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Continental dynamics of Eastern China: Insights from tectonic history and receiver function analysis

He, Chuansong, Santosh, M., Dong, Shuwen
Earth-science reviews 2015 v.145 pp. 9-24
Archean eon, Cenozoic era, basins, delamination, tectonics, China
East Asia records a complex sequence of tectonic processes, with the mosaic of cratonic blocks and orogenic belts in China preserving evidence for multiple episodes of amalgamation and reworking from the Archean to Cenozoic. The prolonged subduction of the Pacific plate from the east has been invoked to explain the volcanic activities in the NE China region and in the Songliao Basin, as well as the extensive destruction of the sub-continental lithospheric mantle of the North China Craton (NCC). The collision between the NCC and the Yangtze Craton involved deep subduction and exhumation of ultrahigh-pressure metamorphic orogen. In the South China Craton, the Yangtze and Cathaysia blocks collided along the Shaoxing-Jiangshan-Pingxiang suture. Here we present an overview of the results from multidisciplinary studies on the major tectonic events in the eastern China region and evaluate the geodynamics of these in the light of our recent work based on receiver function analysis. The compression induced by the westward subduction of the Pacific plate in the NCC and South China appears to have triggered lower crustal and lithospheric delamination. We also identify mantle upwelling as a dominant trigger for the major tectonic process in this region.