South China Craton

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

South China Craton


an ancient structure, occupying the southeastern part of China.

The South China Craton is separated from the Sino-Korean Craton by the folded Paleozoic belt of the Ch’inling Mountains. During the Precambrian period, the two were probably a single unit. The Precambrian crystalline basement of gneisses and meta-morphic schists crops out south of the Yangtze River in Hunan and Kiangsi provinces. Much of the craton is covered by a sedimentary mantle, which reaches its maximum thickness of several kilometers in the syneclise (depression) of Szechwan Province and the central part of the Yünnan-Kueichou Highland. Here, the sedimentary mantle is represented by Late Proterozoic rocks (Sinian beds), Paleozoic rocks, and Triassic rocks (marine limestone beds and sandy-clayey and carbonate strata), as well as by continental deposits, some of which are coal-bearing, of Permian, Jurassic, and Cretaceous age (primarily continental deposits, some red beds). The eastern part of the South China Craton has a folded basement, formed by the Caledonian Folding. During the Cretaceous period, the entire South China Craton was affected by fairly intensive deformation (block and sharp anticlinal folding, faults, and overthrusts).

The Mesozoic granitic intrusions in the eastern, epi-Caledonian part of the platform are associated with deposits of tungsten, tin, antimony, mercury, and other ores. Bauxites (Fukien Province) are associated with the sedimentary mantle, as are deposits of iron and manganese ore, coal (Szechwan and Kiangsi provinces), fuel shales, petroleum, and salt (in the Mesozoic deposits of Szechwan Province).


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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