Project 589-Development of the Asian Tethyan Realm

The development of the Tethyan Realm is such a complicated problem that it remains far from being clarified. Anyhow, execution of successive IGCP projects (321, 411, 516) targeted at geological evolution of (mainly East and South) Asia and other related researches have contributed much in working out more constraints on the evolution of the Tethys and to provide more data for interpretation. Continued study is the only way to find out more appropriate explanations and to approach gradually the truth.

At the business meeting of IGCP-516 (Geological Anatomy of East and South Asia) held on 26 September 2009 during the 5th International Symposium of IGCP-516 in Kunming, China, the participants decided unanimously that a new IGCP project be applied, which might be a successor of IGCP-516. In this way the investigation into the complicated problems related to the geological evolution of Asia can continue.

The proposed new IGCP project “Development of Asian Tethyan Realm: Genesis, Process and Outcomes” is aimed to maintain the existing team and possibly to mobilize more participants (mainly from Asian developing countries), to carry out multi-disciplinary investigations in related areas, to find out more constraints on the interpretation of the development of the Asian Tethyan Realm, and to contribute to elucidate the history of the Tethys. In specific, participants of the project are advised to carry out their work with emphasis on problems related to one or more of the following topics:

  • Regional extension and property of suture zones and other structural lineaments
  • Stratigraphic successions and magmatic series on continental blocks
  • Paleobiogeographic evolution of the Tethyan Realm
  • Timing and process of continental blocks rifting from large cratons
  • Sizes of oceanic basins and the positions of continental blocks at different times
  • Timing and process of the suturing of continental blocks
  • Validity of the one Tethys model, the Paleo-Tethys + Neo-Tethys model, and the Paleo-Tethys + Meso-Tethys + Neo-Tethys model
  • Recent analogues of tectonic environments in the Tethyan Realm
  • Geological background for hydrocarbon and mineral resource formations  

In doing so, participants from different countries will carry out their investigations in well selected places which are either geologically critical or lacking of proper data. Scientific approaches and techniques of different disciplines are to be employed, such as tectonics, paleogeography, paleontology, stratigraphy, sedimentology, structural geology, petrology, geochemistry, paleomagnetism, and geophysics.

Cooperation with other IGCP projects that deal with geological or evolutionary problems of a limited time range or certain region is planned, for example IGCP- 572: Restoration of Marine Ecosystems following the Permian-Triassic Mass Extinction; IGCP-597: Amalgamation and Breakup Pangaea: the Type Example of the Supercontinent Cycle. Cooperation with the CGMW (Commission for Geological Map of the World) project “International Geological Map of Asia (IGMA)” is assured. The proposed project is also going to cooperate with IESO (International Earth Science Olympiad), which is supported by COGE (Commission on Geoscience Education, Training and Technology Transfer) of IUGS.

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