Magmatism postdating the initiation of continental collision provides insight into the late stage evolution of orogenic belts including the composition of the contemporaneous underlying subcontinental mantle. The Awulale Mountains, in the heart of the Tianshan Orogen, display three types of postcollisional mafic magmatic rocks. (1) A medium to high K calc-alkaline mafic volcanic suite (∼280 Ma), which display low La/Yb ratios (2.2-11.8) and a wide range of e(open)Nd(t) values from +1.9 to +7.4. This suite of rocks was derived from melting of depleted metasomatized asthenospheric mantle followed by upper crustal contamination. (2) Mafic shoshonitic basalts (∼272 Ma), characterized by high La/Yb ratios (14.4-20.5) and more enriched isotope compositions (e(open)Nd(t)=+0.2 - +0.8). These rocks are considered to have been generated by melting of lithospheric mantle enriched by melts from the Tarim continental crust that was subducted beneath the Tianshan during final collisional suturing. (3) Mafic dikes (∼240 Ma), with geochemical and isotope compositions similiar to the ∼280 Ma basaltic rocks. This succession of postcollision mafic rock types suggests there were two stages of magma generation involving the sampling of different mantle sources. The first stage, which occurred in the early Permian, involved a shift from depleted asthenospheric sources to enriched lithospheric mantle. It was most likely triggered by the subduction of Tarim continental crust and thickening of the Tianshan lithospheric mantle. During the second stage, in the middle Triassic, there was a reversion to more asthenospheric sources, related to postcollision lithospheric thinning.
- Mantle evolving
- Tianshan Orogen