A LATE CARBONIFEROUS PALEOGEOGRAPHIC RECONSTRUCTION
Lin Jin-lu (Institute of Geology, Academia Sinica)
The previous attempt at Carboniferous reconstruction was handicapped by the lack of paleomagnetic results from East and Southeast Asia. The recently available paleomagnetic data from the South China block, the North China block, the Tarim block and the Kunlun terrane have therefore provided an opportunity for a new attempt at Carboniferous paleogeographic reconstruction. The late Carboniferous pole for the South China block is at 21.5°N°224.6°E with the paleolatitude of Hongzhou being 1S. The late Carboniferous pole for the North China block, interpolated from the Permian and the middle Ordovician poles, is at 43.9°N°354.2°E with the paleolatitude of Taiyuan being 10N. The late Carboniferous pole for the Tarim block is at 52.2°N°179.5°E with the paleolatitude of Aksu being 25.8°N. The Carboniferous pole for the Kunlun terrane is at 8.8°N°223.0°E with the paleolatitude of Golmud being 23.7°S. This reconstruction differs from the previous ones in that the North and South China blocks and the Kunlun terrane stretched in the equatorial central Tethys, being separated from both Laurasia and Gondwana. We still do not have reliable paleomagnetic results from the Lhasa terrane, the Qiangtang terrane and the Indochina block. Nevertheless, the paleontological evidence suggests that the Lhasa terrane was a coherent part of India, and that the Qiangtang terrane and the Indochina block were quite close to the South China block. As the North and South China blocks, the Qiangtang terrane, the Indochina block and the Kunlun terrane are all characterized with the specific Cathaysia flora, this group of blocks and terranes may be called the Cathaysia composite continent. This reconstruction is consistent with the flora distribution pattern of the world in the late Paleozoic, and in general supports the concept of the socalled Cimmerian continent.