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Durham University

Department of Earth Sciences


Publication details for Professor Yaoling Niu

Chen, Shuo, Niu, Yaoling & Xue, Qiqi (2018). Syn-collisional felsic magmatism and continental crust growth: A case study from the North Qilian Orogenic Belt at the northern margin of the Tibetan Plateau. Lithos 308-309: 53-64.

Author(s) from Durham


The abundant syn-collisional granitoids produced and preserved at the northern Tibetan Plateau margin provide a prime case for studying the felsic magmatism as well as continental crust growth in response to continental collision. Here we present the results from a systematic study of the syn-collisional granitoids and their mafic magmatic enclaves (MMEs) in the Laohushan (LHS) and Machangshan (MCS) plutons from the North Qilian Orogenic Belt (NQOB). Two types of MMEs from the LHS pluton exhibit identical crystallization age (~430 Ma) and bulk-rock isotopic compositions to their host granitoids, indicating their genetic link. The phase equilibrium constraints and pressure estimates for amphiboles from the LHS pluton together with the whole rock data suggest that the two types of MMEs represent two evolution products of the same hydrous andesitic magmas. In combination with the data on NQOB syn-collisional granitoids elsewhere, we suggest that the syn-collisional granitoids in the NQOB are material evidence of melting of ocean crust and sediment. The remarkable compositional similarity between the LHS granitoids and the model bulk continental crust in terms of major elements, trace elements, and some key element ratios indicates that the syn-collisional magmatism in the NQOB contributes to net continental crust growth, and that the way of continental crust growth in the Phanerozoic through syn-collisional felsic magmatism (production and preservation) is a straightforward process without the need of petrologically and physically complex processes.