Crustal Structure of Yunnan Province, People's Republic of China, from Seismic Refraction Profiles

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Science  24 Oct 1986:
Vol. 234, Issue 4775, pp. 433-437
DOI: 10.1126/science.234.4775.433


Seismic refraction, profiles in Yunnan Province, southwestern China, define the crustal structure in an area of active tectonics on the southern end of the Himalaya-Burma arc. The crustal thickness ranges from 38 to 46 kilometers, and the relatively low mean crustal velocity indicates a crustal composition compatible with normal continental crust and consisting mainly of meta-sedimentary and silicic intrusive rocks, with little mafic or ultramafic component. This composition suggests a crustal evolution involving sedimentary processes on the flank of the Yangtze platform rather than the accretion of oceanic island arcs, as has been proposed. An anomalously low upper-mantle velocity observed on one profile but not on another at right angles to it may indicate active tectonic processes in the mantle or seismic anisotropy.

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