Triassic southeastward subduction of North China Block to South China Block: Insights from new geological, geophysical and geochemical data

Research paper by Sanzhong Li, Bor-ming Jahn, Shujuan Zhao, Liming Dai, Xiyao Li, Yanhui Suo, Lingli Guo, Yongming Wang, Xiaochun Liu, Haoyuan Lan, Zaizheng Zhou, Qiliang Zheng, Pengcheng Wang

Indexed on: 10 Mar '17Published on: 24 Jan '17Published in: Earth-Science Reviews


Lithospheric subduction prior to the assembly of the South China and North China blocks is traditionally considered to be directed northward. However, some critical geological and geochemical data cannot be reconciled with this northward subduction. This paper presents new lines of evidence against the traditional models and proposes a new and revolutionary tectonic model to explain the distribution and exhumation of high pressure (HP)-ultrahigh pressure (UHP) metamorphic rocks of the Dabie-Sulu Belt. We emphasize the following: 1) The Triassic tectonic environment of the southern margin of the North China Block was passive, not active, based on the stratigraphy; 2) In the southern margin of the North China Block no arc magmatism was recorded. 3) Many Paleoproterozoic slices of Jiaobei affinity of the Jiao-Liao-Ji Belt in the North China Block were located in the Triassic Sulu Orogen. 4) Many 1.85 Ga metamorphic zircons are preserved in the Dabie-Sulu high pressure-ultra-high pressure (HP-UHP) metamorphic rocks. 5) The geometric asymmetry of many structural patterns in the HP-UHP slices indicates top-to-the northwest thrusting during the exhumation of HP-UHP slices. 6) Blueschists occur in the south of the UHP eclogite slices. 7) In the eastern segment of the North Qinling Orogen, no components with an affinity of the South China Block have been found. Along the Shangdan Suture of the Qinling Orogen has been recorded an apparent northward subduction. We consider that the suture is just a lateral subduction zone rather than a major collisional zone. Along the Shangdan Suture, the rarity of I-type plutonism can be attributed to a transform-type continental margin. The Bureya-Jiamusi-Khanka Block has an affinity to the South China Block based on its similarity regarding the Paleozoic history of deformation and Triassic blueschist metamorphic facies metamorphism. The Bureya-Jiamusi-Khanka Block could be the northern extension of the Dabie-Sulu Belt, and this gigantic belt could be interpreted as an orocline related to the southeastward subduction of the North China Block beneath the Greater South China Block.

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