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Reconstructions of East Asian blocks in Pangea: Preface

Zhao, Guochun, Xiao, Wenjiao
Earth-science reviews 2018 v.186 pp. 1-7
models, mountains, oceans, China
Pangea is the youngest supercontinent in Earth's history, forming about 300–250Ma ago. As supported by large amounts of geological, paleomagnetic and paleontonlogical data, there is little debate on the positions of major continental blocks in Pangea. However, controversy has long surrounded the relations of East Asian blocks with Pangea. Most Pangea reconstructions assume that the East Asian blocks were not the components of Pangea but separated from Pangea by the Paleo-Tethys Ocean. These reconstructions were mainly based on geological and paleomagnetic data before the 1990's but did not fully consider recent data, especially for major orogenic belts that formed through the subduction and closure of the Proto-Tethys, Paleo-Asian and Paleo-Tethys oceans in East Asia. To determine where, when and how these oceans were closed, and whether or not the East Asian blocks were added to Pangea, the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) set up a NSFC Major Program entitled “Reconstructions of East Asian Continental blocks in Pangea”, which started in 2012 and was completed in 2016. In the past five years, the researchers of this project carried out extensive field-based geological and paleomagnetic investigations on the East Asian blocks and their intervening mountain belts, and produced large amounts of data and competing interpretations, which provide constraints on the paleogeographic evolution of the East Asian blocks from the breakup of Rodinia to the assembly of Pangea. This forms the justification for organizing this special issue in which we collected ten papers that timely summarize these new data and interpretations and present new models for the reconstructions of the East Asian continental blocks in Pangea.