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The nature and formation of passive continental margins, the transition from continental to oceanic tectonic plates, are not well understood. Major population centers and economic resources are sited on such margins and thus this geological setting plays a special role in societal evolution. The continental margin of southern and eastern China records repeated Wilson cycles events, the opening and closing of ancient seas, and the outward growth of continental Asia. South China and its adjacent sea hold a valuable geological record endowed with abundant natural resources and a rich sedimentary history. This margin has been the curator of the geological information on the evolution of the continent and the surrounding ocean. We seek to translate this record of information into to a 4D picture of its evolution in time and space.
Models predicting the crustal structure and evolution of South China will be critically evaluated by the application of the new field of neutrino geoscience. Detections of geoneutrinos provide a new tool to map the amount and distribution of radiogenic heat sources in the Earth. To date, two experiments have captured geoneutrinos. The upcoming JUNO experiment, located on the continental margin of South China, will be 20 times bigger than any existing liquid scintillator detector when it’s online in ~2020 and will document the abundances of Th and U in the crust surrounding the detector. In addition, data from JUNO will provide a better understanding of the building blocks that formed the Earth, constrain the Earth’s thermal evolution, and define the planet’s radiogenic power driving global dynamics, i.e., mantle convection and plate tectonics. Our workshop seeks to bring together interested groups of scientists to share their insights and work together to develop an integrated and coherent 4D history of South China.