Early Paleozoic subduction processes of the Paleo-Asian Ocean: insights from geochronology and geochemistry of Paleozoic plutons in the Alxa Terrane

Qian Liu, Guochun Zhao*, Min Sun, Yigui Han, Paul R. Eizenhöfer, Wenzhu Hou, Xiaoran Zhang, Yanlin Zhu, Bo Wang, Dongxing Liu, Bing Xu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The Alxa Terrane is situated in a key area between the North China and Tarim cratons. Paleozoic magmatic records in this terrane place important constraints on the subduction processes of the southern Paleo-Asian Ocean. New data of zircon U-Pb ages and whole-rock elemental and isotopic data reveal two groups of intermediate to felsic plutons in the Alxa Terrane. One group consists of diorites and granitoids that were emplaced at ca. 460–440 Ma and characterized by lower Al2O3/TiO2 ratios and higher TiO2 contents, implying high temperature–low pressure crystallization conditions and a shallow source region. The second group is dominated by granitoids aged at ca. 420–407 Ma and displays high Sr and Ba, low Y and high rare earth elements, with very high Sr/Y ratios and mostly positive Eu anomalies. These characteristics imply low temperature–high pressure crystallization conditions and source regions at deep crustal levels where garnet is stable in the residual phase. Both of the two groups are mostly calc-alkaline to high-K calc-alkaline, depleted in Nb, Ta and Ti and enriched in Ba, K and Sr, indicative of an arc affinity most likely related to the southward subduction of the Paleo-Asian Ocean. Zircon εHf(t) and whole-rock εNd(t) values of these magmatic rocks decrease from 458 Ma to 440 Ma and increase from 417 Ma to 407 Ma, whereas whole-rock initial 87Sr/86Sr ratios display an opposite trend. Such an isotopic change suggests a tectonic switch from an advancing to a retreating subduction regime at ~ 407 Ma. Synthesized data from this and previous studies suggest that the 460–400 Ma magmatic arc in the Alxa Terrane represented the western extension of the Paleozoic arc belt on the northern margin of the North China Craton.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)546-560
Number of pages15
JournalLithos
Volume262
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Alxa Terrane
  • North China Craton
  • Paleozoic
  • Sr-Nd isotopes
  • Whole-rock geochemistry
  • Zircon U-Pb-Hf isotopes

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