The geology of China (or the geological structure of the People's Republic of China) consists of three Precambrian cratons surrounded by a number orogenic belts. The modern tectonic environment is dominated by the continued collision of India with the rest of Asia starting 40–50 million years ago. This has formed the Himalaya and continues to deform most of China. China has vast mineral reserves, a significant earthquake risk in its Western regions and rare isolated active volcanoes throughout the country.
Many geological concepts were discovered very early in China's history. However, it was not until the adoption of European natural science in the late 19th century that geology became a science in China.
The geomorphology of China can be divided into several parts. The historical centre of Chinese culture is on the loess plateau, the world's largest Quaternary loess deposit, and on the alluvial lands at the east of it. The alluvial East China plain extends from just south of Beijing in the north, to the Yangtze river delta in the south, punctuated only by the igneous Shandong highlands and peninsula.
South of the Yangtze river, most of the landscape is mountainous, dominated by sedimentary deposits and by the South China Craton. The most famous scenery in China is found in the karst landscapes of Guangxi and Yunnan provinces. The alluvial Sichuan basin is surrounded by mountains, the Qinling mountains to the north and the Himalaya to the west and southwest. Much of Northeast China, or Manchuria, is dominated by alluvial plains, but the border regions with Korea are also highly mountainous. In the west, most of the Tibetan Plateau is in China, and averages over 4000 metres in elevation. The Yunnan-Guizhou plateau is also an extension of the Tibetan Plateau.
The Indian Craton has behaved like a near ridge block, moving North, and compacting the weaker, mostly sedimentary, rock into the Himalaya. Relative to a fixed Eurasian plate the central Himalaya and Tibetan Plateau are moving North, (being pushed by India). The eastern half of the mountainous region is moving East away from the India. The Tibetan Plateau is unstable and as its sides move away extension is occurring in its center. This East-West extension is accommodated on North-South trending normal faults.
The Tian Shan are a mountain range North of the Tibetan Plateau and the Taklamakan Desert. Uplift of these mountains began 24 million years ago. It was a direct response to the continued extension of the Indian collision zone. The mountain range is still uplifting today along with the Himalaya.
One seventh of the area of China is covered in carbonate rocks (limestone and marble) which are easily chemically eroded by water, forming a karst landscape. This morphology is not well developed across the West and North of China where there is less rainfall than the main karst region in the Southeast. China's karst regions are almost all formed in rocks of Devonian to Triassic age. Near Guilin the lowering of the base level, through uplift and river erosion, has formed prominent karst hills. It is estimated that the river erodes down 50–100 mm/kyr, from this the age of the karst landscape is estimated at 10–20 million years (Miocene).
The central China loess sequence records many periods of climatic variation. During dry (often cooler) periods wind erosion increases and loess is deposited, while during wetter and warmer periods paleosols form. The desertification of China's interior is inferred to have started 23 million years ago (Early Miocene) due to the formation of loess deposits from this time until 6.2 million years ago.
The glacial and inter-glacial Pleistocene climatic cycles are also presented in the loess deposites. Extensive loess sequences were deposited during a cool period 2.5 to 2.3 million years ago and the most prominent paleosol formed between 615 and 470 hundred thousand years ago.
The start of the Holocene (10 to 8 thousand years ago) is recorded as a warm and wet time in central China, most likely from the melting of snow and ice off the Tibetan Plateau. A decrease in the area of loess deposits shows that the Holocene Climatic Optimum occurred across central China 8 to 5 thousand years ago.
The island province of Hainan is located off the South coast of China's mainland. It was separated from the mainland by tectonic rifting and coastal erosion. The parts of the South China Sea that China claims, formed by the evolution of continental rifting into oceanic spreading during the mid Cenozoic. There are numerous sea mounts and island carbonate reefs that have developed on horsts formed during the extension.
China has three Precambrian cratons, the North China, South China and Tarim Block. These have a series of sedimentary units overlying them. As these blocks have been fused together, the oceans that once separated them have been compressed into the orogenic belts, that are now between them. There are multiple ways of naming and defining each of these units in the modern literature.
The Precambrian North China Craton is predominately metamorphosed island-arc igneous rocks that formed between 3.5 and 3 billion years ago. The craton had fully formed by 1.7 billion years ago. Thick sediments were deposited on the craton from 1000 to 541 million years ago.
