Implication of Mesoproterozoic (∼1.4 Ga) magmatism within microcontinents along the southern Central Asian Orogenic Belt

Yu Yuan, Keqing Zong, Peter A. Cawood, Huai Cheng, Yuanyang Yu, Jingliang Guo, Yongsheng Liu, Zhaochu Hu, Wen Zhang, Ming Li

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The southern Central Asian Orogenic Belt contains numerous microcontinents including the Kazakhstan-Yili block, Central Tianshan Arc and Junggar block in the west, the Erguna, Xing'an, Songliao and Jiamusi-Khanka blocks in the east, bridging by the Tuva-Mongolia block, Beishan Orogenic Belt and Alax block in the central region. New geochemical and geochronological data from the microcontinental blocks within the southern Beishan Orogenic Belt provide new insight into the Precambrian crustal evolution of this region. Five granitoids from the Jiujing region yielded igneous zircon 206 Pb/ 238 U ages of 1450–1401 Ma, and zircon xenocrysts from late Paleozoic plutons in the Jiujing, Qiaowan, and Shibandun regions have 206 Pb/ 238 U ages that also cluster at ∼1.4 Ga. Those data suggest that crust of this age is widespread beneath the southern Beishan Orogenic Belt. The ∼1.4 Ga zircons display depleted Hf isotopic signatures (ε Hf(t) = 2.0–11.1) and show relatively young two-stage Hf model ages (1.9–1.4 Ga), indicating rapid reworking of juvenile mantle-derived materials. Integrating these results with similar geochronological data from the Kyrgyz North Tianshan, Yili block, Central Tianshan Arc, northern Alxa block and Xilinhot block, we propose that the CAOB incorporates an extensive assemblage of Mesoproterozoic (1450–1360 Ma) magmatism that can be traced over ca. 3000-km long a west-east trending belt. These Mesoproterozoic granitoids display distinct geochemical signatures (e.g., Ga/Al * 10,000 ranging from 1.46 to 3.88 and Zr + Nb + Ce + Y varying largely from 101 to 1066 ppm) and show a temporal progression from orogenic to anorogenic over a relatively short period. This suggests a tectonic setting that likely evolved from compressional to extensional environments during 1450–1360 Ma, perhaps resulting from slab roll back. We suggest that the 1450–1360 Ma magmatism along the southern CAOB corresponds with a transition from a compressional to extensional environment on the margin of the Nuna supercontinent.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)314-326
Number of pages13
JournalPrecambrian Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2019


  • Beishan Orogenic Belt
  • Central Asian Orogenic Belt
  • Mesoproterozoic
  • Microcontinent
  • Nuna/Columbia

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