Abstract

The upper Palaeozoic succession (Pyeongan Supergroup) in central eastern Korea is well correlated with the equivalent successions distributed in North China, suggestive of the Korean upper Palaeozoic being part of the Sino-Korean Block. Detrital zircon U–Pb ages and Sm–Nd isotope compositions of the Pyeongan Supergroup in the Samcheok coalfield of the Taebaeksan Basin were analysed. A single predominant zircon age peak at c. 1.9 Ga (> 70%) is marked in all sedimentary units, followed by varying amounts of minor late Palaeozoic grains (up to 30%). The rarity of Meso- to Neoproterozoic- and Silurian-aged zircons confirms that sediment influx from the South China and Qinling blocks was insignificant. The 2.0–1.8 Ga-dominated zircon age pattern and the Nd isotope composition (average εNd(0) = −15.5±4.0) of the Pyeongan Supergroup most closely reflect the signature of the Yeongnam Massif basements, which supports a previous hypothesis that the Pyeongan Supergroup was mostly derived from a palaeo-orogen located to the east–southeast. Relatively higher εNd(0) values (> −10.1) in the lowermost and the upper parts of the succession are closely matched by the increased occurrence of syn-depositional-aged zircons, which indicates considerable mixing of juvenile materials at c. 320 Ma and 260 Ma. Both arc-related magmatic events are interpreted to have been related to oceanic subduction, suggesting that the eastern margin of the Sino-Korean Block was an active continental margin during late Palaeozoic times.

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