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South & East Facades of Sundaland

South & East Facades of Sundaland

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South & East Facades of Sundaland
South & East Facades of Sundaland

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Published by: Maximillian Heartwood on Jul 18, 2013
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Gondwana Research 19 (2011) 1–2

Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

Gondwana Research
j o u r n a l h o m e p a g e : w w w. e l s ev i e r. c o m / l o c a t e / g r


The south and east facades of Sundaland

This special issue of Gondwana Research contributes to the project on Geological Anatomy of East and South Asia (IGCP 516), focusing on Sundaland. The project aims at understanding the assembly processes of Gondwana-derived terranes and their final emplacement within the Asian continent during the Mesozoic and Cenozoic times. Plate tectonics brought to live the concept of terrane-strings rifting away from Gondwana, drifting across Tethys and docking alongside Eurasia, and sutures marking the successive seaways. How far is such mechanism along the southern façade of Asia different from the continuous accretion of oceanic terranes taking place along the eastern façade of Asia? The Himalayan collision that Gansser (1964) masterfully depicted, still before the ascent of plate tectonics, had the Indian craton ramming Eurasia, resulting in thrusting, rotation and expulsion of Middle Eastern and South East Asian blocks. Alongside the southern façade, Tethyan elements and fragments of Gondwana origin appear often as coherent series, separated by oceanic remnants. The terranes alongside the eastern façade more frequently consist of discontinuous accretionary mélanges that were mostly ocean plate generated and seamount-strings over mid ocean hotspots. Three decades of research reveal similar patterns of subduction and accretion along all Asian sides alike, enabling a synthesis of both Tethyan and Paleo-pacific models. This is illustrated in six types of amalgamation/accretion in the formation of SE Asia (Metcalfe, 2011-this issue). We open this special issue with a scholarly overview of the tectonic evolution in time and in space of the terranes of South and East Asia in general and the palaeogeographic framework of Sundaland in particular. Metcalfe (2011-this issue) describes the Phanerozoic evolution of Sundaland that comprises a western Sibumasu block and an eastern Indochina–East Malaya block with a Sukhothai Island Arc System, sandwiched between. This revised concept re-interprets the Nan– Uttaradit suture as a probable back-arc suture instead of representing the main Paleo-Tethys closure (Wu et al., 1995; Ueno, 1999; Ueno and Hisada, 1999, 2001; Wang et al., 2000). As the result of the subduction beneath Cathaysia, back-arc spreading generated the Sukhothai Island Arc that at the end of the Permian formed the Jinghong, Nan–Uttaradit and Sra Kaeo sutures (Sone and Metcalfe, 2008). While the collision of the Sibumasu block with the Sukhothai Island Arc terranes and Cathaysialand closed the southeastern Palaeo-Tethys in the Late Permian–Early Triassic producing the suture zones of Changning– Menglian, Inthanon and Bentong–Raub (Metcalfe, 2000), a Late Triassic collision and suturing along the Changning–Menglian suture in SW China is however possible (Liu et al., 1996). Kamata et al. (2002) and Ueno et al. (2008) proposed a Late Triassic to Jurassic collision based on a Paleotethyan interpretation of the Semanggol cherts and Mae Sariang deposits, fragments of which build up the Jurassic Base conglomerate of Mae Sot (Ishida et al., 2006). The recognition of six types of amalgamation/accretion in the formation of SE Asia closes a conceptual

gap between Tethyan and Circum-Pacific collision types. Metcalfe (1984) coined the term Sibumasu block, an acronym for the elements of SW China, Burma, Malaya and Sumatra, the Gondwana-derived block including Early Permian glacial-marine diamictites. Accreted to the Triassic Sundaland core, West Burma is probably of Cathaysian nature, separated from West Sumatra by the opening of the Andaman Sea basin. Geologically, Sundaland forms the SE promontory of the Eurasian Plate that includes Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam, Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, Java, Borneo and the Sunda Shelf, in the convergence zone between Indo-Australian, Philippine Sea and Eurasian Plates. Paleontological data are presented in the following articles in this issue. The first paper by Ishida and Hirsch (2011-this issue), addresses the paleogeographic origins of NW Malaya. The new micropaleontological evidence ascertains the presence of the conodont Pseudofurnishius murcianus in the Middle and early Late Triassic Kodiang Limestone of the Keddah region, indicating a low paleo-latitude and Southern Tethyan affinity. The fauna of the Kodiang Limestone corresponds well with that of the Southern Alps. This suggests comparable faunal records along a line from the Apulian platform over a string of Cimmerian terrane fragments, as far as SE Asia. This is consistent with several Triassic Tethyan models that show a string of terranes delineating a diagonal partition between the gradually closing Paleo-Tethys and an accordingly widening Meso- or Neo-Tethys (Ziegler and Horwath, 1997). The west coast of Peninsular Malaysia is part of the “Western zones” of the Shan– Thai block (Hirsch et al., 2006; Ishida et al., 2006). These “Western zones” are coeval with the Sibumasu Zone in the sense of Sone and Metcalfe (2008) or West Shan–Thai in the sense of Srinak et al. (2007). The Shan– Thai block (Bunopas, 1982) consists of the “Western” zones, flanked by the Triassic deep marine, possibly partly oceanic slope facies of the Mae Sariang zone that ran all along Western Thailand and the Malaysian Peninsula (Srinak et al., 2007), the late Middle Devonian through late Middle Triassic Inthanon Zone and the Sukhothai Island Arc (Metcalfe, 2011-this issue). The Kodiang Limestone represents thus the most external Triassic facies of the Shan–Thai block. As the eastern edge of the string of Cimmerian terranes collided with Eurasia in the Late Triassic, it formed the platform of Sundaland. The paleo-zoological study of Middle and early Late Triassic conodonts of the Nogami (1968) collection led to the establishment of the family Gladigondolellidae n. fam. and reached a conclusion in support of sexual dimorphism in conodonts. After the formation of Sundaland, the Jurassic sea covered a large part of it, as substantiated in the palaeontological investigations in western Thailand by Kozai et al. (2011-this issue). Refining the age constraints of the Paleo-Tethys closure and the timing of the marine Jurassic inundation of Sundaland, Tethyan ammonites (Catulloceras perisphinctoides, Riccardiceras longalvum, Spinammatoceras schindewolfi, Malladaites pertinax and M. vaceki) indicate Upper Toarcian to lowermost Bajocian ages. The large benthic foraminifer Timidonella

