Reactivation and mantle dynamics of North China Craton: Insight from P-wave anisotropy tomography

You Tian, Dapeng Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


We determined the first 3-D P-wave anisotropic tomography beneath the North China Craton (NCC) using a large number of high-quality arrival-time data from local earthquakes and teleseismic events, which reveals depth-dependent azimuthal anisotropy in the crust and upper mantle down to 600 km depth. In the NCC western block, the fast velocity direction (FVD) varies from east-west in the southern part to northeast-southwest in the northern part, which may reflect either the interaction between the Yangtze block and NCC or fossil lithospheric fabrics in the craton. Under the NCC eastern block, a uniform northwest-southeast FVD is revealed in the lower part of the upper mantle (300-410 km depths) and the mantle transition zone (410-660 km depths), which may reflect horizontal and upwelling flows in the big mantle wedge (BMW) above the stagnant Pacific slab in the mantle transition zone. The NCC central block exhibits a northeast-southwest FVD, consistent with the surface tectonic orientation there, suggesting that the cold and thick (>300 km) cratonic root of the NCC western block may obstruct the northwest-southeast trending mantle flow induced by the Pacific Plate subduction, resulting in a northeast-southwest trending mantle flow under the central block. Our present results indicate that the corner flow in the BMW associated with the deep subduction of the Pacific Plate is the main cause of NCC reactivation and mantle dynamics under East China.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1796-1810
Number of pages15
JournalGeophysical Journal International
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Dec


  • Continental neotectonics
  • Cratons
  • Mantle processes
  • Seismic anisotropy
  • Seismic tomography
  • Subduction zone processes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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