Earth Science Frontiers ›› 2022, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (6): 265-276.DOI: 10.13745/j.esf.sf.2022.8.3

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Paleozoic paleogeographic reconstruction and evolution of the three continental blocks of central and western China

YANG Fengli1,2(), XU Mingchen1,2,*(), ZHUANG Yuan2, ZHAO Xixi1, HU Yuyang2, YANG Ruiqing2   

  1. 1. State Key Laboratory of Marine Geology, Tongji University, Shanghai 200092, China
    2. School of Ocean and Earth Science, Tongji University, Shanghai 200092, China
  • Received:2022-07-07 Revised:2022-07-27 Online:2022-11-25 Published:2022-10-20
  • Contact: XU Mingchen


The Paleozoic paleogeographic position of the three continental blocks of central and western China—namely the North China, South China and Tarim blocks—in the global ocean-continent pattern has been under debate. Applying the latest research methods and ideas of paleogeographic reconstruction, along with the paleomagnetic measurements of Paleozoic cores (from the Ordos, Sichuan and Tarim basins in the study area), global Paleozoic paleomagnetic data, and constrains from major global geological events, this paper reconstructs and locates the paleogeographic position of the North China, South China and Tarim blocks using the GPlates software. The results indicate that the three continental blocks migrate mainly between the mid and low latitudes of ±30° during the Paleozoic and undergo at least three different clockwise rotations and azimuth conversions. And the migration rates of the three blocks oscillate at least three times between different high and low velocities. In response to the breakup and assembly of Paleozoic global oceans/supercontinents, the three continental blocks experience a series of crustal movements, including “archipelagic ocean” dispersion under ocean basin expansion, divergence/convergence coexistence under ocean basin subduction and collision, differential convergence/uplift under ocean basin subduction, differential divergence/convergence under transformation between old and new ocean basins, and differential divergence/convergence under the control of mantle plume. Obviously, the Paleozoic position of the three continental blocks of China in the global ocean-supercontinents pattern, along with differential tectonic settings, provide basic conditions for the formation and evolution of different types of basins or petroleum reservoirs of different strata and for the differential development of primitive reservoir materials within the three continental blocks.

Key words: Paleozoic, reconstruction of paleogeographic position, paleomagnetism, GPlates, North China Block, South China Block, Tarim Block

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