Late Cenozoic metamorphism and mountain building in Taiwan: A review | INSTITUT DE PHYSIQUE DU GLOBE DE PARIS


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  Late Cenozoic metamorphism and mountain building in Taiwan: A review

Type de publication:

Journal Article


Journal of Asian Earth Sciences, Volume 46 (2012)



Numéro d'accès:




UMR 7154 ; Tectonique et Mécanique de la Lithosphère ; Taiwan; Metamorphism; Thermochronology; Mountain building


The orogenic wedge of Taiwan results from the late Miocene collision of the Chinese passive margin and the Luzon volcanic arc. Because of the southward propagation of the collision over time, and because of its extreme rates of deformation and erosion, it has appeared as an ideal place to investigate mountain building processes. Here, we review existing metamorphic and thermochronological data on late Cenozoic burial and exhumation. Most of the island has been extensively investigated, in particular in terms of zircon or apatite fission-track and (U–Th)/He thermochronology. Peak metamorphic temperatures have also been quantified from the Raman spectroscopy of carbonaceous material along three transects in central Taiwan. The different datasets appear consistent, and indicate that cooling rates and exhumation are more intense within the Hsueshan Range and within the Tananao Complex. Lateral variations, from south to north are also observed, and they can be interpreted in terms of different stages of exhumation and mountain building. Existing models provide a framework to analyze the data and discuss the limits of some previous interpretations, in particular in terms of exhumational steady state or of recent acceleration of uplift and exhumation. These models are also discussed in light of available data. It appears that all of them fit thermochronological data within the Tananao Complex, whatever the kinematics, the depth of the wedge, or the mechanism responsible for exhumation, and that exhumation of the Hsueshan Range has been ignored in most models. Future models need therefore to consider the Taiwan wedge as a whole. Additional constraints on peak metamorphic conditions, on kinematics of shortening and exhumation, or on the geometry of the wedge at depth need to be gathered to further unravel mountain building processes at the scale of the whole orogen.


Times Cited: 1