Early Mesozoic deep-crust reworking beneath the central Lhasa terrane (South Tibet): evidence from intermediate gneiss xenoliths in granites

Xiang Zhou, Jian-Ping Zheng, Qing Xiong, Jing-Sui Yang, Yaun-Bao Wu, Jun-Hong Zhao, William L. Griffin, Hong-Kun Dai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Understanding the rheological behavior of the Tibetan Plateau and its response to geodynamic processes requires a clear knowledge of the composition, evolution and lithological properties of the deep crust. Here we present U–Pb–Hf isotopes of zircons, bulk-rock geochemistry and mineral compositions for seven intermediate gneiss xenoliths and their host Early Mesozoic granites (205 ± 6 Ma) in the central Lhasa terrane to probe the deep crust beneath Southern Tibet. The xenoliths contain plagioclase, amphibole, titanite, allanite, quartz, biotite and muscovite, with accessory Fe–Ti oxides, apatite and zircon. Bulk-rock and mineral geochemistry suggests that these xenoliths have a magmatic origin and experienced deformation and amphibolite-facies metamorphism (equilibration at pressures of 0.46–0.83 GPa and temperatures of ~ 650 °C), before they were captured by the host granite at ~ 205 Ma. Zircons in these xenoliths show complex microstructures, including inherited cores, magmatic or metamorphic bands, and high U–Th hydrothermal rims. Inherited zircon cores record U–Pb ages from 2277 Ma to 517 Ma. Igneous zircons show a range of concordant U–Pb ages, suggesting a protracted magmatism from 236 Ma to 203 Ma. Metamorphic zircon zones record the timing of amphibolite-facies metamorphism from 224 to 192 Ma, while the high U–Th hydrothermal rims show a subsequent fluid activity until ~ 150 Ma. Unradiogenic Hf isotopic compositions of both xenoliths and host granites [xenolith εHf(t) = − 11.2 to 0; host granite εHf(t) = − 17.3 to − 3.3] indicate that the Early Mesozoic deep crust in the central Lhasa terrane originated mainly from ancient (i.e., Proterozoic) crust, with little or no interaction with juvenile magmas. This study suggests a possible continental differentiation mechanism during crustal reworking; progressive melting may initiate from the lower mafic crust (at ca. 236 Ma) and gradually migrate into the sediment-rich upper crust (until ca. 203 Ma). The reworking results in the transition from small fluxes of intermediate magmas to voluminous peraluminous S-type granite in a convergent depth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-239
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017


  • gneiss xenolith
  • deep crustal reworking
  • early Mesozoic
  • central Lhasa terrane
  • South Tibet


Dive into the research topics of 'Early Mesozoic deep-crust reworking beneath the central Lhasa terrane (South Tibet): evidence from intermediate gneiss xenoliths in granites'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this