Tectonics and volcanism in East Asia: Insights from geophysical observations

Young Hee Kim, Changyeol Lee, Seung Sep Kim

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15 Citations (Scopus)


We review geophysical and geochemical properties in the vicinity of the stagnant Pacific slab beneath northeast China, Korea and Japan to understand the origin and current state of intraplate volcanism in East Asia. East Asia has been susceptible to intensive volcanism since the Cretaceous. In particular, during the Cenozoic, Jeju Island, Korea is the most significant volcanic construct in East Asia. The generation of adakites and A-type granitoids littered throughout East Asia during the Cretaceous has been previously explained by the subduction of the Izanagi-Pacific ridge system. However, a recently revised plate reconstruction model does not comprise such a tectonic episode and consequently fails to explain adakites in arc magmatism during the Cretaceous. Thus, we propose an alternative hypothesis: temporal plume-slab interaction on the source of East Asian magmatism in order to trigger the adakites in arc magmatism without ridge subduction. In addition, we provide an overview on the tectonics and volcanism of Jeju Island during the Cenozoic in the context of the lithospheric structure from seismological constraints and recent geochemical results. The main scientific aims are to understand the consequences of mantle mixing in response to long-term subduction and subsequent changes on the stress state to determine the distribution of chemical heterogeneities, and thus define the origin and development of intraplate volcanism in East Asia. Although geophysical and geochemical data for Jeju Island are not sufficient at present, we strongly state that Jeju Island and the surrounding regions hold a key to unraveling the source of intraplate magmatism since the Cretaceous.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)842-856
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Asian Earth Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Dec 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was a part of the K-IODP project through Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources funded by the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, Korea. Y. Kim was supported by the Aspiring Researcher Program through Seoul National University in 2014, and National Research Foundation (NRF) of Korea Grant funded by the Korean Government ( NRF-2014S1A2A2027609 ). C. Lee was supported by the NRF of Korea Grant funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology of Korean Government ( NRF-35B-2011-1-C00043 ). S. Kim acknowledges support from the Basic Science Research Program through NRF ( NRF-2013R1A1A1076071 ) funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning, Korea. Finally, the authors thank the special issue guest editor Sanghoon Kwon and two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments, which greatly improved the paper.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geology
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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