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Destruction of the North

Article in Science China Science · October 2012 Impact Factor: 1.49 · DOI: 10.1007/s11430-012-4516-y


6 authors, including:

Rixiang Zhu Yi-Gang Xu Chinese Academy of Sciences Chinese Academy of Sciences



Tianyu Zheng Chinese Academy of Sciences



All in-text references underlined in blue are linked to publications on ResearchGate, Available from: Yi-Gang Xu letting you access and read them immediately. Retrieved on: 26 May 2016 SCIENCE CHINA Earth Sciences

Progress of Projects Supported by NSFC October 2012 Vol.55 No.10: 1565–1587 • REVIEW • doi: 10.1007/s11430-012-4516-y

Destruction of the Craton

ZHU RiXiang1*, XU YiGang2, ZHU Guang3, ZHANG HongFu1, XIA QunKe4 & ZHENG TianYu1

1 State Key Laboratory of Lithospheric , Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 100029, China; 2 State Key Laboratory of Isotope Geochemistry, Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou 510640, China; 3 School of Resource and Environmental Engineering, Hefei University of Technology, Hefei 230009, China; 4 School of Earth and Space Sciences, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei 230026, China

Received March 27, 2012; accepted June 18, 2012

A National Science Foundation of China (NSFC) major research project, Destruction of the (NCC), has been carried out in the past few years by Chinese scientists through an in-depth and systematic observations, experiments and theoretical analyses, with an emphasis on the spatio-temporal distribution of the NCC destruction, the structure of deep earth and shallow geological records of the craton evolution, the mechanism and dynamics of the craton destruction. From this work the following conclusions can be drawn: (1) Significant spatial heterogeneity exists in the NCC lithospheric thickness and crustal structure, which constrains the scope of the NCC destruction. (2) The nature of the , and sub-continental lithospheric mantle (CLM) underneath the NCC is characterized in detail. In terms of water content, the late Mesozoic CLM was rich in water, but Cenozoic CLM was highly water deficient. (3) The correlation between magmatism and surface geological response confirms that the geological and tectonic evolution is governed by cratonic destruction processes. (4) Pacific is the main dynamic factor that triggered the destruction of the NCC, which highlights the role of cra- tonic destruction in .

NSFC major research project, research progress, craton destruction, North China Craton

Citation: Zhu R X, Xu Y G, Zhu G, et al. Destruction of the North China Craton. Sci China Earth Sci, 2012, 55: 1565–1587, doi: 10.1007/s11430-012-4516-y

The Earth is a dynamic subsystem in the solar system and pothesis of and seafloor spreading. The has gone through numerous changes since its formation striped pattern of sea-floor magnetic anomalies provided the about 4.6 billion years ago. Throughout the history of sci- most powerful observational evidence for the theory of plate ence, the Earth has been extensively studied in terms of tectonics. However, the several-hundred-million-year period material, movement, chemical change, physical field and of the seafloor cycle from seafloor spreading to oceanic geologic structure. Plate tectonics, a theory proposed in the plate subduction is only a fragment of the long history of 1960s, described the dynamic movements of the geological Earth’s evolution. During the past several few billion years, plates of the Earth on a global scale. This theory opened a how did grow and what caused their demise? Is new chapter in Earth sciences, which view the Earth as dy- the past or the future controlled by the evolution of conti- namically evolving system. nents? The basic idea behind the theory of plate tectonics The theory of plate tectonics was founded on the hy- are still thought to hold true, but many geoscientist have been expanding on the basic theory and have put forward *Corresponding author (email: [email protected]) many new ideas such as crustal growth, crust-mantle recy-

© Science China Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012 earth.scichina.com www.springerlink.com 1566 Zhu R X, et al. Sci China Earth Sci October (2012) Vol.55 No.10 cling, continental subduction/exhumation, continental re- [11]. working, among many others in the study of continental In the past few years, Chinese scientists have carried out dynamics. a comprehensive study of geology, geophysics and geo- The tectonic evolution of North China Craton (NCC) has chemistry on the NCC using a “natural laboratory research” been a subject of interest to geoscientists. Chinese geolo- scientific model with a global perspective. The major re- gists have extensively explored the tectonic development of search project, Destruction of the NCC, funded by the Na- the NCC in the last hundred years and have put forward tional Natural Science Foundation of China since 2007, has various theories of the NCC evolution. For example, Prof. mainly encompassed the following 5 key scientific issues: (1) Wenhao Wong proposed the “Yanshanian Movement” in spatio-temporal distribution of the NCC destruction, (2) the 1927 [1], which was used to express the strong tectonic structure of deep Earth and thermal-structural-fluid pro- movement of eastern China in the latter part of the Meso- cesses of the craton destruction, (3) correlation of superfi- zoic, or the “Platform Reactivation” theory founded by pro- cial environment, mineral accumulation, and seismic activi- fessor Guoda Chen during the period of 1956–1960 [2]. ties with the destruction of NCC, (4) mechanisms, processes, Since the 1980s, several important ideas, such as continental and dynamics of the NCC destruction, and (5) significance deep subduction [3] (the - on the of the NCC destruction in global geological and continental southern margin of the NCC) and lithospheric thinning [4] evolution. Using mobile seismic stations and in-situ isotope (the eastern part of the NCC), stand out on the basis of geo- tracer technology, high-precision, high-resolution, large- logical observations and experimental studies. For example, scale and multi-attribute observations have been obtained the inference that the Early Paleozoic lithospheric mantle and huge amounts of data analyzed. Interdisciplinary ap- beneath the eastern NCC had the attributes of a typical cra- proaches, built on the observations and experimental data, ton was proposed based on the studies of mantle have enabled us to obtain fresh evidence and new under- in the diamondiferous from the standing of the destruction of the NCC and its implications NCC (Mengyin County in Province and Fuxian for near-surface resources and the global evolution of the County in Province). The of the NCC Earth’s continents. This article briefly reviews the new pro- was about 200 km thick when the kimberlites erupted at gress achieved so far in the research area of the destruction about 470 Ma. However, the Cenozoic basalts sampled a of NCC. thin lithosphere of only 80–120 km, which suggests litho- spheric thinning of more than 100 km since the Early Paleozoic. Petrological and geochemical studies have dis- 1 Structure of the crust and the cussed possible physical and chemical processes that could beneath the NCC change the nature of lithospheric mantle, and proposed a variety of mechanisms for lithospheric destruction, such as Understanding the role of craton destruction in the evolution delamination, thermo-chemical/mechanical , perido- of the global tectonics is crucial for the study of continental tite-melt interaction, mechanical extension, and water dynamics. To achieve this it is necessary to understand, not weakening model of the lithosphere [5–11]. only the lithospheric nature and modification processes, but The NCC has experienced not only the lithospheric thin- also the dynamic tectonic system, which caused the craton ning, but also the transformation of lithospheric properties destruction. In view of and magma- and thermal state. Large-scale ductile deformation and tism, the materials and energy of modifying the lithosphere magmatic-metallogenic activities occurred in the crust of could come from several tectonic activities, including man- the NCC, which originally would have been cratonic in tle plumes, the uprising of asthenospheric mantle derived character. The presence of such deformation suggests that from the lithospheric delamination, or the special mantle the NCC has been partially destroyed and the original prop- flow system associated with the subduction. The crust- erties of the craton no longer exist. We call the geological mantle structures are key constraints for differentiating these phenomenon by which a craton loses stability as craton de- tectonic effects. struction. Lithospheric thinning is only a superficial phe- Since 2000, a total of 975 temporal stations equipped nomenon and it is cratonic destruction that controls the with portable broadband seismometers have been deployed evolution of [12]. There can be multiple mecha- in the NCC with an average spacing of about 10–15 km. nisms of cratonic destruction, such as delamination, thermal Three wide-angle reflection/refraction profiles were per- erosion, or -melt reactions, which might be a mani- formed with a total length of 3400 km. The combined festation of slab-mantle interaction or embody the interac- ocean-bottom-seismometer (OBS) and land portable seis- tions of different mantle rocks. Different pre-existing tec- mometer survey was carried out in the Bohai for two tonic settings will likely correspond to differences in the profiles with a total length of ~930 km. The data obtained type of destruction experienced by a craton. In the view of from the large-scale temporary seismic observations (Figure geodynamic mechanisms, the destruction of NCC is mainly 1) in the NCC have enabled the study of crust and mantle controlled by the westward subduction of the structures in unprecedented detail. Zhu R X, et al. Sci China Earth Sci October (2012) Vol.55 No.10 1567

