Tectonic evolution of the Malay Peninsula

I. Metcalfe

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    124 Citations (Scopus)


    The Malay Peninsula is characterised by three north-south belts, the Western, Central, and Eastern belts based on distinct differences in stratigraphy, structure, magmatism, geophysical signatures and geological evolution. The Western Belt forms part of the Sibumasu Terrane, derived from the NW Australian Gondwana margin in the late Early Permian. The Central and Eastern Belts represent the Sukhothai Arc constructed in the Late Carboniferous-Early Permian on the margin of the Indochina Block (derived from the Gondwana margin in the Early Devonian). This arc was then separated from Indochina by back-arc spreading in the Permian. The Bentong-Raub suture zone forms the boundary between the Sibumasu Terrane (Western Belt) and Sukhothai Arc (Central and Eastern Belts) and preserves remnants of the Devonian-Permian main Palaeo-Tethys ocean basin destroyed by subduction beneath the Indochina Block/Sukhothai Arc, which produced the Permian-Triassic andesitic volcanism and I-Type granitoids observed in the Central and Eastern Belts of the Malay Peninsula. The collision between Sibumasu and the Sukhothai Arc began in Early Triassic times and was completed by the Late Triassic. Triassic cherts, turbidites and conglomerates of the Semanggol "Formation" were deposited in a fore-deep basin constructed on the leading edge of Sibumasu and the uplifted accretionary complex. Collisional crustal thickening, coupled with slab break off and rising hot asthenosphere produced the Main Range Late Triassic-earliest Jurassic S-Type granitoids that intrude the Western Belt and Bentong-Raub suture zone. The Sukhothai back-arc basin opened in the Early Permian and collapsed and closed in the Middle-Late Triassic. Marine sedimentation ceased in the Late Triassic in the Malay Peninsula due to tectonic and isostatic uplift, and Jurassic-Cretaceous continental red beds form a cover sequence. A significant Late Cretaceous tectono-thermal event affected the Peninsula with major faulting, granitoid intrusion and re-setting of palaeomagnetic signatures.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)195-213
    Number of pages19
    JournalJournal of Asian Earth Sciences
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


    • Malay Peninsula
    • Palaeo-Tethys
    • Palaeogeography
    • Sibumasu
    • Sukhothai Arc
    • Tectonic evolution

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