Late Mesozoic And Cenozoic Rifting And Its Dynamic Setting In Eastern China And Adjacent Areas

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Journal Article: Late Mesozoic And Cenozoic Rifting And Its Dynamic Setting In Eastern China And Adjacent Areas

During the Late Mesozoic and Cenozoic, extension was widespread in Eastern China and adjacent areas. The first rifting stage spanned in the Late Jurassic-Early Cretaceous times and covered an area of more than 2 million km2 of NE Asia from the Lake Baikal to the Sikhot-Alin in EW direction and from the Mongol-Okhotsk fold belt to North China in NS direction. This rifting was characterized by intracontinental rifts, volcanic eruptions and transform extension along large-scale strike-slip faults. Based on the magmatic activity, filling sequence of basins, tectonic framework and subsidence analysis of basins, the evolution of this area can be divided into three main developmental phases. The first phase, calc-alkaline volcanics erupted intensely along NNE-trending faults, forming Daxing'anling volcanic belt, NE China. The second phase, Basin and Range type fault basin system bearing coal and oil developed in NE Asia. During the third phase, which was marked by the change from synrifting to thermal subsidence, very thick postrift deposits developed in the Songliao basin (the largest oil basin in NE China). Following uplift and denudation, caused by compressional tectonism in the near end of Cretaceous, a Paleogene rifting stage produced widespread continental rift systems and continental margin basins in Eastern China. These rifted basins were usually filled with several kilometers of alluvial and lacustrine deposits and contain a large amount of fossil fuel resources. Integrated research in most of these rifting basins has shown that the basins are characterized by rapid subsidence, relative high paleo-geothermal history and thinned crust. It is now accepted that the formation of most of these basins was related to a lithospheric extensional regime or dextral transtensional regime. During Neogene time, early Tertiary basins in Eastern China entered a postrifting phase, forming regional downwarping. Basin fills formed in a thermal subsidence period onlapped the fault basin margins and were deposited in a broad downwarped lacustrine depression. At the same time, within plate rifting of the Lake Baikal and Shanxi graben climaxed and spreading of the Japan Sea and South China Sea occurred. Quaternary rifting was marked by basalt eruption and accelerated subsidence in the area of Tertiary rifting. The Okinawa Trough is an active rift involving back-arc extension. Continental rifting and marginal sea opening were clearly developed in various kind of tectonic settings. Three rifting styles, intracontinental rifting within fold belt, intracontinental rifting within craton and continental marginal rifting and spreading, are distinguished on the basis of nature of the basin basement, tectonic location of rifting and relations to large strike-slip faults. Changes of convergence rates of India-Eurasia and Pacific-Eurasia may have caused NW-SE-trending extensional stress field dominating the rifting. Asthenospheric upwelling may have well assisted the rifting process. In this paper, a combination model of interactions between plates and deep process of lithosphere has been proposed to explain the rifting process in East China and adjacent areas. The research on the Late Mesozoic and Cenozoic extensional tectonics of East China and adjacent areas is important because of its utility as an indicator of the dynamic setting and deformational mechanisms involved in stretching Lithosphere. The research also benefits the exploration and development of mineral and energy resources in this area.

Jianye Ren, Kensaku Tamaki, Sitian Li and Zhang Junxia

Published Journal 
Tectonophysics, 2002



Jianye Ren,Kensaku Tamaki,Sitian Li,Zhang Junxia. 2002. Late Mesozoic And Cenozoic Rifting And Its Dynamic Setting In Eastern China And Adjacent Areas. Tectonophysics. (!) .