Triassic deformation of Permian Early Triassic arc-related sediments in the Beishan (NW China): Last pulse of the accretionary orogenesis in the southernmost Altaids

  • Tian Z
  • Xiao W
  • Sun J
 et al. 
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The Beishan orogenic collage (BOC) in the southernmost Altaids provides evidence of the final stage of evolution of the Paleo-Asian Ocean. However, the closure time of the Paleo-Asian Ocean in the BOC is controversial. From field mapping, and structural analysis of mesoscale, superposed folds in Early Triassic sediments in the Hongyanjing Basin in the central BOC, we define at least two phases of deformation, which we can bracket in age as end-Permian to Early-Late Triassic. The sandstones in the basin are poorly sorted with angular clasts, which indicates immaturity characteristic of proximal and rapid deposition. Geochemical data indicate that the Hongyanjing Basin probably developed in an arc-related setting near an active continental margin or mature island arc. Combined with published regional geological data, we interpret the Hongyanjing Basin as a Permian-Early Triassic inter-arc basin between the Carboniferous Mazongshan arc to the north and the Ordovician to Permian Huaniushan-Dundunshan arc to the south. In addition, the age distribution of our sediments shows that the active continental margin or continental arc on which the Hongyanjing arc-related basin sat was somehow independently distributed in the Paleo-Asian Ocean without any major contribution of provenance from the Tarim Craton and Dunhuang Block to the south and Southern Mongolia accretionary system to the north. Deformation of the superposed folds began in the end-Permian, continued in the Early Triassic, and ended before the middle Late Triassic (219 Ma). Therefore the accretionary orogenesis in the Beishan part of the southernmost Altaids was still ongoing in the early to middle Triassic, and it finished in the Late Triassic, which might have been the last pulse of the accretionary orogenesis in the southernmost Altaids. We correlate this terminal event with tectonic developments in the Kunlun and Qinling orogens in the Tethyan domain.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Arc-related basin
  • Beishan
  • End-Permian
  • Fold superimposition
  • Southern Altaids
  • Triassic

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