The age and tectonic environment of the rhyolitic rocks on the western side of Wuyi Mountain, South China

LiangShu S. Shu*, Ping Deng, JinHai H. Yu, YanBin B. Wang, ShaoYong Y. Jiang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

103 Citations (Scopus)


During the geological survey of the metamorphic rocks in Xingning-Wuhua region on the western side of Wuyi Mountain, South China, we discovered the Neoproterozoic rhyolite and rhyolitic greywacke for the first time that outcrop in the Proterozoic metamorphic rocks near Jingnan Town of Xingning County, eastern Guangdong Province. A systematic research on petrology, geochemistry and geochronology of rhyolitic rocks was conducted to understand their tectonic setting and formation age. The Jingnan rhyolite is interbedded with a coeval greywacke, with a total thickness of 60 m; both rhyolite and greywacke display a similar folding and metamorphic pattern. Meta-rhyolite consists of groundmass and phenocrystals including sanidine, orthoclase, and quartz with distinct undulose extinction; the groundmass has been re-crystallized into fine-grain feldspar, quartz and sericite aggregation. Meta-greywacke is composed of crystallinoclastic grains (sanidine, orthoclase, quartz and oligoclase) and clay groundmass. Zircon grains used for the SHRIMP U-Pb analysis are light brown-colored and euhedral or sub-euhedral. Dating data suggest two age groups; eight grains of magma-type zircon with an idiomorphic form yield an age of 972 ± 8 Ma, and the other seven weakly corroded grains of zircon with euhedral to subeuhedral shape construct an average age of 1097 ± 11 Ma, which were captured from older rocks by an uplifting magma, implying that a late Mesoproterozoic basement exists in the Nanling region. In addition, one Paleoproterozoic age, 2035 ± 11 Ma, is obtained from a rounded detrital zircon, indicating that a Paleoproterozoic thermal event took place in the South China. Geochemically, the Jingnan rhyolitic rocks are characterized by high K2O content, intermediate Al2 O3 content, with the ACNK value 0.98 - 1.11, and belonging to high-K alkaline series. They are rich in ΣREE, Rb, Th and Ce, depleted in Ba, Sr, Eu, Ti, P and Nb-Ta, and with moderate negative Eu and Sr anomalies. These features indicate that the Jingnan volcanic rocks have an affinity of continental arc that is similar to those of acid volcanic rocks in the SE-China Coastal Region, in other words, a Neoproterozoic tectono-magma event might have taken place in the western Wuyi region, leading to an eruption of high-K calc-alkaline granitic magma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1053-1063
Number of pages11
JournalScience in China, Series D: Earth Sciences
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Calc-alkaline series
  • Early stage of Neoproterozoic
  • Rhyolite
  • South China
  • Western Wuyi Mountain


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