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Cretaceous exhumation of the Triassic intracontinental Xuefengshan Belt : delayed unroofing of an orogenic plateau across the South China Block?

Chu, Yang and Lin, Wei and Faure, Michel and Allen, Mark B. and Feng, Zhentian (2020) 'Cretaceous exhumation of the Triassic intracontinental Xuefengshan Belt : delayed unroofing of an orogenic plateau across the South China Block?', Tectonophysics., 793 . p. 228592.

Abstract

A large plateau can be produced by crustal thickening in convergent zones such as continental collision belts and Andean-type subduction zones, but the life cycles of such plateaux are not well-understood. In particular, it is not clear how long they persist after construction, before other tectonic processes or erosion reduce crustal thickness and elevation to near-normal levels. Triassic subduction- and collision-tectonics produced intense deformation, magmatism and metamorphism across the entire South China Block. This large-scale crustal shortening created a broad orogenic belt, uplifted most parts of the South China Block, and probably initiated the growth of an orogenic plateau. Our study presents low-temperature thermochronology data from the Xuefengshan Belt in the interior of the South China Block. There was along-strike variation in exhumation. The north orogenic core was subjected to Triassic (~245–210 Ma), and Late Cretaceous (~100–80 Ma) exhumation, whereas the cooling path of the south orogenic core reflects a two stage Cretaceous evolution. The variable exhumation pattern reflects non-uniform tectonics in different regions, but both regions were subject to Late Cretaceous extension. We tentatively reconstruct the original plateau paleo-elevation to be ~1.5 km above sea level, based on the amount of exhumation (~10 km) and the present crustal thickness (~35 km). The T-t trajectories of the Xuefengshan Belt and other Triassic belts highlight the significance of Cretaceous extension and exhumation in shaping the tectonic configuration of the South China Block. Large-scale extension was probably triggered by rollback of the Paleo-Pacific subduction zone.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.
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Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tecto.2020.228592
Publisher statement:© 2020 This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
Date accepted:11 August 2020
Date deposited:18 September 2020
Date of first online publication:26 August 2020
Date first made open access:26 August 2021

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