity anomaly suggest that they are genetically related to incipient volcanism during separation of Madagascar from India.

      We suggest that (i)SWCMI is a volcanic passive margin developed during India –Madagascar breakup in the Late Cretaceous, and (ii)continent –ocean transition lies at western margin of the Laccadive Ridge, west of feather edge of the SDRs. Occurrence of SDRs on western flank of the Laccadive Ridge and inferred zone of transition from continent to ocean further suggest continental nature of crust of the Laccadive Ridge.

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