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Post-collisional collapse in the wake of migrating arc-continent collision in the Ilan Basin, Taiwan

By
Peter D. Clift
Peter D. Clift
School of Geosciences, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, AB24 3UE, UK, and DFG-Research Centre Ocean Margins (RCOM), Geowissenschaften, Universität Bremen, Klagenfurter Strasse, 28359 Bremen, Germany
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Andrew T.S. Lin
Andrew T.S. Lin
Department of Earth Sciences, National Central University, 300, Jungda Road, Jungli, Taiwan
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Andrew Carter
Andrew Carter
School of Earth Sciences, University and Birkbeck College London, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT, UK
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Francis Wu
Francis Wu
State University of New York at Binghamton, Department of Geological Sciences and Environmental Studies, P.O. Box 600, Binghamton, New York 13902-6000, USA
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Amy E. Draut
Amy E. Draut
U.S. Geological Survey, Pacific Science Center, 400 Natural Bridges Drive, Santa Cruz, California 95060, USA
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T.-H. Lai
T.-H. Lai
Central Geological Survey, 2, Lane 109, Hua-Hsin Street, Chung-Ho, Taipei, Taiwan 235
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L.-Y. Fei
L.-Y. Fei
Central Geological Survey, 2, Lane 109, Hua-Hsin Street, Chung-Ho, Taipei, Taiwan 235
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Hans Schouten
Hans Schouten
Department of Geology and Geophysics, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts 02543, USA
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Louis Teng
Louis Teng
Department of Geosciences, National Taiwan University, Roosevelt Road, Taipei, Taiwan
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Published:
January 01, 2008

The Ilan Basin of northern Taiwan forms the western limit of the Okinawa Trough, where the trough meets the compressional ranges of central Taiwan. Apatite fission-track ages of 1.2 ± 0.5 Ma and 3.5 ± 0.5 Ma, measured north and south of the basin, respectively, indicate faster exhumation rates in the Hsüehshan Range to the north (>1.6 mm/yr) than in the Backbone Range to the south (0.7 mm/yr). Reconstructed subsidence rates along the northern basin margin are also faster than in the south (6–7 compared with 3–5 mm/yr). Global positioning system (GPS) and active seismological data indicate motion of the southern basin margin to the east and southeast. We propose that the Ilan Basin is being formed as a result of extension of northern Taiwan, largely controlled by a major southeast-dipping fault, modeled at ∼30° dip, and mapped as a continuation of the Lishan Fault, a major thrust structure in the Central Ranges. Flexural rigidity of the lithosphere under the basin is low, with elastic thickness ∼3 km. A southwest-migrating collision between the Luzon Arc and southern China, accompanied by subduction polarity reversal in the Ryukyu Trench, has allowed crustal blocks that were previously held in compression between the Eurasian and Philippine Sea plates to move trenchward as they reach the northern end of the collision zone. Subduction polarity reversal permits rapid extension and formation of the Ilan Basin and presumably, at least, the western Okinawa Trough, as a direct consequence of arc-continent collision, not because of independent trench rollback forces. This conceptual model suggests that migrating arc-continent collision causes the rapid formation of deep marginal basins that are then filled by detritus from the adjacent orogen, and that these should be common features in the geologic record.

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