Gondwana Research 27 (2015) 1270–1282
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The Alashan Terrane was not part of North China by the Late Devonian: Evidence from detrital zircon U–Pb geochronology and Hf isotopes
Wei Yuan a,b, Zhenyu Yang c,d,a,⁎ a School of Earth Sciences and Engineering, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China b Wuxi Research Institute of Petroleum Geology, SINOPEC, Wuxi, Jiangsu 214126, China c Key Laboratory of Paleomagnetism and Tectonic Reconstruction, Ministry of Land and Resource, Beijing 100081, China d Institute of Geomechanics , Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, Beijing, 100081, China article info abstract
Article history: The relationship between the Alashan Terrane and North China is a contentious issue given the discovery of al- Received 9 July 2013 lochthonous detrital zircons in Middle Ordovician ﬂysch sandstones from the southwestern Ordos Margin and Received in revised form 8 November 2013 the large differences in palaeolatitudes between the North China and Tarim cratons. We have collected a suite Accepted 8 December 2013 of Middle to Late Devonian sedimentary rocks from the Niushoushan Mountains at the southeastern margin of Available online 28 December 2013 the Alashan Terrane, adjacent to the western margin of the Ordos Basin of the North China Craton (NCC). U–Pb – – Handling Editor: Z.M. Zhang dating and Lu Hf isotopic studies were carried out on detrital zircons from these rocks. The zircon U Pb ages de- ﬁne ﬁve age populations: 0.4–0.7 Ga (peak at 488 Ma), 1.0–1.3 Ga (peaks at 1001 and 1152 Ma), 1.5–1.8 Ga, Keywords: 2.4–2.8 Ga (prominent peak at 2506 Ma and secondary peaks at 2668 and 2796 Ma) and N3.0 Ga (peak at Alashan Terrane 3332 Ma). One detrital zircon yielded a Hadean age of 4022 ± 17 Ma. Zircons with U–Pb age spectra of
North China Craton 2.4–2.7 and N3.0 Ga and their corresponding εHf(t) values are signiﬁcantly different from those in the NCC, indi- East Gondwana cating that these detrital zircons are not from the NCC, which implies that the Alashan Terrane was not part of Middle to Late Devonian North China until the Middle to Late Devonian. U–Pb age spectra of zircons dated at 1.0–1.3 Ga, 2.4–2.7 Ga, – Zircon U Pb dating and Hf isotopes and N3.0 Ga, and their corresponding Hf isotope data, have a strong similarity with zircons from East Gondwana and the South China Craton. © 2013 International Association for Gondwana Research. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
1. Introduction these have improved our understanding of the regional geology of these areas. Given its different Precambrian basement The continental crust of China is a mosaic of Precambrian cratonic and Neoproterozoic geological processes, the existence of the Sino– cratons and terranes separated by orogenic belts, in which the Tarim, Korean–Tarim Craton (Li et al., 1982) has been called into question North China, and Yangtze cratons constitute the basic tectonic on the basis of geological and palaeomagnetic results that suggest framework of China (Lu et al., 2009; Zheng et al., 2013,)(Fig. 1A). The the Tarim Craton had collided with Kazakhstan and Siberia by the Alashan Terrane that bridged the southern Central Asian Orogenic Belt end-Permian, whereas the NCC and Mongolian Orogenic Belt were and the Tarim, Qaidam, and North China Craton (NCC), is considered distant from Siberia during the Permian–Triassic (Enkin et al., as the key region in understanding the tectonic evolution of Northern 1992; Yang and Besse, 2001; Xiao et al., 2008, 2010). As such, deter- China. In recent decades, numerous geological and palaeomagnetic mining the afﬁnity of the Alashan Terrane with these two cratons studies have been conducted in the Qilian Orogenic Belt, Hexi corridor, during the Early Palaeozoic might shed light on the tectonic evolution Alashan Terrane, and NCC (e.g., Yang et al., 1992, 1996, 1998; Yang of Northern China. For example, supposed the Alashan Terrane was and Besse, 2001; Geng et al., 2002; Yang et al., 2002, 2004; Zhao et al., the westernmost part of NCC during the Early Palaeozoic, Xiao et al. 2004, 2005; Geng et al., 2007; Xiao et al., 2009; Zhao, 2009; Geng and (2009) proposed the multiple subduction systems that the Alashan Zhou, 2010; Liu et al., 2010; Dan et al., 2012; Liu et al., 2013; Song Terrane and its cover sequence were underthrust southward beneath et al., 2013; Tang et al., 2013; Yang et al., 2014; Zhai and Santosh, the coherent Qilian arc at a low angle, which led to ﬁnal amalgamation 2013; H.F. Zhang et al., 2013; Zhao and Zhai, 2013; Zheng et al., 2013; between the Alashan Terrane (NCC), Qilian Orogenic belt and Qaidam Zhou and Wilde, 2013; Wang et al., 2013; Zheng et al., 2014), and block in the Late Devonian. However, Ge et al. (2009) argued that a tectono-stratigraphic comparison prior to the Mesozoic between the NCC and Alashan Terrane suggests that suturing between these two ⁎ Corresponding author at: Key Laboratory of Paleomagnetism and Tectonic cratons occurred during the Late Hercynian–Indosinian (Late Triassic) Reconstruction, Ministry of Land and Resource, Beijing 100081, China. Tel.: +86 10 68422348; fax: +86 1068422326. in a zone buried under the Tengger Desert. The assumed linkage between E-mail address: [email protected] (Z. Yang). the Alashan Terrane and the NCC in the early Palaeozoic has also been
