Six acidic dykes were discovered surrounding the Laiziling pluton, Xianghualing area, in the western Cathaysia Block, South China. A number of captured zircons are found in two of these acidic dykes. By detailed U–Pb dating, Lu–Hf isotopes and trace-element analysis, we find that these zircons have ages clustered at c. 2.5 Ga. Two acidic dyke samples yielded upper intersection point 206U/238Pb ages of 2505 ± 42 Ma and 2533 ± 22 Ma, and weighted mean 207Pb/206Pb ages of 2500 ± 30 Ma and 2535 ± 16 Ma. The majority of these zircons have high (Sm/La)N, Th/U and low Ce/Ce* ratios, indicating a magmatic origin, but some grains were altered by later hydrothermal fluid. Additionally, the magmatic zircons have high Y, U, heavy rare earth element, Nb and Ta contents, indicating that their host rocks were mainly mafic rocks or trondhjemite–tonalite–granodiorite rock series. Equally, their moderate Y, Yb, Th, Gd and Er contents also indicate that a mafic source formed in a continental volcanic-arc environment. These zircons have positive ϵHf(t) values (2.5–6.9) close to zircons from the depleted mantle, with TDM (2565–2741 Ma) and TDM2 (2608–2864 Ma) ages close to their formation ages, indicating that these zircons originated directly from depleted mantle magma, or juvenile crust derived from the depleted mantle in a very short period. We therefore infer that the Cathaysia Block experienced a crustal growth event at c. 2.5 Ga.

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