Abstract

The Central Asian Orogenic Belt is an accretionary orogen with many distinct terranes including the Chinese Central Tianshan, whose Precambrian tectonic affinity is not yet clearly known. We present Precambrian age spectra of inherited/xenocrystic zircons from magmatic rocks in the Chinese Central Tianshan, collected from published papers. The age patterns are dominated by zircons with ages ranging from 3261 to 541 Ma. These spectra provide robust clues regarding the Precambrian affinity of the Chinese Central Tianshan. The age spectra record two major tectonothermal events, represented by salient age peaks of c. 950 and 900 Ma within the ‘Grenville Orogeny’ period, and age peaks at c. 750 and 630 Ma, synchronous with magmatic events corresponding to Rodinia break-up. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that the Chinese Central Tianshan was part of the Tarim craton during Precambrian time as well as documenting its incorporation into, and separation from the Rodinia landmass.

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