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Initiation of subduction by post-collision foreland thrusting and back-thrusting



Initiation of subduction by post-collision foreland thrusting and back-thrusting



Journal of Geodynamics 1(2): 103-120



While postulated causes of initial subduction and trench formation include underthrusting, controls on its location and age have not been determined. Consideration of the age of subduction zones bordering five collisional orogens suggests that subduction may have been initiated by foreland thrusts and back-thrusts. Foreland thrusts develop within a continental foreland on the subducting plate mostly within 50 my of collision with an arc system; where the foreland is narrow the thrusts may intersect the continent-ocean crust boundary. Back-thrusts develop in the fore-arc or back-arc area on the overriding plate within 10 to 20 my of collision, and can result in tectonic burial of the magmatic arc; where the arc system is oceanic the back-thrusts may intersect the arc-ocean crust boundary. Possible examples of subduction initiated by foreland thrusts are the start of subduction in the late Jurassic beneath the northern Sunda Arc, and at the end-Miocene in the Negros Trench. Examples of back-thrusts which have initiated or may initiate subduction are the late Cenozoic eastward translation of Taiwan over the Philippine Sea plate, the incipient southward subduction of the Banda Sea beneath Timor, and the W-dipping back-thrust comprising the Highland Boundary Fault zone and postulated early Ordovician thrusts to the SE in Scotland. The suggested relationship of subduction to collision helps to explain the persistence of Wilson cycles in the still-active late Mesozoic to Cenozoic orogenic belts and implies that orogeny will cease only with collision between major continents.

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Accession: 019210184

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DOI: 10.1016/0264-3707(84)90023-1


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