An embayment in the East Antarctic basement constrains the shape of the Rodinian continental margin

Tom A. Jordan*, Fausto Ferraccioli, Rene Forsberg

*Corresponding author for this work

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A cratonic embayment that likely formed during the Neoproterozoic rifting of the supercontinent Rodinia is identified under the East Antarctic ice sheet through analyses of aeromagnetic and other geophysical data East Antarctic provinces lay at the heart of both Rodinian and Gondwanan supercontinents, yet poor exposure and limited geophysical data provide few constraints on the region's tectonic evolution. The shape of the Mawson Continent, the stable nucleus of East Antarctica, is one of Antarctica's most important, but contested features, with implications for global plate reconstructions and local tectonic models. Here we show a major marginal embayment 500-700 km wide, cuts into the East Antarctic basement in the South Pole region. This embayment, defined by new aeromagnetic and other geophysical data, truncates the Mawson Continent, which is distinct from basement provinces flanking the Weddell Sea. We favour a late Neoproterozoic rifting model for embayment formation and discuss analogies with other continental margins. The embayment and associated basement provinces help define the East Antarctic nucleus for supercontinental reconstructions, while the inherited marginal geometry likely influenced evolution of the paleo-Pacific margin of Gondwana.
Original languageEnglish
Article number52
JournalCommunications Earth and Environment
Issue number1
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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