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A Tectonic Model for the Phanerozoic Evolution of Southeast Asia in a Global Framework Using Rigid Tectonic Reconstructions

Abstract

Global plate tectonic reconstructions are essential for placing geological information in its correct spatial context as well as understanding depositional environments, defining basin dimensions and evolution, and to serve as a basis for palaeogeographic mapping. Our new model for Southeast Asia utilises a global hybrid hotspot / palaeomagnetic reference frame, allowing rigid reconstructions back to the Silurian Period (440 to 0 Ma). This allowed for the development of a new Phanerozoic tectonic model. Southeast Asia forms a mosaic of terranes and fragments bounded by high strain suture zones (former oceanic basins), subduction zones, narrow mobile belts and transcurrent fault systems. Various tectonostratigraphic terranes have been recognised, including allochthonous continental blocks and fragments, island arcs and accretionary complexes. These terranes have amalgamated through a process of convergence and accretion, with their sutures often being verified by ophiolitic, melange and volcano-plutonic material. Continued movements of these terranes, including block rotations, have been accommodated by the development of regional-scale strike-slip systems at their boundaries. Previous detailed plate reconstructions of Southeast Asia have addressed the region as a independent entity rather than as part of a global framework and few have covered the majority of Earth's Phanerozoic history. Incorporating our reconstructions into a functioning global model adds a further constraint to the region's tectonic evolution.