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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

AAPG Bulletin


Volume: 34 (1950)

Issue: 5. (May)

First Page: 856

Last Page: 881

Title: Geotectonic Position of New Guinea

Author(s): M. F. Glaessner (2)


In this paper an attempt is made to organize the available data on geotectonic relations in the New Guinea area so as to provide a basis for discussion of the fundamental structural features and dynamics of this part of the Pacific margin. A tentative division of the island of New Guinea into twelve structural zones is proposed and the differences between the northern and eastern zones and the main part of the island are emphasized. This is followed by a review of the Pacific Border ("Andesite line") and its most likely position, the Australian continental mass and its main components, the Asiatic and East Indian Island arcs and the island belt southeast of New Guinea (Melanesian zones). The proximity of the Australian craton and its outer geosynclinal belt affects the ci cum-Asiatic arcs. Their comparatively well known features can not be considered as the standard pattern of circum-Pacific structure, as the Melanesian zones differ from them in several important respects. In applying the results of the review of surrounding major earth features to the analysis of the structure of New Guinea it is found that the northern and eastern parts of the island are essentially Melanesian while western New Guinea is influenced by the Asiatic Banda arcs. The zones of southern and central New Guinea are essentially Australian and appear to continue as a submerged median mass southeastward under the Coral Sea.

The area eastward to the Pacific Border is a major geosynclinal belt but it is characterized by nuclear basins and surrounding sigmoidal structural trends. Geological studies in New Guinea and New Zealand, in conjunction with gravimetric investigations now in progress will make it possible to test the various geotectonic hypotheses and theories which either directly or by implication have made assumptions on the nature and age of structural elements in this area.

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