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Abstract

Continental SE Asia is the site of an extensive Cretaceous–Paleocene regional unconformity that extends from Indochina to Java, covering an area of c. 5 600 000 km2. The unconformity has previously been related to microcontinental collision at the Java margin that halted subduction of Tethyan oceanic lithosphere in the Late Cretaceous. However, given the disparity in size between the accreted continental fragments and area of the unconformity, together with lack of evidence for requisite crustal shortening and thickening, the unconformity is unlikely to have resulted from collisional tectonics alone. Instead, mapping of the spatial extent of the mid–Late Cretaceous subduction zone and the Cretaceous–Paleocene unconformity suggests that the unconformity could be a consequence of subduction-driven mantle processes. Cessation of subduction, descent of a northward dipping slab into the mantle, and consequent uplift and denudation of a sediment-filled Late Jurassic and Early Cretaceous dynamic topographic low help explain the extent and timing of the unconformity. Sediments started to accumulate above the unconformity from the Middle Eocene when subduction recommenced beneath Sundaland.

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