Middle Triassic arc magmatism along the northeastern margin of the Tibet: U–Pb and Lu–Hf zircon characterization of the Gangcha complex in the West Qinling terrane, central China
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The tectonic setting of Mesozoic magmatic complexes in the northeastern margin of the Tibet plateau is disputed, and hence gives rise to uncertainty concerning the tectonic evolution of the northeastern Tibet Plateau and the timing of the closure of the Palaeo-Tethys ocean. The Gangcha complex is typical of these complexes, consisting of andesite, dacite, gabbro, gabbroic diorite, granodiorite, quartz diorite, and diorite with typical chemical traits of continental margin arc rocks. Andesite, gabbroic diorite, and mineralization-associated potassic-altered diorite yield weighted mean 206Pb/238U ages of 242.1 ± 1.2 Ma, 243.8 ± 1.0 Ma and 234.0 ± 0.6 Ma respectively. Zircon ϵHf(t) for magmatic grains ranges from −3.5 to +5.7, interpreted to demonstrate that the Gangcha complex contains crustally contaminated mantle magmas. Inherited zircons in the complex yield similar U–Pb ages (777–310 Ma) to the A’nyemaqen composite ophiolite assemblage with ϵHf(t) of −17.4 to +11.6. This suggests that components of this older ophiolite melted and contributed to the Gangcha complex magmas. Hence the Gangcha complex is considered to have formed as a continental margin arc in northeastern Tibet by northward subduction during consumption of the Palaeo-Tethys ocean. Regionally, it corresponds to the arc magmatism along the eastern and western Kunlun sutures to the west and the Mianlue suture to the east.