Crustal structure of the Eastern Qinling orogenic belt and implication for reactivation since the Cretaceous

Zhen Guo, Y. John Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    25 Citations (Scopus)


    A high resolution crustal model of the eastern Qinling belt and central North China Craton (central NCC) is obtained along a N-S trending profile (corridor) by joint inversion of surface wave and receiver function. The NCC is one of the oldest cratons on Earth and the Qinling belt is the suture zone between the NCC and South China block (SCB). The Qinling belt is characterized by low crustal velocity (<3.6 km/s) as well as low bulk Vp/Vs ratio (1.66-1.8), suggesting that the mid- to lower crust is predominantly felsic in composition, which could be the consequence of removal of mafic root by delamination in the past. The quartz-rich hence mechanically weak crust beneath the Qinling belt could be responsible for the strain focusing and significant reactivation since the Cretaceous. Beneath the central NCC, a ~10 km thick high-velocity layer (3.9-4.1 km/s) is observed just above the Moho, consistent with the regional high bulk Vp/Vs ratio (>1.8). The forward gravity modeling supports the presence of a high-density layer (3.05 g/cm3) at the base of the crust beneath the central NCC. We propose that the high velocity in the lowermost crust beneath the central NCC is most likely due to the repeated mafic underplating, which also results in high crustal Vp/Vs ratio and is responsible for the rapid crustal uplift during the late Mesozoic.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-11
    Number of pages11
    Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2016


    • Surface wave and receiver function joint inversion
    • Gravity modeling
    • Qinling orogenic belt
    • Crustal composition
    • Mafic underplating
    • Delamination


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