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Title: Successive accretions of future allochthonous terranes and multiple subduction zone jumps: Implications for Tethyan evolution

The accretion of future allochthonous terranes (e.g., microcontinents or oceanic plateaus) onto the southern margin of Asia occurred repeatedly during the evolution and closure of the Tethyan oceanic realm, but the specific geodynamic processes of this protracted convergence, successive accretion, and subduction zone initiation remain largely unknown. Here, we use numerical models to better understand the dynamics that govern multiple terrane accretions and the polarity of new subduction zone initiation. Our results show that the sediments surrounding the future terranes and the structural complexity of the overriding plate are important factors that affect accretion of multiple plates and guide subduction polarity. Wide (≥400 km) and buoyant terranes with sediments behind them and fast continental plate motions are favorable for multiple unidirectional subduction zone jumps, which are also referred to as subduction zone transference, and successive terrane-accretion events. The jumping times (∼3−20+ m.y.) are mainly determined by the convergence rates and rheology of the overriding complex plate with preceding terrane collisions, which increase with slower convergence rates and/or a greater number of preceding terrane collisions. Our work provides new insights into the key geodynamic conditions governing multiple subduction zone jumps induced by successive accretion and discusses Tethyan evolution at a macro level. More than 50 m.y. after India-Asia collision, subduction has yet to initiate along the southern Indian plate, which may be the joint result of slower plate convergence and partitioned deformation across southern Asia.

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Award ID(s):
2210074 1914501
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ;
Publisher / Repository:
Geological Society of America
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Geological Society of America Bulletin
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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