The largest gabbroic intrusion, Jiaoziyan, in the Northern Orthogneiss of the Dabie Shan was investigated to test whether such intrusions represent arc-related or collision-related magma, as postulated in recent regional tectonic models. The Jiaoziyan intrusions comprise a gabbro-monzogabbro suite and are locally characterized by cumulus textured anhydrous silicates. Petrologic indications against arc magmatism include (1) coexisting olivine-plagioclase compositions beyond the documented range of arc gabbros, and (2) a compositional trend of Al/Ti ratios in the gabbroic clinopyroxenes that is significantly different from subduction-related gabbros worldwide. In contrast, the Jiaoziyan rocks are mineralogically similar to rift gabbros. Geochronologic and geometric arguments against collision-related magmatism (i.e., as a consequence of slab breakoff) include the following: (1) crystallization of the Jiaoziyan mafic intrusion postdated the Triassic (245–240 Ma) subduction and peak orogenic metamorphism by ∼100 m.y. and (2) the rocks of the Dabie Cretaceous magmatic suite, including Jiaoziyan, are on the footwall plate, rather than on the hanging wall, of the Triassic subduction-zone framework and do not show a linear distribution. These observations argue that the voluminous Early Cretaceous magmatism in the Northern Orthogneiss is geodynamically unrelated to the Qinling-Dabie orogeny, but was caused by extensional tectonism related to regional magmatic underplating beneath the thinned Dabie crust.

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