Middle miocene deduction and late miocene beginning of collision registered in the hengchun peninsula: Geodynamic implications for the evolution of Taiwan
Taiwan is located in the axis of the Manila Trench. It results from an oblique collision between the northernmost part of the Luzon arc and the Chinese passive margin. This active collision follows the subduction of the Oligocene-Miocene oceanic crust of the South China Sea along the Manila Trench. The tectonized Chinese margin emerged in the Hengchun peninsula (South Taiwan). Gentle folds which are delineated by the Quaternary reefal limestones demonstrate Recent deformations. These folds deformed a thick detrital sequence of Miocene age (Ssuchung Chi series) which was previously strongly folded and thrust westward (axis NS-N20) upon the Renting mélange of Latest Miocene age. These main deformations, sealed by the Middle Pliocene, are the evidence for the onset of collision in this part of Taiwan at the end of the Miocene. Because of its obliquity, the collision started already in the northern part of Taiwan during the Late Miocene (6-7-8 Ma ?). The Ssuchung Chi series, a sequence of proximal turbidites, has contained, since the Middle Miocene (NN 6~13 Ma), fragments of an Oligocene to Lower Miocene oceanic crust. This ophiolitic material is very similar to the East Taiwan Ophiolite of the Coastal Range. It originated most probably from a slice of South China Sea crust obducted in Middle Miocene times (13-14 Ma) upon the Chinese margin (North of the Hengchun peninsula). This obduction occurred 7 to 8 Ma before the beginning of collision. These results make it possible to propose an evolutionary model for Taiwan from the Oligocene to the Recent, with the different phases of a collision between a volcanic arc and a passive margin.