1342-937X/$ – see front matter © 2013 International Association for Gondwana Research. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gr.2013.12.009 W. Yuan, Z. Yang / Gondwana Research 27 (2015) 1270–1282 1271
Fig. 1. (A) Sketch maps of the tectonic elements of Northern China. (B) Simpliﬁed geological map of the study area and adjacent regions in the Niushoushan Mountains at the southeastern margin of the Alashan Terrane. The star symbol denotes the sampled section. questioned on the basis of the detrital zircon geochronology of Ordovi- not connected with the NCC prior to the Middle Ordovician. Based on cian clastic sediments in the Alashan Terrane (J. Zhang et al., 2011; X.J. ﬁeld observations, Li et al. (2012) also concluded that amalgamation of Zhang et al., 2011). These results suggest that the Alashan Terrane was the NCC with the Alashan Terrane took place between the Late 1272 W. Yuan, Z. Yang / Gondwana Research 27 (2015) 1270–1282
Ordovician and Early Devonian. Thus, the relationship between the NCC red beds intercalated with sparse limestones and marly sandstones. and Alashan Terrane requires further clariﬁcation. Vertebrate fossil assemblages that include Remigolepis microcephala The robustness of the zircon U–Pb dating technique, coupled with Pan (sp. Nov.), R. major Pan (sp. nov.), Remigolepis zhongweiensis Pan (sp. Lu–Hf isotope investigations of zircon (Kinny et al., 1991; Kinny and nov.), Remigolepis xiangshanensis Pan (sp. nov.), and Sublepidodendron Maas, 2003; Yang et al., 2006), has led to many studies using these mirabile (Nath.) Hirmer (Pan et al., 1987) indicate a Middle Devonian methods to study supercontinent cycles and the growth of continental age. The Shixiagou Formation is unconformably overlain by the Dadaigou crust (e.g., Condie and Aster, 2013). Moreover, combined U–Pb dating Formation. The Upper Devonian Zhongning Formation conformably and Hf isotope analysis of zircons can be used to constrain the prove- overlies the Upper Devonian Dadaigou Formation and is, in turn, nance of clastic sediments that, in turn, may enable the reconstruction disconformably overlain by the Lower Carboniferous Chouniugou of the tectonic evolution of continental cratons (Hoskin and Ireland, Formation. Sediments of the Zhongning Formation comprise grey to 2000; Fedo et al., 2003). grey–yellow, medium-bedded, ﬁne-grained, quartzo-feldspathic sand- We have carried out a zircon U–Pb geochronological and Hf isotope stone with minor glutenite layers, which contain fossil ﬁsh such as study of detrital zircons in Middle to Upper Devonian sediments from Bothriolepis niushoushanensis, Quansipetalichthys haikouensis Liu,and the Niushoushan Mountains at the southeastern margin of the Alashan Bothriolepis niushoushanensis (BGMRGS, Bureau of Geology and Mineral Terrane (Fig. 1B), which is located adjacent to the western margin of the Resources of Gansu Province, 1990). Ordos Basin of the NCC. These data are used to constrain the relationship Five sandstone samples were collected for detrital zircon analysis between the Alashan Terrane and the NCC. from the Middle Devonian Shixiagou Formation and Upper Devonian Zhongning Formation in the Niushoushan Mountains of the Ningxia 2. Geological setting and sampling Autonomous Region at the southeastern margin of the Alashan Terrane (Fig. 1B). Sample SX-1 was collected from the Shixiagou Formation, and The Alashan Terrane is a triangle-shaped terrane that has long been the other four samples were taken from the Zhongning Formation (from considered the western part of the NCC, which sutured to the Qilian Oro- lower to upper: SX-3, SX-4, SX-6, and SX-7). These ﬁve samples are genic Belt in the Devonian (Li et al., 1982; Xiao et al., 2009; Zhao, 2009; purple red medium-coarse grained sandstones. Based on microscopic Song et al., 2013; Zheng et al., 2013). Xiao et al. (2009) suggested that observations, sample SX-1 is a medium grained sandstone, composing the Qilian Orogenic Belt has recorded multiple subduction–accretion pro- of 76% quartz, 13% feldspar, 9% lithic fragments and 2% dolomite. Sample cesses between the Alashan and Qaidam blocks during the Early to Middle SX-3 has a composition of 78% quartz, 5% feldspar, 10% lithic fragments Palaeozoic. The Alashan Terrane is bounded to the east by the NCC (across and 7% calcite cement (dolomite). Sample SX-4 is lithologically similar the Helanshan Fold Belt; Fig. 1A), to the northwest by the Tarim Craton to sample SX-3, containing 75% quartz, 7% feldspar, 10% lithic fragments (across the Altyn Tagh Fault), to the north by the Central Asian Orogenic and 8% dolomite. Sample SX-6 is a coarse sandstone with the composi- Belt, and to the southwest by the Qilian Orogenic Belt. tion of 81% quartz, 10% feldspar, 6% lithic fragments and 3% dolomite. The Alashan Terrane has been proposed to be the western extension Sample SX-7 is composed of 85% quartz, 5% feldspar, 7% lithic fragments of the Yinshan Block that collided with the Ordos Block at ca. 1.95 Ga to and 3% dolomite. form the Western Block of North China (e.g., Zhao et al., 2004, 2005; Santosh et al., 2007). However, the Alashan Terrane has a very