Mid-Cretaceous igneous rocks of central Marie Byrd Land, Antarctica record a rapid change from subduction-related to rift-related magmatism. This correlates with the final stages of subduction of the Phoenix plate and the subsequent rifting of New Zealand from West Antarctica, prior to the opening of the Southern Ocean. Rift magmatism produced diverse A-type granitoids and mafic intrusive rocks of continental flood-basalt affinity that were derived ultimately from lithospheric mantle sources. Rifting was caused by changes in plate boundary forces; however, mantle plume activity may have begun in mid-Cretaceous time, triggering melting of the lithosphere and controlling the locus of rifting.
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