Carol A. Stein, Michael A. Hobart and Dallas H. Abbott

Has the Wharton Basin's heat flow been perturbed by the formation of a diffuse plate boundary in the Indian Ocean?

Geophysical Research Letters(May 1988), 15(5):455-458

Index Terms/Descriptors: crust; diffusion; heat flow; Indian Ocean; oceanic crust; plate boundaries; plate tectonics; spatial variations; tectonophysics; Wharton Basin

Latitude & LongitudeS5°00'00'' - N5°00'00'' and E80°00'00'' - E90°00'00''


The Central Indian Ocean region has heat flow higher than expected for its lithospheric age. This heat flow anomaly is thought to be associated with deformation of sediment and crust and high seismicity. To better constrain the nature of this deformation, we examine the spatial variation of the heat flow. Previous work suggested high heat flux also in the Wharton Basin to the east, which shows less seismicity and deformation. Using new values for lithospheric age from reinterpretation of the magnetic anomalies, we have reexamined the heat flow and found it no higher than expected, in contrast to the Central Indian Basin. This spatial distribution of heat flow highs and expected values is consistent with the pattern of seismicity and deformation and the predictions of the recent diffuse plate boundary model [Wiens et al., 1985] for the region.