Geodynamic evolution of the northern Molucca Sea area (Eastern Indonesia) constrained by 3-D gravity field inversion

TitleGeodynamic evolution of the northern Molucca Sea area (Eastern Indonesia) constrained by 3-D gravity field inversion
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsWidiwijayanti C, Tiberi C, Deplus C, Diament M, Mikhailov V, Louat R
Date PublishedAug
ISBN Number0040-1951
Accession NumberWOS:000223871300005

In order to better understand the tectonic framework of the Northern Molucca Sea area, we inverted satellite and sea-surface gravity data into an iterative scheme including a priori seismological and geological data. The resulting 3-D density model images the various tectonic units from the surface down to 40 km. We proceed to various tests to assess the stability and robustness of our inversion. In particular, we performed an offset and average smoothing method to properly refine our results. The resulting model shows a striking vertical regularity of the structures through the different layers, whereas the density contrasts appear strongly uneven in the horizontal direction. The density model emphasizes the complexity of the upper lithospheric structure in the northern Molucca Sea, which is clearly dominated by the interaction between ophiolitic ridges, sedimentary wedges and rigid blocks of the Philippine Sea Plate. It also provides new, hard information that can be used in discussion of the evolution of the region. Large density variations are concentrated in the central part of northern Molucca Sea and dominate the upper lithospheric. North-south trending density structures along the Central Ridge and west dipping thrust faults on the western side of the region are clearly imaged. In the eastern part of the region, we distinguish several blocks, especially the Snellius Plateau which seems to be split into two parts. We interpret this as an oceanic plateau associated with thicker crust that previously belonged to the Philippine Sea Plate. This crust is now trapped between the Molucca Sea complex collision zone and the Philippine Trench, due to the development of a new subduction zone in its eastern side. (C) 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.