Journal of Earth Science

, Volume 30, Issue 5, pp 1031–1040 | Cite as

New Fractal Evidence of Pacific Plate Subduction in the Late Mesozoic, Great Xing’an Range, Northeast China

  • Pingping Zhu
  • Qiuming ChengEmail author
  • Guoxiong Chen
Seismology, Mathematical and Remote Sensing Geology


Late Mesozoic granitoids are widespread in the Great Xing’an Range (GXR), which is part of a large igneous province in eastern China. The geodynamic setting of the Late Mesozoic granitoids is still debated, and there have been two dominant models proposed, subduction and thermal erosion. This study discusses the geodynamic mechanisms from a new perspective on ages of the granitoids and fractal dimensions of their shape. Our results show that granitoids become gradually older from South GXR to North GXR to Erguna Block (EB) in the Jurassic, and opposite in the Cretaceous. The fractal dimensions of the Perimeter-area model (DAP) exhibit the same features. The values of DAP are smaller from South GXR (0.673 1) to North GXR (0.628 0) to EB (0.607 9) in the Jurassic, and larger from South GXR (0.609 6) to North GXR (0.630 2) to EB (0.639 9) in the Cretaceous. This implies that the geometrical irregularities of the granitoids were shaped by subduction, rather than thermal erosion. These spatial variations could be best explained by the subduction of the Pacific Plate and consequent granitoid magmatism in the late Mesozoic, thus providing a new fractal evidence for Pacific Plate subduction mechanism and opening a new possibilities method for study plate movement.

Key words

granitoids Late Mesozoic fractal dimension Pacific subduction Great Xing’an Range northeast China geochemistry 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.



This paper was jointly supported by the National Key R & D Program of China (No. 2016YFC0600501), the Open Research Project of The Hubei Key Laboratory of Intelligent Geo- Information Processing 295 (No. KLIGIP-2017A03), the National and Nature Science Foundation of China (Nos. 41430320, 41572315). Eric C. Grunsky, from the University of Waterloo, is thanked for writing suggestions, which was greatly improved the quality of the manuscript. We thank Ziye Wang and Jian Wang for providing analytical assistance. We are grateful to Prof. Yongqing Chen and another anonymous reviewer for their thoughtful and constructive reviews on this manuscript. The final publication is available at Springer via

Supplementary material

12583_2019_1216_MOESM1_ESM.doc (1.6 mb)
Table S1 The published ages of granite plutons in Mesozoic, Great Xing’an Range, Northeast China