different 3. Analytical techniques tectonic history to that of the NCC, particularly in the Neoproterozoic and Early Palaeozoic (Song et al., 2013). The contrasting metamorphic Zircons were separated from crushed samples by conventional basements of the Alashan and Helanshan–Qianlishan regions indicate heavy liquid and magnetic techniques, and then handpicked under a that they have different Precambrian metamorphic histories (Wan binocular microscope. The zircon grains were mounted in epoxy resin, et al., 2006; Xia et al., 2006a). Recently, Dan et al. (2012) proposed polished, and coated with gold. All zircons were photographed in that the Alashan Terrane was not part of the Yinshan Block, which transmitted and reﬂected light to characterise the analysed grains. was separated from the Western Block of the NCC during the Cathodoluminescence (CL) images of the grains were made using an Palaeoproterozoic. The Alashan Terrane comprises Late Archean electron microscope (Quanta 400 FEG) equipped with Mono CL3+ and Palaeoproterozoic metamorphic basement. U–Pb zircon dating (Gatan, USA), operated at an accelerating voltage of 10 kV and current results indicate that the lower part of the Diebusige Complex formed of 240 μA at the State Key Laboratory of Continental Dynamics in North- at ca. 2.7 Ga and that the age of the Bayanwulashan Complex is ca. west University, Xi'an, China. 2.5–2.26 Ga (Geng et al., 2007; Dan et al., 2012). Geng et al. (2007) Zircon U–Pb isotopic compositions were analysed at the Institute of also reported U–Pb detrital zircon ages of 1367–1617 Ma from the Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China Alashan complex. Syn-collisional granites were dated at 971 and using laser ablation–inductively coupled plasma–mass spectrometry 845 Ma in the northern part of the terrane (Geng et al., 2002), (LA–ICP–MS). These analyses were carried out with a laser spot size of which indicates it was affected by a Neoproterozoic thermo-tectonic 32 μm, repetition rate of 8 Hz, and energy density of 15 J/cm2. Zircon event during the assembly and break-up of Rodinia. Glacial deposits of ages were calibrated using zircons 91500 (1062.4 ± 0.6 Ma) and GJ-1 the Hanmushan Group are similar to the Luoquan Tillite of the NCC, (608.53 ± 0.37 Ma) as the standard and unknown. Trace element con- and were developed in the Neoproterozoic (Yang et al., 1988). The sed- centrations were corrected using 29Si as an internal standard and imentary cover is the Lower to Middle Cambrian Haobiru Formation NIST610 as an external standard (Pearce et al., 1997). The zircon 91500 that comprises siliceous rocks intercalated with phosphatic horizons. and glass NIST 610 standards were measured twice at the beginning A continuous Middle–Upper Cambrian to Silurian sedimentary succes- and end of the analyses of zircons from each sample. Zircons GJ-1 and sion was then deposited on the northern part of the terrane, consisting 91500 were measured once each after analysis of 10 unknown zircons of shallow-marine, shelf facies carbonate to hemipelagic sediments and NIST 610 was analysed once after analysis of 20 unknown zircons. (Zheng and Zhu, 1987). However, a Middle Cambrian (Xiangshan The detailed analytical procedures are similar to those described by Xie Group) to Lower Silurian (Mayinggu Group) succession was deposited et al. (2008). Age calculations and plotting of concordia diagrams were in a continental slope environment or as ﬂysch deposits in the southern performed using the Isoplot programme (version 3.0) (Ludwig, 2003). part of the terrane. The Devonian sediments were deposited in a In situ Hf isotope analyses were made with a Neptune LA–MC–ICP– foreland basin in the Niushoushan area. MS coupled to a 193 nm excimer ArF laser ablation system (GeoLas In the Niushoushan area, the Middle Devonian Shixiagou Formation Plus) at the Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of unconformably overlies the Middle Cambrian Xiangshan Group. The Sciences, Beijing, China. This instrument is a double focusing multiple- Shixiagou Formation is a ﬂuvio-lacustrine facies that consists of collector ICP–MS that can operate at high mass resolution. The Hf W. Yuan, Z. Yang / Gondwana Research 27 (2015) 1270–1282 1273
Fig. 2. CL images of representative zircons from ﬁve samples of the Alashan Terrane. The large circles indicate the sites of Hf isotope analyses and the small circles indicate the sites of U–Pb age analyses. The scale bar is 100 μm. isotope analyses used a laser spot size of 60 μm at a repetition rate of and Shixiagou Formations are summarized in Tables 1 and 2 (Supple- 4 Hz, which has an energy density of 15 J/cm2 and pulse width of mentary Data). CL images of representative zircons from all samples 15 ns. Helium was used as a carrier gas to enhance transport of the are shown in Fig. 2. A total of 568 U–Pb ages were obtained that were ablated material to the mass spectrometer. Initial 176Hf/177Hf values concordant between 80% and 110% (Fig. 3) (Table 2; Supplementary were calculated with a 176Lu decay constant of 1.865 × 10−11 y−1 Data). For zircons with ages of N1000 Ma, the 207Pb/206Pb age is more (Soderlund et al., 2004). Lu–Hf model ages were calculated using a reliable, whereas forzirconswithagesofb1000 Ma, the 