The North China Craton (NCC) is the typical example of destruction of an ancient craton. However, the destruction mechanism and geodynamic controlling factors still remain enigmatic due to controversy on the timing of destruction, which is the key to understanding the destruction processes. Based on temporal and spatial distributions of the igneous rocks, and their sources and tectonic settings, it is recognized that six stages of tectono-magmatism occurred in the NCC during the Phanerozoic, i.e., Carboniferous to Early Permian, Late Permian to Middle Triassic, Late Triassic, Jurassic, Early Cretaceous and Cenozoic. Among them, Cenozoic magmatism mainly consists of alkali basalts and is found only occasionally in the eastern NCC. The first four stages of magmatism and tectonism, related to the southward subduction of the Paleo-Asian plate and the assembly of Sino-Korean and Yangtze cratons, are locally distributed in limited parts of the NCC, reflecting a multiple stage modification of the NCC from the Late Carboniferous to Jurassic. However, the intensive development of Early Cretaceous magmatism, extensional deformation and associated gold mineralization, with significant continental crustal growth, indicate that the eastern NCC was destroyed during this time period. This destruction was the result of Paleo-Pacific subduction beneath the eastern Asian continent, with lithospheric removal and/or replacement of an ancient cratonic lithosphere by a juvenile oceanic lithosphere.
- North China Craton
- early cretaceous