References Cited

  1. Bak, P., Tang, C., Wiesenfeld, K., 1987. Self-Organized Criticality: An Explanation of the 1/F Noise. Physical Review Letters, 59(4): 381–384. Google Scholar
  2. Brinkhoff, L. A., von Savigny, C., Randall, C. E., et al., 2015. The Fractal Perimeter Dimension of Noctilucent Clouds: Sensitivity Analysis of the Area-Perimeter Method and Results on the Seasonal and Hemispheric Dependence of the Fractal Dimension. Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, 127: 66–72. Google Scholar
  3. Chen, G. X., Cheng, Q. M., 2018. Cyclicity and Persistence of Earth’s Evolution over Time: Wavelet and Fractal Analysis. Geophysical Research Letters, 45(16): 8223–8230. Google Scholar
  4. Cheng, Q. M., 1995. The Perimeter-Area Fractal Model and Its Application to Geology. Mathematical Geology, 27(1): 69–82. Google Scholar
  5. Cheng, Q. M., 2017. Singularity Analysis of Global Zircon U-Pb Age Series and Implication of Continental Crust Evolution. Gondwana Research, 51: 51–63. Google Scholar
  6. Cheng, Q., 2014. Generalized Binomial Multiplicative Cascade Processes and Asymmetrical Multifractal Distributions. Nonlinear Processes in Geophysics, 21(2): 477–487. Google Scholar
  7. Clouard, V., Bonneville, A., 2001. How Many Pacific Hotspots are Fed by Deep-Mantle Plumes?. Geology, 29(8): 695.<0695:hmphaf>;2 Google Scholar
  8. Cohen K. M., Finney S. C., Gibbard P. L., et al., 2013. The ICS International Chronostratigraphic Chart. Episodes, 36: 199–204. Google Scholar
  9. Deng, J. F., Mo, X. X., Zhao, H. L., et al., 2004. A New Model for the Dy-namic Evolution of Chinese Lithosphere: ‘Continental Roots-Plume Tectonics’. Earth-Science Reviews, 65(3/4): 223–275. Google Scholar
  10. Ding, C. W., Nie, F. J., Jiang, S. H., et al., 2016. Characteristics and Origin of the Zhulazhaga Gold Deposit in Inner Mongolia, China. Ore Geology Reviews, 73: 211–221. Google Scholar
  11. Dokuz, A., 2011. A Slab Detachment and Delamination Model for the Gen-eration of Carboniferous High-Potassium I-Type Magmatism in the Eastern Pontides, NE Turkey: The Köse Composite Pluton. Gondwana Research, 19(4): 926–944. Google Scholar
  12. Gao, S., Zhang, B., Jin, Z., et al., 1998. How Mafic is the Lower Continental Crust? Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 161(1–4): 101–117. Google Scholar
  13. Gao, S., Rudnick, R. L., Yuan, H. L., et al., 2004. Recycling Lower Continental Crust in the North China Craton. Nature, 432(7019): 892–897. Google Scholar
  14. Jahn, B. M., 2004. The Central Asian Orogenic Belt and Growth of the Continental Crust in the Phanerozoic. Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 226(1): 73–100. Google Scholar
  15. Kay, R. W., Kay, S. M., 1993. Delamination and Delamination Magmatism. Tecto-nophysics, 219(1–3): 177–189. Google Scholar
  16. Korvin, G., 1992. Fractal Models in the Earth Sciences. Elsevier, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  17. Li, J. Y., 2006. Permian Geodynamic Setting of Northeast China and Adjacent Regions: Closure of the Paleo-Asian Ocean and Subduction of the Paleo-Pacific Plate. Journal of Asian Earth Sciences, 26(3/4): 207–224. Google Scholar
  18. Liu, X., Zhao, D. P., Li, S. Z., et al., 2017. Age of the Subducting Pacific Slab beneath East Asia and Its Geodynamic Implications. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 464: 166–174. Google Scholar
  19. Lovejoy, S., Agterberg, F., Carsteanu, A., et al., 2009. Nonlinear Geophysics: Why We Need It. Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union, 90(48): 455–456. Google Scholar
  20. Lu, F., Zheng, J., Zhang, R., 2005. Phanerozoic Mantle Secular Evolution beneath the Eastern North China Craton. Earth Science Frontiers, 12(1): 61–67.(in Chinese with English Abstract)Google Scholar
  21. Lucido, G., Triolo, R., Caponetti, E., 1988. Fractal Approach in Petrology: Small-Angle Neutron Scattering Experiments with Volcanic Rocks. Physical Review B, 38(13): 9031–9034. Google Scholar
  22. Mallard, C., Coltice, N., Seton, M., et al., 2016. Subduction Controls the Distribution and Fragmentation of Earth’s Tectonic Plates. Nature, 535(7610): 140–143. Google Scholar
  23. Mandelbrot, B. B., Passoja, D. E., Paullay, A. J., 1984. Fractal Character of Fracture Surfaces of Metals. Nature, 308(5961): 721–722. Google Scholar
  24. Mandelbrot, B., 1967. How Long is the Coast of Britain? Statistical Self-Similarity and Fractional Dimension. Science, 156(3775): 636–638. Google Scholar
  25. Meakin, P., 1987. Diffusion-Limited Aggregation on Multifractal Lattices: A Model for Fluid-Fluid Displacement in Porous Media. Physical Review A, 36(6): 2833–2837. Google Scholar
