Central Asian Orogenic Belt

The Paleoasian, or Turkestan, ocean was present on the northern side of the North China craton and Tarim block throughout the Paleozoic, with Paleotethys to the south. Several subduction zones were active during this interval, leading to continental growth through accretion of terranes along the northern margin of the cratons and the generation of arc-magmas. These terranes north of the Archean cratons host more than 900 late Paleozoic to Early Triassic plutons, formed during closure of the Paleo-Asian ocean at the end of the Permian. Closure is marked by the Solonker suture and 300-250 million-year-old south-directed subduction beneath the accreted terranes along the northern side and the northern margin of the cratonic blocks. Continued convergence from the north during the Triassic and Jurassic caused postcollisional thrusting and considerable crustal thickening on the northwest side of the cratons. The northeastern margin of the North China craton with a Permian shelf sequence collided with the Khanka block in the Late Permian to Early Trias-

sic, as indicated by syncollisional granites. Many of the subsequent later Mesozoic granitoids, metamor-phic core complexes, and extensional basins, located south of the Solonker suture in the northern part of the craton and the adjacent Paleozoic accretion-ary orogen, may be related to postcollisional Jura-Cretaceous collapse of the massive Himalayan-style Solonker orogen and plateau.

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