Figure 1 Map of the seismic stations and seismic observation profiles in the NCC and adjacent region. Red triangles represent temporary seismic stations, green triangles represent Chinese National Digital Seismic Network stations, purple triangles represent ocean-bottom-seismometer (OBS), and blue lines represent wide-angle reflection/refraction profiles. The names of the observation profiles used in the text and in Figures 2 and 4 are marked.

have experienced significant destruction of the lithospheric 1.1 Geographical extent of the NCC destruction mantle. The NCC reactivation (deformation/destruction) during the Mesozoic-Cenozoic was proposed based on the evidence of 1.2 Tectonic evolution information recorded in the a disappearance of the thick, cold, and refractory ancient crust lithospheric keel obtained from previous petrological and chemical studies. However, the spatially limited distribution Available geochronological data suggest that an age of 4.0 of rock samples has hindered our understanding of the ex- Ga is considered to represent the most primitive continental tent and nature of the lithospheric destruction. A wave crust age for the NCC, with the major crustal growth of the equation-based poststack depth migration technique was NCC taking place from 3.0 to 2.5 Ga. Zheng et al. [18–22] developed [13] to image the lithosphere-asthenosphere reconstructed crustal structures beneath the seismic obser- boundary of the NCC from the seismic observations vation profiles in the NCC with the teleseismic data using [14–17]. The map of lithospheric thickness (Figure 2) be- an integrated receiver function imaging technique. The neath the eastern NCC indicates a thinning lithosphere and a crustal structure of shear wave velocity from the Lijin- general SE-NW deepening of the lithosphere-asthenosphere -Ertuoke profile (NCISP-2 and NCISP-4) cross the boundary, from 60–70 km in the southeast areas to 90–100 NCC with E-W trending is displayed in Figure 3 [18, 20]. km in the northwest. The thick lithosphere (~200 km) is The profile is characterized by a thick sedimentary cover present beneath the Ordos Basin, and the thin lithosphere is (2–12 km thick), a thin crust with a thickness of ~30 km, found in the Cenozoic Yinchuan-Hetao and Fenwei and a horizontal inter-layering of low and high velocities in around the Ordos Basin, with sharp boundaries between the eastern part of the crust section, which represent crust these . Near the boundary between the eastern and deformed by extension. In the western part of the crustal central NCC, a rapid thickness variation of lithosphere is section the intra-crustal interfaces and the Moho are rela- observed and is roughly coincident with the North-South tively smooth, with a Moho depth of ~40 km, which may Gravity Lineament. These observed structural changes in represent a relatively stable tectonic feature in the NCC. the crust [18–22] and lithosphere [14–17] indicate that parts The imaging from the centre part of the crust section exhi- of the NCC, especially at the eastern , bits the flexural intra-crustal interfaces, the dipping and flat 1568 Zhu R X, et al. Sci China Earth Sci October (2012) Vol.55 No.10

Figure 2 Lithospheric thickness contour map of the NCC. Numbers on the contour lines denote the values of the lithospheric thickness in km. BBB, Bohai Bay Basin; CAOB, Central Orogenic Belt; NSGL, North-South Gravity Lineament; TM, Taihang Mountains; YC-HT, Yinchuan-Hetao; YM, Yanshan Mountains; YinM, Yinshan Mountains. After ref. [12].

Figure 3 The shear-wave velocity structure of the crust along the seismic observation profiles (NCISP-2 and NCISP-4) with E-W trending (data from refs. [18, 20]). The scale of S velocity is shown on the right. low-velocity zones, and the crustal root with the depth of 46 stacked profiles of the receiver functions a strong PpPs km, which was speculated to represent the tectonic remnant phase can be continuously traced in the Yanshan region, of the during the assembly of the NCC however, the PpPs phase is diffuse and weakened in the [20]. The significant structural contrast between the eastern Taihangshan region [22]. The distinct characteristics exhib- and western parts of the crust indicates that the craton de- ited by the PpPs phases of the receiver function profiles are struction was mainly concentrated in the eastern NCC. mainly generated by the distinct structures of the crust- The widespread Mesozoic extrusive volcanic rocks and mantle boundary based on the forward and inversion analy- , and the occurrence of metamorphic core comple- sis for the waveforms of the Ps phase and PpPs phase from xes (indication of large-strain extension in the crust), and the Moho [22]. The thick crust-mantle transition zone re- the crustal thinning in the eastern NCC document that not sults in diffuse and weakened PpPs phases in the Taihang- only the NCC lithospheric mantle, but also the NCC crust, shan region, which could be explained by the underplating especially the lower crust, has been modified during the of the mantle-derived magma. The sharp crust-mantle Mesozoic and Cenozoic. The structures of the crust-mantle boundary yields strong PpPs phases in the Yanshan region, boundary provided solid evidence of the magmatism. In the which could be attributed to the direct contact of intruding Zhu R X, et al. Sci China Earth Sci October (2012) Vol.55 No.10 1569 mantle materials with the evolved higher-level crust due to the intra-lithospheric mantle. They then used this approach the rapid foundering of the lower crust associated with the to identify the velocity discontinuities in the intra-litho- NCC destruction. The seismic observations of the crust- spheric mantle above the 110 km depth. The CCP images of mantle boundary structure reveal that there are distinct pro- intra-lithospheric mantle structure were obtained for cesses of crustal modification and magmatism in the NCC six-profiles spanning different tectonic units in the NCC destruction. based on dense seismic array data (Figure 4). The seismic imaging results indicate a diverse intra- 1.3 Intra-lithospheric mantle structure recorded con- lithospheric mantle structure in different parts of the NCC. tinental evolution The majority of profile NCISP-4 and the northern part of profile NCISP-7 are located at the western NCC, which The receiver function imaging from S-to-P waves, in which covers a assembled in the NCC. the stronger velocity change can be continuously traced, The lithospheric mantle is generally homogeneous in the have been successful used to map the depths of the litho- western MCC. The NCISP-1, NCISP-3, and NCISP-6 pro- sphere-asthenosphere boundary beneath the NCC (Figure 2). files span the eastern NCC, where the lithosphere has been However, the identification of the seismic signatures that modified. The presence of high-velocity fragments may be correspond to the intra-lithospheric mantle structure is dif- related to the slab break-off and/or the delamination of the ficult due to the weak signal, and disturbances from crustal lower crust and the lithospheric mantle. The profile reverberations. Zheng et al. [23] performed a series of syn- NCISP-5 and the southern part of profile NCISP-7 are lo- thetic tests of common conversion point (CCP) stacking cated at a continental collision zone, where the images to distinguish between the multiple waves generated Plate was subducted northward beneath the NCC. by the crustal structure and the velocity discontinuities in The seismic imaging results suggest intermittent and juxta-