Closing of the Tethys Ocean and amalgamation of the North and South China Cratons. 290 million years ago (left) and 249 million years ago (right). NC = North China Craton, SC = South China Craton.
The South China Craton (also Yangtze Craton) is younger than the North China Craton and ranges in age from 2.5 to 0.8 billion years old. The South China Craton is divided into three parts, western, central and eastern. Unlike the North China Craton the South China Craton used to be part of Gondwana.
The Tarim Block in North West China (Xinjiang) is a relatively thin zone of Precambrian rock and Neoproterozoic to Cambrian cover sequence that may be related to the South China Craton. The Precambrian units, like the South China Craton, also finished forming 0.8 billion years ago. The Tarim Block can be divided into three parts the North Tarim, South Tarim and Central Tarim terrane. Between 2.80 and 2.57 billion years ago the Tarim Block was intruded by granites. During the formation of the Columbia and Rodinia supercontinents the block experienced tectono-metamorphic events between 2.0–1.8 and 1.0–0.9 bullion years ago respectively.
From 760 million years ago the Tarim Block began to split from Rodinia leading to igneous activity. Following this a series of terranes were accreted to the side of the block. In the early Paleozoic the Qaidam was accreted to the south and in the late Paleozoic the Yili Terrane was accreted to the north of the block. Igneous activity finished in the block, after the formation of a large igneous province in the Permian.
The Tethys Ocean closed about 50 million years ago and Indo-Australian Plate began to collide with Asia. The Himalaya is now mostly formed from the uplifted sedimentary rocks from this ocean. These sedimentary rocks along with associated igneous rocks, now often metamorphosed, from a series of East-West slivers of rock through the mountain range. From South to North there are four main tectonic sub-units within the Himalaya: the sub-Himalaya, Lesser Himalaya, Central Himalayan Domain and Indus Suture Zone.
The Himalaya's foothills or sub-Himalaya are Miocene to Pleistocene sediments that have eroded off the mountain range during its uplift. These sedimentary rocks have been highly deformed by the continued uplift of the Himalaya. The upper Proterozoic to lower Cambrian Lesser Himalaya sedimentary rocks represent the Himalaya's main range front. These rocks are often thrusted over the alluvial rocks of the sub-Himalaya. The Lesser Himalaya also contains granites and felsic volcanic rocks. The Central Himalayan Domain contains rocks from the Tethys Ocean and is also intruded by Miocene granites, related to the formation of the Himalaya. The Indus Suture Zone is the suture zone with the Lhasa terrane to the North. It contains the ophiolites and island arc related igneous rocks mostly from the Mesozoic.
The Qilianshan Orogen (also Qilian Shan Orogen) formed in the Early to Mid Paleozoic in modern North West China. The rocks of the region record a Cambrian to Devonian subduction accretion complex.
This is a wide zone of tectonic suturing that in part represents the closure of the Paleo-Asian Ocean. During this closure abduction was occurring on both sides of the ocean. This has formed seduction related Paleozoic orthogneiss throughout the sequence. This zone represents the largest accretionary origenic sequence in the world.
The Su-Lu Orogen (also Dabie-Sulu or Sulu orogen) formed during the Mesozoic in what is now the central eastern coast of China. Within this zone are exposed the largest zone of ultrahigh-pressure metamorphic rocks in the world. These originally formed deep within a subduction zone, where oceanic crust from the South China Block went beneath the North China Block during the Triassic. The region was also intruded by granites from the same time period.
The collision of India with the rest of Asia has led to seismic activity throughout western China, particularly in Tibet and the Yunnan, Xinjiang, Sichuan, Gansu and Qinghai provinces. However, these regions in comparison with Eastern China have a low population density. These areas also in general have poorer transport and building codes. Throughout China poor building codes increases the damage and loss of life from earthquakes.
China has been the location of some of the most deadly earthquakes in history. Hundreds of thousands of people were killed by magnitude 8.0 earthquakes in 1303 in Hongdong and 1556 in Shaanxi. This Shaanxi earthquake killed about 830,000 people, many dying with the collages of their underground homes built into loess banks and cliffs. The 20th century saw 273,400 people killed in the 1920 Haiyuan earthquake and a magnitude 8.6 earthquake in 1950, the largest recorded earthquake in China. In 2008 the magnitude 8.0 2008 Sichuan earthquake killed 87,587 people.
