Can microplate rotation drive subduction inversion?

L. E. Webb, S. L. Baldwin, T. A. Little, P. G. Fitzgerald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


We propose a model for the exhumation of Late Miocene coesite-eclogite in the Woodlark Rift of Papua New Guinea. Reorganization within the obliquely convergent Australian-Pacific plate boundary zone led to formation of the Woodlark microplate. Counterclockwise rotation of the microplate relative to the Australian plate resulted in extensional reactivation of a subduction thrust (subduction inversion) and the exhumation of high- and ultrahigh-pressure (HP-UHP) rocks within the Australian-Woodlark plate boundary zone. The model invokes plate tectonic processes to drive rapid exhumation and predicts spatial and temporal patterns of exhumation to assess its applicability to HP-UHP terranes worldwide.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)823-826
Number of pages4
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2008


  • Exhumation
  • Microplate rotation
  • Subduction inversion
  • Ultrahigh-pressure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology


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