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Ian Metcalfe: Asian Tectonics Research

My interest in Asian Tectonics was developed whilst working on the SE Asia Chapter for The Carboniferous of the World Vol. 1 published in 1982. As I compiled information on the Carboniferous of the region, it soon became evident that Carboniferous stratigraphy and faunas were different on different structural/tectonic units in the SE Asian region and that a major biogeographic divide occurred through mainland SE Asia. I therefore described the Carboniferous geology in terms of the major tectonic units of the region. Following this, I began long term, ongoing research on the tectonic framework and evolution of east and SE Asia.

The main thrust of this research was/is to:

Identify the various continental blocks/terranes and bounding suture zones of the region.

Determine the origins and evolution of the continental blocks.

Determine the nature of lost ocean basins in the region (true ocean basins or back-arc basins).

Determine the history of lost ocean basins in the region by determining ages of opening and closure.

Model the Palaeozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic palaeogeography of the SE Asian region and more widely the evolution of Pangaea, Gondwana and the Tethys ocean basins.

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