Earthquake prediction was popular between 1966–1976, which overlapped with the Cultural Revolution. This reached its height with the successful prediction of the 1975 Haicheng earthquake. This earthquake had a prominent series of fore-shocks and authorities who were eager to issue a warning. However, very few earthquakes have both these criteria. The unpredictable and devastating Tangshan earthquake in 1976 led to a reduction of the popularity of earthquake prediction in China.
All of China's recently active volcanoes have formed within tectonic plates, however, there is extensive arc related volcanism off the eastern coast. Active volcanoes are found in the Changbaishan, Jingbo Lake, Wudalianchi, Tengchong and Yutian areas.
The Baitoushan volcano (also called Paektu Mountain), on the border with North Korea) erupted in 946 AD. This was one of the largest volcanic eruptions in recorded history. There have been three eruptions in the Baitoushan volcano area in the last 400 years (1668, 1702, and 1903).
China has many different types of mineral resources and has global significant reserves of many of them. They are frequently in the global top 10 countries for mineral reserves or production. They produce more than 90% of the global rare earth element ore. Chrysotile (asbestos) is still mined and used extensively in China as a construction material.
China's iron ore is mainly found in northeast and southwest of mainland China. China's largest gold mining region is in the Northeast of the country. In 2014 China mined more gold than any other country, however, its projected reserves places it between 6th and 10th in the world.
There are extensive coal fields throughout China. In the Southeast of the country the coal is Permian in age. In the North of China coal is from the Jurassic in the West but reaches the Cretaceous in parts of the Northeast. Tibet and Qinghai have a relative dearth of coal measures. China's petroleum reserves are located off or near the eastern seaboard and in the Taklamakan Desert. Unproven oil reserves in the South China Sea are part of the motivation for the continued border disputes in the region. Oil shale reserves have also been discovered in the North of the country.
Chinese fossils, clockwise from upper left: Confuciusornis sanctus displayed in Hong Kong Science Museum, Ductina vietnamica from the Devonian (Hunan), Protopsephurus fossil specimen excavated in Liaoning and the holotype of Microraptor gui.
Geological topics are discussed in some of China's earliest writings. Between 500 BC and 800 AD Chinese scholars described mountains, minerals, fossils and documented the locations of ore bodies. They also noted that some of these marine fossils came from the tops of mountains.
Fossils and some minerals were prized for there aesthetics and medical properties. One practice involved dissolving a fossil (calcite) in vinegar (an acid) and then drinking the liquid. However, as knowledge of the natural world was excluded from the imperial examination system no systematic study developed.
It was also observed in the 11th century, by Chinese scholar Shen Kuo, in his work Dream Pool Essays, that the existence of fossils of species that no longer lived in the area, showed that climates had changed in the past. He also inferred that the landscape evolved over time, due to erosion and uplift. This led him to believe that vast spans of time were needed to form China's geomorphology.
It was not until late in the Qing Dynasty (1644–1911) that the government formulated a policy to introduce foreign science and technology into China. Modern geologic ideas were introduced with the establishment of technical schools and the translation into Chinese of works by James D. Dana and Charles Lyell during the 1870s. Early in the twentieth century, foreign geology teachers were brought to China and Chinese students were sent to foreign countries to study geology. This infusion successfully developed the modern teaching and practice of geology in China.
In the 2000s the discovery of a number of novel dinosaur fossils has led to international interest in Chinese paleontology. China also has international significant fossil beds from the Precambrian (Weng’an Biota), the early Cambrian (Chengjiang Biota) and the Early Cretaceous (Jehol Biota). Chinese fossils have provided the missing link in many evolutionary trees. China has also been the location of discoveries in the human fossil record. Almost all of China's important geological discoveries are now published in English as this allows access to more prestigious international journals.
The China Geological Survey (CGS) was founded in 1915. However, it was disbanded after the Chinese Civil War and only reinstated in 1999. During this time geological exploration and natural hazard mitigation was performed by other government departments. The CGS supplies information to international cooperations and disseminates public geoscience knowledge and information to promote the sustainable development of China's natural resources. The CGS also works internationally on mineral exploration and geological research. About 28% of the CGS published research is in collaboration with international researchers, which is comparable to that of the United States Geological Survey. The CGS has also been involved in environmental research in China. This has included the 2013 findings that 90% of Chinese cities had "polluted" groundwater, and about 66% have "severely polluted" groundwater. The CGS can be seen as part of China's use of international soft power as it attempts to gain access to foreign minerals.
