Journal article

TOPO-OZ: Insights into the various modes of intraplate deformation in the Australian continent

Mike Sandiford, Mark Quigley



As the fastest, lowest, flattest and amongst the most arid of continents, Australia preserves a unique geomorphic record of intraplate tectonic activity, evidencing at least three distinct modes of surface deformation since its rapid northward drift commenced around 43 million years ago. At long wavelengths (several 1000s km) systematic variations in the extent of Neogene marine inundation imply the continent has tilted north-down, southwest-up. At intermediate-wavelengths (several 100s km) several undulations of ~ 100-200 m amplitude have developed on the 1-10 myr timescale. At still shorter wavelengths (several 10s km), fault related motion has produced local relief at rates of up to ~ 100..

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Awarded by ARC

Funding Acknowledgements

Our ideas on the evolution of the Australian topographic field and its relation to the Indo-Australian plate have benefited from discussions with numerous people over the years including Jim Bowler, jean Braun, Dan Cark, David Coblentz, David Egholm, Andrew Gleadow, Mike Gurnis, Richard Hillis, Barry Kohn, Dietmar Mueller, Paolo Vasconcelas and Malcolm Wallace. The manuscript has been improved by comments from David Coblentz, Sierd Cloetingh and two anonymous reviewers. This research was supported by ARC grant DP055613.