Abstract: This project is proposed for conducting a comparative study, based specifically on magmatic viewpoint, of the Tibet/Himalaya and Caucasus/Iran orogens, two most important collision zones that take place in East and West Asia, respectively, in the Alpine-Zagros-Himalayan mountain range or so-called Tethyan orogenic belt, i.e., the largest mountain range in the world extending from the Atlantic to Pacific Oceans. This study aims at a more comprehensive understanding of the magmatic and tectonic evolution in continent-continent collision, with the Tibet/Himalaya exemplifying a well-established or mature stage of collisional orogen and the Caucasus/Iran an initial to intermediate stage, to depict the whole spectrum of geodynamic processes through which collisional orogeny evolves.
Based on our successful experiences from the Tibet/Himalaya region performed in the
past 10+ years and most recent results from the Caucasus/Iran belt obtained by the ongoing Silk Road Project, this newly proposed project has two main prospects, one is to maintain our leading position in the study of tectonomagmatic evolution in the Tibet/Himalaya orogen and neighboring regions, and the other is to create the competitive edge in the Caucasus/Iran belt by performing furthermore detailed work in specific areas. Regarding the latter, this project will focus on carrying out advanced studies of (1) the unusual occurrence of widespread post-mid-Miocene (≤11 Ma) igneous activity in the Caucasus/Iran/Anatolia (“CIA”) zone, a domain of active contraction owing to the Arabia-Eurasia collision, (2) the temporal and spatial evolution of the Urumieh Dokhtar Magmatic Arc, which extends from Armenia to the
entire Iran, resulting from the Neotethyan subduction that was prevailing in the region before the collision began, and (3) the nascent volcanism in Bazman and Taftan areas, SE Iran related possibly to the active Makran subduction that may have initiated after the closure of the Neotethys. It is emphasized that the key targets involve several fundamental problems in continental dynamics and plate tectonics, and that the proposed project presents a rare opportunity for the geosciences community in Taiwan to lead the research in an important frontier where keen international competition is yet to fully develop.