Craton Destruction 2: Evolution of Cratonic Lithosphere after a Rapid Keel Delamination Event

Liang Liu, Jason Morgan, Yigang Xu, Martin Menzies

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Cratonic lithosphere beneath the eastern North China Craton (ENCC) has undergone extensive destruction since early Jurassic times (ca. 190 Ma). This is recorded in its episodic tectonic and magmatic history. In this time, its lithosphere changed thickness from ca. 200 km to <60 km. This change was associated with a peak time (ca. 120 Ma) of lithospheric thinning and magmatism that was linked with high surface heat flow recorded in rift basins. We believe that these records are best explained by a two‐stage evolutionary process. First, ca. 100 km of cratonic ‘keel' underlying a weak mid‐lithospheric discontinuity layer (ca. 80‐100 km) was rapidly removed in <10‐20 Ma. This keel delamination stage was followed by a protracted (ca. 50‐100 Ma) period of convective erosion and/or lithospheric extension that thinned the remaining lithosphere and continuously reworked the former cratonic lithospheric mantle.This study focuses on numerical exploration of the well‐recorded second stage of the ENCC's lithospheric evolution. We find: 1) lithospheric mantle capped by thick crust can be locally replaced by deeper mantle material in 100 Ma due to small‐scale convective erosion; 2) asthenospheric upwelling & related extension can replace lithospheric mantle over horizontal length‐scales of ~50‐150 km, and account for observed ‘mushroom‐shaped' low‐velocity structures; 3) modelling shows conditions that could lead to the multiple ENCC magmatic pulses between 190‐115 Ma that are associated with temporal and spatial changes in magma source petrology and a magmatic hiatus; 4) a ‘wet' mid‐lithospheric discontinuity layer provides a potential source material for on‐craton magmatism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10,069-10,090
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Issue number11
Early online date29 Jul 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Jul 2018

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