The southern part of the Korean Peninsula preserves important records of the Paleozoic evolutionary history of East Asia. Here we present SHRIMP U–Pb ages of detrital zircon grains from Paleozoic metasedimentary successions (Okcheon and Joseon Supergroups, Yeoncheon Group, Taean Formation, and Pyeongan Supergroup) that are incorporated into the major Phanerozoic mountain belts (Okcheon and Hongseong-Imjingang Belts) in South Korea, providing new insights for provenances and paleotectonic evolution of the South Korean Peninsula during Paleozoic time. The zircon ages from our samples display two distinct spectra patterns in their presence/absence of Neoproterozoic and/or Paleozoic populations. Our results, together with the available data from the Korean Peninsula, suggest that: (1) the Early to Middle Paleozoic successions in the Okcheon Belt were deposited in continental margin setting(s) formed by Neoproterozoic intracratonic rifting, (2) the Middle Paleozoic metasedimentary rocks in the Imjingang belt can be interpreted as molasse and flysch sediments along an active continental margin, (3) the Late Paleozoic to Early Triassic Taean Formation along the western Gyeonggi Massif represents a syn- to post-collision deltaic complex of a remnant oceanic basin, and (4) the Late Paleozoic to possibly Early Triassic Pyeongan Supergroup in the Okcheon Belt might represent a wedge-top and/or foreland basin. The spatial and temporal discrepancy between the South Korean Peninsula and the Central China Orogenic Belt during Paleozoic might reflect lateral variations in crustal evolution history along the East Asian continental margin during the Paleo-Tethyan Ocean closure.
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