Petrogenesis of Archean TTGs and potassic granites in the southern Yangtze Block: Constraints on the early formation of the Yangtze Block

Tianyu Zhao, Jing Li, Guichun Liu, Peter A. Cawood, Jian Wei Zi, Kai Wang, Qinglai Feng, Shaobin Hu, Wentao Zeng, Hu Zhang

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The southern Yangtze is underlain by Mesoarchean igneous rocks that were emplaced in two pulses, including trondhjemites at ca. 3092–3071 Ma followed by potassic granites at 2920 Ma. These represent the oldest TTG suites identified in the southern Yangtze and the oldest potassic granites in the entire Yangtze Block. Hf isotopic analysis reveals εHf(t) values of −2.49–7.49 and Hf crustal model ages (TDMC) of 3601–3000 Ma for zircons from the trondhjemites, whereas those from the potassic granites show εHf(t) values of −1.79–4.18 and TDMC ages of 3453–3043 Ma. The trondhjemites have high SiO2, Mg# and low Al2O3 and K2O/Na2O, and are highly evolved with low Ni, Cr and Co. The trondhjemites are characterized by low Sr/Y, Eu/Gd and (La/Yb)N, and high Y and HREE, typical of high-HREE and low-pressure TTGs. Their geochemical and isotopic compositions indicate that they are derived from melting of juvenile mafic crust with little contribution from older crustal materials, consistent with a plagioclase-bearing basaltic source. The multielement patterns of potassic granites are similar to that of the trondhjemites, albeit with lower HREE and Y contents. Their high K2O values, strongly fractionated REE patterns and low Y contents indicate the presence of garnet and/or amphibole as residual phases in the source region, which indicates they formed at higher pressure than the trondhjemites. The isotopic and geochemical data imply that the formation of the potassic granites could be related to reworking of older TTGs. The increasing K2O/Na2O of the 3092–3071 Ma trondhjemites to potassic 2920 Ma granites corresponds with stabilization, maturation and thickening of the Archean continental crust in the southern Yangtze. The geochemical data of the TTGs in the Kunming region show important differences from that of contemporaneous TTGs from the Kongling Complex, suggesting that southern Yangtze is composed by an independent old nucleus, which is exotic to the northern Yangtze. A synthesis of petrogenesis, geochronology, geochemistry and isotope data of Archean granites of the Yangtze Block provides important insights into the architecture of its Archean crust. We propose that the Yangtze Block can be subdivided into discrete northwestern, northeastern and southern domains, but which are all affected by late Paleoproterozoic tectonothermal events, suggesting that they had been assembled together by then to form the united Yangtze Block.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105848
Number of pages14
JournalPrecambrian Research
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020


  • Cuoke Complex
  • Neoarchean basement
  • Potassic granites
  • TTG
  • Yangtze Block

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