Tracking the birth and growth of Cimmeria: geochronology and origins of intrusive rocks from NW Iran

Hadi Shafaii Moghadam*, Qiu-li Li, William L. Griffin, Orhan Karsli, Jose F. Santos, C. J. Ottley, Ghasem Ghorbani, Suzanne Y. O'Reilly

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


New geochronological and geochemical data for Late Neoproterozoic to Mesozoic intrusive rocks from NW Iran define major regional magmatic episodes and track the birth and growth of one of the Cimmerian microcontinents: the Persian block.

After the final accretion of the Gondwanan terranes, the subduction of the Prototethyan Ocean beneath NW Gondwana during the Late Neoproterozoic was the trigger for high magmatic fluxes and the emplacement of isotopically diverse arc-related intrusions in NW Gondwana. The Late Neoproterozoic rocks of NW Iran belong to this magmatic event which includes intrusions with highly variable εHf(t) values. This magmatism continued until a magmatic lull during the Ordovician, which led to the erosion of the Neoproterozoic arc, and then was followed by a rifting event which controlled the opening of Paleotethys. In addition, it is supposed that a prolonged pulse of rift magmatism in Persia lasted from Devonian-Carboniferous to Early Permian time. These magmatic events are geographically restricted and are mostly recorded from NW Iran, although there is some evidence for these magmatic events in other segments of Iran. The Jurassic rocks of NW Iran are interpreted to be the along-strike equivalents of a Mesozoic magmatic belt (the Sanandaj-Sirjan Zone; SaSZ) toward the NW. Magmatic rocks from the SaSZ show pulsed magmatism, with high-flux events at both ~176–160 Ma and ~130 Ma. The SaSZ magmatic rocks are suggested to be formed along a continental arc but a rift setting is also considered for the formation of the SaSZ rocks based on the plume-related geochemical signatures. The arc signatures are represented by Nb-Ta depletion in the highly contaminated (by upper continental crust) plutonic rocks whereas the plume-related signature of less-contaminated melts is manifested by enrichment in Nb-Ta and high εHf(t) values, with peaks at +0.6 and +11.2. All these magmatic pulses led to pre-Cimmerian continental growth and reworking during the Late Neoproterozoic, rifting and detachment of the Cimmerian blocks from Gondwana in Mid-Late Paleozoic time and further crustal growth and reworking of Cimmeria during the Mesozoic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)188-206
Number of pages19
JournalGondwana Research
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020


  • Intrusive rocks
  • Zircon U-Pb age
  • Geochemistry
  • Cimmeria
  • Iran


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