Western Mineral Resources

Prepared in collaboration with Russian Academy of Sciences, Mongolian Academy of Sciences, Korean Institute of Geosciences and Mineral Resources, Geological Survey of Japan/AIST, and Jilin University

U.S. Geological Survey
Open-File Report 2007-1183-A

Introduction to Regional Geology, Tectonics, and Metallogenesis of Northeast Asia

By Leonid M. Parfenov, Gombosuren Badarch, Nikolai A. Berzin, Duk Hwan Hwang, Alexander I. Khanchuk, Mikhail I. Kuzmin, Warren J. Nokleberg, Alexander A. Obolenskiy, Masatsugu Ogasawara, Andrei V. Prokopiev, Sergey M. Rodionov, Alexander P. Smelov, and Hongquan Yan


map of northeast Asia showing seven elements;  Sea or ocean, active continental margin ard, active subduction zone, craton, north Asian craton margin, cratonal terrane or superterrane, and tectonic collage
Major tectonic elements of northeast Asia


This introduction presents an overview of the regional geology, tectonics, and metallogenesis of Northeast Asia. The major purposes are to provide a relatively short summary of these features for readers who are unfamiliar with Northeast Asia; a general scientific introduction for the succeeding chapters of this volume; and an overview of the methodology of metallogenic and tectonic analysis employed for Northeast Asia. The introduction also describes how a high-quality metallogenic and tectonic analysis, including synthesis of an associated metallogenic-tectonic model will greatly benefit refinement of mineral deposit models and deposit genesis; improvement of assessments of undiscovered mineral resources as part of quantitative mineral resource assessment studies; land-use and mineral exploration planning; improvement of interpretations of the origins of host rocks, mineral deposits, and metallogenic belts; and suggestions for new research.

The compilation, synthesis, description, and interpretation of metallogenesis and tectonics of major regions, such as Northeast Asia (Eastern Russia, Mongolia, northern China, South Korea, and Japan) and the Circum-North Pacific (Russian Far East, Alaska, and Canadian Cordillera) requires a complex methodology. The methodology includes: (1) definitions of key terms; (2) compilation of a regional geologic base map that can be interpreted according to modern tectonic concepts and definitions; (3) compilation of a mineral deposit database that enables the determination of mineral deposit models, and relations of deposits to host rocks and tectonic origins; (4) synthesis of a series of mineral deposit models that characterize the known mineral deposits and inferred undiscovered deposits of the region; (5) compilation of a series of maps of metallogenic belts constructed on the regional geologic base map; and (6) formulation of a unified metallogenic and tectonic model.

The summary of regional geology and metallogenesis in this introduction is based on publications of the major international collaborative studies of the metallogenesis and tectonics of Northeast Asia that were led by the U.S. Geological Survey. These studies have produced two broad types of publications. One type is a series of regional geologic, mineral deposit, and metallogenic belt maps and companion descriptions for the regions. Examples of major publications of this type are Obolenskiy and others (2003a, b, 2004), Parfenov and others (2003, 2004a, b), Nokleberg and others (2004), Rodionov and others (2004), and Naumova and others (2006). The other type is a suite of metallogenic and tectonic analyses of these same regions. Examples of major publications of this type are Rodionov and others (2004), Nokleberg and others (2000, 2004, 2005), and Naumova and others (2006).

The Northeast Asia project area consists of eastern Russia (most of Siberia and most of the Russian Far East), Mongolia, Northern China, South Korea, Japan, and adjacent offshore areas. This area is approximately bounded by 30 to 82° N. latitude and 75 to 144° E. longitude. The major participating agencies are the Russian Academy of Sciences, Academy of Sciences of the Sakha Republic (Yakutia), VNIIOkeangeologia and Ministry of Natural Resources of the Russian Federation, Mongolian Academy of Sciences, Mongolian University of Science and Technology, Mongolian National University, Jilin University, Changchun, China, the China Geological Survey, the Korea Institute of Geosciences and Mineral Resources, the Geological Survey of Japan/AIST, University of Texas Arlington, and the U.S. Geological Survey.

The Northeast Asia project extends and build on data and interpretations from a previous project on the Major Mineral Deposits, Metallogenesis, and Tectonics of the Russian Far East, Alaska, and the Canadian Cordillera that was conducted by the USGS, the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys, and the Geological Survey of Canada. A summary of the major products of this project are contained on the Web at: http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2006/1150/PROJMAT/RFE-Ak-Can_Cord_Proj_Pamph.pdf

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For questions about the content of this report, contact Warren Nokleberg

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