206Pb/238U 176Lu/177Hf ratio for average crust of 0.015, and present-day 176Lu/ age is more reliable. Although Hf and U–Pb isotope analyses were con- 177Hf ratios of chondritic and depleted mantle of 0.0332 and 0.0384, ducted separately, Hf isotope analyses were made at the same site as respectively, and present-day 176Hf/177Hf ratios of chondritic and de- that used for U–Pb dating. A total of 416 zircon Hf isotope measure- pleted mantle of 0.282772 and 0.28325, respectively (Blichert-Toft ments were carried out (Table 2; Supplementary Data). et al., 1997; Grifﬁnetal.,2004). CL images were used to avoid analysis of inclusions and grain–epoxy 4.1. U–Pb ages boundaries. During U–Pb dating analyses, each zircon grain (N32 μm) in a mount was dated from left to right, until either 140 or 150 zircon 4.1.1. Middle Devonian Shixiagou Formation (Sample SX-1) grains had been dated. A total of 150 analyses of 148 zircon grains were made, of which 107 analyses were concordant with ages ranging from 422 ± 9 to 4. Results 3442 ± 19 Ma (Table 1; Supplementary Data). Four age groups were identiﬁed: 0.4–0.5 Ga (peak at 490 Ma); 1.0–1.3 Ga (peaks at The zircon grains were colourless and transparent or brown to light 1029 and 1157 Ma); 1.5–2.0 Ga; and 2.4–2.7 Ga (peak at 2432 Ma, brown in colour. The generally euhedral to subhedral nature of the zir- with subordinate peaks at 2672 and 2770 Ma). Three grains yielded cons suggests their provenance was from nearby rocks. However, some 207Pb/206Pb ages of 3054 ± 19, 3102 ± 17, and 3442 ± 19 Ma. The rounded zircons indicate that they have experienced abrasion during dated zircons range in size from 75 to 200 μmandmostzircons long-distance transport or multiphase reworking. In situ U–Pb and Hf exhibit oscillatory zoning and are bright in CL images. Zircon Th/U isotopic data for detrital zircons from the ﬁve samples of the Zhongning ratios vary between 0.01 and 1.82 (93% grains have Th/U N 0.1). 1274 W. Yuan, Z. Yang / Gondwana Research 27 (2015) 1270–1282
The CL images and Th/U ratios indicate that the majority of the detri- 4.2. Lu–Hf isotopes tal zircons have a magmatic origin. 4.2.1. Middle Devonian Shixiagou Formation (Sample SX-1) In situ Hf isotopic analyses of 87 zircons were undertaken from this 4.1.2. Upper Devonian Zhongning Formation sample (Table 2; Supplementary Data). Zircons with ages of 0.4–0.5 Ga
have both negative and positive εHf(t) values (−26.0 to +9.0) with 18.104.22.168. Sample SX-3. A total of 144 analyses of 140 grains were undertak- model ages of 1422–2880 Ma (most are 1.7–1.9 Ga). Most zircons en on this sample, which yielded 120 concordant analyses with ages have negative εHf(t) values, which suggest that their parent magmas from 450 ± 10 to 3205 ± 17 Ma (Table 1; Supplementary Data). were the result of crustal reworking. However, zircons with ages of
Four age populations are evident: 0.4–0.6 Ga (peak at 496 Ma); 1.0–1.3 Ga have εHf(t) values between −15.5 and +4.9, which corre- 1.0–1.3 Ga (peaks at 975 and 1084 Ma, with two subordinate peaks at spond to model ages from 1593 to 2950 Ma with an age peak at
880 and 1314 Ma); 1.5–2.0 Ga; and 2.4–2.7 Ga (peak at 2491 Ma, with 2.3–2.4 Ga. The 1.5–2.0 Ga zircons have εHf(t) values from −7.6 to a subordinate peak at 2629 Ma). One zircon yielded a 207Pb/206Pb age +7.3 with model ages of 1870–3121 Ma. The Archean zircons have of 3205 ± 17 Ma. Zircons in this sample range in size from 60 to εHf(t) values of −23.7 to +7.8 and model ages from 2447 to 4510 Ma, 200 μm, and are euhedral, rounded, or prismatic with rounded edges. which demonstrates that their parent magmas were derived from The majority of grains have oscillatory zoning and are bright in CL images ancient continental crust. (Fig. 2). The zoning and Th/U ratios (98% of grains have Th/U N 0.13) are indicative of a magmatic origin. 4.2.2. Upper Devonian Zhongning Formation
22.214.171.124. Sample SX-3. A total of 82 zircons were analysed for their Hf 126.96.36.199. Sample SX-4. A total of 140 analyses of 140 grains were con- isotope composition (Table 2; Supplementary Data). The 0.4–0.5 Ga zir- ducted on this sample (Table 1; Supplementary Data), which yielded cons have εHf(t) values from −17.6 to +12.2 with a correspondingly 125 concordant ages ranging from 425 ± 10 to 2814 ± 18 Ma. large range in model ages from 720 to 2564 Ma, suggesting the zircons – Five age groupings were obtained: 0.4 0.5 Ga (peak at 474 Ma); have different origins or host magmas if they crystallized at a similar 0.7–0.8 Ga (peak at 725 Ma); 1.0–1.3 Ga (peaks at 999 and time. Zircons with ages of 1.0–1.3 Ga have εHf(t) values of −13.9 to – – 1159 Ma); 1.4 2.1 Ga; and 2.4 2.7 Ga (peak at 2496 Ma). Zircons +12.8 and corresponding model ages from 1110 to 2717 Ma (most in this sample range in size from 50 to 250 μm. Th/U ratios vary are 2.3–2.4 Ga). The 1.5–2.0 Ga zircons have εHf(t) values from −12.6 ﬁ b from 0.04 to 3.16, and only ve zircon grains have Th/U 0.1. Most to +4.5 and model ages from 2153 to 3147 Ma, and the 2.4–2.7 Ga zircon grains exhibit oscillatory zoning and high Th/U values, typical zircons have εHf(t) values of −14.2 to +0.3 with model ages from of a magmatic origin. 3036 to 3863 Ma, indicating that their parent magmas were derived from 3.0–3.8 Ga continental crust.
