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Durham University

Department of Earth Sciences


Publication details for Professor Yaoling Niu

Hong, Di, Niu, Yaoling, Xiao, Yuanyuan, Sun, Pu, Kong, Juanjuan, Guo, Pengyuan, Shao, Fengli, Wang, Xiaohong, Duan, Meng, Xue, Qiqi, Gong, Hongmei & Chen, Shuo (2018). Origin of the Jurassic-cretaceous intraplate granitoids in Eastern China as a consequence of paleo-Pacific plate subduction. Lithos 322: 405-419.

Author(s) from Durham


Jurassic-Cretaceous granitoids are widespread in eastern continental China and have been considered by many as resulting from paleo-Pacific subduction. However, the actual mechanism of their petrogenesis remains speculative. In order to address this important problem and on the basis of our regional study, we hypothesized that the coastal granitoids may result directly from the paleo-Pacific plate subduction, whereas the widespread granitoids in the continental interiors ultimately result from dehydration of the paleo-Pacific slab stagnated in the mantle transition zone (Niu et al., 2015). Here, we present the very first study testing this hypothesis. We sampled 18 Jurassic-Cretaceous granitoid plutons along a ~ 1300 km long traverse parallel to the inferred paleo-Pacific subduction from the southeast coastline to the Xiaoqinling in the continental interiors and carried out a detailed study on these plutonic samples, including zircon UPb geochronology, bulk-rock major and trace element compositions and Sr-Nd-Pb-Hf isotopic characteristics. These plutons give varying zircon crystallization ages of ~146 to 100 Ma. They are mostly granitic and minor granodioritic, quartz monzonitic and syenitic in composition, enriched in large ion lithophile elements (LILEs), depleted in high field-strength elements (HFSEs) and have varying negative Sr and Eu anomalies. The plutons in the continental interiors show significant positive correlations of Nd (εNd (t) = −25.5 to −10.9) and Hf (εHf (t) = −31.5 to −11.3) isotopes with Pb isotopes (206Pb/204Pb (t) = 15.827 to 17.622), with the enriched endmember characterized by low εNd (t), εHf (t) and 206Pb/204Pb (t). The plutons towards the coastal region have relatively high εNd (t) (−9.0 to −5.2), εHf (t) (−11.2 to −4.1) and 206Pb/204Pb (t) (18.051 to 18.349). The coastal granitoids are best explained as resulting directly from subduction slab dehydration induced mantle wedge melting and resultant crustal anatexis, whereas the interior granitoids are best interpreted as resulting from mature crustal anataxis caused by basaltic magmatism associated with mantle lithosphere thinning, ultimately triggered by dehydration of paleo-Pacific slab stagnant in the mantle transition zone.