Figure 4 CCP stacked receiver function images of the crust and lithospheric mantle along six profiles. Red and blue denote positive and negative ampli- tude of the receiver functions as annotated in the color bar, which indicate a velocity increase or decrease with depth, respectively. The black dots and blue dots mark the intra-lithospheric mantle velocity discontinuities. The green dash lines mark the stacked amplitude of the PpPs multiples from a shallow crus- tal structure. Data source: ref. [23]. 1570 Zhu R X, et al. Sci China Earth Sci October (2012) Vol.55 No.10 posed velocity interfaces in the intra-lithospheric mantle. the lithosphere beneath the central NCC extending to more The velocity interface positions closest to the surface are than 500 km depth, which suggests an upwelling channel of located at the Shangdan to the north and at the Mi- warm mantle material with a source at least as deep as the anlue suture to the south. The imaged high-velocity vol- transition zone. The results of shear wave splitting meas- umes in the intra-lithospheric mantle beneath the southern urements using the SKS phase recorded from the permanent NCC were interpreted as a subduction remnant in the up- and temporal seismic stations revealed that the anisotropy permost mantle, which suggest a flat subduction channel pattern of the upper mantle in the NCC is substantially var- resulted from the continent-continent collision between the iable [27–32], and indicate the correlation between the ani- NCC and the Yangtze Plate. sotropy pattern change and the lithospheric structural From these observations, we interpret that the tectonic change. An inerratic change of the anisotropy pattern in the processes of NCC evolution are responsible for the complex low-velocity area in central NCC and beneath the Tanlu intra-lithospheric mantle structures. The tectonic relicts of zone was found. Phanerozoic continent-continent collision were preserved in Receiver function imaging provides an effective ap- the lithospheric mantle, but the tectonic relics of Paleopro- proach to construct the structure of mantle transition zone. terozoic amalgamation could only be preserved in the crust The topographies of the 410 and 660 km discontinuities [20]. In the modified lithospheric mantle of eastern NCC it have been observed beneath the NCC using the seismic data is difficult to identify the previous tectonic relict by the from dense arrays in the NCC [33–37]. The imaging results seismic observations. indicate that the mantle transition zone appears thick in the eastern part, which is consistent with the high-velocity 1.4 Interaction between continental lithosphere and anomaly observed by tomography. The depression of the subduction plate 660 km discontinuity in the eastern NCC is suggested to arise from the effect of the cooling stagnant remnant of the Since the Late Paleozoic, the NCC settled into the East subducting Pacific slab in the mantle transition zone. Depth Asian continent by amalgamating with the surrounding con- anomalies at both discontinuities were detected by using a tinental blocks. To the north, the amalgamation of the NCC three-dimensional regional velocity model [37]. The de- with the accreted of the Central Asian Orogen oc- pressions of the 410 km discontinuity are mostly located in curred during the Late to Early , after the the eastern NCC associated with the low-velocity zone in Paleo-oceanic lithosphere had subducted beneath the north- the central NCC, which was speculated a dynamic mantle ern margin of the NCC. To the south, the Qinling-Dabie regime derived from the slab stagnating, sinking, and in- Orogen represents a convergent boundary of the conti- duced upwelling at the neighboring slab front. nent-continent collision between the NCC and the SCB, These observations of the upper mantle structure and an- where the Qinling Ocean closed and the Yangtze Plate sub- isotropy pattern provide evidence of the dynamic interac- ducted northward beneath the NCC and collided in the Tri- tions among the subducting slab, cratonic root, and ambient assic. During the Late Mesozoic, the NCC became an im- mantle beneath the NCC. These regimes hint that the craton portant active part of the circum-Pacific tectono-mag- destruction was possibly dominated by interaction between matic zone. All of these tectonic events have been consid- the lithospheric mantle and the asthenosphere mantle con- ered as the geodynamic factors in causing the destabiliza- trolled by the Pacific subduction, which is a problem that tion of the NCC. needs further investigation. Recent advancements in station coverage and seismic imaging method enable more detailed imaging of the deep 2 Nature of the Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Ceno- structure beneath the NCC, which can provide seismologi- cal constraints on the deep structure of upper mantle to help zoic lithospheric mantle beneath the NCC and in the discrimination of the various dynamic regimes re- their modification processes sponsible for the continental lithosphere modification. Zhao et al. [24, 25] presented new 3-D tomographic models of VP, The widespread distribution of Mesozoic igneous rocks in VS and VP/VS ratio anomalies in the mantle to a depth of 700 the NCC indicates that the lithospheric thinning of the NCC km beneath eastern China and adjacent areas (Figure 5). was associated with the change in physical and chemical The tomographic images were constructed by inverting properties of the lithospheric mantle. Systematic investiga- body wave travel-times recorded at stations within the up- tions on the xenoliths/xenocrysts of different ages from the graded China National Seismic Network and temporary main tectonic blocks (the Eastern Block and the Western arrays. Jiang et al. [26] constructed the S-velocity model of Block) and tectonic zones (Tanlu fault zone and Taihang the upper mantle above 300 km by using the multiple- Mountain gravity lineament) across the NCC, in particular, plane-wave tomography. The multi-scale heterogeneities experimental studies using the newly developed tracers of occupy the upper mantle beneath the NCC. An obvious N–S radiogenic isotopes (Hf and Os) and non-traditional stable trending narrow low-velocity region is located at the base of isotopes (, Mg and Fe), have led to many new insights Zhu R X, et al. Sci China Earth Sci October (2012) Vol.55 No.10 1571

Figure 5 Cross-sections from the tomographic VP and VS velocity models. (a)–(d) velocity perturbations at different sections; (e)–(h) S-wave veloc- ity perturbations at different sections. After ref. [25].

into the properties of the Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Ceno- (>92 mol.%) in lithospheric mantle, but relatively zoic lithospheric mantle beneath the craton and their modi- low (<91 mol.%) in Phanerozoic mantle (Figure 6). The fication processes. peridotite xenoliths and inclusions in the from the Ordovician kimberlites of the NCC have high Fo 2.1 Nature of the Paleozoic lithospheric mantle: Cra- values and fall in the field for Archean mantle tonic (Figure 6). This suggests that the lithospheric mantle most likely formed in the Archean. Os isotope data of the perido- Age determination of the lithospheric mantle is difficult. tite xenoliths in the kimberlites indicate that most of the Traditionally, the formation age of lithospheric mantle can samples have Archean Re depletion ages (Figure 7), and all be approximately estimated by the major element depletion of them have Archean depleted mantle model ages [44], of the lithospheric mantle, that is, the molar percentages of which is consistent with the previous observations [47, 48]. forsterite (Fo) [38]. The Fo content of peridotites is high Combined with temperature-pressure estimations, these 1572 Zhu R X, et al. Sci China Earth Sci October (2012) Vol.55 No.10

To sum up, the lower crust and lithospheric mantle of the NCC have a nature of typical craton before its thinning of the lithospheric keel.

2.2 Heterogeneity of Mesozoic lithosphere and its modification

The chemical compositions and physical properties of litho- spheric mantle beneath the NCC have changed greatly since the Mesozoic [9]. In contrast to the Paleozoic, the Mesozoic lithospheric mantle beneath the eastern part of the NCC is composed of lherzolites and pyroxenites, which are rela- tively fertile in major elements, enriched in large-ion litho- phile elements, depleted in high field strength elements, with high 87Sr/86Sr and low 143Nd/144Nd isotopic ratios [50–53]. These characteristics suggest that the ancient lith- ospheric mantle beneath the craton experienced intensive modification by recycled crustal materials, which produced Figure 6 The variation of Fo with modal (%) of from the mantle spatio-temporal heterogeneity [9]. However, there is still peridotites of the NCC. The Paleozoic represents the peridotite xenoliths in hot debate on the source of the recycled crustal materials, in the Paleozoic kimberlites. Mesozoic-Cenozoic high Mg and low Mg rep- resent the Mesozoic and Cenozoic high-Mg# and low-Mg# peridotite xeno- particular for the southern margin of the craton. One of the liths from the NCC, respectively. Data sources: refs. [9, 39–43]. popular viewpoints is that the crustal materials were derived from the deeply subducted Yangtze crust [50–53]. Another suggestion is that the recycled materials were derived from delaminated lower crust of the NCC [54–56]. The from the lower crustal xenoliths in the late Creta- ceous basic rocks of Jiaodong region are Paleoprotero- zoic-Archean in age [57, 58]. This can be explained by two scenarios: (1) Given that the sampling sites are located in the Sulu orogenic belt, these ages may have nothing to do with the old lower crust and the analyzed zircons may be detrital or derived from the continental collision belt; or (2) the old lower crust still existed in the late [57, 58], which precludes lower crust delamination of the NCC. Based on the study of Mesozoic igneous rocks in the south- ern margin of the craton (Bengbu area), Liu et al. [59] pro- posed a new interpretation where by partial melting of pre-existing thickened lower crust in the southern and northern margins of the craton left the residues denser as a

