Petroleum Geology of Foreland Thrust Belts in China

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


Since the Proterozoic, the Chinese cratons have experienced numerous geological events of divergence and convergence. Apparently, the Chinese portion of the Eurasian plate consists of core elements of the Tarim plate, the Huabei Plate and the Yangzi plate, which are attached to more than twenty micro terrains (Huang, 1954; Li, 1982; Zhang, 1991; Qiu and Gong, 1999). The tectonic setting of the Chinese continent is located at the southern margin of the Eurasia plate and northern margin of the Indian plate. It is separated from the Pacific plate by a trench-arc-basin system. The Chinese continent was united by many convergent plates during several geological events, which include three small primary tectonic plates of the Tarim plate, the Huabei plate and the Yangzi plate, in conjunction with more than twenty micro tectonic plates (terrains), such as the Junggar micro plate, the Qaidam micro plate and the Qiangtang micro plate. Compared with tectonic plates in North America or in Europe, the small plates or micro plates in China are smaller in size. For example, the area of the Tarim plate is 56×104km2; the area of the Yangzi plate is 108×104km2; and the area of the Huabei plate is 120×104km2. The largest Chinese plate is the Huabei plate. However, the area of the Huabei plate is only 6% of the area of the North American plate, or 14% of the area of the European plate. Because large scale orogenies happened on small size Chinese plates, the tectonic structures were unstable and strong tectonic movements occurred in western-central China.


Tarim Basin Foreland Basin Qaidam Basin Ordo Basin Thrust Belt 
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© Zhejiang University Press, Hangzhou and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.PetroChina Company LimitedBeijingChina

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