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Geochronology and geochemistry of Neoproterozoic granitoids in the central Qilian Shan of northern Tibet: Reconstructing the amalgamation processes and tectonic history of Asia
Zuza, Andrew V.
Reith, Robin C.
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Our understanding of the assembly history of Asia depends critically on the tectonic relationships between its major cratons, including Siberia, North China, South China, and Tarim. The intervening microcontinents between these cratons can provide insight into the paleogeographic and paleotectonic relationships of the cratons, but there is currently a general lack of knowledge regarding the basement geology of these microcontinents. Here we present results from systematic geologic mapping, U-Pb zircon dating, whole-rock geochemical analysis, and synthesis of existing data to establish the Proterozoic to early Paleozoic evolution of the central Qilian basement to the south of the North China craton in northwest China. Our results indicate that the region underwent three major periods of magmatic activity at 960-880, 877-710, and 550-375 Ma. Our geochemical analysis suggests that the ca. 900 Ma plutons were generated during arc magmatism and/or syncollisional crustal melting, whereas the ca. 820 Ma plutons are A-type granitoids, which are typically associated with extensional tectonism. Igneous zircons from a high-and ultrahigh-pressure eclogite in the north-central Qilian Shan have a U-Pb age of ca. 916 Ma, whereas dating of the recrystallized rims suggests that eclogite facies metamorphism occurred at ca. 485 Ma. Our detrital zircon geochronology also indicates that a widespread metasedimentary unit in the region was deposited between ca. 1200 and ca. 960 Ma, prior to the onset of a rift-drift event at ca. 750 Ma. Based on regional geologic constraints and the magmatic history, we propose the following tectonic history: (1) the paleo-Qilian Ocean bound the combined North Tarim-North China craton to the south (present-day coordinates) in the Mesoproterozoic(2) the paleo-Qilian Ocean closed between 900 and 820 Ma following the collision of North Tarim-North China craton and the South Tarim-Qaidam-Kunlun continent(3) the younger Qilian Ocean opened at ca. 775 Ma along the previous suture trace of the paleo-Qilian Ocean as a marginal sea within southern Laurasiaand (4) this ocean closed by ca. 445-440 Ma as a result of collision between the Tarim-North China cratons and the Qaidam-Kunlun continent along a south-dipping subduction system.
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