result of melt extraction, which resulted in gravita- Figure 7 Histogram showing the TRD age distribution of the peridotites tional instability and foundering of the lithosphere. Such a from the NCC. Data sources: refs. [40, 44–46]. lithospheric thinning is similar to the mountain-root col- lapse in the Dabie Orogen of , which suggests observations further demonstrate that the lithospheric man- that this model may have broad significance for foundering tle beneath the eastern NCC was ancient (Archean), had low of a thickened lower crust in the settings of orogenic belts geothermal gradient, had a thickness up to 200 km, and re- and cratonic margins. mained refractory before its thinning. The mantle peridotite xenoliths in the Mesozoic igneous Geochronological and Hf isotopic geochemistry of zir- rocks of the NCC also demonstrate that the Mesozoic litho- cons in the lower crustal granulite xenoliths entrained in the spheric mantle beneath the craton was heterogeneous (Fig- basic and alkali rocks of different ages from the NCC sug- ure 6). The lithosphere in the Jiaodong region of the eastern gest that the lower crust formed in the Archean (about craton has a double-layered structure with ancient residues 2.5–2.7 Ga ago). Most of the zircons have ages of 2.5 Ga in the upper layer, represented by high-Mg# peridotites, and [49], which indicates that the of 2.5 Ga was an newly-accreted lithospheric mantle in lower layer since the important period for the formation or reworking of the an- , represented by low-Mg# peridotites [60]. cient lower crust of the NCC. In-situ Li isotope analysis on peridotite xenoliths gives fur- Zhu R X, et al. Sci China Earth Sci October (2012) Vol.55 No.10 1573 ther support for this conclusion and the modification of isotopes [45]. high-Mg# peridotite by melt metasomatism [42]. The an- The Cenozoic lithospheric mantle beneath the Taihang cient residues of lithospheric mantle have also been ob- Mountains and the Western Block of the craton has double- served in the Central Zone of the NCC and the core Fo of layer structure similar to that of the eastern craton. In the olivine xenocrysts in the can be as high as 92–94 upper layer, the lithospheric mantle is composed of high-Fo (Figure 6) [61]. harzburgites and lherzolites (Figure 6) and some samples Similarly, geochronology and Hf isotopes of the from the Yangyuan ( Province), Fanshi ( Prov- lower crustal granulite xenoliths in the Mesozoic and Ce- ince) and Hebi ( Province) have Archean Re-Os nozoic basic and alkali rocks from the NCC indicate that the model ages (Figure 7) [40, 67, 68]. In contrast, the litho- ancient lower crust of the craton experienced widespread spheric mantle in the lower layer is composed of relatively multi-stage modification of magma underplating, which young (mainly TRD ages, Figure 7), fertile (Fo< corresponds to the multiple tectonic events of Early Paleo- 90; Figure 6) and isotopically depleted lherzolites and zoic, Late Paleozoic, Early Mesozoic, Late Mesozoic and pyroxenites [45, 67–69] with an isotopic signature similar to Cenozoic [62–65]. Among them, the Late Paleozoic mag- oceanic lithospheric mantle. However, this “oceanic” litho- mas were likely derived from the partial melting of sub- spheric mantle is distinct from the newly-accreted litho- ducted oceanic slab during the closure of Paleo-Asian spheric mantle beneath the eastern NCC, and is the product Ocean [58]. The widespread magma underplating at about of interaction between peridotites and melts derived from 120 Ma could be related with the contemporaneous activity the asthenosphere (i.e., the result of lithosphere-astheno- of the South Pacific and even the subduction sphere interactions [45, 67–69]). of Pacific Plate [64]. Therefore, the lower crust of the NCC The interaction between peridotites and melts derived also experienced the modification process similar to that of from different sources is the main cause for inter-mineral lithospheric mantle. Sr-Nd and Li-Fe-Mg isotopic disequilibria (Figure 8) [42, In summary, the destruction of the NCC is not only by 68–73]. The modification of peridotites by sulfur-unsa- the modification and destruction of lithospheric mantle, but turated melts likely led to the decomposition of sulphides in also the modification and destruction of the lower crust and, in some regions, the whole crust. The destruction achieved the peak in the Late Mesozoic. After destruction, the eastern NCC no longer retained the attributes of a typical craton. The available studies suggest that the melts, which to the modification of the Mesozoic lithosphere, were mainly derived from crustal materials, that is, subducted in the southern margin, but subducted in the northern margin of the craton.

2.3 Refertilization of Cenozoic lithosphere: litho- sphere-asthenosphere interaction

The modification and destruction of the Cenozoic litho- spheric mantle beneath the NCC are mainly characterized by refertilization of the lithosphere (i.e., lithosphere- asthenosphere interaction). For example, the Cenozoic lith- ospheric mantle beneath the Jiaodong region in the south- eastern NCC inherited the double-layer structure with old residues in the upper layer and newly-accreted lithospheric mantle in the lower layer. However, the old lithospheric mantle no longer exists in the Tanlu fault zone, where fur- ther thinning of the lithosphere has occurred, and the litho- spheric mantle beneath this region is composed of relatively young lithosphere. Moreover, the newly-accreted litho- spheric mantle also experienced intensive modification of carbonate-rich silicate melts derived from the asthenosphere, Figure 8 Li-Mg-Fe isotopic compositions of the mantle peridotite xeno- which resulted in the formation of cpx-rich lherzolites and liths from the NCC. (a) Variation of Mg and Fe isotopic ratios in the man- wehrlites with extremely low Fo (Figure 6) [39, 46]. These tle peridotites [71, 73]; (b) Variation of Li abundances and isotopic com- positions in the peridotites [70]. The systematic variations of isotopic conclusions are further supported by geophysical observa- compositions in different rocks from the same area reflect the result of tions [17], Paleo-geothermal gradient [66], and Re-Os mantle peridotite-melt interaction. 1574 Zhu R X, et al. Sci China Earth Sci October (2012) Vol.55 No.10 the peridotites, which could be the most important reason for the low Os contents and high Os isotopic ratios in the mantle peridotites of the NCC [46, 74]. Studies based on multiple isotopes (Sr-Nd-Os-Li-Mg-Fe) suggest that peridotite-melt interactions occurred in multiple stages and that the melts were derived from diverse sources. Periodic and complicated peridotite-melt interactions not only led to the large-scale lithospheric destruction of the eastern NCC, but also resulted in the variable degree of thinning and high geochemical heterogeneity of the litho- sphere in the Central Zone and the margins of the Western Block [42, 69–73]. The spatial variations of lithospheric thickness and compositions of the NCC reflect the im- portant effects of inward subduction of circum-craton plates Figure 9 Water contents in the Mesozoic and Cenozoic lithospheric and subsequent collisions with the craton on the evolution mantle of the NCC. The range of the NCC is from refs. [76, 85, 86]; that of of the NCC [9, 41, 64, 74]. the South African craton is from refs. [82, 83]; that of the MORB source is from refs. [78–81].