1342-937X/$ – see front matter © 2010 International Association for Gondwana Research. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.gr.2010.06.002


Editorial Liu, B., Feng, Q., Fang, N., Jia, J., He, F., Yang, W., Diansheng, L., 1996. Tectonopaleogeographic framework and evolution of the Paleotethyan archipelagoes ocean in Changning–Menglian Belt, Western Yunnan, China. In: Nianqiao, Fang, Qinlai, Feng, et al. (Eds.), Devonian to Triassic Tethys in Western Yunnan, China (Sedimentologic, Stratigraphic and Micropalaeontologic Studies on Changning– Menglian Belt). China University of Geoscience Press, Wuhan, pp. 1–12. Metcalfe, I., 1984. Stratigraphy, palaeontology and palaeogeography of the Carboniferous of Southeast Asia. Mémoires de la Société Géologique de France 147, 107–118. Metcalfe, I., 2000. The Bentong–Raub suture zone. J. Asian Earth Sci. 18, 691–712. Metcalfe, I., 2011. Tectonic framework and Phanerozoic evolution of Sundaland. Gondwana Research 19, 3–21 (this issue). Nogami, Y., 1968. Trias-Conodonten von Timor, Malaysien und Japan. Memoirs of the Faculty of Science, Kyoto University. Series of Geology and Mineralogy 34, 115–136. Saengsrichan, W., Charoentitirat, T., Meesook, A., Hisada, K., Charusiri, P., 2011. Paleoenvironments and tectonic setting of the Mesozoic Thung Yai Group in Peninsular Thailand, with a new record of Parvamussium donaiense Mansuy, 1914. Gondwana Research 19, 47–60. Sone, M., Metcalfe, I., 2008. Parallel Tethyan sutures in mainland Southeast Asia: new insights for Palaeo-Tethys closure and implications for the Indosinian orogeny. Comptes Rendus Geoscience 340, 166–179. Srinak, N., Hisada, K.-I., Kamata, Y., Charusiri, P., 2007. Stratigraphy of the Mae Sariang Group of Northwestern Thailand: implication for paleoenvironments and tectonic setting. The Natural History Journal of Chulalongkorn University 7 (2), 87–108. Ueno, K., 1999. Gondwana/Tethys divide in East Asia: solution from Late Paleozoic foraminiferal paleobiogeography. In: Ratanasthin, B., Ried, S.L. (Eds.), Proceedings of the International Symposium on Shallow Tethys (ST), 5, pp. 45–54. Ueno, K., Hisada, K., 1999. Closure of the Paleo-Tethys caused by the collision of Indochina and Sibumasu (in Japanese). Chikyu Monthly 21, 832–839. Ueno, K., Hisada, K., 2001. The Nan–Uttaradit–Sa Kaeo Suture as a main Paleo-Tethyan suture in Thailand: is it real? Gondwana Research 4, 804–806. Ueno, K., Charoentitirat, C., Sera, Y., Miyahigashi, A., Suwanprasert, J., Sardsud, A., Boonlue, H., Pananto, S., 2008. The Doi Chiang Dao limestone: Paleo-Tethyan midoceanic carbonates in the Inthanon Zone of North Thailand. Proceedings of the International Symposium on Geoscience Resources and Environments of Asian Terranes (GREAT 2008), 4th IGCP 516, and 5th APSEG, pp. 42–48. Wang, X., Metcalfe, I., Jian, P., He, L., Wang, C., 2000. The Jinshajiang–Ailaoshan suture zone: tectono-stratigraphy, age and evolution. Journal of Asian Earth Sciences vol. 18 (Part 6), 675–690. Wu, H., Boulter, C.A., Ke, B., Stow, D.A.V., Wang, Z., 1995. The Changning–Menglian suture zone; a segment of the major Cathaysian–Gondwana divide in Southeast Asia. Tectonophysics 242, 267–280. Ziegler, P., Horwath, E., 1997. Peri-Tethys Memoir 2, Mémoires du Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris, 170. 552 pp.

