Abstract

The Yangtze Block in South China constitutes an important Precambrian landmass in the present East Asian continent. The Neoproterozoic sedimentary successions of the Hengdan Group in the NW Yangtze Block record essential information for deciphering the Neoproterozoic tectonics along the NW margin. However, its depositional age, provenance and tectonic properties remain uncertain. Here, a combined analysis of detrital zircon U–Pb dating and geochemistry is performed on representative samples from the Hengdan Group. Concordant dating results of samples from the bottom and upper parts constrain the maximum depositional age at c. 720 Ma. Detrital zircon age patterns of samples reveal a uniformly pronounced age peak at c. 915–720 Ma, which is consistent with the magmatic pulses in domains at the NW end of the Yangtze Block. In addition, these samples display left-sloping post-Archaean Australian shale (PAAS)-normalized rare-earth element patterns and variable trace element patterns, resembling sediments accumulated in a basin related to an active continental margin geodynamic setting. Provenance analysis reveals that the main sources featured intermediate to felsic components, which experienced rapid erosion and sedimentation. These integrated new investigations, along with previous compilations, indicate that the Hengdan Group might have been deposited in a fore-arc basin controlled by subduction beneath the Bikou Terrane. Thus, such interpretation further supports proposals for subduction-related tectonics along the western margin of the Yangtze Block during the early Neoproterozoic.

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