The western half of the Ordos Basin lies in the north of Central China, on the western margin of the North Chinese Platform. In the southwest and south it borders the Qilian and Qinling folded systems. Their frontal northeastern flank is thrust over the Paleozoic nappe of the Ordos Basin and consists of a series of large parallel linear folds separated by thrusts. The basement of the basin is made up of deformed metamorphic rocks of tentatively Late Proterozoic age. Carbonate and terrigenous intracratonic facies accumulated on the Ordos block from Early Cambrian through Middle Ordovician. From Middle Ordovician through Middle Carboniferous, the western edge of the block was uplifted as a land as a result of Caledonian tectonic movement and underwent denudation for about 150 Myr. In the Late Paleozoic, a series of coal-bearing formations was deposited. In the Triassic, the Ordos Basin became filled with fluviolacustrine delta facies. Thrusts and folds on the southwestern margin of the basin formed in the Mesozoic and were intensified by Himalayan tectonic movements.

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