Heterogeneous sources of the Triassic granitoid plutons in the southern Qinling orogen: An E-W tectonic division in central China

Xianquan Ping, Jianping Zheng*, Junhong Zhao, Huayun Tang, W. L. Griffin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


The Qinling orogen is an important orogenic belt formed by the collision between the North and South China blocks along the Mianlue suture during the Triassic. The orogen is customarily divided into the western and eastern Qinling terranes. However, the boundary has long been a matter of debate. There are many Triassic granitoid plutons in the orogen, especially in South Qinling, along the southern part of the Shangdan suture. Systematic analysis of U-Pb ages and Hf isotopes in zircons frxom six granitoid plutons, including Guangtoushan, Gaoqiaopu, Xiba, Laocheng, Dongjiangkou, and Zhashui from west to east, allows us to trace their formation ages and source regions. All plutons yield ages that vary only from 218 to 211 Ma. However, zircon Hf-isotope data for these Triassic plutons cluster in two distinct groups. Granitoids from the western segment (i.e., Guangtoushan, Gaoqiaopu, and Xiba) of the South Qinling belt have negative εHf(t) values (-20.9 to -5.2) and relatively old two-stage Hf model ages (1.58 to 2.57 Ga). In contrast, those from the eastern segment (i.e., Laocheng, Dongjiangkou, and Zhashui) show higher εHf(t) values (-5.4 to +6.8) and younger two-stage Hf model ages (0.82 to 1.60 Ga). Integrating these analyses with published Sr-Nd-Pb-Hf isotopic data, we suggest that the division between the western and eastern South Qinling segments is located near the Taibai-Chenggu line, between the Baoji-Chengdu railway and 108°E longitude. The integrated data suggest that the western South Qinling segment separated from the North China block during the Paleoproterozoic and early Mesoproterozoic and then switched into continental convergence with the eastern South Qinling segment (northern margin of the Yangtze block) during the late Mesoproterozoic to early Neoproterozoic; finally, the two segments amalgamated during the late Neoproterozoic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)396-416
Number of pages21
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2013


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