188.8.131.52. Sample SX-6. A total of 141 analyses of 140 grains were obtained 184.108.40.206. Sample SX-4. Hf isotope analyses of 86 zircons were made for this for this sample (Table 1; Supplementary Data), which produced 100 sample (Table 2; Supplementary Data). The 0.4–0.5 Ga zircons have concordant ages from 457 ± 10 to 3351 ± 18 Ma. Four age popula- ε values from −16.3 to +13.9 and model ages of 616–2531 Ma tions can be identiﬁed: 0.4–0.5 Ga (peak at 478 Ma); 1.0–1.3 Ga Hf(t) (most are 1.2–1.5 Ga). However, the 1.0–1.3 Ga zircons have ε (peaks at 1003 and 1144 Ma); 1.5–2.1 Ga; and 2.4–2.8 Ga (peak at Hf(t) values from −14.6 to +9.1 and model ages of 1464–2732 Ma (most 2464 Ma, with a subordinate peak at 2808 Ma). Two zircons yielded are 1.7–1.9 Ga). The 1.6–2.1 Ga zircons have ε values from −7.9 ages older than 3.0 Ga of 3299 ± 17 and 3351 ± 17 Ma. Th/U ratios Hf(t) to +8.2 and a large range of model ages from 1893 to 3219 Ma. The of these zircons range between 0.07 and 2.72, with only one zircon Neoarchean zircons have ε values from −13.3 to +4.4 and model having Th/U b 0.1. Most zircons have oscillatory zoning, and this ob- Hf(t) ages of 2730–3909 Ma. servation, along with their high Th/U ratios, indicates a magmatic origin. 220.127.116.11. Sample SX-6. A total of 86 zircons were analysed for Hf isotopes
(Table 2; Supplementary Data). The 0.4–0.5 Ga zircons have εHf(t) − 18.104.22.168. Sample SX-7. For this sample, 144 analyses of 140 grains (Table 1; values from 11.0 to +1.9 and a large range of model ages from – ε − Supplementary Data) yielded 116 concordant ages that vary from 1332 to 2158 Ma. The 1.0 1.3 Ga zircons have Hf(t) values from 9.9 430 ± 9 to 4022 ± 16 Ma. Five age groups are evident for this sample: to +11.9 and model ages from 1193 to 2468 Ma (most are – – ε − 0.5–0.7 Ga (peak at 580 Ma); 1.0–1.3 Ga (peaks at 999 and 1157 Ma); 2.0 2.2 Ga). The 2.4 2.5 Ga zircons have Hf(t) values from 6.2 to – 1.5–2.1 Ga; 2.4–2.7 Ga (peak at 2441 Ma); and 3.1–3.3 Ga (peak at +4.9 and model ages from 2689 to 3387 Ma (most are 2.9 3.0 Ga), 3267 Ma). One detrital zircon has an age of 4022 ± 16 Ma. This Hadean which is consistent with reworking of Mesoarchean crust. The zircon – zircon grain is colourless, rounded, and has a diameter of 100 μm, with a U Pb age of 3351 ± 17 Ma yielded a model age of 4077 Ma, suggesting that it has experienced long-distance transport, strong which indicates that its host magma originated from Hadean crust. abrasion, and/or multiphase reworking. The oscillatory zoning, bright CL image, and high Th/U ratio (0.58) of the Hadean zircon 22.214.171.124. Sample SX-7. In total, 75 zircons from this sample were analysed are indicative of a magmatic origin. Several thin overgrowth rims for Hf isotopes (Table 2; Supplementary Data). The 0.5–0.7 Ga zircons are evident in the CL image, suggesting that the Hadean zircon has have εHf(t) values from −10.4 to −8.3 and model ages from 2062 to experienced several metamorphic events (Fig. 2). Th/U ratios in the 2213 Ma, indicating that their parent magmas were produced by other zircons range from 0.07 to 2.72. Most of the zircons display os- reworking of 2.0–2.2 Ga continental crust. The 1.0–1.3 Ga zircons have cillatory zoning and have high Th/U values, indicating a magmatic εHf(t) values from −12.8 to +10.4, and a corresponding large range of origin. model ages from 1276 to 2747 Ma with two groups at 1.4–1.6 and
Fig. 3. Age histogram, εHf(t) versus U–Pb age, and U–Pb concordia diagrams for detrital zircons from Devonian rocks of the Niushoushan Mountains at the southeastern margin of the Alashan Terrane. W. Yuan, Z. Yang / Gondwana Research 27 (2015) 1270–1282 1275 1276 W. Yuan, Z. Yang / Gondwana Research 27 (2015) 1270–1282
5.2. Relationship between the Alashan Terrane and the NCC
Controversy exists as to the tectonic afﬁnity of the Alashan Terrane (Dan et al., 2012; Zhang et al., 2013b,c). Recent studies have shown that the Alashan Terrane was separated from the NCC in the Palaeoproterozoic based on U–Pb zircon dating results of the lower part of the Diebusige Complex and the Bayanwulashan Complex (Dan et al., 2012). However, on the basis of systematic zircon U–Pb and Hf isotopic investigation of four orthogneiss samples in the Beidashan area of the western Alashan Terrane, Gong et al. (2012) and Zhang et al. (2013a) proposed that the Terrane experienced a ~2.5 Ga magmatic–metamorphic event and subse- quent late Palaeoproterzoic high-grade metamorphism, which were very
Fig. 4. εHf(t) versus U–Pb age for 0.4–0.5 Ga detrital zircons in this study and εNd(t) versus age of Palaeozoic volcanic rocks in the North Qilian Orogenic Belt (Wu et al., 2006; Zhang et al., 2006; He et al., 2007).