3 High water content in the Mesozoic and low 3.2 Low water content in the Cenozoic lithospheric water content in the Cenozoic lithopsheric mantle mantle of the NCC The Cenozoic lithospheric mantle of the NCC is characterized 3.1 High water content in the Mesozoic lithospheric by a low water content [85, 86] compared to continental mantle lithospheric mantle worldwide, which is represented by It has been suggested that the longevity of craton is related typical cratonic peridotites from South and Colorado to the low water content of its deep mantle root, which gives and off-cratonic peridotites from Basin and Range much higher viscosity to resist asthenosphere erosion [75]. (USA), South Mexico, Massif Central (France), West Kettle Whatever the mechanism for craton destruction, the low (Canada) and Patagonia (Chile) [82, 83, 87–89]. H2O con- viscosity of the lithospheric mantle, which is expected to be tents of clinopyroxenes and orthopyroxenes of the NCC closely related with elevated water content, would be a me- peridotites hosted by <40 Ma alkali basalts from 12 locali- chanical prerequisite. Previous petrological and geochemi- ties are generally less than 200 and 100 ppm by weight, re- cal studies have demonstrated that the high-magnesium spectively, whereas those of typical cratonic and off-cratonic basalts of the Feixian area in the eastern part of the NCC peridotites are generally more than 200 and 100 ppm by erupted in the (~120 Ma) were derived weight. For bulk H2O contents, those of the NCC peridotites from the lithospheric mantle without significant crustal (Figure 9) and typical cratonic are generally less than 50 contamination during ascent [55]. Electron microprobe and ppm by weight, but off-cratonic peridotites typically have Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy investigations of more than 50 ppm by weight H2O. Clearly, the present the clinopyroxene phenocrysts in the Feixian basalts lithospheric mantle of the NCC is much drier than the Meso- zoic counterpart, resulting in its stable status. The charac- demonstrated that the H2O content of the earliest crystal- lized phenocrysts (Mg# values at ~90) are 210–370 ppm by teristics of the Mesozoic and Cenozoic lithospheric mantle weight [76]. Based on these values and the partition coeffi- of the NCC suggest that hydration was probably related to cient between clinopyroxene and melt [77], the calculated the Pacific subduction, while dehydration was probably due to reheating and/or partial melting events that acted in con- H2O content of the primary basaltic magma is 3.4±0.7 wt% cert with the NCC lithospheric thinning. [76]. Furthermore, the H2O content of the lithospheric man- tle source of these basalts was estimated to be more than 1000 ppm by weight (Figure 9). This water content is much 4 Shallow geological records for craton de- higher than both the source of mid-ocean-ridge basalts (50–200 ppm by weight) [78–81] and the struction (~120 ppm) [82, 83]; the latter is still stable after >3 billion 4.1 Shallow geological evolution years [75]. The calculated viscosity of the Mesozoic litho- spheric mantle of the NCC was close to that of Continent-continent collision of the western and eastern asthenosphere [76]. Because ~120 Ma is the peak time of blocks along the Trans-North China Orogen at ~1.8 Ga re- the destruction, these data therefore confirm that the craton sulted in the formation of a united craton of the NCC [90]. destruction is tightly related to elevated water content of its The NCC was a typical craton from the Mesoproterozoic to lithospheric mantle [84]. the Early Triassic (~1.6 Gyr) and received typical cratonic Zhu R X, et al. Sci China Earth Sci October (2012) Vol.55 No.10 1575 cover deposition of shallow marine sediments during this Jinshan-Tushan pluton just to the north of the Hefei period. During the Late Ordovician to Early , Basin, are also present on the southern margin of the eastern it experienced uplift and cessation of deposition, probably NCC. Petrological and geochemical studies of the plutons due to subduction of the paleo- in the south. [104–107] suggest that the Late magmatism took This uplifting was not associated with shortening defor- place due to lithospheric thinning. Recent structural studies mation in the NCC. The paleo-Asian oceanic crust sub- [108, 109] also demonstrate that local extension initiated ducted beneath the NCC in the Late Paleozoic and eventu- along the southern and northern margins of the eastern NCC ally the NCC collided with the Mongolian Block at the end in . However, the absence of Late Jurassic of the Permian [91]. Jurassic closure of the Mongolo- magmatism and extensional structures in the interior of the Okhotsk Ocean [92] led to collage of the North Chi- eastern NCC implies that Late Jurassic lithospheric rework- na-Mongolian blocks and Siberian Craton. Under this re- ing only happened along the southern and northern margins gional shortening setting, folding with nearly E-W axes [93] of the eastern NCC, and its interior remained in a stable and magmatism of the volcanic arc [94] took place along uplifting state. the Yinshan-Yashan tectonic belts in the northern margin of Peak destruction of the eastern NCC took place in Early the NCC during the Late Paleozoic to Early Mesozoic. Re- Cretaceous. This is clearly shown by shallow geological gional short-lived extension and resultant magmatism also records such as formation of a series of metamorphic core occurred in these belts in the Early Mesozoic due to complexes, widespread occurrence of basins and normal post-collisional extension in the north [8, 95]. Continent- faults, as well as large-scale volcanic eruption and plu- continent collision of the NCC and Plate as tonism (Figure 10(a)). Many metamorphic core complexes well as northward crust subduction of the South China Plate of Early Cretaceous age, such as Fangshan, Yunmengshan, in the Early Mesozoic caused hinterland deformation and Chifeng, Wazhiyu, Liaonan and Wanfu metamorphic core formation of WNW-ESE fold and thrust belts in the south- complexes [110–116], appear in the Yanshan-Liaonan tec- ern margin of the NCC [96]. The Tan-Lu Fault Zone initi- tonic belts with many supra-detachment basins. A series of ated as an intra-continental transform fault zone during the Early Cretaceous rift basins, such as , Guzhen, collision and sinistrally offset the Dabie and Sulu orogens Xinyang-Huanchuang, Hefei and Jiaolai basins [101, 102] on a large scale [96]. In contrast to the intense magmatism developed along the southern margin of the eastern NCC. along the northern margin of the NCC, Late Mesozoic The interior of the eastern NCC is characterized by the pre- magmatism along the southern margin is absent. Following sent of small Early Cretaceous rift basins, such as the the collision of the NCC and South China Plate, the Ordos southwestern Shandong basins, which include , Sishui, Basin, a large flexure-type hinterland basin, formed in the Pingyi, Dawenkou, Xingtai, Mengyin and Laiwu basins, western NCC during the to in and the Bohai Bay basins [101, 102]. contrast to the similar Early to Middle Jurassic Hefei Basin The Tan-Lu Fault Zone also changed into huge normal formed only on the southern margin of the eastern NCC, faults controlling development of many graben or showing a general state of the western depression and east- half-graben basins in the Early Cretaceous [101]. These ern uplifting for the whole NCC [90]. Sinistral faulting terrestrial rift basins in the eastern NCC are filled with both along the NNE-striking Tan-Lu Fault Zone and a series of clastic and intermediate volcanic rocks. Normal faults con- associated faulting events took place in the eastern NCC trolling development of the basins strike NNE (Figure from the end of the Middle Jurassic to the beginning of the 10(b)). Ductile detachment shear zones of the metamorphic Late Jurassic [98–101] due to high-speed, oblique subduc- core complexes also show NNE-striking. A detailed analy- tion of the Izanagi Plate beneath the East Asian continent sis for the Early Cretaceous extension [101, 102, 117] [97]. This event represents the beginning of tectonic evolu- demonstrates that peak rifting happened between 145 and tion controlled by the western Pacific Plate motion in the 115 Ma while the metamorphic core complexes formed eastern NCC [98, 101]. during 130–120 Ma [118]. The rifting decreased at the end The so-called craton destruction means an overall loss of of Early Cretaceous (115–100 Ma) and remaining basins its craton nature [12]. Lithospheric thinning only happens were localized along large normal faults such as the Tan-Lu under a regional, extensional setting. It is understood there- Fault Zone, eastern Taihang Fault and Lanliao Fault (Figure fore that a key shallow sign for the NCC destruction is 10(b)). The shallow geology of the eastern NCC exhibits an widespread and intense extension. Late Jurassic deposition obvious change in the Late Cretaceous. Regional uplifting is rare in the NCC, which indicates uplifting during this predominated in the eastern NCC during this period. Late period [94, 102]. The exception is the occurrence of large Cretaceous rift basins appeared locally in the eastern NCC, volcanic basins in the Yanshan tectonic belt [103], which such as the Hefei, Guzhen and Jiaolai basins on the southern are filled with Late Jurassic volcanic rocks such as the Diao- margin as well as local small basins in the Bohai Bay basins jishan or Lanqiyin Formation and associated with synchro- and Yanshan-Liaonan tectonic belts (Figure 10(c)). Meta- nous, acid plutons. Late Jurassic plutons, such as the morphic core complexes, volcanic eruption and plutonism Linglong batholith in the Jiaobei region and the of Late Cretaceous age are absent in the eastern NCC. 1576 Zhu R X, et al. Sci China Earth Sci October (2012) Vol.55 No.10

Figure 10 Extensional structures in the eastern NCC. Zhu R X, et al. Sci China Earth Sci October (2012) Vol.55 No.10 1577

Normal faults controlling the local basins changed into a the NCC destruction ended in the Early Cretaceous and generally E-W striking and indicate a weak extensional set- some lithospheric thickening happened during the Cenozoic. ting. Many Paleogene rift basins were developed again in The Paleogene rifting in the eastern NCC (Figure 10(d)) the eastern NCC (Figure 10(d)) and are often associated implies that some periods of lithospheric thinning could with basalt eruption. This period is a main stage for for- occur after completion of the lithospheric mantle transfor- mation of hydrocarbon-bearing basins in the eastern NCC. mation and under the overall setting of lithospheric thick- Rift basins of Early Paleogene age, a deposition stage for ening. This inference is also supported by the fact that the the Kongdian Formation and lower Shasi beds, are wide- Bohai Bay basins experiencing intense Paleogene rifting spread in the interior and south of the eastern NCC. Basins and have the thinnest lithosphere in the eastern NCC [12]. It of Middle Paleogene age, a deposition stage for the upper is noted that the Liaoxi and Jiaolai basins, which contain Shasi beds and Shayi beds, are localized in the Bohai Bay with mantle xenoliths that suggest the Early Cretaceous basins while those of Late Paleogene age, a deposition stage completion of lithospheric mantle transformation, have not of the Dongying Formation, are concentrated in Bohai Bay experienced Paleogene rifting. It is therefore suggested that around the Tan-Lu Fault Zone [119, 120]. the completion times for the lithospheric mantle transfor- mation and thinning are probably not consistent in the east- 4.2 Relation between shallow geology and deep pro- ern NCC. cesses

