Transitions among Mariana-, Japan-,
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Abstract: ‘Arc system’ is used here as a collective term for a variety of arcs that occur along continental margins or in oceanic plates; it includes associated units from adjacent plates. Four major arc systems (Mariana-, Japan-, Cordillera- and Alaska-type) can be distinguished along the Circum-Pacific region. Some Japan-type arc systems in ancient orogens (e.g. the Altaids) may have been largely regarded as microcontinents because they have so-called Precambrian basement. Often the Cordillera-type arc systems can be very complicated, and if they are rifted away from the host continent they become more difficult to recognize. Commonly these arc systems interact mutually and with continental marginal sequences, leading to complicated accretionary and collisional orogens. The alternation between Western Pacific archipelagos and the Eastern Pacific active margin is the stereotype of accretionary and collisional orogenesis. More importantly, these four main types of arc systems can be juxtaposed into a final orogenic collage, which is another main expression of accretionary orogenesis. Only some parts of accretionary and collisional orogens can be terminated by attachment of a continent-size craton such as Tarim or even India, and even so the accretionary and collisional processes may continue elsewhere along strike. The significance of the interactions among these arc systems and their final juxtaposition has not been fully appreciated in ancient orogens. The Altaids together with the Circum-Pacific orogens offers a good opportunity to study such accretionary–collisional orogenesis.

Xiao W, Han C, Yuan C, et al. Transitions among Mariana-, Japan-, Cordillera- and Alaska-type arc systems and their final juxtapositions leading to accretionary and collisional orogenesis[J]. Geological Society London Special Publications, 2010, 338(1):35-53.[pdf]