2.0–2.3 Ga. The Neoarchean zircons have εHf(t) values from −13.2 to +2.7 and model ages from 2919 to 3809 Ma (most are 3.1–3.3 Ga).
5.1. Detrital zircon provenance of the Middle to Late Devonian sediments
In this study, zircon U–Pb age spectra obtained from the Devonian sedimentary rocks at the southeastern margin of the Alashan Terrane generally deﬁne ﬁve age populations at 0.4Ga–0.7Ga, 1.0Ga–1.3Ga, 1.5Ga–1.8Ga, 2.4Ga–2.7Ga, and N3.0 Ga (peak at 3332 Ma) (Fig. 3f). Detrital zircons with U–Pb ages of 0.4–0.5 Ga (peak at 488 Ma) are typically euhedral, suggesting derivation from a nearby source area. Our sampling area is close to the North Qilian Orogenic Belt (Fig. 1). Ordovician island-arc volcanic rocks are abundant in the North Qilian Orogen and have ages that are largely between 424 and 490 Ma (Zhang et al., 1997; Gehrels et al., 2003; Xia et al., 2003; Su et al., 2004; Wang et al., 2005; Chen, 2007; Tseng et al., 2009; J.H. Yu et al.,
2010; J.Y. Yu et al., 2010; Wu et al., 2011), and also have εNd(t) values that are consistent with the εHf(t) values obtained from 0.4 to 0.5 Ga detrital zircons in our study (Fig. 4)(Zhang et al., 2006; Tseng et al., 2009; Wu et al., 2011). These observations suggest that Ordovician volcanic rocks in the North Qilian Orogen were the source of detrital zircons with ages of 0.4–0.5 Ga. Moreover, igneous rocks with ages of 724 ± 4 to 776 ± 10 Ma crop out widely in the North Qilian Orogen (Su et al., 2004; Tseng et al., 2006; He et al., 2010), and have a similar age to the ca. 0.7 Ga detrital zircons in our Devonian sediments. Igneous rocks with ages of 790 ± 12 to 943 ± 28 Ma are exposed in the Central Qilian Massif (Guo et al., 2000; Wan et al., 2000, 2003; Tung et al., 2007; Wang et al., 2007; Tung et al., 2012, 2013; Yu et al., 2013), and ages of 807 ± 4 to 833 ± 35 Ma have been obtained from the Jinchuan pluton of the Longshoushan area at the southern margin of the Alashan Terrane (Li et al., 2004; Yang et al., 2005; Tian et al., 2007). Ages of 845 to 971 Ma have also been reported for gneisses from the eastern Alashan Terrane (Geng et al., 2002; Geng and Zhou, 2010). These results indicate that the detrital zircons with ages of 0.7–1.0 Ga were probably sourced from igneous rocks in both the Qilian Orogenic Belt and the Alashan Terrane. All of these indicators of sediment provenance demonstrate that the source of Middle to Late Devonian sediments in the Alashan Terrane was the North Qilian Orogenic Belt and the Middle Qilian Massif, which implies that the North Qilian Ocean closed prior to the Fig. 5. Relative age probability plot comparing the ages of detrital zircons from: (a) the Middle to Late Devonian. western part of the NCC (Zheng et al., 2004; Darby and Gehrels, 2006; Xia et al., 2006b; He et al., 2009; Zheng et al., 2009; Jiang et al., 2010; Diwu et al., 2011; Peng et al., 2011; Detrital zircons with ages of 1.0–1.3 Ga originated from igneous Wan et al., 2011a,b; Yin et al., 2011; Ying et al., 2011; J. Zhang et al., 2011; X.J. Zhang rocks of an unknown source, which cannot be clearly traced to a source et al., 2011); (b) the Zhuozishan Mountains adjacent to the western margin of Ordos area at the southeastern margin of the Alashan Terrane. Basin in the NCC (Darby and Gehrels, 2006); and (c) the Alashan Terrane (this study). W. Yuan, Z. Yang / Gondwana Research 27 (2015) 1270–1282 1277
