Asia: A frontier for a future supercontinent Amasia

Inna Safonova, Shigenori Maruyama

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Asia is the worlds largest but youngest continent, in which Pacific-type (P-type) and collision-type (C-type) orogenic belts coexist with numerous amalgamated continental blocks. P-type orogens represent major sites of continental growth through tonalite-trondhjemite-granodiorite type (TTG-type) juvenile granitoid magmatism and accretion of oceanic crust and intra-oceanic arcs. The Asian continent includes several P-type orogenic belts, of which the largest are the Central Asian and Western Pacific. The Central Asian Orogenic Belt is dominated by P-type fossil orogens arranged with a regular northward subduction polarity. The Western Pacific is characterized by ongoing P-type orogeny related to the westward subduction of the Pacific plate. Asia has a multi-cratonic structure and its post-Palaeozoic history has witnessed amalgamation of the Laurasia composite continent and Pangaea supercontinent. Nowadays, Asia is surrounded by double-sided subduction zones, which generate new TTG-type crust and supply oceanic crust and microcontinents to its active margins. The TTG-crust can be tectonically eroded and subducted down to the mantle transition zone to form a second continent, which may generate mantle upwelling, plumes, and extensive intra-plate volcanism. Moreover, recent plate movements around Asia are dominated by northward directions, which resulted in the India-Eurasia and Arabia-Eurasia collisions beginning at 50-45 and 23-20 Ma, respectively, and will result in Africa-Eurasia collision in the near future. Therefore, Asia is the best candidate to serve as the nucleus for a future supercontinent Amasia, likely to form 200-250 Ma in the future. In this paper we unravel a puzzle of continental growth in Asia through P-type orogeny by discussing its tectonic history and geological structure, subduction polarity in P-type orogens, tectonic erosion of TTG-type crust and arc subduction at convergent margins, generation of mantle plumes, and prospects of Asia growth and overgrowth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1051-1071
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Geology Review
Volume56
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 4 2014
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

supercontinent
trondhjemite
tonalite
subduction
orogenic belt
granodiorite
collision
crust
orogeny
oceanic crust
tectonics
active margin
convergent margin
Pangaea
Pacific plate
mantle plume
history
Asia
geological structure
granitoid

Keywords

  • 'second' continent
  • collision-type orogeny
  • double-sided subduction
  • mantle plume
  • mantle transition zone
  • Pacific-type orogeny
  • tectonic erosion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology

Cite this

Asia : A frontier for a future supercontinent Amasia. / Safonova, Inna; Maruyama, Shigenori.

In: International Geology Review, Vol. 56, No. 9, 04.07.2014, p. 1051-1071.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Safonova, Inna ; Maruyama, Shigenori. / Asia : A frontier for a future supercontinent Amasia. In: International Geology Review. 2014 ; Vol. 56, No. 9. pp. 1051-1071.
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