Early crustal evolution in the western yangtze block

Evidence from U-Pb and Lu-Hf isotopes on detrital zircons from sedimentary rocks

Li Juan Wang*, Jin Hai Yu, W. L. Griffin, S. Y. O'Reilly

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

160 Citations (Scopus)


In situ U-Pb and Lu-Hf data on detrital zircons from Paleoto Neoproterozoic sediments have been used to gain a clearer picture of the regional tectonic background and crustal evolution in the western part of the Yangtze Block. The youngest concordant zircon ages for sedimentary units suggest maximum depositional ages of 1014Ma for the Kunyang Group, 750-649Ma for the Sinian sequences, and 525Ma for the Cambrian sediments. The Yinmin Formation, previously assigned to the middle part of the Kunyang Group, was actually deposited after 1667Ma and contains zircons whose ages are dominantly from late Archean to Paleoproterozoic (2.8-2.7Ga, 2.5-2.3Ga and ~1.85Ga). The Heishantou Formation in the lower part of the Kunyang Group has two major age populations of ~1.0Ga and 1.8-1.6Ga. The Sinian and Cambrian sedimentary rocks are dominated by Neoproterozoic zircons with age peaks at ~760Ma and ~825Ma, consistent with the ages of widespread igneous rocks around the Yangtze Block. The Lu-Hf isotope data suggest that a significant juvenile input took place during Archean and Neoproterozoic times, respectively, while crustal reworking was dominant during the Paleoproterozoic time. The Archean-Paleoproterozoic detritus is isotopically distinct from the Archean-Paleoproterozoic basement exposed in the northern part of the Yangtze Block, suggesting that a subarea of old crust lies beneath the young sediments covering the craton. The presence of abundant ~1.85Ga zircons suggests that the Yangtze Block was probably part of the Columbia supercontinent during Paleoproterozoic time. Comparisons to the other parts of Columbia suggest that the Yangtze Block could have been adjacent to the North China Craton and/or Australia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)368-385
Number of pages18
JournalPrecambrian Research
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012


  • Yangtze Block
  • Crustal evolution
  • Zircon U–Pb ages
  • Zircon Hf isotopes
  • Zircon trace elements

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