Zircon U-Pb age, trace element, and Hf isotopic constrains on the origin and evolution of the Emeishan Large Igneous Province

Hu Huang, Peter A. Cawood, Ming Cai Hou, Fu Hao Xiong, Shi Jun Ni, Min Deng, Han Ting Zhong, Chen Chen Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The late Permian to Early Triassic volcano-sedimentary succession associated with the Emeishan Large Igneous Province (LIP) is well preserved in the Binchuan area, Southwest China. This paper presents coupled zircon U-Pb age, trace element, and Hf isotope analyses from the succession, together with whole-rock geochemical compositions, to reveal the origin and evolution of volcanic rocks of the LIP. Zircons from the matrix and a rhyolite clast in the Lower Triassic conglomerate bed yield identical U-Pb ages of ca. 260 Ma and have geochemical affinities to those crystallized from within-plate magmas. These features, combined with the dominance of rhyolite clasts from this horizon, imply a source related to Emeishan silicic volcanic rocks. Zircons from silicic ignimbrite and rhyolite in the upper volcanic succession of the LIP display high εHf(t) values (+4.2 to +12.9), low Th/Nb and U/Yb ratios, and similar εNd(t) values (−0.17 to +0.47) to high-Ti basalts. These chemical and isotopic characteristics are consistent with the eroded silicic volcanic rocks, indicating that the late-stage silicic volcanic rocks were generated by fractionation of high-Ti basaltic magmas without significant crustal contamination. Although the late Permian zircons from the lower and upper low-Ti basalt successions all show arc-like geochemical characteristics with high Th/Nb and U/Yb ratios, the former has much lower εHf(t) values (−11.7 to −3.6) than the latter (+4.4 to +11.6), and the zircons from the upper low-Ti basalt succession show positive εHf(t) values similar to the studied rhyolites. Samples from the lower low-Ti basalt succession have relatively higher εNd(t) values (−2.66 to +3.38) than those from the upper low-Ti basalt succession (−4.48 to −0.82). These geochemical features indicate the early-stage low-Ti basalts may be mainly derived from a previously enriched subcontinental mantle lithosphere, whereas the late-stage low-Ti basalts may be generated from the increasing involvement of asthenospheric mantle source with crustal contamination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)535-550
Number of pages16
JournalGondwana Research
Publication statusPublished - May 2022


  • Clastic rocks
  • Emeishan Large Igneous Province
  • Volcanic rocks
  • Zircons

Cite this