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Accretionary growth and crust formation in the Central Asian Orogenic Belt and comparison with the Arabian-Nubian shield

By
A. Kröner
A. Kröner
Institut für Geowissenschaften, Universität Mainz, 55099 Mainz, Germany, and Tectonics Special Research Centre, University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia
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B.F. Windley
B.F. Windley
Department of Geology, University of Leicester, Leicester LE1 7RH, UK
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G. Badarch
G. Badarch
Institute of Geology and Mineral Resources, Mongolian Academy of Sciences, Ulaanbaatar 210351, Mongolia
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O. Tomurtogoo
O. Tomurtogoo
Institute of Geology and Mineral Resources, Mongolian Academy of Sciences, Ulaanbaatar 210351, Mongolia
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E. Hegner
E. Hegner
Department für Geowissenschaften, Universität München, Theresienstrasse 41, 80333 München, Germany
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B.M. Jahn
B.M. Jahn
Institute of Earth Sciences, Academia Sinica, P.O. Box 1-55, Nankang, Taipei 11529, Taiwan
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S. Gruschka
S. Gruschka
Institut für Geowissenschaften, Universität Mainz, 55099 Mainz, Germany
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E.V. Khain
E.V. Khain
Geological Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, Pyzhevski per. 7, 109017 Moscow, Russia
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A. Demoux
A. Demoux
Institut für Geowissenschaften, Universität Mainz, 55099 Mainz, Germany
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M.T.D. Wingate
M.T.D. Wingate
Tectonics Special Research Centre, University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia
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Published:
January 01, 2007

The Central Asian Orogenic Belt is one of the largest accretionary terrains on Earth and records a ca. 800 Ma history of arc and microcontinent accretion, from south to north, during evolution and closure of the southwest Pacific-type Paleo-Asian ocean in the period ca. 1020 to ca. 325 Ma. We contest the evolutionary model for the belt proposed by previous authors in terms of a single, long island arc.

Accretion of ophiolites, arcs, and Precambrian microcontinents took place in southern Siberia in late Neoproterozoic to Cambrian times. Ultrahigh-pressure sub-duction and metamorphism occurred in the Cambrian at Kokchetav, Kazakhstan, and high-pressure metamorphism took place in the Gorny Altai, together with arc-ward accretion of a seamount. In the Chinese Altai, Precambrian microcontinents and island arcs collided into the accreting margin.

Overall the Central Asian Orogenic Belt records the formation of small forearc and backarc ocean basins that probably evolved between island arcs and microconti-nents and were closed during continuous accretion between the Neoproterozoic and Paleozoic. During this time the southward-growing southern margin of the Siberian craton always faced an open ocean. Final closure of the Paleo-Asian ocean probably occurred in the late Permian when the North China craton was attached to the orogenic belt.

Large volumes of felsic volcanic rocks and the presence of Precambrian zircon xenocrysts as well as ancient detrital zircons in arc-derived sediments suggest substantial reworking of old crust despite seemingly primitive Nd isotopic characteristics. Similar characteristics in arc terranes of the Arabian-Nubian shield in Saudi Arabia suggest that previously proposed anomalously high crust-formation rates in both the Central Asian Orogenic Belt and Arabian-Nubian shield require revision.

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Contents

GSA Memoirs

4-D Framework of Continental Crust

Robert D. Hatcher, Jr.
Robert D. Hatcher, Jr.
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Marvin P. Carlson
Marvin P. Carlson
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John H. McBride
John H. McBride
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José R. Martínez Catalán
José R. Martínez Catalán
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Geological Society of America
Volume
200
ISBN print:
9780813712000
Publication date:
January 01, 2007

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