Jurassic-Cretaceous tectonic evolution of Southeast China: geochronological and geochemical constraints of Yanshanian granitoids

Pengju Li, Xinqi Yu*, Hongying Li, Junting Qiu, Xiang Zhou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


We report results of laser ablation inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry-based dating, as well as the analysis of bulk-rock major and trace elements, and Sr-Nd isotopes to address the genesis and tectonic settings of the Yanshanian granitoids in neighbouring sections of Zhejiang, Jiangxi, and Anhui provinces (the WZG region) within the Yangtze block. Geochronological results indicate that intense magmatic activity took place during Jurassic to Cretaceous time in the WZG region. Three episodes can be clearly distinguished by their bulk-rock geochemistry. (1) Early-Middle Jurassic granitoids (180-170 Ma) have high Sr and low Yb content, high εNd(t) and low initial 87Sr/86Sr ratios, and weakly negative Eu anomalies. These granitoids are strongly enriched with LREE, Rb, K, and Th but are depleted of HREE, Nb, and Ta. (2) Late Jurassic to Early Cretaceous granitoids (165-140 Ma) have relatively low Sr and low Yb contents, as well as low εNd(t) and high initial 87Sr/86Sr ratios, with characteristics similar to those of the Early-Middle Jurassic granitoids in terms of the rare earth element and trace element patterns. (3) Early Cretaceous granitoids (140-120 Ma) have extremely low Sr and high Yb concentrations, as well as high SiO2 but low MgO, CaO, and Al 2O3 content, with strong negative anomalies in Eu, Ba, Sr, P, and Ti. These characteristics indicate that the WZG Jurassic granitoids were related to northwestward subduction of the Izanagi plate, whereas the Early Cretaceous granitoids formed in a within-plate extensional setting. The time of transition between the two tectonic environments can be constrained to ∼140 Ma. This tectonic transition may be attributed to progressive slab roll-back of the Izanagi plate. The presence of two A-type granite belts in the WZG region probably reflects lithospheric thinning. The NE trend of the A-type granite belts indicates that this extension in Southeast China was controlled by underflow of the Izanagi plate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1202-1219
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Geology Review
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jul 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Izanagi plate
  • lithospheric thinning
  • Mesozoic
  • Southeast China
  • tectonic evolution
  • WZG region
  • Yanshanian granitoids
  • zircon U-Pb age


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