Philippine Sea Plate motion since the Eocene estimated from paleomagnetism of seafloor drill cores and gravity cores

Toshitsugu Yamazaki, Masaki Takahashi, Yasufumi Iryu, Tokiyuki Sato, Motoyoshi Oda, Hideko Takayanagi, Shun Chiyonobu, Akira Nishimura, Tsutomu Nakazawa, Takashi Ooka

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41 Citations (Scopus)


Current models of Philippine Sea (PHS) Plate motion assume a general and large northward shift since the Eocene. In order to constrain better the age and amount of this northward shift, we have conducted a paleomagnetic study on drill and gravity cores, respectively, taken from the seafloor of the northern part of the PHS Plate. The core samples consist of sedimentary rocks or semi-consolidated sediments, and their ages, as estimated from microfossils and strontium isotope ratios, range from the Eocene to late Miocene. The results of stepwise alternating-field and thermal demagnetization experiments revealed that 19 sections at 17 sites out of 58 sections at the 29 sites examined yielded mean paleomagnetic directions with a 95% confidence limit (α95) of <25°, and 14 sections at 13 sites have α95 < 15°. An estimation of the amount of the northward shift at each site was obtained from the difference between the paleolatitude and the present latitude. This estimation revealed that the northern part of the PHS Plate was located near the equator at 50 Ma and that the majority of the northward shift took place between about 50 and 25 Ma. Very little northward movement occurred after 15 Ma. Based on our data, together with the available paleomagnetic information suggesting clockwise rotation of about 90° since the Eocene and the requirements from geometry with the surrounding plates, we present a model in which the PHS Plate rotated 90° clockwise between 50 and 15 Ma on the Euler pole near 23°N, 162°E, although it is impossible to specifically determine the Euler pole position. Copyright (E) The Society of Geomagnetism and Earth, Planetary and Space Sciences (SGEPSS); The Seismological Society of Japan; The Volcanological Society of Japan; The Geodetic Society of japan; The Japanese Society for Planetary Sciences; TERRAPUB.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)495-502
Number of pages8
JournalEarth, Planets and Space
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Eocene
  • Euler pole position
  • Miocene
  • Paleolatitude
  • Paleomagnetic directions
  • Philippine sea plate
  • Plate motion


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