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Rapid transition from continental breakup to igneous oceanic crust in the South China Sea

Larsen, HC, Mohn, G, Nirrengarten, M, Sun, Z, Stock, J, Jian, Z, Klaus, A, Alvarez-Zarikian, CA, Boaga, J, Bowden, SA, Briais, A, Chen, Y, Cukur, D, Dadd, K, Ding, W, Dorais, M, Ferre, EC, Ferreira, F, Furusawa, A, Gewecke, A, Hinojosa, J, Hofig, TW, Hsiung, B, Huang, B, Huang, E, Huang, XL, Jiang, S, Jin, H, Johnson, BG, Kurzawski, RM, Lei, C, Li, B, Li, L, Li, Y, Lin, J, Liu, C, Liu, C, Liu, Z, Luna, AJ, Lupi, C, McCarthy, A, Ningthoujam, L, Osono, N, Peate, DW, Persaud, P, Qiu, N, Robinson, C, Satolli, S, Sauermilch, I, Schindlbeck, JC, Skinner, S, Straub, S, Su, X, Su, C, Tian, L, van der Zwan, FM, Wan, S, Wu, H, Xiang, R, Yadav, R, Yi, L, Yu, PS, Zhang, C, Zhang, J, Zhang, Yang ORCID: 0000-0003-2969-1960, Zhao, N, Zhong, G and Zhong, L 2018 , 'Rapid transition from continental breakup to igneous oceanic crust in the South China Sea' , Nature Geoscience, vol. 11 , pp. 782-789 , doi: 10.1038/s41561-018-0198-1.

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Abstract

Continental breakup represents the successful process of rifting and thinning of the continental lithosphere, leading to plate rupture and initiation of oceanic crust formation. Magmatism during breakup seems to follow a path of either excessive, transient magmatism (magma-rich margins) or of igneous starvation (magma-poor margins). The latter type is characterized by extreme continental lithospheric extension and mantle exhumation prior to igneous oceanic crust formation. Discovery of magma-poor margins has raised fundamental questions about the onset of ocean-floor type magmatism, and has guided interpretation of seismic data across many rifted margins, including the highly extended northern South China Sea margin. Here we report International Ocean Discovery Program drilling data from the northern South China Sea margin, testing the magma-poor margin model outside the North Atlantic. Contrary to expectations, results show initiation of Mid-Ocean Ridge basalt type magmatism during breakup, with a narrow and rapid transition into igneous oceanic crust. Coring and seismic data suggest that fast lithospheric extension without mantle exhumation generated a margin structure between the two endmembers. Asthenospheric upwelling yielding Mid-Ocean Ridge basalt-type magmatism from normal-temperature mantle during final breakup is interpreted to reflect rapid rifting within thin pre-rift lithosphere.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Larsen, HC and Mohn, G and Nirrengarten, M and Sun, Z and Stock, J and Jian, Z and Klaus, A and Alvarez-Zarikian, CA and Boaga, J and Bowden, SA and Briais, A and Chen, Y and Cukur, D and Dadd, K and Ding, W and Dorais, M and Ferre, EC and Ferreira, F and Furusawa, A and Gewecke, A and Hinojosa, J and Hofig, TW and Hsiung, B and Huang, B and Huang, E and Huang, XL and Jiang, S and Jin, H and Johnson, BG and Kurzawski, RM and Lei, C and Li, B and Li, L and Li, Y and Lin, J and Liu, C and Liu, C and Liu, Z and Luna, AJ and Lupi, C and McCarthy, A and Ningthoujam, L and Osono, N and Peate, DW and Persaud, P and Qiu, N and Robinson, C and Satolli, S and Sauermilch, I and Schindlbeck, JC and Skinner, S and Straub, S and Su, X and Su, C and Tian, L and van der Zwan, FM and Wan, S and Wu, H and Xiang, R and Yadav, R and Yi, L and Yu, PS and Zhang, C and Zhang, J and Zhang, Yang and Zhao, N and Zhong, G and Zhong, L
Keywords: continental breakup, passive margins, South China Sea
Journal or Publication Title: Nature Geoscience
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
ISSN: 1752-0894
DOI / ID Number: 10.1038/s41561-018-0198-1
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2018 Nature Geoscience

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