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Ridge Subduction Model - A Mechanism for an Earlier South China Sea Opening and an Alternative Paleogeographic Reconstruction for Southeast Asia
This paper outlines the plate tectonic processes in Southeast Asia throughout the Late Mesozoic and Tertiary. A new series of paleogeographic reconstruction maps is drawn honoring time-space relationship of the micro-continents and the Tertiary rift basins within the region. The widely accepted “Tapponnier’s Extrusion Model” is found to be generally compatible to this new reconstruction model with a few exceptions.
A pre-rift crustal thinning is observed in offshore South China basins which is perceived as an evidence for earlier sea floor spreading even before the India-Eurasia collision. The now subducted Kula-Pacific spreading ridge beneath the Eurasia plate is proposed as the cause of the subsequent rifting and the ‘paleo-spreading’ which not only stopped the subduction of the paleo-Pacific plate but also provided the convective heat underneath the South China continental crust.
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