Paleo-Tethyan Evolution of Tibet as Recorded in the East Cimmerides and West Cathaysides

Abstract : The Paleozoic-early Mesozoic geology of Tibet was controlled by the rift-drift, seafloor spreading and subduction zone tectonics of a Paleo-Tethyan realm, which evolved between the West Cathaysides (WC) and the East Cimmerides (EC). Different suture zones with ophiolites and ophiolitic mélanges, high-pressure metamorphic belts, magmatic arcs and accretionary prism complexes separating different terranes mark multiple subduction-accretion systems within this Paleo-Tethyan domain, reminiscent of the modern Western Pacific Ocean. Discrete basins separated by different continental blocks and magmatic arcs constituted a complex paleogeography of Paleo-Tethys, and these oceanic strands were closed as a result of subduction with different polarities during the late Paleozoic-Triassic. The Longmu Tso Shuanghu-Changning Menglian Suture zone (LS-CMS) in Tibet represents the main tectonic boundary between the WC and EC that developed in the Devonian. The East Kunlun-A’nyemaqen oceanic slab was subducted northward beneath the East Kunlun terrane in northern Tibet, whereas the Sumdo oceanic slab was subducted northward beneath the South Qiangtang-North Lhasa terrane in southern Tibet. The Longmu Tso Shuanghu-Changning Menglian and Jinshajiang-Ailaoshan-Song Ma ophiolites were developed and emplaced in subduction-accretion systems with opposite polarities (westward and eastward) beneath the North Qiangtang-Qamdo-Simao-Indochina terrane in central Tibet. The Jinshajiang-Ailaoshan-Song Ma oceanic slab was subducted westward beneath the North Qiangtang-Simao-Indochina terrane along the Jinshajiang and Ailaoshan-Song Ma trenches in a trench-ridge-trench triple junction plate configuration. The Emeishan mantle plume produced a large Permian basaltic terrane, developed on the western passive margin of the South China block. The final closure of the Paleo-Tethyan oceanic branches resulted in continental collisions and development of a vast Indosinian orogenic collage in the latest Triassic-Jurassic.
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Zhiqin Xu, Yildirim Dilek, Hui Cao, Jingsui Yang, Paul Robinson, et al.. Paleo-Tethyan Evolution of Tibet as Recorded in the East Cimmerides and West Cathaysides. Journal of Southeast Asian earth sciences, Elsevier, 2015, 105, pp.320-337. ⟨10.1016/j.jseaes.2015.01.021⟩. ⟨insu-01119604⟩

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