Geochemical characteristics of Cretaceous basaltic rocks in South China and constraints on Pacific plate subduction

Weifeng Chen, Peirong Chen*, Xisheng Xu, Min Zhang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Middle-Late Cretaceous Basaltic rocks (85-110 Ma) are distributed in the contemporaneous downfaulted red basins and volcanic-sedimentary basins in South China (including Hunan, Jiangxi, Guangdong, Fujian, Zhejiang provinces). They are geographically divided into two groups delimited by Wuyishan Range, namely the west area basaltic rocks (WABs) distributing over the west of Wuyishan Range and the east area basaltic rocks (EABs) distributing over the east of Wuyishan Range, and observed having distinct geochemical and isotopic characters. WABs are characterized by relatively low in K2O (0.44%-3.17%), alkalis (K2O+Na2O= 3.27%-6.80%) and Al2O3 (13.08%-16.75%) contents, but high in MgO (5.13%-8.78%) and TiO2 (1.12%-3.35%) contents. WABs are similar to ocean-island basalts (OIB) or intraplate basalts on trace elements and isotopes: no negative Nb and Ta anomalies, relatively low ∑REE (74.66 μg/g - 287.72 μg/g) and La N/YbN (4.49-22.10), low (87Sr/ 86Sr)i (average ratio is 0.704679), high εNd(f) (-1.81-8.00). In contrast, EABs display relatively high in K2O (0.55%-4.86%), alkalis (K2O+Na2O=2.95%- 7.55%) and Al2O3 (15.80%-21.10%) contents, but low in MgO (2.63%-6.28%) and TiO2 (1.19%-1.86%) contents, strong negative Nb and Ta anomalies, enrichment in LILE (K, Rb, Ba and Th), relatively high ∑REE (79.68 μg/g-327.61 μg/g) and LaN/YbN (5.25-26.37), high (87Sr/86Sr)i (average ratio is 0.707658) and negative εNd(f) (-8.50-1.22), similar to that of IAB (island arc basalts) or CAB (continental arc basalts). Accordingly, WABs were probably generated under continental rifting tectonic setting related to asthenosphere upwelling, and hence their source was characterized by mixing between EM II with DM. Source of EABs may be enriched lithoshperic mantle which had ever undergone the metasomatism of fluid/melt derived from the subducted Pacific plate.This indicates that subduction of a paleo-Pacific plate (Kula) beneath the Eurasian continent had ever occurred during the late Mesozoic period, but the metasomatism resulted from the subduction was only limited to the east of Wuyishan Range. Copyright by Science in China Press 2005.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2104-2117
Number of pages14
JournalScience in China, Series D: Earth Sciences
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Basalt
  • Cretaceous basins
  • Imprint of subducted plate
  • Rifting
  • South China


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