Silicic volcanic rocks generally constitute a minor, but key product to track the magmatic evolution in mafic rock dominated large igneous provinces (LIPs). However, for their generally late-stage nature of the silicic volcanic rocks they have a poor preservation potential due to extensive post-eruption erosion. We track the eroded volcanic rocks from the ∼260 Ma Emeishan LIP by analyzing the provenance of the LIP-derived sedimentary rocks. Sandstones from a cored succession of the Late Permian Longtan Formation in the northern Youjiang Basin are rich in volcanic rock fragments, and associated mudstones have low Al2O3/TiO2 ratios. Detrital zircon grains from the Longtan Formation display typical unimodal U–Pb age spectra with a prominent peak at ca. 260 Ma. These detrital zircons show an overall geochemical affinity akin to those crystallized from within-plate/anorogenic magmas. Such petrological and geochemical characteristics are consistent with a dominant source from the Emeishan volcanic rocks. Through the sampled succession, zircon grains of ∼260 Ma from the lower Longtan Formation generally display lower U/Yb (most < 0.5) and Th/Nb (most < 10) ratios and higher εHf(t) values (mostly in the range of +3 to +8) than those from the upper part. A similar sequential variation has also been observed in the Shaiwa Formation, which is an offshore time-equivalent unit to the Longtan Formation. These consistent temporal variations through the sedimentary successions in the Youjiang Basin are interpreted to reflect erosional unroofing of the Emeishan LIP during the Late Permian. These results, integrated with previous studies on the rhyolites and trachytes in Emeishan LIP, reveal a fractional crystallization dominated petrogenetic process with diminishing crustal assimilation for the late-stage silicic volcanism.
- Detrital zircon
- Emeishan large igneous province
- Late permian
- Youjiang basin