China’s Tectonic Framework in the Global Context

  • Franco Pirajno


The tectonic framework of China within the wider Asian context, together with tectono-thermal events that have formed the various mineral systems are presented in this chapter. The geological configuration of present-day China is characterised by terranes and provinces that comprise the North China Craton and Tarim Craton amalgamated during the Archaean and Palaeoproterozoic between 3.2 and 1.8 Ga. The east-west aligned (present day coordinates) North China Craton and Tarim cratonic block are framed to the north by orogens of the Central Asian Orogenic Belt (CAOB), which in China include the Tianshan and Altay in the northwest and the Hinggan fold belt to the east. The CAOB terranes are the result of accretionary events, which attained their main configuration following the closure of oceanic seaways, such as the Mongol-Okhotsk ocean. In east-central and southern China are the Yangtze Craton and Cathaysia Block, bordered to the west and southwest by the Himalayan fold belts of the Tibetan region. These terranes were largely affected by a series of tectono-thermal events and strike-slip structures, in the Mesozoic and continuing to present day. A figure showing an overview of the distribution of Phaneorozoic mineral systems associated to these events is presented in this chapter. Large and small rift basins, containing important hydrocarbon resources and sandstone-hosted U deposits, are superimposed on the older terranes.


Orogenic Belt North China Craton Fold Belt Qaidam Basin Rift Basin 
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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Geological Survey of Western Australia Centre for Exploration TargetingThe University of Western AustraliaPerthAustralia

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