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For session: “From Pangaea to the break-up of Gondwana…”
Speaker/presenter:  Clive Burrett

Indochina – new Palaeozoic data, terranes and tectonic hypotheses

Clive Burretta,*, Hathaithip Thassanapakb, Mongkol Udchachona, Luke Gibsonc, Khin Zawc, Sebastian Meffrec
aPalaeontological Research and Education Centre, Mahasarakham Univerity, Kamriang, Maha Sarakham 44150, Thailand
bApplied Palaeontology and Biostratigraphy Research Unit, Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Mahasarakham University, Maha Sarakham, 44150, ThailandcCODES Centre of Ore Deposits and Earth Sciences, University of Tasmania, Box 252-79, Hobart, Tasmania 7001, Australia

*Corresponding author: cfburrett@gmail.com


The number, extent, provenance, duration, boundaries, fusion times of mainland SE Asian terranes are controversial. Although derived from the pioneering work of J. Fromaget the ‘default’ idea of a unitary, mainly Archean, Kon Tum ‘Massif’ about which Indochina accreted through the Proterozoic-Phanerozoic is difficult to maintain. We recognise at least 3 terranes within geological ‘Indochina’ (Kon Tum (KT), Truong Son (TS) and Loei-Phetchabun (LP), (e.g., Burrett et al., 2014) and we have recently assembled the evidence that they docked in the Tournaisian and late Permian and that most of the composite Indochina Terrane did not exist until the Visean when a carbonate platform was established across TS and LP (Burrett et al., 2021). A Llandovery subducting margin and volcanic arc (Thassanapak et al., 2018) is found to the north of the Tam Ky Suture in Vietnam and Laos and probably correlates with the Silurian volcanic arc in the eastern Loei Fold Belt. We further suggest that the Loei Suture in NE Thailand and Laos correlates with the Tam Ky Suture but its extent under the Mesozoic of the Khorat Plateau is uncertain. As shown by Loydell et al., (2019), graptolites from this margin in Laos at the Sepon Mine are S. European-N. African-Middle Eastern endemics and are not related to those from South China suggesting, based on fish and gross sedimentological evidence, that TS did not dock with South China along the Song Ma Suture until the late Silurian. The graptolites, along with detrital zircon data from TS (Burrett et al., 2014) suggest derivation of TS from the Himalayan-Middle East sector of Gondwana and rifting in the Late Ordovician. The discovery of numerous Ordovician and Silurian dates on magmatic suites from Yunnan to Malaysia necessitates a re-appraisal of tectonic models and the construction of new alternative hypotheses of terrane provenance, rifting and amalgamation. The discovery of mafic magmatism ranging from the Ordovician to the Permian suggests the Nan Suture in Thailand does not solely represent a late Palaeozoic back-arc basin but may also be modelled as a long-lived ocean as originally suggested by S. Bunopas. It is difficult to accommodate all of these new early Palaeozoic dates within a simple model involving a major collision of a Hun Superterrane, the establishment of a diachronous peri-Gondwana continental volcanic arc and subsequent rifting.

Burrett, C., Udchachon, M., Thassanapak, H. 2021. The Truong Son, Loei-Phetchabun and Kontum Terranes in Indochina: provenance, rifting and collisions. Frontiers in Earth Science. doi: 10.3389/feart.2021.603565

Burrett, C., Khin Zaw, Meffre, S. Lai, C.-K., Khositanont, S., Chaodumrong, P., Udchachon, M., Ekin, S., Halpin, J. 2014.  The configuration of Greater Gondwana-evidence from LA ICPMS, U-Pb geochronology of detrital zircons from the Palaeozoic and Mesozoic of Southeast Asia and China. Gondwana Research 26(1), 31-51.

Loydell, D., Udchachon, M., Burrett, C. 2019. Llandovery (lower Silurian) graptolites from the Sepon Mine, Truong Son Terrane, central Laos and their palaeogeographical significance. Journal of Asian Earth Science 170, 360-374.

Thassanapak, H., Udchachon, M., Burrett, C. 2018. Silurian radiolarians from the Sepon Mine, Truong Son Terrane, central Laos and their palaeogeographic and tectonic significance. Geological Magazine 155(8), 1621-1640.

Keywords: Indochina, terranes, provenance, Ordovician, Silurian, Visean, collisions, ophiolite