Absolute migration and the evolution of the Rodriguez Triple Junction since 75 Ma
The Rodriguez Triple Junction (RTJ) is a junction connecting three mid-ocean ridges in the Indian Ocean: the Southwest Indian Ridge (SWIR), the Central Indian Ridge (CIR) and the Southeast Indian Ridge (SEIR). The evolution of the RTJ has been studied extensively for the past 10 Ma and the triple junction is believed to be largely a ridge-ridge-ridge (RRR) triple junction. However, due to the scarcity of data its configuration prior to that period is poorly understood. The migration of the RTJ in the hotspot reference frame, for the past 75 million years has been mapped, by reconstructing its traces on the three plates (African, Antarctic and Indian) to their former positions. The results show that the RTJ has migrated northeasterly at velocities varying from 10cm/yr at 70 Ma to 2.6cm/yr at 43 Ma and thereafter 3.6–3.8cm/yr, in a fairly straight-line trajectory, suggesting a stable configuration of the RTJ since its formation. Because the RRR triple junction is the most stable configuration that is possible, it is suggested that the configuration of the RTJ has been largely RRR triple junction since its formation.