Formation of Cretaceous Cordilleran and post-orogenic granites and their microgranular enclaves from the Dalat zone, Southern Vietnam

tectonic implications for the evolution of Southeast Asia

J. Gregory Shellnutt*, Ching Ying Lan, Trinh Van Long, Tadashi Usuki, Huai Jen Yang, Stanley A. Mertzman, Yoshi Iizuka, Sun Lin Chung, Kuo Lung Wang, Wen Yu Hsu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Citations (Scopus)


Cordilleran-type batholiths are useful in understanding the duration, cyclicity and tectonic evolution of continental margins. The Dalat zone of southern Vietnam preserves evidence of Late Mesozoic convergent zone magmatism superimposed on Precambrian rocks of the Indochina Block. The Dinhquan, Deoca and Ankroet plutons and their enclaves indicate that the Dalat zone transitioned from an active continental margin producing Cordilleran-type batholiths to highly extended crust producing within-plate plutons. The Deoca and Dinhquan plutons are compositionally similar to Cordilleran I-type granitic rocks and yield mean zircon U/Pb ages between 118±1.4Ma and 115±1.2Ma. Their Sr-Nd whole rock isotopes (ISr=0.7044 to 0.7062; εNd(T)=-2.4 to +0.2) and zircon Hf isotopes (εHf(T)=+8.2±1.2 and+6.4±0.9) indicate that they were derived by mixing between a mantle component and an enriched component (i.e. GLOSS). The Ankroet pluton is chemically similar to post-orogenic/within-plate granitic rocks and has a zircon U/Pb age of 87±1.6Ma. Geobarometric calculations indicate that amphibole within the Ankroet pluton crystallized at a depth of ~6kbar which is consistent with the somewhat more depleted Sr-Nd isotope (ISr=0.7017 to 0.7111; εNd(T)=-2.8 to +0.6) and variable εHf(T) compositions suggesting a stronger influence of crustal material in the parental magma. The compositional change of the Dalat zone granitic rocks during the middle to late Cretaceous indicates that the tectonic regime evolved from a continental arc environment to one of post-orogenic extension. The appearance of sporadic post-90Ma magmatism in the Dalat zone and along the eastern margin of Eurasian indicates that there was no subsequent orogenic event and the region was likely one of highly extended crust that facilitated the opening of the South China Sea during the latter half of the Cenozoic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-241
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Cretaceous
  • I-type granites
  • South Vietnam
  • Southeast Asia
  • Within-plate granites

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