Abstract

The eruption of Emeishan lava in southwestern China and northern Vietnam is considered to be a contributing factor to the Capitanian mass extinction and subsequent global cooling event, but the duration of volcanism is uncertain. The difficulty in assessing the termination age is, in part, due to the lack of high-precision age data for late-stage volcanic rocks. The Tu Le rhyolite of northern Vietnam is the most voluminous silicic unit of the Emeishan large igneous province (ELIP) and is spatially associated with the Muong Hum and Phan Si Pan hypabyssal plutons. Chemical abrasion–isotope dilution–thermal ionization mass spectrometry U-Pb dating of zircons from the Tu Le rhyolite (257.1 ± 0.6 Ma to 257.9 ± 0.3 Ma) and Muong Hum (257.3 ± 0.2 Ma) and Phan Si Pan (256.3 ± 0.4 Ma) plutons yielded the youngest high-precision ages of the ELIP yet determined. The results demonstrate that Emeishan lavas erupted over a period of ∼6 m.y,. with plutonism ending shortly thereafter. Thus, it is possible that Emeishan volcanism contributed to global cooling into the middle Wuchiapingian. It appears that these rocks represent a distinct period of ELIP magmatism, as they are young and were emplaced oblique to the main north-south–trending Panxi rift.

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