Tectonic Background and Development of Chinese Basin

Part of the Advanced Topics in Science and Technology in China book series (ATSTC)


From a geological point of view, most of the present-day Chinese continental landmass is located along the southern margin of the Eurasian plate and along the northern margin of the Indian plate whereas, to the east, it borders on the trench-arc-basin system formed by the subduction of the Pacific plate. In earlier geological times, the principal elements of the Chinese landmass were located between the Gondwanaland and Laurasia continents. Throughout geological history, the Chinese landmass has experienced many phases of divergence and convergence. Besides three small principle plates (that were the Tarim plate, Huabei plate and Yangtze plate) that served as basic building blocks, the Chinese landmass also converged with more than twenty micro terrains that include Zhungeer terrain, Chaidamu terrain, Qiangtang terrain and others (Zhang, 1991; Li, 1982). During the Paleozoic era, most of the Chinese landmass was located on the northern margin of Gondwanaland and it was positioned to the south of the Paleo-Asian ocean. During the Mesozoic era, the Chinese landmass was located on the southern margin of the Laurasia continent and it was positioned to the north of the Tethys ocean (Ren and Xiao, 2002; Xiao et al., 1991; Jia, 1997; Yang, 2002). Destruction of paleo-oceanic crusts and the convergence of ancient plates determined that Chinese sedimentary basins were predominately developed on top of a series of small size paleo-plates.


Tarim Basin Sichuan Basin North China Craton Rift Basin Yangtze Plate 
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Copyright information

© Zhejiang University Press, Hangzhou and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.PetroChina Company LimitedBeijingChina

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