Gondwana to Asia: plate tectonics, paleogeography and the biological connectivity of the Indian sub-continent from the Middle Jurassic through latest Eocene (166-35 Ma)

Ali, Jason R. and Aitchison, Jonathan C. (2008) Gondwana to Asia: plate tectonics, paleogeography and the biological connectivity of the Indian sub-continent from the Middle Jurassic through latest Eocene (166-35 Ma). Earth-Science Reviews, 88 3-4: 145-166. doi:10.1016/j.earscirev.2008.01.007


Author Ali, Jason R.
Aitchison, Jonathan C.
Title Gondwana to Asia: plate tectonics, paleogeography and the biological connectivity of the Indian sub-continent from the Middle Jurassic through latest Eocene (166-35 Ma)
Journal name Earth-Science Reviews   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0012-8252
1872-6828
Publication date 2008-06-01
Year available 2008
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.earscirev.2008.01.007
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 88
Issue 3-4
Start page 145
End page 166
Total pages 22
Place of publication Amsterdam, Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Using the most up-to-the-date information available, we present a considerably revised plate tectonic and paleogeographic model for the Indian Ocean bordering continents, from Gondwana's Middle Jurassic break-up through to India's collision with Asia in the middle Cenozoic. The landmass framework is then used to explore the sometimes complex and occasionally counter-intuitive patterns that have been observed in the fossil and extant biological records of India, Madagascar, Africa and eastern Eurasia, as well those of the more distal continents.

Although the paleogeographic model confirms the traditional view that India became progressively more isolated from the major landmasses during the Cretaceous and Paleocene, it is likely that at various times minor physiographic features (principally ocean islands) provided causeways and/or stepping-stone trails along which land animals could have migrated to/from the sub-continent. Aside from a likely link (albeit broken by several marine gaps) to Africa for much of this time (it is notable, that the present-day/recent biota of Madagascar indicates that the ancestors of five land-mammal orders, plus bats, crossed the > 400-km-wide Mozambique Channel at different times in the Cenozoic), it is possible that the Kerguelen Plateau connected India and Australia–Antarctica in the mid-Cretaceous (approximately 115–90 Ma). Later, the Seychelles–Mascarene Plateau and nearby elevated sea-floor areas could have allowed faunas to pass between southern India and Madagascar in the Late Cretaceous, from around 85–65 Ma, with an early Cenozoic extension to this path forming as a result of the Reunion hot-spot trace islands growing on the ocean floor to the SSW of India. The modelling also suggests that India's northward passage towards Asia, with eventual collision at 35 Ma, involved the NE corner of the sub-continent making a glancing contact with Sumatra, followed by Burma from ~ 57 Ma (late Paleocene) onwards, a scenario which is compatible with the fossil record indicating that India–Asia faunal exchanges began occurring at about this time. Finally, we contend that a number of biologically-based direct terrestrial migration routes that have been proposed for last 15 m.y. of the Cretaceous (Asia to India; Antarctica to Madagascar and/or India) can probably be dismissed because the marine barriers, likely varying from > 1000 up to 2500 km, were simply too wide.
Keyword Biogeography
India
Madagascar
Tethys
Gondwana
Africa
Asia
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management Publications
 
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Created: Thu, 05 Mar 2015, 21:15:55 EST by Helen Smith on behalf of School of Geography, Planning & Env Management