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Ref ID: 28406
Ref Type: Journal Article
Authors: Metcalfe, I.
Title: Origin and assembly of South-East Asian continental terranes
Date: 1988
Source: Geological Society, London, Special Publications
DOI: 10.1144/​GSL.SP.1988.037.01.08
Abstract: The pre-Tertiary continental core of South-East Asia is a composite of at least four tectonostratigraphic terranes
Sibumasu (Shan States of Burma, north-west Thailand, Peninsular Burma and Thailand, Western Malaya, and north-western Sumatra), Indo-China (east Thailand, Laos, Vietnam south-west of the Song Ma-Song Da zone and Kapuchea), East Malaya (including south-east Sumatra and Natuna) and south-west Borneo. These terranes are separated from each other by sutures, and are now joined to South China along the Song Ma-Song Da zone. Stratigraphic, palaeontological, and palaeomagnetic evidence suggests that all of these crustal blocks probably had their origin on the north-eastern margin of Gondwanaland where they formed part of a complex continental margin. The Indo-China and East Malaya terranes both have typical late Palaeozoic Cathaysian floras, which indicate that they were close to South China in the Permian. Stratigraphic studies in northeast Vietnam suggest that Indo-China and South China may well have sutured as early as the late Devonian to early Carboniferous. Carboniferous and Permian faunas and floras of these blocks do not appear to be related to those of north-eastern Gondwanaland, indicating that they rifted away at some earlier time. The Sibumasu block remained on the north-western Australian margin of Gondwanaland until the late Lower Permian, and was in continuity with the Tibetan Lhasa and Changtang blocks (south of the Langcangjiang Fracture Zone) and the proto-Kreios microcontinent further to the west. Late Carboniferous and Lower Permian sediments of the Sibumasu, Lhasa, and Changtang blocks, and the Iranian and Afghan portions of proto-Kreios include extensive glacial-marine deposits. Early Permian shallow-marine faunas were of cold-water type until a major change occurred in late Lower Permian times, with Middle Permian faunas becoming typically warm-water Tethyan in aspect. It seems most likely that Sibumasu (still attached to the Lhasa and Changtang blocks and proto-Kreios) rifted from Gondwanaland in the late Lower Permian. Amalgamation of the South-East Asian blocks was probably completed by the end of the Triassic. This is indicated by terrestrial vertebrate biogeography and palaeomagnetism. It is still a matter of debate whether Indo-China sutured to South China in the Devonian-Carboniferous along the Song Ma line, or in the late Triassic along the Song Da zone. Evidence seems stronger for a late Triassic suturing of Sibumasu to the other ‘Cathaysian’ southeast Asian blocks, although a Permian closure of ‘palaeo-Tethys’ has recently been proposed for the Shan-Thai-Indo-China region. The south-west Borneo block probably rifted from the margin of Indo-China in the Cretaceous, and travelled south to its present position during the opening of the proto-South China Sea.
Date Created: 2/14/2012
Volume: 37
Number: 1
Page Start: 101
Page End: 118