Formation of metamorphic core complexes in non-over-thickened continental crust: A case study of Liaodong Peninsula (East Asia)

Abstract : Pre-thickened hot orogenic crust is often considered a necessary condition for the formation of continental metamorphic core complexes (MCCs). However, the discovery of MCCs in the Liaodong Peninsula, where the crust has a normal thickness (~ 35 km), challenges the universality of this scenario. Therefore, we implement a series of 2-D numerical thermo-mechanical modeling experiments in which we investigate the conditions of MCC formation in normal crusts, as well as the relationships between the underlying mechanisms and the syn-rift basin evolution. In these experiments, we explore the impact of the lithostratigraphic and thermo-rheological structure of the crust. We also examine the lithosphere thickness, strain softening, extension rate, and surface erosion/ sedimentation processes. The experiments demonstrate that high thermal gradients and crustal heterogeneities result only in a symmetric spreading dome, which is geometrically incompatible with the observations of the MCCs in the Liaodong Peninsula. According to our further findings, the strain softening should play a key role in the development of asymmetric strain localization and domal topography uplift, while synchronous surface erosion controls the polarity of the syn-rift basin. The synthetic model data are compatible with the geological observations and cooling history based on the thermo-chronology for the eastern part of the East Asia during the late Mesozoic to the early Cenozoic. The model-predicted P-T-t paths are essentially different from those inferred for the other known MCCs, confirming the exceptional character of the MCC formation in the wide rift system of the East Asia.
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Kun Wang, Evguenii Burov, Charles Gumiaux, Yan Chen, Gang Lu, et al.. Formation of metamorphic core complexes in non-over-thickened continental crust: A case study of Liaodong Peninsula (East Asia). Lithos, Elsevier, 2015, 238, pp.86-100. ⟨10.1016/j.lithos.2015.09.023⟩. ⟨insu-01225346⟩

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