China has 44 national geological parks managed since 1999 by the Chinese Ministry of Land and Resources in cooperation with UNESCO to find a way to protect geological sites of importance while encouraging both tourism and scientific research. Zhangjiajie Gritstone-peak Forest, China's best preserved cluster of volcanoes and geological features in Hunan Province, in 2001 became among the first nationally designated geological park. In February 2004, UNESCO announced the World Network of Geological Parks as well as its first geology park conference to be held in Beijing from June 27–29, 2004. Of the 28 original UNESCO World Geoparks, eight are in China.
Currently there 26 World Geoparks in China. These include the Shilin Geopark in China's Yunnan Province, featuring a carbonate peak forest landform, which brings about the formation of various karst landscapes, such as stone teeth, corroded gullies and corroded funnels. The Huangshan Geopark in Anhui Province, famed for its grand and steep mountains, with 72 peaks of over 1,000 meters high. The geopark is picturesque with green and straight pines, jagged rocks of grotesque shapes, wide and imposing cloud sea, as well as many gushing warm springs. Other world-class Chinese geology parks include Lushan Geopark in Jiangxi Province, Yuntaishan Geopark and Songshan Geopark in central China's Henan Province, Danxia Geopark in Guangdong, Zhangjiajie Geopark in Hunan, and Wudalianchi Geopark in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province.
The Amurian Plate (or Amur Plate; also occasionally referred to as the China Plate) is a minor tectonic plate in the northern and eastern hemispheres. It covers Manchuria, the Korean Peninsula, the Yellow Sea, and Primorsky Krai. Once thought to be a part of the Eurasian Plate, the Amur Plate is now generally considered to be a separate plate moving southeast with respect to the Eurasian Plate.
The Amurian Plate is named after the Amur River, that forms the border between the Russian Far East and Northeastern China.
It is bounded on the north, west, and southwest by the Eurasian Plate, on the east by the Okhotsk Plate, to the southeast by the Philippine Sea Plate along the Suruga Trough and the Nankai Trough, and the Okinawa Plate, and the Yangtze Plate.The Baikal Rift Zone is considered a boundary between the Amurian Plate and the Eurasian Plate. GPS measurements indicate that the plate is slowly rotating counterclockwise.
The Amurian Plate may have been involved in the 1976 Tangshan earthquake in China.Beijing Anomaly
The Beijing Anomaly is an observed seismic feature in the Earth's mantle at a depth of around 700–1400 km below Northeastern China where a high degree of seismic attenuation was discovered to exist. According to its discoverers, Jesse Lawrence (from Scripps Institute of Oceanography) and Michael Wysession (from Washington University), the Beijing Anomaly is evidence for large amounts of water contained within the mantle.Cathaysia
Cathaysia was a microcontinent or a group of terranes that rifted off Gondwana during the Late Paleozoic.China Geological Survey
The China Geological Survey (CGS) (Chinese: 中国地质调查局) is a government-owned, not-for-profit, Chinese organization researching China's mineral resources. It is the largest Geoscience agency in China since being reinstated in 1999.China University of Geosciences (Beijing)
The China University of Geosciences (Beijing) (simplified Chinese: 中国地质大学(北京); traditional Chinese: 中國地質大學(北京); pinyin: Zhōngguó Dìzhì Dàxué (Běijīng); abbreviated CUGB or 北京地大) is a key national university directly under the administration of the Education Ministry of the People's Republic of China. It is located in Haidian District in Beijing. It is a Chinese Ministry of Education Double First Class Discipline University, with Double First Class status in certain disciplines.China University of Geosciences (Wuhan)
