Basal accretion, a major mechanism for mountain building in Taiwan revealed in rock thermal history

Chih Tung Chen, Yu Chang Chan, Ching Hua Lo, Jacques Malavieille, Chia Yu Lu, Jui Ting Tang, Yuan Hsi Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Deep tectonic processes are key integral components in the evolution of mountain belts, while observations of their temporal development are generally obscured by thermal resetting, retrograde alteration and structural overprinting. Here we recorded an integrated rock time-temperature history for the first time in the pro-wedge part of the active Taiwan arc-continent collision starting from sedimentation through cleavage-forming state to its final exhumation. The integrated thermal and age results from the Raman Spectroscopy of Carbonaceous Material (RSCM) method, zircon U-Pb laser ablation dating, and in-situ 40Ar/39Ar laser microprobe dating suggest that the basal accretion process was crucial to the development of the Taiwanese orogenic wedge. The basal accretion process commenced early in the mountain building history (∼6 Ma) and gradually migrated to greater depths, as constrained by persistent plate convergence and cleavage formation under nearly isothermal state at similar depths until ∼ 2.5 Ma recorded in the early-accreted units. Such development essentially contributed to mountain root growth by the increased depth of the wedge detachment and the downward wedge thickening during the incipient to full collision stages in the Taiwan mountain belt.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-90
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Asian Earth Sciences
StatePublished - Feb 2018


  • Basal accretion
  • Mountain root
  • Orogenic wedge
  • Taiwan mountain belt
  • Time-temperature history


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