sarda of Western Tethys affinity is indicative for Aalenian–Bajocian times. Among bivalves, the shallow marine, dominantly endemic fauna includes Parvamussium donaiense and Bositra ornate (Toarcian to the Early Bajocian). The partly endemic to Northern Tethyan (Eurasian) faunal affinity is characteristic of Sundaland. Moving south to Peninsular Thailand, Saengsrichan et al. (2011-this issue) provide insight in the paleo-environments and tectonic setting of the Mesozoic Thung Yai Group. In their analysis of Jurassic marine, brackish-water and non-marine deposits, the faunal content includes trace fossils and for the first time in peninsular southern Thailand, the bivalve Parvamussium donaiense Mansuy, 1914. Based on fossil determinations, the Thung Yai Group has a late Early Jurassic to Early Cretaceous age. After the complete closure of the South East Asian PaleoTethys in the Late Triassic, renewed inundation, from the late Early Jurassic to the early Middle Jurassic, brought a regime of shallow to open marine and lagoon sedimentation over northwestern, western and southern peninsular Thailand, in the eastern part of Sundaland bordering the Mesotethys to the west. Leaving the core of Sundaland, we move to the Philippine Mobile Belt (Eastern façade of Asia), with Ishida et al. (2011-this issue) defining the age of the new Cabog Formation in central East Luzon. A Middle Eocene radiolarian assemblage suggests a low paleo-latitude affinity for the distal part of the middle–late Eocene Caraballo Formation in the northeastern side of the Philippine Fault Zone. Sedimentology and radiolarian data suggest that the Cabog Formation represents the first depositional stage in the early arc setting. Northward movement is related with the Philippine Sea Plate motion along the Older Philippine Fault from the equatorial area. We are thankful to Gondwana Research for offering us the journal to this special issue of IGCP 516. We are much indebted to our referees who reviewed the papers: J. Grant-Mackie (Auckland, New Zealand), Y. Isozaki (Tokyo, Japan), L. Lambert (San Antonio, Texas, USA), A. Marquez Aliaga (Valencia, Spain), E.J. Marquez (Manila, The Philippines), A. Mastandrea (Arcavacata di Rende, Italy), A. Matsuoka (Niigata, Japan), I.A. Brohi (Islamabad, Pakistan), H. Okada (Tsukuba, Japan) and F. Oloriz (Granada, Spain). We hope that the papers assembled in this special issue will provide new insights on the geological history of Southeast Asia.

Francis Hirsch Naruto University, Japan Corresponding author. E-mail address: abafran@hotmail.com. Punya Charusiri Chulalongkorn University, Thailand Talat Ahmad University of Delhi, India

Bunopas, S., 1982. Paleogeographic History of Western Thailand and Adjacent Parts of Southeast Asia — A Plate Tectonic Interpretation. Doctoral dissertation, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand (1981); Geological Survey Paper 5, Department of Mineral Resources, Thailand, 811 pp. Gansser, A., 1964. Geology of the Himalayas. Interscience Pub, London. 289 pp. Hirsch, F., Ishida, K., Kozai, T., Meesook, A., 2006. The welding of Shan–Thai. Geosciences Journal 10 (3), 195–204. Ishida, K., Hirsch, F., 2011. The Triassic conodonts of the NW Malayan Kodiang Limestone revisited: Taxonomy and paleogeographic significance. Gondwana Research 19, 22–36 (this issue). Ishida, K., Nanba, A., Hirsch, F., Kozai, T., Meesook, A., 2006. New micropalaeontological evidence for a Late Triassic Shan–Thai orogeny. Geosciences Journal 10 (3), 181–194. Ishida, K., Suzuki, S., Yumul, G.P. Jr., Dimalanta, C.B., 2011. Middle Eocene lowpaleolatitude radiolarian evidence for the Cabog Formation, Central East Luzon, Philippine Mobile Belt. Gondwana Research 19, 61–70 (this issue). Kamata, Y., Sashida, K., Ueno, K., Hisada, K., Nakornsri, N., Charusiri, P., 2002. Triassic radiolarian faunas from the Mae Sariang area, northern Thailand and their paleogeographic significance. Journal of Asian Earth Sciences 20, 491–506. Kozai, T., Perelis-Grossowicz, L., Bartolini, A., Yamee, C., Sandoval, J., Hirsch, F., Ishida, K., Charoentitirat, T., Meesook, T., Guex, J., 2011. New palaeontological investigations in the Jurassic of western Thailand. Gondwana Research 19, 37–46 (this issue).

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