Zircon U-Pb, geochemical and isotopic constraints on the age and origin of A- and I-type granites and gabbro-diorites from NW Iran

Hadi Shafaii Moghadam*, Qiu-Li Li, William L. Griffin, Robert J. Stern, Massimo Chiaradia, Orhan Karsli, Ghasem Ghorbani, S. Y. O'Reilly, Mehrdad Pourmohsen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The continental crust of NW Iran is intruded by Late Cretaceous I-type granites and gabbro-diorites as well as Paleocene A-type granites. SIMS and LA-ICPMS U-Pb analyses of zircons yield ages of 100–92 Ma (Late Cretaceous) for I-type granites and gabbro-diorites and 61–63 Ma (Paleocene) for A-type granites. Late Cretaceous gabbro-diorites (including mafic microgranular enclaves; MMEs) from NW Iran show variably evolved signatures. They show depletion in Nb and Ta on N-MORB-normalized trace-element spider-diagrams and have high Th/Yb ratios, suggesting their precursor magmas were generated in a subduction-related environment. Gabbro-diorites have variable zircon εHf(t) values of +1.2 to +8, δ18O of 6.4 to 7.4‰ and bulk rock εNd(t) of −1.4 to ~ +4.9. The geochemical and isotopic data attest to melting of subcontinental lithospheric mantle (SCLM) to generate near-primitive gabbros with radiogenic Nd isotopes (εNd(t) = ~ +4.9) and high Nb/Ta and Zr/Hf ratios, similar to mantle melts (Nb/Ta ~ 17 and Zr/Hf ~ 38). These mafic melts underwent further fractionation and mixing with crustal melts to generate Late Cretaceous evolved gabbro-diorites.

Geochemical data for I-type granites indicate both Nb-Ta negative and positive anomalies along with enrichment in light REEs. These rocks are peraluminous and have variable bulk-rock εNd(t) (−1.4 to +1.3), zircon εHf(t) (+2.8 to +10.4) and δ18O (4.7–7.3‰) values, but radiogenic bulk rock Pb isotopes. The geochemical and isotopic signatures of these granites suggest interaction of mantle-derived mafic magmas (similar to near-primitive Oshnavieh gabbros) with middle-upper crust through assimilation-fractional crystallization (AFC) to produce Late Cretaceous I-type granites.

Paleocene A-type granites have distinctive geochemical features compared to I-type granitoids, including enrichment in Nb-Ta, high bulk rock εNd(t) (+3.3 to +3.9) and zircon εHf(t) (+5.1 − +9.9) values. Alkaline granites are ferroan; they have low MgO, CaO, Sr, Ba and Eu concentrations and high total Fe2O3, K2O, Na2O, Al2O3, Ga, Zr, Nb-Ta, Th and rare earth element (REE) abundances and Ga/Al ratios. These rocks might be related to fractionation of a melt derived from a sub-continental lithospheric mantle, but which interacted with asthenosphere-derived melts.

We suggest that subduction initiation and the resultant slab roll-back caused extreme extension in the overlying Iranian plate, induced convection in the mantle wedge and led to the decompression melting of SCLM. Rising mantle-derived magmas assimilated middle-upper crustal rocks. Fractionating mantle-derived magmas and contamination with crustal components produced evolved gabbro-diorites and I-type granites. In contrast, asthenospheric upwelling during the Paleocene provided heat for melting and interaction with SCLM to generate the precursor melts to the A-type granites.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105688
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2020


  • Granitoids
  • Late cretaceous
  • Subduction initiation
  • Extension
  • Iran


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