The shallow geology of the NCC destruction is characterized 5 Pacific subduction as main trigger of destruc- by extensional activities whereas the deep processes are tion of the NCC represented by lithospheric transformation and thinning, which are mainly evident by magmatism. Correlation be- The formation and destruction of cratonic lithosphere are tween the extensional activities and magmatism can reveal closely related to plate tectonics [122]. The geodynamic the relation between the shallow geology and deep process- factors that triggered the destruction of the NCC remain a es. The consistency between the magmatism peak period subject of debate. Several possible triggers have been pro- (130–120 Ma) [73–94] and formation times of the meta- posed, which include (1) the - collision [123, morphic core complexes, which represent the most intense 124]; (2) mantle plume activity [125, 126]; (3) the Yang- extension, suggests that a close linkage between the deep tze-North China collision [47, 127] and (4) the subduction process and shallow geology. Correlation between the shal- of Pacific Plate underneath the eastern Asian continent [11, low extensional activities and magmatism from the Late 12, 128–136]. A detailed review on these different opinions Jurassic and the Paleogene also demonstrate a close tem- can be found in Wu et al. [6]. In brief, the first two have poral-spatial relationship. been all but ruled out and the current debate focuses on the The northern and southern margins of the NCC were ob- latter two. viously affected by plate convergence, which led to thick- The collision between North China and South China in ening of crust and whole lithosphere due to shortening [93, the Triassic will have undoubtedly exerted an important 96] and changes of both lithospheric composition and nature. influence on the evolution of the NCC. For example, pro- This is why the margins experienced the destruction first. venance analyses on the basis of detrital zircons from the Another example of the influence of deep textures and their Ordos Basin reveal that Jurassic sediments were derived relation to shallow geology is the Tan-Lu Fault Zone. This from Qinling-Dabie orogenic belt [137]. Xu et al. [53, 54, major fault zone, which existed before the craton destruc- 138] found ecologite xenoliths in late Mesozoic igneous tion, has lower lithospheric strength and favorable passages rocks in Xuhuai area, southeast of the NCC and determined for magma transportation. It became an intense extension their metamorphic age as Triassic, identical to that of UHP and magmatic belt during the NCC destruction [99, 117] metamorphism (240–225 Ma). This implies crustal thicken- and has the thinnest lithosphere in the whole eastern NCC ing due to the collision between North China and South and the most remarkable transformation for lithospheric China and possible subsequent delamination. However, the mantle [9, 121]. temporal and spatial pattern of craton destruction is the key Following the intense intermediate magmatism of the to assess whether this model is viable. If the destruction of Early Cretaceous, magmatism in the eastern NCC became the NCC took place in the late Mesozoic, it is hard to un- rare in the Late Cretaceous. There were tholeiitic basalt derstand why the thickened crust that formed during eruptions in the Paleogene and local alkaline basalt erup- 240–225 Ma was delaminated in the early Cretaceous [6]. tions in the Neogene and Quaternary. Mantle xenoliths from The source of the middle Jurassic granite from Tongshi basalt of the latest Early Cretaceous in the Liaoxi Basin and (western Shandong) is early Proterozoic lower crust, but that of the Late Cretaceous in the southern Jiaolai Basin these granites have no adakitic composition. This suggests indicate that the mantle transformation finished in the Early that there was no crustal thickening in the interior of the Cretaceous [9, 121]. It is inferred by some authors [8] that Craton at that time, or at least suggests that crustal thicken- 1578 Zhu R X, et al. Sci China Earth Sci October (2012) Vol.55 No.10 ing as a consequence of the collision between North China ted Pacific oceanic slab has become stagnant within the and South China was spatially limited. Geochemical studies mantle transition zone and extended subhorizontally west- on Mesozoic mafic rocks suggest that the influence of the ward beneath the East Asian continent [35, 37, 147–149]. northward subduction of the Yangtze plate on the NCC is The western end of this stagnant slab does not go beyond confined to a 200–400 km wide section on its southern edge the NNE-trending NSGL. Such a configuration outlines an [140]. Importantly, if crustal thickening was indeed related ultimate link between Pacific subduction and cratonic de- to northward subduction of the Yangtze plate beneath the struction. NCC, the EW-oriented Dabie-Sulu belt would imply a NS If Pacific subduction is the cause of the destabilization of pattern of craton destruction and is likely confined to the cratonic lithosphere under the NCC, the following Southeastern part of the NCC. This expectation is not con- should be expected. (a) The temporal variation in exten- sistent with the general NNE oriented pattern of lithospheric sional patterns in eastern NCC would be in pace with that of thinning in the NCC [6]. movement of Pacific subduction and its subduction angle. At present, many researchers regard Pacific subduction (b) Given the subduction of Pacific Plate underneath eastern as one of principal triggers of the destruction of the NCC, Asian continent, the slab-derived material should become on the basis of the following observations and inferences: sources of Mesozoic-Cenozoic magmas in this region. (c) (1) Geophysical investigations and morphological anal- This subducted slab may have released significant amount yses indicate that decratonization is largely confined to east of water into the overlying upper mantle so that relatively of the North-South Gravity Lineament (NSGL), whereas to high water content is expected. These three aspects have west of NSGL, in particular the Ordos basin, characteristics been confirmed by multi-disciplinary studies in the past typical of a craton are observed [5, 12, 17, 67, 132, 141]. years, which provides strong evidence for Pacific subduc- This spatial pattern of craton destruction, together with tion as the main factor controlling the destruction of the NE-NNE-oriented extensional basins, main structural align- NCC. ments and metamorphic core complexes [117, 142, 143], is consistent with the subduction direction of the Pacific Plate. 5.1 Lithospheric extension in eastern NCC and Pacific (2) Cenozoic basalts from both sides of the NSGL dis- subduction play different evolutionary trends. The upper mantle be- neath these two regions is also different in terms of compo- Integrated studies in terms of basin analyses, metamorphic sition and Os isotopic ages. This led Xu et al. [144] to pro- core complex, fault kinetics and dyke distribution indicate pose a diachronous extension in the NCC, with initial ex- that the eastern NCC experienced NWW-SEE extension tension in the eastern part owing to the Late Mesozoic during the early-middle stage of the Early Cretaceous, paleo-Pacific subduction and subsequent extension in the NW-SE stretching during the late Early Cretaceous and NS western NCC induced by the Early Indian-Eurasian extension during the late Cretaceous-Paleogene. This collision. clock-wise change in extensional direction is in pace with (3) Two main episodes of late Mesozoic magmatism the movement direction of Pacific Plate (Figure 11). This have been identified in the Jurassic and the early Cretaceous. suggests that the destruction of the NCC likely took place in These correspond to the subduction of the Pacific Plate un- a back-arc extensional setting and the movement of Pacific derneath the Eurasian content and to subsequent extensions, plate was responsible for back-arc extension in the conti- respectively [145, 146]. nental margin. In other words, plate margin dynamics con- (4) Global tomography studies indicate that the subduc- trolled the direction of surface crustal extension induced

