Cretaceous and Cenozoic reactivation of the Triassic Qinling-Dabie orogen between the north China and Yangtze cratons resulted from the combined effects of Pacific subduction - back-arc extension in east China and collisions in west China. We report new apatite fission track and apatite and zircon (U-Th)/He data from east Qinling along a >400-km-long N-S transect from Huashan through the Qinling orogen to Huangling. The ages show a general pattern of younging northward. Three major cooling phases are defined by modeling the multiple thermochronologic data sets. The first phase occurred locally in the North and South Qinling during the late Triassic to early Jurassic, following heating associated with the Triassic Yangtze subduction and exhumation of the Wudang metamorphic core complex on the cratonal edge. A second phase represents regional exhumation between 100 and 60 Ma, coeval with rifting marked by the Late Cretaceous-Eocene (K2-E) red bed deposition in eastern China and possibly indicating a link with Pacific subduction-back-arc extension in eastern China; however, it may also have been superimposed by eastward tectonic escape resulting from the Lhasa-West Burma-Qiangtang-Indochina collision. The third cooling phase was initiated at ∼45 Ma exclusively in the north Qinling and in the footwall of the graben-bounding normal fault of the Weihe graben in the Lesser Qinling. We suggest the third phase was related to reactivation of the Qinling fault system as a result of eastward tectonic escape imposed by the India-Asia collision at ∼50 Ma.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geochemistry and Petrology