Science China Earth Sciences

, Volume 61, Issue 5, pp 499–514 | Cite as

Discussion on the relationship between the Yanshanian Movement and cratonic destruction in North China

  • Yu Wang
  • Lixin Sun
  • Liyun Zhou
  • Yueting Xie


The relationship between the Yanshanian Movement, destruction of the North China Craton (NCC), and subduction of the western Pacific plate is crucial to reconstructing the middle-late Mesozoic tectonic evolution of the eastern Asian continent and margin. The Yanshanian Movement was a globally important change in crustal tectonics during the Middle-Late Jurassic. Previous research has systematically studied the formation and evolution of the Yanshanian Movement, focusing on the timing and location of tectonic movements, and the sedimentary and volcanic strata. However, the question of whether the tectonic activity occurred globally, and the characteristics of the Yanshanian Movement remain debated. The main argument is that if a tectonic movement can only be characterized by a regional or local disconformity, and if the tectonic movement occurred in an intracontinental setting, with extensive deformation but with no disconformity despite volcanic eruptions and magmatic intrusions, accompanied by changes in crustal structure and composition, should it be defined as a tectonic event or process? This question requires further analysis. The main aim of this study is to distinguish whether the Yanshanian Movement is a local feature of the eastern Asian continent, or a global tectonic event related to subduction of the Pacific Plate. In this paper, based on previous research, we discuss the spatial and temporal evolution of the Yanshanian Movement, the controlling tectonic mechanisms, and its relationship to the reactivation and destruction of the NCC and the subduction of the western Paleo-Pacific slab. We emphasize that the Yanshanian Movement in the Middle-Late Jurassic is distinct from the lithospheric thinning responsible for Early Cretaceous extension and magmatism related to the destruction of the NCC. The various tectonic stages were constrained by different dynamics and tectonic settings, or by different tectonic events and processes. Therefore, it is possible that the deformation and reactivation of the NCC contributed to its destruction, in addition to lithospheric thinning. Finally, we discuss whether the Yanshanian Movement was associated with the destruction of the NCC.


Yanshanian Movement North China Craton destruction Paleo-Pacific Plate subduction Intracontinental deformation Layered crustal rotation 


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Discussions with Professors Shao J A, Liu S F, Liu J L, Liu J, and Dr. Li H L improved the content of this manuscript. We are particularly grateful for the many important studies of North China published by geologists, geochemists, and geophysicists. We appreciate the constructive comments and suggestions by the Editor-in-Chief and three reviewers. This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 90914004).


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Earth SciencesChina University of GeosciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Tianjin Geologic Investigation CenterChina Geologic SurveyTianjinChina

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