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Contrasted East Asia and South America tectonics driven by deep mantle flow

Yang, Ting and Moresi, Louis and Gurnis, Michael and Liu, Shaofeng and Sandiford, Dan and Williams, Simon and Capitanio, Fabio A. (2019) Contrasted East Asia and South America tectonics driven by deep mantle flow. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 517 . pp. 106-116. ISSN 0012-821X. doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2019.04.025.

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East Asia and South America have both experienced long-term subduction since at least the Jurassic, but they have had contrasting tectonic evolutions since the Late Cretaceous. East Asia was dominated by extensional tectonics with many marginal sea basins forming during the Cenozoic while South America was dominated by compressional tectonics building the Andean mountains. The mechanism controlling this contrast in tectonic style on opposite sides of the Pacific has been unclear. We suggest that the deep mantle flow revealed by seismic tomography, plate reconstructions, and geodynamic models contributed to the pan-Pacific tectonic disparity. Our geodynamic models suggest that the Atlantic Ocean opening plays an important role in promoting compression-dominated tectonics and Andean building along the South American margin by allowing fast trench-ward motion of South America. On the other hand, the long-standing downwelling flow beneath the interior of Asia since Asian assembly in the Paleozoic and the early Mesozoic helps to inhibit Atlantic-type ocean opening in Asia and restrain trench-ward motion of East Asia, promoting extension-dominated tectonics along the Asian margin. The restrained trench-ward motion suggests a low probability of flat-slab subduction occurrence in East Asia during the late Mesozoic.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Yang, Ting0000-0003-2301-2525
Moresi, Louis0000-0003-3685-174X
Gurnis, Michael0000-0003-1704-597X
Liu, Shaofeng0000-0002-6667-3721
Williams, Simon0000-0003-4670-8883
Capitanio, Fabio A.0000-0003-2131-8723
Additional Information:© 2019 Elsevier. Received 22 October 2018, Revised 12 April 2019, Accepted 14 April 2019, Available online 30 April 2019. Ting Yang benefited enormously from the discussions with the AuScope Underworld Geodynamics group and Guangwei Li. Kevin Hill helped review the primary version of the paper. Two anonymous reviewers helped significantly in improving the paper. This work is supported by the Australian Research Council Discovery Program DP150102887, and by the by Australian Research Council's Industrial Transformation Research Hub project IH130200012. SW is funded by Australian Research Council grant IH130200012 and DP180102280. SL and MG are supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (41820104004). SL is supported by the Strategic Priority Research Program (B) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Grant No. XDB18000000). MG is supported through NSF EAR-1645775.
Group:Seismological Laboratory
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Australian Research CouncilDP150102887
Australian Research CouncilIH130200012
Australian Research CouncilDP180102280
National Natural Science Foundation of China41820104004
Chinese Academy of SciencesXDB18000000
Subject Keywords:East Asian tectonics; South American tectonics; deep mantle flow; slab subduction; Andean orogeny; marginal sea
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20190430-104322449
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Ting Yang, Louis Moresi, Michael Gurnis, Shaofeng Liu, Dan Sandiford, Simon Williams, Fabio A. Capitanio, Contrasted East Asia and South America tectonics driven by deep mantle flow, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 517, 2019, Pages 106-116, ISSN 0012-821X, (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:95118
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:30 Apr 2019 18:39
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 17:10

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