Abstract

We report 11 new U-Pb zircon ages obtained by sensitive high-resolution ion microprobe (SHRIMP) and laser ablation–inductively coupled plasma–mass spectrometry (LA-ICP–MS) for a large province of Early Cretaceous Comei igneous rocks consisting of basaltic lavas, mafic sills and dikes, and gabbroic intrusions together with subordinate layered ultramafic intrusions and silicic volcanic rocks exposed in the Tethyan Himalaya, southeastern Tibet. Available zircon U-Pb ages obtained from various rocks in this province, which has an areal extent of ~40,000 km2 (~270 km × 150 km), indicate that the magmatism occurred ca. 132 Ma ago, coeval with the Bunbury Basalt in southwestern Australia. Such a striking similarity in emplacement age, in combination with the tectonic reconstruction of eastern Gondwana ca. 132 Ma ago, allows us to propose that the extensive Comei igneous rocks in southeastern Tibet and the Bunbury Basalts in southwestern Australia may represent the erosional and/or deformational remnants of a large igneous province, which we call the Comei-Bunbury LIP. We argue that this newly identified LIP was likely caused by the Kerguelen mantle plume, which started in the Early Cretaceous and may have played a role in the breakup of eastern Gondwana and the development of the 132 Ma old Weissert oceanic anoxic event.

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