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Chinese Continental Scientific Drilling Program



CCSD Drill RigOne of the most exciting geologic discoveries in the last 20 years is the finding of the presence of a major ultrahigh pressure (UHP) metamorphic belt in the Dabie-Sulu region of eastern China. In this belt, high-grade continental crustal rocks contain both diamond and coesite, clear evidence of crustal subduction to depths >150 km. This belt formed by collision between the North China and Yangtze blocks in the Mesozoic between about 210 and 220 Ma. Recent work has identified an older, parallel belt on the north side of the Dabie-Qinling Mountains dated as Ordovician (~500 - 440 Ma).

(Photo ©:ICDP)

This older belt extends northwestward for nearly 1000 km through the Qilian Mountains into northern Tibet, where it is offset by the left-lateral Altyn Tagh Fault. In the Dabie-Sulu region the rocks consist chiefly of granitic gneiss, paragneiss, eclogite, and garnet peridotite, whose protoliths are supracrustal rocks with a formation age of about 800-1800 Ma. In order to investigate the deep structure of this unusual orogenic belt, the lnstitute of Geology of the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences and the International Continental Drilling Program have undertaken a deep drilling project (Chinese Continental Scientific Drilling Project, or CCSD) which aims to:

  • determine the three-dimensional structure, composition, and geophysical character of this convergent plate boundary;
  • investigate the nature and timing of the UHP metamorphism;
  • investigate the crustal dynamics anti-crust mantle interaction involved in the formationand exhumation of the UHP rocks;
  • study the processes of fluid circulation and mineralization the crust and upper mantle;
  • establish a long-term, natural laboratory for the study of crustal dynamics and the evolution of deep continental crust.
A site in the Sulu segment of the belt where ultramafic rock and eclogite are hosted in coesite-bearing gneiss was selected for deep drilling. The seismic profile through the drill site is interpreted in terms of five stacked slices separated by northeast striking, gently southeast dipping ductile shear zones.



Asia, P.R. China, Jiangsu Province, Donghai County, Lianyungang City, in the eastern part of the Dabie-Sulu UHPM belt



34° 24' 36'' N, 118° 40' 12'' E (Please scroll down to end of page for more information.)


Project Start and End
  • Begin of drilling August 4, 2001
  • End of drilling March 8, 2005


Programs and Funding


Principal Investigators
  • Zhiqin Xu, Chinese Academy of Geosciences, Institute of Geology, Laboratory of Continental Dynamics


Cooperating Principal Investigators
  • Bolin Cong, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Geology and Geophysics
  • Borming Jahn, Academia Sinica, Institute of Earth Sciences
  • Borming Jahn, National Taiwan University, Department of Geosciences
  • Hartmut Kern, University of Kiel, Institute of Mineralogy and Petrography
  • Juhn G. Liou, Stanford University, School of Earth Sciences, Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences
  • Roland Erich Oberhänsli, University of Potsdam, Institute of Earth and Environmental Science
  • Paul T. Robinson, Dalhousie University, Department of Earth Sciences
  • David B. Rowley, University of Chicago, Department of the Geophysical Sciences and Enrico Fermi Institute, Origins Laboratory
  • Wencai Yang, Chinese Academy of Geosciences, Institute of Geology, Laboratory of Continental Dynamics


Partners and Contractors



CCSDP, Convergent Margins, Dabie-sulu, DONGHAI, Drilling, ICDP-1998/09, P.r. China, UHPM Belt


Current State





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