Thermal History of the Northern Taiwanese Slate Belt and Implications for Wedge Growth During the Neogene Arc-Continent Collision

Chih Tung Chen, Yu Chang Chan, Olivier Beyssac, Chia Yu Lu, Yue Gau Chen, Jacques Malavieille, Steven B. Kidder, Hao Cheng Sun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


A significant issue in the study of orogenic systems concerns the roles played by frontal and basal accretion in the construction of orogenic wedges. These different accretion mechanisms result in different thermal histories, with underplated materials experiencing significant heating and deformation during tectonic burial. This work provides new thermal data from Raman spectroscopy of carbonaceous material in combination with structural and stratigraphic observations of the northern Taiwan slate belt to address these questions of wedge development. Sedimentary rocks of the Northern slate belt were deposited on the Chinese continental margin immediately before the onset of the Neogene Taiwan arc-continent collision. In the slates of the northern Hsüehshan Range, a large-scale pop-up structure on the prowedge of the Taiwan Orogen, synorogenic metamorphism has been investigated through analyses of peak temperatures and metamorphic field gradients. Results indicate underthrusting of the margin sediments to ~8-km depth with significant folding in two major duplexes occurring before underplating. Such basal accretion is considered responsible for the distinct culmination of the Hsüehshan Range in central Taiwan and its relative uplift with respect to the Backbone Range to the east along the Lishan Fault. A similar underthrusting scenario is also suggested for the Backbone Range Slate Belt. We propose that basal accretion is the predominant mechanism in the growth and evolution of the Taiwan orogenic wedge and may have been achieved through inversion of a graben system on the ancient passive margin during continental subduction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3335-3350
Number of pages16
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2019


  • Taiwan
  • accretionary wedge kinematics
  • arc-continent collision
  • basal accretion
  • basin inversion
  • metamorphism


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