The southern Qinling-Dabieshan foreland fold-thrust belt is a key region in which to investigate the continental-continental collision between North China and South China. We provide structural evidence of a diachronous dextral strike-slip thrusting deformation from the Middle Triassic in the east to the late Late Triassic in the west, which indicates a northwestward oblique subduction and suturing of the South China plate under the North China-Qinling-Dabieshan plate. We also identify a later phase of intracontinental deformation that included an orthogonal intracontinental collision and south-vergent thrusting during the Early and Middle Jurassic, indentation of South China into the Qinling-Dabieshan Orogen and arc-shaped extrusions of the southern Qinling-Dabieshan foreland fold-thrust belt from the Late Jurassic to the Cretaceous. Our results reveal that the long-term intracontinental collision rotated clockwise in a northwest-southeast-vergent direction in the Late Triassic to northeast-east-southwest-west-vergent in the Late Cretaceous. This collision may have been driven by a north-vergent subduction of the Meso-Tethys Ocean in the south, west-vergent subduction of the Izanagi plate in the east, and south-vergent compression of the Eurasia plate in the north.
- Southern Qinling–Dabieshan foreland
- fold-thrust belt
- Dextral strike-slip thrusting
- Arc-shaped thrust belt
- Clockwise rotation