Metamorphism of basement rocks in the Central Zone of the North China Craton: Implications for paleoproterozoic tectonic evolution

Guochun Zhao, Peter A. Cawood, Simon A. Wilde, Min Sun, Liangzhao Lu

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603 Citations (Scopus)


Lithological, structural, metamorphic and geochronological data for the North China Craton enable its division into the Western and Eastern Blocks of Archean to Paleoproterozoic age separated by a north-south trending Paleoproterozoic orogenic belt: the Central Zone. The Central Zone is divisible into a series of low- to medium-grade granite-greenstone belts and high-grade metamorphic terrains containing reworked Archean material and late Archean to Paleoproterozoic juvenile igneous and sedimentary rocks which developed in intra-continental magmatic arc and intra-arc basin environments bordering the western margin of the Eastern Block. The basement rocks from the Central Zone, regardless of their protolith age, composition and metamorphic grade, record a metamorphic history characterized by nearly isothermal decompression (M2) and then retrogressive cooling (M3) following peak metamorphism (M1). The decompression textures are represented by worm-like hypersthene + plagioclase symplectites or clinopyroxene + orthopyroxene + plagioclase coronas in mafic granulites, hornblende/cummingtonite + plagioclase symplectites in amphibolites, and cordierite coronas and cordierite + orthopyroxene or cordierite + spinel symplectites in pelitic rocks. The cooling textures are shown by hornblende + plagioclase symplectites in mafic granulites, chlorite + epidote + mica retrogressive rims around garnet or hornblende grains in amphibolites, and biotite + K-feldspar ± muscovite ± magnetite replacing garnet, cordierite and sillimanite in pelitic gneisses. These textural relations and their P-T estimates define near-isothermal decompressional clockwise P-T paths, which, in combination with lithological, structural and geochronological constraints, are in accord with collision between the Eastern and Western Blocks of the North China Craton at ~1.8 Ga. (C) Elsevier Science B.V.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-88
Number of pages34
JournalPrecambrian Research
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Continental collision
  • Metamorphism
  • North China Craton
  • P-T paths
  • Tectonothermal evolution

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