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Durham University

Department of Earth Sciences


Publication details for Prof. Dave Selby

Chen, Jiajie, Fu, Lebing, Wei, Junhao, Selby, David, Zhang, Daohan, Zhou, Hongzhi, Zhao, Xu & Liu, Yan (2020). Proto-Tethys magmatic evolution along northern Gondwana: Insights from Late Silurian–Middle Devonian A-type magmatism, East Kunlun Orogen, Northern Tibetan Plateau, China. Lithos 356-357: 105304.

Author(s) from Durham


The East Kunlun Orogen records the geological evolutions of the Neoproterozoic – Early Paleozoic Proto-Tethyan Ocean and Late Paleozoic–Mesozoic Paleo-Tethys Ocean along northern Gondwana. However, the late-stage evolution of the Proto-Tethyan Ocean and the configuration of peri-Gondwana microcontinents during the Silurian – Devonian is under debate. Here we report new geochronological and geochemical data of A-type granites from the western Wulonggou and the eastern Gouli areas in the East Kunlun Orogen to deepen our understanding of these problems. Zircon LA-ICP-MS UPb data reveal that the Danshuigou monzogranite and Shenshuitan syenogranite from the western Wulonggou area were emplaced simultaneously at 418 ± 3 Ma, while the Niantang syenogranite from the eastern Gouli area was emplaced at 403 ± 2 Ma. All these rocks display high-K calcic-alkalic to shoshonitic and metaluminous to slight peraluminous signatures, with relatively low CaO, Al2O3, MgO and Sr, and high FeOt/MgO, Ga/Al, Zr, and Nb, indicating their A-type affinity. Their moderate whole-rock εNd(t) (−5.3 to −0.6) and zircon εHf(t) (−6.3–6.4) are different from those of depleted mantle and old basement rocks, but similar to those of the Ordovician–Silurian granitoids in the East Kunlun Orogen. These chemical signatures, together with the anhydrous, low-pressure and high-temperature characteristics of the magmas, indicate that partial melting of the Ordovician–Silurian granitoids generated these A-type granites. Regionally, these A-type granites and previously reported A-type granites in the East Kunlun Orogen compose a Late Silurian – Middle Devonian A-type granite belt. This belt, together with the regionally coeval molasse formation and mafic-ultramafic rocks, indicate a post-collisional extensional regime for the East Kunlun Orogen during the Late Silurian – Middle Devonian. Given that extensive contemporaneous post-collision-related magmatic rocks have also been revealed in the neighboring West Kunlun, Altyn, Qilian and Qinling blocks/terranes, we contend that the Neoproterozoic – Early Paleozoic Proto-Tethyan Ocean that separated these blocks/terranes from Gondwana had closed by the Late Silurian – Middle Devonian, which]resulted in the re-welding of the above blocks/terranes to northern Gondwana or Gondwana-derived microcontinents.