Figure 11 Comparison between direction of lithospheric extension in eastern NCC and movement direction of Pacific Plate. After ref. [117]. Zhu R X, et al. Sci China Earth Sci October (2012) Vol.55 No.10 1579 decratonization [117]. postulated that the subducted oceanic components may have been derived from the seismically detected stagnant Pacific 5.2 Subducted slab components in Mesozoic-Cenozoic slab within the mantle transition zone. mafic magmas The influence of Pacific subduction on the genesis of Cenozoic basalts in eastern China [36, 151, 152] is further Although Pacific subduction has long been invoked as the supported by the spatial distribution of mantle components trigger of post-Mesozoic geologic evolution and magmatism in the source of the Cenozoic basalts. Previous studies sug- in eastern China [150], material evidence for its involve- gest that Cenozoic basalts from North and ment in magma genesis is still lacking. What geochemical were derived by melting of DMM-EM1 hybrid sources criteria can be use to identify subduction-related compo- [154]. However, recent studies indicate that Cenozoic bas- nents in continental basalts? It is generally accepted that alts from North and Northeast China are characterized by oceanic island basalts (OIB) contain recycled oceanic com- high 206Pb/204Pb and 208Pb/204Pb, relatively higher Sr isotopic ponents. Therefore, the geochemical characteristics of OIB ratios at given Nd isotopic ratios, similar to back-arc can be used as criteria to identify subduction-related com- tholeiites recovered from the Japan Sea Basin. This implies ponents. These include (a) low 18O values in mineral that in addition to DMM and EM1 components, EM2 is also phenocrysts (related to water-rock interaction at high tem- present in the source of Cenozoic basalts from North and perature), (b) OIB-like trace element distribution pattern, Northeast China (Figure 12(a)). Importantly, the composi- such as depletion of high incompatible elements (Rb, Ba, tion of basalts younger than 20 Ma indicates an EM1-EM2 Th and U) relative to Nb-Ta, negative K and Pb anomalies, mixed upper mantle beneath coastal lines of North and and OIB-like Nb/U and Ce/Pb ratios (related to dehydration Northeast China, and a predominant EM1-type mantle to- of oceanic basalts), and (c) HIMU-like isotopic composi- wards the interior of the Chinese continent (Figure 12(b)). tions (e.g., 206Pb/204Pb>19.5). Since the formation of EM1-type mantle is related to recy- Cenozoic basalts from eastern NCC display geochemical cled old lithosphere and EM2-type mantle may contain characteristics very similar to OIB, which points to the presence of subducted oceanic slab as their sources. For example, the Cenozoic basalts from Shandong, Northern and Northeastern Anhui are depleted in highly in- compatible elements and have a negative Pb anomaly [136, 151, 152]. In particular, 18O values of phenocrysts of oli- vine, clinopyroxene and plagioclase in these lavas are less than mantle values. This implies that subducted oceanic crust contributes to the magma source, which has been sub- jected to metamorphic dehydration and high-temperature water-rock interaction. Studies on Cenozoic basalts further reveal that the lithospheric mantle beneath southeastern part of the NCC is composed of ancient mantle and newly ac- creted mantle in the upper and lower parts of the mantle, respectively. Based on this, together with the spatial varia- tion in lithospheric thickness beneath the NCC, Zhang et al. [136] proposed that east to west lateral lithospheric thinning was induced by westward subduction of the Pacific subduc- tion. They inferred that subduction erosion took place dur- ing the Jurassic, and that slab-mantle interactions were strong in the early Creatceous, which resulted in localized enrichment of newly accreted lithospheric mantle. The latter became source of Cenozoic basalts. basalts from Shuangliao, northeast China also show evidence for subducted oceanic crust in their source [153], which implies that Pacific subduction also affected Northeast China. Among the Cenozoic basalts from eastern China the Shuangliao basalts have the highest Fe2O3 content (13.4%–14.6%) and lowest 87Sr/86Sr ratios (<0.703). They have positive Eu, Sr, Nb and Ta anomalies, and are depleted Figure 12 (a) Sr-Pb isotopes of late Cenozoic basalts from North and Northeast China; (b) Distribution of mantle components in the source of in very incompatible elements (Rb, Ba, Th, U, K), reminis- late Cenozoic basalts in eastern Asia (after ref. [155]). The compositions of cent of HIMU-type oceanic island basalts. Xu et al. [153] mantle end-members (DM, EM1, EM2 and HIMU) are from ref. [156]. 1580 Zhu R X, et al. Sci China Earth Sci October (2012) Vol.55 No.10 subducted sediments, the spatial distribution of mantle anomaly and low 87Sr/86Sr. source in eastern China reflects the influence of Pacific These recycled oceanic components have an Indi- subduction on the evolution of the lithospheric mantle be- an-MORB Pb isotopic character (Figure 14) [153]. Given neath this region. the isotopic affinity by the extinct Izanaghi-Pacific Plate, The identification of oceanic slab components in Ceno- currently stagnated within the mantle transition zone zoic basalts provides evidence for involvement of Pacific [146–148], we propose that it ultimately comes from the subduction in magma genesis during the Cenozoic, but it subducted Pacific slab. does not necessarily demonstrate the causal relationship The discovery of subducted oceanic crust components in between Pacific subduction and destruction of the NCC. source of magmas younger than 100 Ma implies that the Obviously, the timing of first occurrence of subducted oce- influence of the Pacific subduction can be traced back to at anic components in mantle-derived magmas is the key. It least the late Cretaceous. Given the time interval required has been shown that the transition in magma source of by disintegration of subducted slabs into convective mantle, Mesozoic-Cenozoic magmas in North China took place at it can be inferred that the influence of Pacific subduction on ~100 Ma. The mafic magmas emplaced before 100 Ma were derived from an ancient, enriched lithospheric mantle, whereas magmas younger than 100 Ma were derived from a young, depleted mantle containing recycled oceanic slab components. Geochemical and isotopic investigations on magmas em- placed during 100–40 Ma were conducted by Xu et al. [158]. Three major components are identified, including depleted component I and II, and an enriched component. The de- pleted component I, which is characterized by relatively low 87Sr/86Sr (<0.7030), moderate 206Pb/204Pb (18.2), moderately high Nd (~4), high Eu/Eu* (>1.1) and HIMU-like trace ele- ment characteristics, is most likely derived from gabbroic cumulate of the oceanic crust. The depleted component II, which distinguishes itself by its high Nd (~8) and moderate 87Sr/86Sr (~0.7038), is probably derived from a sub-litho- spheric ambient mantle. The enriched component has low 87 86 206 204 Nd (2–3), high Sr/ Sr (>0.7065), low Pb/ Pb (17), excess Sr, Rb, Ba and a deficiency of Zr and Hf relative to the REE. This component is likely from the basaltic portion of oceanic crust, which is variably altered by seawater and contains minor sediments. Comparison with experimental melts and trace element modeling further suggest that these recycled oceanic components may be in the form of Figure 13 Temporal variation in Eu/Eu* and 87Sr/86Sr in 100–40 Ma pyroxenite/, which may have been formed either by basalts (MgO>8 wt%) from NCC and Northeast China (after ref. [158]). melt-rock interaction during subduction [136, 151, 152], or by metamorphic reaction of subducted oceanic crust [157]. The fact that Eu/Eu* and 87Sr/86Sr of 100–40 Ma mag- mas increases and decreases, respectively, with decreasing emplacement age (Figure 13) led Xu et al. [158] to suggest a change in magma source from upper to lower parts of subducted oceanic crust. Such secular trends are created by dynamic melting of a heterogeneous mantle containing re- cycled oceanic crust. Due to different melting temperatures of upper and lower ocean crust and progressive thinning of the lithosphere, the more fertile basaltic crustal component is preferentially sampled during the early stage of volcanism to generate alkali basalts characterized by high FeO con- tents, Eu/Eu*~1 and high 87Sr/86Sr. The more depleted gab- broic lower crust and lithospheric mantle components, Figure 14 Comparison of Pb isotopic composition of 100–40 Ma basalts however, are preferentially sampled during a later stage and (MgO>8 wt%) from NCC and Northeast China and different MORBs. form subalkaline basalts, characterized by positive Eu Modified after refs. [153, 158]. Data for MORB are from ref. [159]. Zhu R X, et al. Sci China Earth Sci October (2012) Vol.55 No.10 1581 the evolution of the lithospheric beneath eastern China may patterns of post-Mesozoic basins, major tectonic configura- have been initiated at a time much earlier than late tion, temporal change of magmatism, water enrichment in Cretaceous [136]. late Mesozoic lithospheric mantle and formation of the North-South gravity lineament. It also explains why de- 5.3 Strong hydration of late Mesozoic lithospheric struction is confined to the eastern part of the NCC. mantle beneath eastern NCC 5.4 Craton destruction and plate tectonic system Water content in magma sources and in the lithospheric mantle at different time is pivotal to verify whether Pacific The main achievements summarized in this paper yield im- subduction triggered the destruction of the NCC, because portant implications for the relationship between craton fluids appear to exert significant influence on the rheologi- destruction and plate tectonics. cal strength of the continental lithosphere. On the basis of (1) The NCC not only experienced considerable litho- water content measurements and H-O isotopes on different spheric thinning, but also experienced strong crustal defor- aged peridotites by FTIR and SIMS, Xia et al. [76] show mation, seismic activity and magmatism. All of these sug- that water content in the lithospheric mantle beneath eastern gest that since the late Mesozoic, it no longer preserved NCC ranges from >500 ppm at ~125 Ma to <50 ppm in the characteristics typical of a craton. Lithospheric thinning late Cenozoic. Because ~125 Ma represents the climax of may have also taken place in other cratons in the , but destruction of the NCC and the water content in CLM at not all were subjected to craton destruction. It seems that this time is significantly higher than the MORB source craton destruction takes place only when the craton is se- (50–200 ppm), it is reasonable to infer that the destruction verely affected by the subduction of oceanic plates [12]. of the NCC may have been induced by hydration of the (2) Compared with typical cratons in the world, the NCC lithosphere, which considerably lowered its strength. It also is relatively small in size. More importantly, it has been implies that the strongest influence exerted by Pacific sub- affected by the subduction of several plates from different duction on the evolution of the NCC was at ~125 Ma. The directions (i.e., northward Tethyan subduction, southward water concentration in the present lithospheric mantle be- subduction of Paleo-Asian oceanic plate and westward neath the NCC is significantly lower than in the MORB subduction of paleo-Pacific Plate). In particular, the dehy- source. This is consistent with the proposal that the litho- dration of the subducted paleo-Pacific Plate released signif- spheric mantle under this region became re-stablized during icant amounts of water into the overriding lithospheric man- the Cenozoic, because dehydration can increase the strength tle beneath eastern NCC. As a consequence, the viscosity of of the lithosphere. The temporal decrease in water content the lithosphere is significantly lowered [88, 160, 161] and in the lithospheric mantle from ~125 to 40 Ma therefore the continental lithosphere in this region is severely weak- mirrors the transition from craton destruction to lithospheric ened, which facilitates its convective removal by underlying . asthenosphere and ultimate destruction of the NCC. Such a The abundant water in the Mesozoic lithosphere under- process is reminiscent of where the for- neath the NCC may have been released by dehydration of mation of Codillera belt and partial destruction of the North several subducting slabs, as the NCC was surrounded by American craton were related to the eastward subduction of several subduction belts. If water was mainly derived from Farallon plate [162]. In this sense, the craton destruction northward subduction of oceanic plate between North China results from tectonic activity of plate margins. and South China Blocks, or from southward subducted paleo-Asian plate, the entire cratonic lithosphere would have been rich in water. Since addition of water would sig- 6 Summary and conclusions nificantly decrease the strength of the lithosphere [88, 154], the destruction of the NCC would have proceeded either on On the basis of geological, geophysical and geochemical a whole scale, or in a north-southward differential way. This studies on the NCC, the following conclusions can be is contradictory to the observed east-westward pattern of drawn. craton destruction. This problem can be solved if the water (1) The nature of the Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic enrichment in the lithosphere was mainly derived from lithospheric mantle under the NCC is characterized in detail. westward subducted Pacific Plate. The stagnant Pacific slab It is revealed that the late Mesozoic CLM was rich in water, within the mantle transition zone beneath eastern NCC [146] but Cenozoic CLM is highly deficient in water. also suggests that westward subduction of the Pacific Plate (2) There is a significant spatial heterogeneity in terms of only affected the eastern part of the NCC. lithospheric thickness and crustal structure, therefore con- To sum up, an integration of multiple disciplinary studies straining the extent of destruction of the NCC. show that Pacific subduction has exerted considerable in- (3) The correlation between magmatism and surface geo- fluence on the evolution of the eastern NCC [12]. Pacific logy confirms that the geological and tectonic evolution are subduction may have been responsible for the distribution governed by craton destruction processes. 1582 Zhu R X, et al. Sci China Earth Sci October (2012) Vol.55 No.10

