The tectonic framework of China includes major and smaller-scale units that differ in age and in style of tectonomagmatic activity, the latter being related to the thermal history of the lithosphere. Heat flow in the area varies from 25 to 150 mW/m2 or higher, with an average of 58±11 mW/m2. It is high in active faults, rifts, and other structures of extension (or sometimes compression) subject to heating from rising lithospheric and mantle plumes. The current thermal activity in the region is controlled by the Pacific subduction beneath Eurasia in eastern China and mainly by the lateral strain and rotation of the Ordos block associated with the India–Eurasia interaction in central and western China.

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