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Revisiting the tectonic evolution of South China: interaction between the Rodinia superplume and plate subduction?


Correspondence: Chuan-Lin Zhang, Nanjing Institute of Geology and Mineral Resources, No.534, East Zhongshan Road, Nanjing, 210016, China. Tel.: 86 25 84897936; e-mail:


New field observations and zircon U-Pb age data, combined with previous studies, are employed here to evaluate the process of assembly of the Yangtze and Cathaysia Blocks. We show that the process started from the west prior to 1.0 Ga and migrated eastward with the final amalgamation along the suture at around 830–820 Ma. During the period of 850–820 Ma, both the mantle plume which possibly started at 850 Ma and the north-directed plate subduction along the southern margin of the Yangtze Block controlled the formation and closure of a back-arc basin along the middle to eastern segment of the Yangtze Block, as well as the diverse and complex magmatic activities. The closure of the back-arc basin and almost synchronous rift basin overlying the folded “basement” sequence mark the termination of subduction when the Rodinia plume exerted a dominant control on the evolution of the middle to late Neoproterozoic basin and the related magmatic pulses.