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Durham University

Department of Earth Sciences


Publication details for Professor Yaoling Niu

Meng, F.X., Gao, S., Niu, Yaoling, Liu, Y.S. & Wang, X.R. (2015). Mesozoic–Cenozoic mantle evolution beneath the North China Craton: A new perspective from Hf–Nd isotopes of basalts. Gondwana Research 27(4): 1574-1585.

Author(s) from Durham


We report here the whole-rock Hf–Nd isotopic data on Mesozoic–Cenozoic basaltic lavas from Liaoning, Shandong, Hebei and Jiangsu–Anhui regions in the North China Craton (NCC). These lavas can be readily subdivided into two groups. The older (> 110 Ma) lavas are relatively depleted in high field strength elements (HFSEs), and have enriched Sr–Nd–Hf isotopic compositions. The younger (< 110 Ma) lavas, by contrast, have OIB-like trace element systematics and more depleted Sr–Nd–Hf isotopic compositions. Among several possibilities, the most straightforward explanation is that the > 110 Ma lavas may have largely derived from the “ancient metasomatized lithosphere” or contain contributions from ancient continental crust in the process of lithosphere thinning, whereas the < 110 Ma lavas with more depleted Sr–Nd–Hf isotopic compositions were most likely derived from the asthenosphere when the lithosphere had already been thinned with the ancient lithospheric mantle being removed. We thus propose that the thinning of the ancient cratonic mantle lithosphere beneath the NCC must have been largely completed by ~ 110 Ma. In this context, we infer that ancient sub-continental lithospheric material, once entering the asthenosphere, may be important as an enriched component for intra-plate basaltic magmatism, including ocean island basalts (OIBs). In addition, all these basaltic lavas plot along the terrestrial array in the Hf–Nd isotopic space, suggesting that the mantle source isotopic variation is largely controlled by simple magmatic processes, i.e., low-degree melt metasomatic enrichment (e.g., elevated Hf/Lu and Nd/Sm ratios) and melt extraction-related depletion (e.g., lowered Hf/Lu and Nd/Sm ratios).