(4) Pacific subduction is the main dynamic factor that responsible for the continental evolution. triggered the destruction of the NCC, which highlights the The destruction of the NCC is characterized by wide- role of craton destruction in plate tectonics. Specifically, spread thinning of the lithosphere, but more importantly by westward subduction of Pacific Plate is the first order geo- significant modification of lithospheric composition, nature dynamics that triggered the destruction of the NCC. During and structure, and by widespread tectonic reactivation and the craton destruction, both top-down crustal delamination magmatism. The temporal change in lithospheric composi- and bottom-up thermal erosion, accompanied by melt- tion may have been related to multiple stage interaction peridotite reaction, may have been operative. However, between melt and peridotites. As indicated by comprehen- these are only second order dynamic mechanisms, or dif- sive comparisons of mantle peridotites, similar melt-rock ferent work way. interactions were also operative in other cratons [67]. Per- The lithospheric architecture, the upper mantle velocity haps the evolution trend exemplified in the NCC has impli- structure, and the nature of the mantle transition zone under cations for studies of other ancient cratons, a subject that the NCC, as constrained by seismic tomography, outline the requires further attention in the future study. interaction between plate subduction, lithospheric keel and ambient asthenospheric mantle. The considerable change in lithospheric thickness under continental margin and pene- 7 Perspectives tration of the stagnant slab into the lower mantle may have induced upwelling of deep mantle material, which resulted Although significant achievements have been made in re- in small scale convection and instability of localized mantle cent years under the sponsorship of the NSFC Key Project flows (see E-W cross-section in Figure 15). The imaged on the Destruction of the NCC, additional studies should be high-velocity volumes in the lithospheric mantle beneath carried out and new approaches should be employed in the the southern NCC indicate a flat subduction channel result- future. ed from the continent-continent collision between the NCC (1) The destruction of the NCC is not a unique geologic and the Yangtze Plate (see S-N cross-section in Figure 15). phenomenon, but represents the outcome of evolution of A better understanding of the interaction between litho- continental lithosphere under certain geodynamic circum- sphere and asthenosphere is pivotal to deciphering the tec- stances. A better understanding of craton destruction pro- tonic-geodynamic mechanism of the destruction of the NCC. cess requires cross-checking by different disciplinary stud- The structural exploration of crust-mantle can provide ma- ies. It is necessary to place the study of craton destruction in jor constraints and evidences of the lithospheric structure the scheme of global continental evolution and to perform

Figure 15 Deep processes as illustrated by studies on crust-upper mantle structure in the NCC. Red triangles represent stations of temporary seismic array, blue dots denote combined ocean and land observation sites. E-W section depicts interaction between plate subduction and lithosphere and its influence on modification of the NCC. S-N section highlights the tectonic records of the amalgamation between NCC and Yangtze Plate. Zhu R X, et al. Sci China Earth Sci October (2012) Vol.55 No.10 1583 comparison with other cratons and orogenic belts in the which are key to understanding the formation and evolution world. The similarity and difference between the NCC and of continents. The Tethys orogenic belt, which starts from other cratons will be the key to understanding why the con- southern edge of west , extends eastward to Medi- tinental lithosphere can remain stable for a long period and terranean, Iran Plateau, and finally arrives why it can be destroyed in certain circumstances. at South-east Asia, is a typical arc-continent collisional (2) Despite the mounting evidence for Pacific subduction orogenic zone which is formed successively by closures of as the principal tectonic factor that triggered the destruction Tethyan oceans of different ages [163]. It is worth noting of the NCC, an integration of multiple disciplinary studies is that this orogenic belt comprises three different sectors in required to further constrain how Pacific subduction affect- terms of morphology, geology and associated deep proces- ed and promoted the destruction of the NCC. In particular, ses. To its western end it formed a linear chain of the following important questions still need to be addressed. Mountains, the birth place of modern geology. In its middle What are the origins of water and subducted slab compo- sector, the famous Iran and Tibetan can be found. nents in the source of Mesozoic-Cenozoic basalts in eastern A large area of archipelagos occurs at its eastern end, where China? What is the history of Pacific subduction? How did the tectonic pattern is dominated by large scale strike-slip the subducted oceanic slab react with the lithospheric man- movements. In particular, ultra-high pressure metamorphic tle? By which means did the lithospheric mantle became rocks recovered in the Alps and in the Himalaya suggest enriched in water and subsequently dehydrated? How does where continental crust may have subducted to a mantle the lithospheric mantle transition to asthenospheric mantle, depth. Clearly, detailed investigation into the Tethys oro- and vise-versa? genic belt can promote Chinese Earth Scientists to play a The answers to these questions can be obtained only if more active role on the world’s research platform. new observational data are available and novel research methods are applied. For instance, geophysical and numeri- We thank Prof. Chen Yong’s invitation to write this article. The manuscript cal modeling are necessary to better understand the evolu- benefited from valuable discussions with Profs. Zhang GuoWei, Li Shu- tion of Pacific subduction and how it exerted influence on Guang, Jin ZhenMin, Zhou GuangTian, Fan WeiMing and Zhang the evolution of the continental lithosphere under the east- XianKang. We are grateful to Greig A. Paterson for his help in editing the manuscript. We thank Profs. Zheng YongFei, Wan TianFeng and an ern Asian margin. anonymous reviewer for their valuable comments and constructive sugges- (3) Although lithospheric thinning also occurs in many tions. This work was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of other cratons in the world, not all are accompanied by cra- China (Grant Nos. 90714001, 90714004, 90714008, 90714009, 91014006, ton destruction. It appears that a craton, which lost its litho- 91114206). spheric keel due to mantle plume (e.g., Indian craton), may preserve its inherent cratonic features. Craton destruction 1 Wong W H. Crustal movements and igneous activities in eastern seems only take place in cratons severely affected by oce- China since Mesozoic time. Acta Geol Sin, 1927, 6: 9–37 anic subduction (e.g., NCC and Wyoming craton). Whether 2 Chen G D. 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