Cretaceous Kuching accretionary orogenesis in Malaysia Sarawak: Geochronological and geochemical constraints from mafic and sedimentary rocks

Yuejun Wang, Aimei Zhang, Xin Qian, Junaidi Bin Asis, Qinglai Feng, Chengshi Gan, Yuzhi Zhang, Peter A. Cawood, Weitao Wang, Peizhen Zhang

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19 Citations (Scopus)


The Kuching zone, the most important tectonic boundary in Borneo, separates the Sibu zone in Central Sarawak from the Schwaner Mountains granitoids in SW Borneo. It potentially provides a key window for probing the paleo-Pacific subduction process. This paper presents new geochronological, elemental and Sr[sbnd]Nd isotopic data for the Pakong-Serabang and Serian mafic rocks, along with detrital zircon U[sbnd]Pb age-data for the associated greywacke in the Sarawak Kuching zone. These mafic rocks are dated at ~77–98 Ma and show distinctive geochemical signatures. The Pakong- Serabang mafic rocks are subalkaline basalt with SiO2 = 46.22–51.75 wt%, TiO2 = 0.49–2.42 wt% and MgO = 6.30–10.54 wt%. They exhibit MORB-like PM-normalized patterns with depletion in LILEs and HFSEs. Their 87Sr/86Sr(t) and εNd(t) range from 0.70285 to 0.70728 and + 7.4 to +9.4, respectively, originating from a slab-derived fluid-modified MORB-like source. The late Cretaceous Serian Volcanics are marked by SiO2 of 51.52–57.90 wt%, MgO of 3.50–5.06 wt% with mg-number = 36–46 and show arc-like geochemical signatures with (Nb/La)n = 0.37–0.47. They have 87Sr/86Sr(t) = 0.71188–0.71417 and εNd(t) = −11.1 ~ −7.3, and were derived from a mantle wedge with the input of recycled sedimentary components. The detrital zircon grains from the associated sandstones give similar age-spectra to those in East Peninsular Malaysia and SE Vietnam. Our data revealed a Cretaceous Kuching trench-arc system. In combination with other geological observations, it is concluded that NW Borneo to the southwest of the Sarawak Kuching zone was a part of the Indochina/East Peninsular Malaysia fragment in SE Asia prior to the Jurassic and re-activated as an active continental margin in the Cretaceous. Widespread accretionary orogenesis along the Kuching zone likely initiated at or before the early Cretaceous and ended no earlier than the latest Cretaceous in response to the westward subduction of the paleo-Pacific slab.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106425
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021


  • Cretaceous accretionary orogenesis
  • Cretaceous mafic rocks
  • Kuching trench-arc system
  • Meta-sandstone
  • NW Borneo
  • Paleo-Pacific subduction

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