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Abstract

The Lhasa terrane, forming one of the main tectonic components of the Himalayan–Tibetan orogen, has received a lot of attention as it records multiple episodes of plate spreading, subduction and collision within the realm of the Paleo-Tethys Ocean. A review of the mineralogical, petrological, geochemical and geochronological data of eclogites, associated blueschists and garnet-bearing mica schists from the Sumdo high- and ultrahigh-pressure metamorphic (HP/UHP) complex in the central/southern part of the Lhasa terrane, is present here so that the origin and tectono-metamorphic evolution of this important suture can be deduced. By re-evaluating the original published PT conditions for the metamorphic rocks of the Sumdo Complex, we consider that the Sumdo Complex has experienced low temperature HP/UHP metamorphic conditions, characteristic of fast subduction (and exhumation) in a typical oceanic subduction zone setting. The original wide spread in the maximal peak PT conditions could be reduced in size due to thus far unknown inconsistencies in the usage of applied geothermobarometric techniques. The remaining spread in the maximal PT conditions (c. 200°C/10 kbar) of the HP/UHP regions can be explained by a mechanism that the rocks from individual tectonic slices were subducted to different depths and followed by juxtaposition on their way back to the surface. A re-consideration of the isotopic ages of eclogites from the Sumdo Complex demonstrates that the opening of the Paleo-Tethys Ocean, located in between the two major components of the Lhasa terrane, was initiated prior to c. 280 Ma and the eclogite facies metamorphism is likely to be of late Permian (c. 260 Ma) to early Triassic age (245–225 Ma), recording different ages of subduction from individual slices of the oceanic crust. The closure of the Paleo-Tethys Ocean resulted, no earlier than 210 Ma, in the final collision between the northern and southern Lhasa blocks. This final collision event may have been triggered by the initial subduction of the Bangong–Nujiang Tethys Ocean in the north.

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