Abstract

Situated between the North China Craton to the east and the Tarim Craton to the west, the northern Alxa area in westernmost Inner Mongolia in China occupies a key location for interpreting the late-stage tectonic evolution of the southern Central Asian Orogenic Belt. New LA-ICP-MS zircon U–Pb dating results reveal 282.2 ± 3.9 Ma gabbros and 216.3 ± 3.2 Ma granites from the Yagan metamorphic core complex in northern Alxa, NW China. The gabbros are characterized by low contents of Si, Na, K, Ti and P and high contents of Mg, Ca, Al and Fe. These gabbros have arc geochemical signatures with relative enrichments in large ion lithophile elements and depletions in high field strength elements, as well as negative εNd(t) (−0.91 to −0.54) and positive εHf(t) (2.59 to 6.37) values. These features indicate that a depleted mantle magma source metasomatized by subduction fluids/melts and contaminated by crustal materials was involved in the processes of magma migration and emplacement. The granites show high-K calc-alkaline and metaluminous to weakly peraluminous affinities, similar to A-type granites. They have positive εNd(t) (1.55 to 1.99) and εHf(t) (5.03 to 7.64) values. These features suggest that the granites were derived from the mixing of mantle and crustal sources and formed in a postcollisional tectonic setting. Considering previous studies, we infer that the final closure of the Palaeo-Asian Ocean in the central part of the southern Central Asian Orogenic Belt occurred in late Permian to Early–Middle Triassic times.

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