Downward rejuvenation of the continental lower crust beneath the southeastern North China Craton

Xianquan Ping*, Jianping Zheng, Qing Xiong, W. L. Griffin, Chunmei Yu, Yuping Su

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Felsic to mafic granulite xenoliths and zircon xenocrysts from the Cenozoic (~1 Ma) Nushan basalts were analyzed to construct a lower-crustal column illustrating the fine structure and evolution of the deep crust beneath the southeastern North China Craton. Felsic granulites, sampled from the lowermost middle to the upper lower crust have a calculated Vp of 6.32 km/s. Relict magmatic zircons from them yield an upper intercept age of 2716 ± 32 Ma and depleted-mantle Hf model ages (TDM) of 3.1–2.9 Ga. Metamorphic zircons with ages of ca. 2100 Ma have initial 176Hf/177Hf ratios similar to the magmatic ones, implying in situ recrystallization of the older zircons. The intermediate granulites with Paleoproterozoic ages (2.1–1.9 Ga; whole-rock Nd TCHUR = 3.4 Ga and zircon Hf TDM = 3.1–2.8 Ga; Huang et al., 2004; Zheng et al., 2012) have a calculated Vp of 6.53 km/s, being considered that they underlie the felsic granulites. The lowermost crust is represented by mafic granulites (Vp = 6.86 km/s). With the exception of three inherited zircons from the mafic granulites, which yielded an upper intercept age of 2455 Ma and TDM of ca. 2.7 Ga, most zircons formed in the late Mesozoic (ca. 115 Ma). Zircon xenocrysts have concordant ages, including the Neoproterozoic, early Paleozoic, late Paleozoic, early Mesozoic and Cenozoic. Our data, integrated with published data, suggest that the lower crust is younger at the bottom and dominantly composed of felsic, intermediate and mafic granulites. This trend reflects the vertical accretion of the crust, including the addition of juvenile material during the Mesoarchean and Neoarchean, and repeated reworking during the Neoarchean, Paleoproterozoic and late Mesozoic. The Neoproterozoic, Paleozoic and early Mesozoic zircon xenocrysts may record the subduction events between the craton and the Yangtze Block, which also affected the nature of the lower crust beneath the southeastern part of the craton.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-228
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jan 2019


  • Granulite xenolith
  • U-Pb ages
  • Hf isotopes
  • Continental lower crust
  • Downward rejuvenation
  • Southeastern North China Craton


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