The Wolhyeonri complex in the southwestern margin of the Korean Peninsula is divided into three lithotectonic units: Late Paleozoic Zone I to the west, Middle Paleozoic Zone II in the middle and Early Paleozoic Zone III to the east. Zones II and III display characteristics of continental arc magmatic sequence. Zone II is dominated by mafic metavolcanics, whereas zone III is characterized by the presence of dismembered serpentinite bodies including chaotic mélange. These zones are proposed to have been formed in a convergent margin setting associated with subduction. Here we present zircon SHRIMP U-Pb ages from the various units within the Wolhyeonri complex which reveal the Paleozoic tectonic history of the region. The Late Carboniferous ages obtained from the main shear zone between the Wolhyeonri complex and the Paleoproterozoic Gyeonggi massif are thought to mark the timing of continental arc magmatism associated with the subduction process. In contrast, Zone I with Neoproterozoic arc magmatic remnants might indicate deposition in a forearc basin. The Wolhyeonri complex also preserves strong imprints of the Triassic collisional event, including the presence of Middle Triassic high-pressure metabasites and eclogites near the eastern boundary of the Zone III. These range of radiogenic ages derived from the Wolhyeonri complex correlate well with subduction and accretion history between the North and South China cratons. Similar geochronological features have also been indentified from the Qinling, Tongbai-Xinxian, and northern Dabie areas in east-central China. The existence of Paleozoic coeval subduction in East Asia prior to the Triassic collision is broadly consistent with a regional tectonic linkage to Gondwana.
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We thank Dr. Safonova and an anonymous reviewer for constructive reviews. This work was supported as a Basic Research Project ( GP2009-012 ; Tectonic evolution of major crustal units in the mid-western part of the Korean peninsula) of the Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources (KIGAM), funded by the Ministry of Knowledge Economy, Korea to S.W. Kim. This work was supported by the Korea Meteorological Administration Research and Development Program under Grant Number CATER 2011-5120 to S. Kwon.
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