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Durham University

Department of Earth Sciences


Publication details for Professor Yaoling Niu

Wei, Youqing, Zhao, Zhidan, Niu, Yaoling, Zhu, Di-Cheng, DePaolo, Donald J., Jing, Tianjing, Liu, Dong, Guan, Qi & Sheikh, Lawangin (2020). Geochemistry, detrital zircon geochronology and Hf isotope of the clastic rocks in southern Tibet: implications for the Jurassic-Cretaceous tectonic evolution of the Lhasa terrane. Gondwana Research 78: 41-57.

Author(s) from Durham


In order to reconstruct tectonic evolution history of the southern margin of Asia (i.e., Lhasa terrane) before the India-Asia collision, here we present a comprehensive study on the clastic rocks in the southern Lhasa terrane with new perspectives from sedimentary geochemistry, detrital zircon geochronology and Hf isotope. Clasts from the Jurassic-Early Cretaceous sedimentary sequences (i.e., Yeba and Chumulong Formations) display high compositional maturity and experienced moderate to high degree of chemical weathering, whereas those from the late Early-Late Cretaceous sequences (Ngamring and Shexing Formations) are characterized by low compositional maturity with insignificant chemical weathering. Our results lead to a coherent scenario for the evolution history of the Lhasa terrane. During the Early-Middle Jurassic (∼192-168Ma), the Lhasa terrane was speculated to be an isolated geological block. The Yeba Formation is best understood as being deposited in a back-arc basin induced by northward subduction of the Neo-Tethys ocean with sediments coming from the interiors of the Lhasa terrane. The Middle Jurassic-Early Cretaceous Lhasa-Qiangtang collision resulted in the formation of a composite foreland basin with southward-flowing rivers carrying clastic materials from the uplifted northern Lhasa and/or Qiangtang terranes. During the late Early-Late Cretaceous (∼104-72Ma), the Gangdese magmatic arc was uplifted rapidly above the sea level, forming turbidites (Ngamring Formation) in the Xigaze forearc basin and fluvial red beds (Shexing Formation) on the retro-arc side. At the end of Late Cretaceous, the Lhasa terrane was likely to have been uplifted to high elevation forming an Andean-type margin resembling the modern South America before the India-Asia collision.