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Geological understanding of plate tectonics : basic concepts, illustrations, examples and new perspectives.

Niu, Y.L. (2018) 'Geological understanding of plate tectonics : basic concepts, illustrations, examples and new perspectives.', Global tectonics and metallogeny., 10 (1). pp. 23-46.


In this paper, I have reviewed some basic concepts of the plate tectonics theory in a plain geological language with the aim of encouraging geologists to correctly understand this theory in its applications to geological problems. I emphasized the decisive role of subduction as the ultimate (dominant) driving force of all the plate tectonics phenomena. Hence, my discussion has focused on major issues such as the origin of subduction zones, slab rollback, trench retreat, trench suction and driving mechanism of plate motion (both oceanic and continental) by means of illustration with hypothetical and real examples. As much of the discussion is heavily based on my personal (original) perspectives, some of the concepts, interpretations and hypotheses may not be familiar to many and may not be readily found in the existing literature. Mantle plume hypothesis is not the focus of this paper and is thus only mentioned in passing.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Plate tectonics, Driving mechanisms, Subduction initiation, Trench retreat, Trench suction, Back-arc basins, Continental drift, Western Pacific, Eastern China, India-Asia convergence.
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Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.
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Publisher statement:This article is available under CC-BY-NC Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Licence, which permits users to use, reproduce, disseminate or display the article provided that the author is attributed as the original creator and that the reuse is restricted to non-commercial purposes i.e. research or educational use.
Date accepted:27 June 2014
Date deposited:22 June 2015
Date of first online publication:01 October 2014
Date first made open access:No date available

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