SHRIMP U-Pb zircon analyses from eight samples of metamorphosed intermediate to felsic volcanic rocks from the lower, middle and upper ‘subgroups’ of the Wutai sequence in the North China Craton define a weighted mean 207Pb/206Pb age of 2523 ± 3 Ma. Although individual rock ages range from 2533 ± 8 Ma to 2513 ± 8 Ma, all overlap within the error of the mean and do not support a stratigraphic interpretation for the sequence, since variations within individual previously assigned ‘formations’ in the sequence match the total age range. Contrary to previous interpretations, there is no correlation in age with metamorphic grade. These features highlight the need to reformulate stratigraphic schemes when defining the Precambrian geology of the North China Craton. The similarity in age between volcanic rocks of the Wutai Complex and higher-grade gneisses of the adjacent Fuping and Hengshan complexes supports the view that all three complexes represent portions of a Late Archaean arc complex that was tectonically dismembered and then re-assembled. There is no Fuping or Wutai orogeny in this, its type area: all three complexes were deformed and metamorphosed during collision of the eastern and western blocks of the North China Craton in the Lüliang orogeny c. 1.8 Ga ago.
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Aspects of the Tectonic Evolution of China
The subject of this Special Publication is one of the most interesting in global geoscience, the tectonic evolution of China. The assemblage of terranes that underlie this part of the world provides outstanding opportunities to elucidate global processes, and many of the factors that shape the Earth's lithosphere are best exemplified by the geology of China and its immediately adjacent areas
In addition, there are geological features that are particular and unique to the region. Some have been the focus of recent attention and have attracted international interest because of their global importance. This volume provides accounts of up-to-date research by Chinese and international geological teams on key aspects of the tectonic evolution of China and its surrounding areas. The papers describe the formation of the geological terranes that make up this part of east Asia, place constraints on plate tectonic models for their assembly and provide accounts of unique geological feature of the subcontinent.