The China University of Geosciences (simplified Chinese: 中国地质大学(武汉); traditional Chinese: 中國地質大學(武漢); pinyin: Zhōngguó Dìzhì Dàxué (Wǔhàn); abbreviated 地大 or CUG) is a key national university directly under the administration of the Education Ministry of the People's Republic of China. It is located in Wuhan, the capital of Central China's Hubei Province. It is a Chinese Ministry of Education Double First Class Discipline University, with Double First Class status in certain disciplines.It is regarded as one of the top geosciences university in China and exerts considerable influence on the Chinese mining and oil industry. Its notable alumni include Wen Jiabao, the Premier of China's State Council between 2003 and 2013, who attended the China University of Geosciences when it was known as the Beijing Institute of Geology (BIG). The motto "Being austere and simple, keeping on practice and acting for truth" is from him.Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences
The Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences (CAGS; Chinese: 中国地质科学院) is an institution that engages in geoscience research in the People's Republic of China. The academy was established in 1956 and reorganized in 1999. Administratively it is under the PRC Ministry of Land and Resources.Ermaying Formation
The Ermaying Formation is a sedimentary succession of Anisian (Middle Triassic) age. It is found in the Shaanxi Province of China. It is composed of an up to 600 m thick sequence of mudstone and sandstone. It is famous for its fossils of tetrapods.Geology of the Himalaya
The geology of the Himalaya is a record of the most dramatic and visible creations of modern plate tectonic forces. The Himalayas, which stretch over 2400 km between the Namche Barwa syntaxis in Tibet and the Nanga Parbat syntaxis in India, are the result of an ongoing orogeny — the result of a collision of the continental crust of two tectonic plates. This immense mountain range was formed by tectonic forces and sculpted by weathering and erosion. The Himalaya-Tibet region supplies fresh water for more than one-fifth of the world population, and accounts for a quarter of the global sedimentary budget. Topographically, the belt has many superlatives: the highest rate of uplift (nearly 10 mm/year at Nanga Parbat), the highest relief (8848 m at Mt. Everest Chomolangma), among the highest erosion rates at 2–12 mm/yr, the source of some of the greatest rivers and the highest concentration of glaciers outside of the polar regions. This last feature earned the Himalaya its name, originating from the Sanskrit for "the abode of the snow".Hebei GEO University
Hebei GEO University (Chinese: 河北地质大学; pinyin: Héběi Dìzhì Dàxué), previously named Shijiazhuang University of Economics (Chinese: 石家庄经济学院; pinyin: Shíjiāzhuāng Jīngjì Xuéyuàn) is a university in Shijiazhuang, Hebei, China.
The total students are 19k to 20k with only 53 International students from Pakistan Afghanistan Ethopia Tanzania Ghana Rwanda and sudan. The university offer partial scholarships to the students also
The university originates from Xuanhua Geology School established in 1953.Huajiying Formation
The Huajiying Formation is a geological formation in Hebei, People's Republic of China. Known for its fossils including primitive birds, the age of the formation is uncertain. It may represent an early portion of the Jehol Biota, dating to somewhere in the early Cretaceous or late Jurassic periods. It may correlate with the early Cretaceous Dadianzi Formation and parts of the Yixian Formation, with an age range between 140 and 122 Ma ago. It contains the Qiaotou Member, sometimes treated as a distinct formation.Jehol Biota
The Jehol Biota (pinyin: Rèhé Qún) includes all the living organisms – the ecosystem – of northeastern China between 133 and 120 million years ago. This is the Lower Cretaceous ecosystem which left fossils in the Yixian Formation and Jiufotang Formation. It is also believed to have left fossils in the Sinuiju series of North Korea. The ecosystem in the Lower Cretaceous was dominated by wetlands and numerous lakes (not rivers, deltas, or marine habitats). Rainfall was seasonal, alternating between semiarid, and mesic conditions. The climate was temperate. The Jehol ecosystem was interrupted periodically by ash eruptions from volcanoes to the west. The word "Jehol" now said to refer to a mythical land of the past in Chinese folklore, was the name given during the Japanese occupation of the former Rehe Province.Longmenshan Fault
The Longmenshan Fault (Chinese: 龍門山斷層) is a thrust fault which runs along the base of the Longmen Mountains in Sichuan province in southwestern China. The strike of the fault plane is approximately NE.
