Palaeoposition of the Seychelles microcontinent in relation to the Deccan Traps and the Plume Generation Zone in Late Cretaceous-Early Palaeogene time
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The Early Palaeogene magmatic rocks of North and Silhouette Islands in the Seychelles contain clues to the Cenozoic geodynamic puzzle of the Indian Ocean, but have so far lacked precise geochronological data and palaeomagnetic constraints. New 40Ar/39Ar and U–Pb dates demonstrate that these rocks were emplaced during magnetochron C28n; however, 40Ar/39Ar and palaeomagnetic data from Silhouette indicate that this complex experienced a protracted period of cooling. The Seychelles palaeomagnetic pole (57.55°S and 114.22°E; A9512.3°, N=14) corresponds to poles of similar ages from the Deccan Traps after being corrected for a clockwise rotation of 29.4°±12.9°. This implies that Seychelles acted as an independent microplate between the Indian and African plates during and possibly after C27r time, confirming recent results based on kinematic studies. Our reconstruction confirms that the eruption of the Deccan Traps, which affected both India and the Seychelles and triggered continental break-up, can be linked to the present active Reunion hotspot, which is being sourced as a deep plume from the Plume Generation Zone.