Differentiating continental and oceanic arc systems and retro-arc basins in the Jiangnan orogenic belt, South China

Jinlong Yao, Liangshu Shu, Peter A. Cawood, Guochun Zhao

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3 Citations (Scopus)


The Neoproterozoic Jiangnan orogenic belt records the accretion and collision between the Yangtze and Cathaysia blocks in South China. The orogen is divisible into three units: a northeastern domain (also referred to as the Huaiyu or Shuangxiwu domain), a central domain (Jiuling domain) and an undifferentiated southwestern domain. Detrital zircons from the oldest sequences (Shuangqiaoshan, Lengjiaxi, Fanjingshan and Sibao groups) in the central and southwest domains yield similar age spectra with major age populations at c. 875-820 Ma, along with minor Palaeo- to Mesoproterozoic and Archaean ages. The dominance of detrital ages close to the deposition ages of the units, along with juvenile zircon Hf isotopic compositions and arc-like whole-rock compositional data, indicate the sedimentary units accumulated adjacent to a convergent plate margin magmatic arc. The presence of Mesoproterozoic and older zircons, both as detritus in the units and as xenocrysts within igneous rocks displaying a subduction-related signature, along with the compositional data, place the magmatic arc along a continental margin. In the northeastern domain, the oldest coeval sequence (Shuangxiwu and Qigong groups) and arc igneous suites are dated at c. 970-850 Ma, and lack older detritus and xenocrysts, indicating they represent an accreted oceanic arc system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2001-2016
Number of pages16
JournalGeological Magazine
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


  • continental arc
  • detrital zircons
  • isotopes and whole-rock geochemistry
  • Jiangnan orogenic belt
  • oceanic arc
  • retro-arc basin

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