Abstract

The Central Asian orogenic belt consists of microcontinental blocks and mobile belts positioned between the Siberian craton and the Tarim and North China cratons. Extending across Asia for 5000 km, the belt consists of terranes that decrease in age southward away from the Siberian craton. A time-stratigraphic-structural sequence for the rocks is critical to defining the tectonic evolution of the belt. In the Oyu Tolgoi area of the South Gobi Desert (Mongolia), Devonian and Carboniferous rocks record the construction of multiple arcs, formation of a giant porphyry Cu-Au system, exhumation, and polyphase deformation. The oldest rocks are basaltic volcanic and subvolcanic rocks of the Devonian Alagbayan Group intruded by Late Devonian quartz monzodiorite stocks and dikes, which host giant porphyry Cu-Au deposits. The rocks were exhumed, overlain by pyroclastic rocks, and then tectonically buried by marine mafic supracrustal rocks prior to the youngest Devonian granodiorite intrusions. The postmineral Carboniferous Gurvankharaat Group unconformably overlying the deformed terrane consists of effusive, pyroclastic, subvolcanic and volcaniclastic rocks, as well as sedimentary units. The supracrustal rocks underwent polyphase shortening after 330 Ma and prior to 290 Ma. Variations in stratigraphic sequences suggest that the region is underlain by a submarine arc that became emergent during the Upper Devonian and remained subaerial to shallow subaqueous through much of the Carboniferous. Xenocrystic zircons in igneous rocks suggest that the offshore arcs were sufficiently close to ancient crust to have interacted with detritus shed into marine basins, most likely from the Siberian craton and fringing early Paleozoic terranes.

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