  26. Müller, R. D., Seton, M., Zahirovic, S., et al., 2016. Ocean Basin Evolution and Global-Scale Plate Reorganization Events since Pangea Breakup. Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences, 44(1): 107–138. Google Scholar
  27. Newman, M., 2005. Power Laws, Pareto Distributions and Zipf’s Law. Contemporary Physics, 46(5): 323–351. Google Scholar
  28. Ranguelov, B., Ivanov, Y., 2017. Fractal Properties of the Elements of Plate Tectonics. Journal of Mining and Geological Sciences, 60(1): 83–89. Google Scholar
  29. Ren, J., Niu, B., Liu, Z., 1999. Soft Collision, Superposition Orogeny and Polycyclic Suturing. Earth Science Frontiers, 6(3): 85–93. (in Chinese with English Abstract)Google Scholar
  30. Ren, J., Niu, B., Wang, J., et al., 2013. 1: 5 Million International Geological Map of Asia. Acta Geoscientica Sinica, 34(1): 24–30.(in Chinese)Google Scholar
  31. Schubert, G., Turcotte, D. L., Olson, P., 2001. Mantle Convection in the Earth and Planets. Cambridge University Press, Los Angeles. 940Google Scholar
  32. Shao, J., Zhang, Z., She, H., et al., 2012. The Discovery of Phanerozoic Granulite in Chifeng Area of North Craton and Its Implication. Earth Science Frontiers, 19(3): 188–198.(in Chinese with English Abstract)Google Scholar
  33. Shi, Y. R., Liu, D. Y., Miao, L. C., et al., 2010. Devonian A-Type Granitic Magmatism on the Northern Margin of the North China Craton: SHRIMP U-Pb Zircon Dating and Hf-Isotopes of the Hongshan Granite at Chifeng, Inner Mongolia, China. Gondwana Research, 17(4): 632–641. Google Scholar
  34. Sornette, D., Pisarenko, V., 2003. Fractal Plate Tectonics. Geophysical Research Letters, 30(3): 1105. Google Scholar
  35. Sun, S. Q., Huang, R. Q., Pei, X. J., et al., 2016. Engineering Geological Classification of the Structural Planes for Hydroelectric Projects in Emeishan Basalts. Journal of Mountain Science, 13(2): 330–341.(in Chinese with English Abstract)Google Scholar
  36. Tian, Y., Zhao, D. P., 2011. Destruction Mechanism of the North China Craton: Insight from P and S Wave Mantle Tomography. Journal of Asian Earth Sciences, 42(6): 1132–1145. Google Scholar
  37. Triolo, F., Triolo, A., Agamalian, M. M., et al., 2000. Fractal Approach in Petrology: Combining Ultra Small Angle, Small Angle and Intermediate Angle Neutron Scattering. Journal of Applied Crystallography, 33(3): 863–866. Google Scholar
  38. Turcotte, D. L., 2002. Fractals in Petrology. Lithos, 65(3/4): 261–271. Google Scholar
  39. Wang, W., Chen, Q., 2017. The Crust S-wave Velocity Structure under the Changbaishan Volcano Area in Northeast China Inferred from Ambient Noise Tomography. Chinese Journal of Geophysics, 60(8): 3080–3095.(in Chinese with English Abstract)Google Scholar
  40. Wang, C. Y., Sandvol, E., Lou, H., et al., 2017. Evidence for a Crustal Root beneath the Paleoproterozoic Collision Zone in the Northern Ordos Block, North China. Precambrian Research, 301: 124–133. Google Scholar
  41. Wang, F., Zhou, X. H., Zhang, L. C., et al., 2006. Late Mesozoic Volcanism in the Great Xing’an Range (NE China): Timing and Implications for the Dynamic Setting of NE Asia. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 251(1/2): 179–198. Google Scholar
  42. Wang, T., Guo, L., Zhang, L., et al., 2015. Timing and Evolution of Jurassic–Cretaceous Granitoid Magmatisms in the Mongol-Okhotsk Belt and Adjacent Areas, NE Asia: Implications for Transition from Contractional Crustal Thickening to Extensional Thinning and Geodynamic Settings. Journal of Asian Earth Sciences, 97: 365–392. Google Scholar
  43. Wang, Z. J., Cheng, Q. M., Cao, L., et al., 2007. Fractal Modelling of the Microstructure Property of Quartz Mylonite during Deformation Process. Mathematical Geology, 39(1): 53–68. Google Scholar
  44. Wessel, P., Kroenke, L. W., 2008. Pacific Absolute Plate Motion since 145 Ma: An Assessment of the Fixed Hot Spot Hypothesis. Journal of Geophysical Research, 113(B6): 1–21. Google Scholar
  45. Wu, F., Ge, W., Sun, D., Guo, C., 2003. Discussions on the Lithospheric Thinning in Eastern China. Earth Science Frontiers, 10(3): 51–60.(in Chinese with English Abstract)Google Scholar
  46. Wu, F. Y., Sun, D. Y., Ge, W. C., et al., 2011. Geochronology of the Phanerozoic Granitoids in Northeastern China. Journal of Asian Earth Sciences, 41(1): 1–30. Google Scholar
  47. Wu, F. Y., Sun, D. Y., Li, H. M., et al., 2002. A-Type Granites in Northeastern China: Age and Geochemical Constraints on their Petrogenesis. Chemical Geology, 187(1/2): 143–173. Google Scholar