Ordovician (J. Zhang et al., 2011; X.J. Zhang et al., 2011), and that amalgamation might have occurred between the Late Ordovician and Early Devonian (Li et al., 2012). Notably, reinterpretation of new palaeomagnetic data suggests that the Alashan Terrane experienced a ca. 26° anticlockwise rotation relative to the NCC in Early to Middle Triassic times (Liu et al., 2010), which implies that these two blocks joined after the Early to Middle Triassic. Detrital zircons from Precambrian to Late Mesozoic strata in the western NCC are characterised by three major U–Pb age groups at 2.4–2.7 Ga, 1.8–2.1 Ga, and during the Late Phanerozoic (Fig. 5a), which are distinct from those of the southeastern margin of the Alashan Terrane (Fig. 5c). Furthermore, detrital zircons from Neoproterozoic to Early Palaeozoic sedimentary rocks in the Zhuozishan Mountains (northwestern Ordos Basin of the NCC) have U–Pb age spectra typical of the NCC with two age populations at 2.4–2.6 and 1.85–2.1 Ga (Darby and Gehrels, 2006)(Fig. 5b). These ages are signiﬁcantly differ- ent from those obtained in our study from the Niushoushan Mountains adjacent to the southwestern Ordos Basin at the southeastern margin of the Alashan Terrane (Fig. 5c). Although these two mountain ranges are in close proximity, different sediment provenances characterised the southeastern margin of the Alashan Terrane and the NCC in the Middle to Late Devonian, implying that these regions were separate at that time. A prominent group of detrital zircons with U–Pb ages of ca. 2.5 Ga has been reported from sedimentary strata in major Gondwana blocks. However, it is unwise to deduce their provenance only on the basis of zircon U–Pb age spectra. Zircon Hf isotopic data can also be used as a provenance tool (Hoskin and Ireland, 2000; Fedo et al., 2003). Our sam- ples have a ca. 2.5 Ga U–Pb age peak with two secondary peaks at 2688
and 2796 Ma (Fig. 3f). The ca. 2.5 Ga zircons have εHf(t) values between +4.9 and −23.7, which correspond to Hf model ages between 2689 and 4501 Ma with a peak at ca. 3.10 Ga (Fig. 6c). These data suggest that the parent magmas of the zircons were generated from ca. 3.10 Ga continental crust. The ca. 2.5 Ga detrital zircons from Palaeozoic strata of the North Qilian Orogenic Belt are thought to have been sourced from the NCC (Yang et al., 2009; Xu et al., 2010a,b). However, detrital zircons with ages of ca. 2.5 Ga from the NCC have Hf isotope model ages that peak at 2.75 Ga, implying an important crustal growth event at 2.75 Ga (Li et al., 2007; Zheng et al., 2009; Jiang et al., 2010; Diwu et al., 2011; Wan et al., 2011a,b; Wang et al., 2011)(Fig. 6). These results indicate that a signiﬁcantly different crustal growth event affected the southeastern margin of the Alashan Terrane com- pared with the NCC (Figs. 6 and 7). In addition, a population of zircons with U–Pb ages of ca. 3332 Ma is present in our samples, which includes numerous Palaeoarchean zircons. However, their Hf isotope ratios are signiﬁcantly different from those of the NCC (Fig. 8), suggesting that the ca. 2.5 and 3.3 Ga detrital zircons were not sourced from the NCC Fig. 6. Histogram of Hf isotope model ages of 2.4–2.7 Ga detrital zircons in (a) the NCC and conﬁrming that the Middle to Upper Devonian sediments in the (Li et al., 2007; Zheng et al., 2009; Jiang et al., 2010; Diwu et al., 2011; Wan et al., 2011a, Alashan Terrane did not originate from the NCC. b; Wang et al., 2011; Ying et al., 2011; Zhou et al., 2011), (b) the South China Craton (Yu et al., 2008, 2009; J.H. Yu et al., 2010; J.Y. Yu et al., 2010; Li et al., 2011; Yao et al., 2011; 5.3. Potential origin of the Alashan Terrane Zheng et al., 2011), and (c) the Alashan Terrane (this study).