Motion on this fault is responsible for the uplift of the mountains relative to the lowlands of the Sichuan Basin to the east. Representing the eastern boundary of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, it is a border formation between the Bayan Kola block in the Plateau and the South China block in the Eurasian Plate. Both the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake and the 2013 Ya'an earthquake occurred along this fault.A study by the China Earthquake Administration (CEA) states:
"The late-Cenozoic deformations in this fault (that caused the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake) are concentrated in the Guanxian-Jiangyou fracture (hill-front fracture), Yingxiu-Beichuan fracture (mid-fracture), Wenchuan-Mao County fracture (hill-back fracture), and their related folds. The recent Ms 8.0 earthquake occurred on the Yingxiu-Beichuan fracture, as a result of Longmenshan thrust pushing southeastward combined with clockwise shears.Since Holocene (10,000), Yingxiu-Beichuan fracture has had evident activities. Its long-term geological slip rate is slower than 1 mm per year. GPS observations confirm the current structural deformation of the Longmenshan formation to be characterized by thrust and right-handed shears, but with a low deformation rate. Therefore, Longmenshan formation and its internal fractures constitute a special type that has low earthquake frequences but the potential to cause super strong earthquakes."Oil shale in China
Oil shale in China is an important source of unconventional oil. A total Chinese oil shale resource amounts of 720 billion tonnes, located in 80 deposits of 47 oil shale basins. This is equal to 48 billion tonnes of shale oil. At the same time there are speculations that the actual resource may even exceed the oil shale resource of the United States.The oil shale industry was established in China already in the 1920s. After decrease in the production, the industry started to increase and as of 2008; several companies are engage in the shale oil production or the oil shale-based power generation. After 2005, China became the largest shale oil producer in the world. In 2011, the country produced about 650,000 tonnes of shale oil. Most of production facilities are Fushun-type retorts.At the end of 2006, the Fushun Shale Oil Plant was the largest oil shale plant in the world. In 2005, the China National Oil Shale Association was established in Fushun. The main oil shale research institution in China is the China University of Petroleum.Okinawa Trough
The Okinawa Trough (沖縄トラフ, Okinawa Torafu) (also called Chinese: 中琉界沟, literally China-Ryukyu Border Trough ) is a seabed feature of the East China Sea. It is an active, initial back-arc rifting basin which has formed behind the Ryukyu arc-trench system in the West Pacific. It developed where the Philippine Sea Plate is subducting under the Eurasia Plate.Qidong (meteorite)
Qidong is a L/LL5-an chondrite meteorite fallen in 1982 in China. After detonation a single individual specimen was found in the field. Other circumstances of fall and recovery were not reported.Red River Fault
The Red River Fault or Song Hong Fault (Vietnamese: Đới Đứt Gãy Sông Hồng) is a major fault in Yunnan, China and Vietnam which accommodates continental China's (Yangtze Plate) southward movement It is coupled with that of the Sagaing Fault in Burma, which accommodates the Indian plate's northward movement, with the land (Indochina) in between faulted and twisted clockwise. It was responsible for the 1970 Tonghai earthquake.
It is named after the Red River which runs through its rift valley.
Red River is a sinistral strike-slip fault situated at a NW-SE orientation.Subashi Formation
The Subashi Formation (Chinese: 苏巴什组)is a late Cretaceous formation from the Xinjiang Autonomous Region of western China. Initially described by Dong Zhiming in 1977, the formation contains remains of Tarbosaurus which were initially described as a separate taxon Shanshanosaurus huoyanshanensis. Remains of a sauropod, likely Nemegtosaurus, and a hadrosaurid, likely Jaxartosaurus, have also been found.
The formation is located in the Flaming Mountains region of Xinjiang, north of the Turpan Depression. It is not far from Lianmuqin Town of Shanshan County,
and is presumably named after the village of Subashi (42°55′11″N 89°44′36″E), which is located some 15 km to the west of Lianmuqin, in Tuyugou Township (吐峪沟乡).Yangtze Plate
The Yangtze Plate, also called the South China Block or the South China Subplate, comprises the bulk of southern China. It is separated on the east from the Okinawa Plate by a rift that forms the Okinawa Trough which is a back-arc basin, on the south by the Sunda Plate and the Philippine Sea Plate, and on the north and west by the Eurasian Plate. The Longmenshan Fault on the latter border was the site of the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake.The Yangtze Plate was formed by the disaggregation of the Rodinia Supercontinent 750 million years ago, in the Neoproterozoic era. South China rifted away from the Gondwana supercontinent in the Silurian. During the formation of the great supercontinent Pangaea, South China was a smaller, separate continent located off the east coast of the supercontinent and drifting northward. In the Triassic the Yangtze Plate collided with the North China Plate, thereby connecting with Pangaea, and formed the Sichuan basin. In the Cenozoic the Yangtze Plate was influenced by the collision of the Indian and Eurasian plates creating the uplifting of the Longmen Mountains. Its southward motion is accommodated along the Red River fault.