  48. Wu, F., Lin, J., Wilde, S., et al., 2005. Nature and Significance of the Early Cretaceous Giant Igneous Event in Eastern China. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 233(1/2): 103–119. Google Scholar
  49. Xu, Y. G., 2007. Diachronous Lithospheric Thinning of the North China Craton and Formation of the Daxin’anling-Taihangshan Gravity Lineament. Lithos, 96(1): 281–298. Google Scholar
  50. Xu, Z., Chen, Y., Wang, C., et al., 2008. 1: 2.5 Million Geological Map of Metallogenic Zone of China. China Map Publishing House, Beijing (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  51. Xu, W. L., Zhou, Q. J., Pei, F. P., et al., 2013. Destruction of the North China Craton: Delamination or Thermal/chemical Erosion? Mineral Chemistry and Oxygen Isotope Insights from Websterite Xenoliths. Gondwana Research, 23(1): 119–129. Google Scholar
  52. Xu, Y. G., 2001. Thermo-Tectonic Destruction of the Archaean Lithospheric Keel beneath the Sino-Korean Craton in China: Evidence, Timing and Mechanism. Physics and Chemistry of the Earth, Part A: Solid Earth and Geodesy, 26(9/10): 747–757. Google Scholar
  53. Xu, Y. G., Huang, X. L., Ma, J. L., et al., 2004. Crust-Mantle Interaction during the Tectono-Thermal Reactivation of the North China Craton: Constraints from SHRIMP Zircon U-Pb Chronology and Geochemistry of Mesozoic Plutons from Western Shandong. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, 147(6): 750–767. Google Scholar
  54. Ye, T., Huang, C., Deng, Z., 2017. Spatial Database of 1: 2.5 Million Geological Map of China. China Map Publishing House, Beijing (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  55. Zhang, C., Ma, C. Q., Liao, Q. A., et al., 2011. Implications of Subduction and Subduction Zone migration of the Paleo-Pacific Plate beneath Eastern North China, Based on Distribution, Geochronology, and Geochemistry of Late Mesozoic Volcanic Rocks. International Journal of Earth Sciences, 100(7): 1665–1684. Google Scholar
  56. Zhang, J. H., Gao, S., Ge, W. C., et al., 2010. Geochronology of the Mesozoic Volcanic Rocks in the Great Xing’an Range, Northeastern China: Implications for Subduction-Induced Delamination. Chemical Geology, 276(3/4): 144–165. Google Scholar
  57. Zhang, J. H., Ge, W. C., Wu, F. Y., et al., 2008. Large-Scale Early Cretaceous Volcanic Events in the Northern Great Xing’an Range, Northeastern China. Lithos, 102(1/2): 138–157. Google Scholar
  58. Zhang, J., Li, S. Z., Li, X., et al., 2017. Yanshanian Deformation in Western Shandong, Eastern North China Craton: Response to a Transition from Paleo-Pacific to Pacific Plate Subduction. Geological Journal, 52(5): 32–43. Google Scholar
  59. Zhang, S. H., Zhao, Y., Davis, G. A., et al., 2014. Temporal and Spatial Variations of Mesozoic Magmatism and Deformation in the North China Craton: Implications for Lithospheric Thinning and Decratonization. Earth-Science Reviews, 131: 49–87. Google Scholar
  60. Zhang, Y., Pei, F. P., Wang, Z. W., et al., 2017. Late Paleozoic Tectonic Evolution of the Central Great Xing’an Range, Northeast China: Geochronological and Geochemical Evidence from Igneous Rocks. Geological Journal, 53(1): 282–303. Google Scholar
  61. Zheng, J., 1999. Mesozoic–Cenozoic Mantle Replacement and Lithospheric Thinning beneath Eastern China. China University of Geosciences Press, Wuhan. 126 (in Chinese with English Abstract)Google Scholar
  62. Zheng, J. P., Griffin, W. L., O’Reilly, S. Y., et al., 2007. Mechanism and Timing of Lithospheric Modification and Replacement beneath the Eastern North China Craton: Peridotitic Xenoliths from the 100 Ma Fuxin Basalts and a Regional Synthesis. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 71(21): 5203–5225. Google Scholar
  63. Zhu, P. P., Cheng, Q. M., Zhang, Z. J., et al., 2017. Genesis and Implications of the Late Jurassic Hailesitai Granites in the Northern Greater Khingan Range: Evidence from Zircon U-Pb Dating and Hf Isotope. Geological Magazine, 154(5): 963–982. Google Scholar
  64. Zuo, R. G., Cheng, Q. M., Xia, Q. L., et al., 2009. Application of Fractal Models to Distinguish Between Different Mineral Phases. Mathematical Geosciences, 41(1): 71–80. Google Scholar

Copyright information

© China University of Geosciences (Wuhan) and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, Part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Earth Sciences and ResourcesChina University of GeosciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Geological Processes and Mineral ResourcesChina University of GeosciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.State Key Laboratory of Geological Processes and Mineral ResourcesChina University of GeosciencesWuhanChina

Personalised recommendations