Our results indicate that detrital zircons with ages of 1.0–1.3 Ga have two prominent peaks at 1001 and 1152 Ma (Fig. 3f), implying that the sediments had a source with characteristics typical of the Grenvillian similar to those events of the NCC. They further argued that the Alashan Orogeny. Geological studies suggest that the Grenvillian Orogeny Terrane was probably the western extension of the Khondalite Belt was widespread in South Laurentia, the Maud–Namaqua–Natal prov- between the Yinshan and Ordos blocks. According to palaeomagnetic ince of East Antarctica, southwest Australia, Amazonia, and Africa at results, some studies have suggested that the Alashan Terrane formed 1.0–1.3 Ga (Hoffman, 1991; Boger et al., 2000; Jayananda et al., 2000). the western extension of the NCC by Late Cambrian time (Meng et al., Grenvillian ages have been obtained from detrital zircons of Early 1990; Wu et al., 1993; Huang et al., 1999, 2000, 2001). If this is the Palaeozoic sedimentary strata in Cathaysia, southeast China, and yield case, then palaeomagnetic data from the Alashan Terrane can be used two age peaks at 1.0 and 1.15 Ga (Yao et al., 2011)(Fig. 9c). These re- to represent the NCC (Meng et al., 1990; Wu et al., 1993; Huang et al., sults are similar to the age spectra obtained in the present study
1999, 2000, 2001). However, other studies of the detrital zircon geo- (Fig. 9d). Furthermore, the εHf(t) values of 1.0–1.3 Ga zircons of the chronology of Ordovician sedimentary rocks have suggested that the present study are similar to those from Cathaysia (Figs. 7 and 10). In
Alashan Terrane did not connect with the NCC prior to the Middle addition, εHf(t) values of zircons with ages of 2.4–2.7 and N3.0 Ga from 1278 W. Yuan, Z. Yang / Gondwana Research 27 (2015) 1270–1282
Fig. 7. εHf(t) versus U–Pb ages of detrital zircons from the NCC, South China Craton, western Australia, Tethyan Himalaya, and the Alashan Terrane. the Alashan Terrane are consistent with those of zircons from the (Wang et al., 1995). These results suggest that the Alashan Terrane and Cathaysian Block (Fig. 8). As such, detrital material in the Middle to South China Belt were located close to each other during the Palaeozoic. Late Devonian sandstones from the southeastern margin of the Alashan In Neoproterozoic to Early Palaeozoic times, the South China Block Terrane have a strong afﬁnity with sediments from the Cathaysian Block was probably connected with the northwestern margin of Australia in southeast China. (Yang et al., 2004)orhadastrongafﬁnity with East Gondwana (Yu Palaeontological studies have shown that trilobites in Cambrian stra- et al., 2008). Detrital zircon U–Pb geochronology data from the Te- ta from the Qilian Orogen are endemic species of the Tarim–Yangtze thys–Himalaya (northern India) (Gehrels et al., 2006; McQuarrie biogeographic domain (Duan and Ge, 2005), and have a close relation- et al., 2008; Myrow et al., 2010; Zhu et al., 2011), the Albany–Fraser ship with trilobites from western Hunan Province, eastern Guizhou in Belt in southwest Australia (Cawood and Nemchin, 2000; Veevers south China, and northwest Queensland in Australia (Zhou et al., et al., 2005), Cathaysia (southeast China), and the Alashan Terrane 1996). Antiarchian fossils are a type of freshwater ﬁsh that are found (this study) all have similar U–Pb age spectra (Fig. 9) and Hf isotope in the Upper Devonian Zhongning Formation in the present study characteristics (Fig. 7). A recent study has shown that crustal gener- area, and have a close afﬁnity with those from south China and New ation in the Gondwana supercontinent had a major pulse at ca. South Wales, Australia (Pan et al., 1987; Jia et al., 2010). In addition, 3.3 Ga (Kemp et al., 2006). The zircon U–Pb age population of ca. Sinoleperditiini (Ostracoda) found in the lower part of the Upper 3332 Ma in the Alashan Terrane highlights its potential relationship Devonian Zhongning Formation have the droop in the “V”-shaped with Gondwana and also with south China, where igneous zircons muscle scars that is indistinguishable from Ostracoda from south China from trondhjemitic gneiss in the northern Kongling Terrane have
been dated at 3302 ± 7 Ma (Gao et al., 2011). εHf(t) values of the 3.3 Ga zircons from our samples are similar to those from the Kongling Terrane gneisses (Fig. 8).
In situ U–Pb age and Hf isotopic data for detrital zircons from Middle to Late Devonian sedimentary rocks in the southeastern Alashan Terrane, northwest China, largely deﬁne four age populations (0.4Ga– 0.7Ga, 1.0Ga–1.3Ga, 1.5Ga–1.8Ga, and 2.4Ga–2.7 Ga) along with a few Palaeoarchean and one Hadean ages (4022 ± 17 Ma). The population of zircons with ages of 0.4–0.5 Ga and their Hf isotopic data indicate that the North Qilian Orogenic Belt was the source of Middle to Late De- vonian sediments from the southeastern margin of the Alashan Terrane. However, other zircon populations (1.0Ga–1.3Ga, 1.5Ga–1.8Ga, 2.4Ga–
2.7Ga, and ca. 3.3 Ga) and their corresponding εHf(t) values indicate that the detrital sediments of the Alashan Terrane were not sourced from the NCC, implying that a connection between the Alashan Terrane and the NCC did not exist prior to the Late Devonian. In contrast, zircon U–Pb age spectra and Hf isotope data show a strong afﬁnity between the Alashan Terrane and East Gondwana and the South China Block in the Fig. 8. εHf(t) versus U–Pb ages of N3.0 Ga zircons in the Alashan Terrane, the NCC (Zheng et al., 2004; Wu et al., 2005), and the South China Craton (Gao et al., 2011). Late Devonian. W. Yuan, Z. Yang / Gondwana Research 27 (2015) 1270–1282 1279
Fig. 10. Histogram of Hf isotope model ages for ca. 0.9–1.3 Ga detrital zircons in (a) the Alashan Terrane and (b) Cathaysia (southeastern part of the South China Craton) (Yu et al., 2008, 2009; Li et al., 2011; Yao et al., 2011).
Supplementary data to this article can be found online at http:// dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gr.2013.12.009.
This work has been supported by the SinoProbe (08-01-01). Prof. Xiaohong Ge is thanked for the useful warm discussions. The constructive reviews by Drs. J. X. Zhang W. J. Xiao were also greatly appreciated.
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