Successively erupted intermediate-felsic rocks with variations in their geochemical compositions indicate physical changes in lower-crust conditions, and the variations can provide important insights into the regional tectonic setting. What triggered the late Early Cretaceous tectonic transition of the central-north Lhasa Terrane remains controversial, hindering the understanding of the mechanisms behind the formation of the central Tibetan Plateau. The sodic Dagze volcanic rocks in the north Lhasa Terrane are characterized by high contents of SiO2 and Na2O, low contents of MgO, Fe2O3, and K2O, and low values of Mg#. However, the trace element compositions of the whole-rocks and their zircons allow the rocks to be divided into two groups. The Group I rocks (ca. 105 Ma) have higher contents of Sr and Ba, higher Sr/Y and La/Yb ratios, and lower contents of Y, Yb, Ti, and Zr than Group II rocks (ca. 100 Ma). Besides, the zircons from Group I rocks have higher values of Yb/Gd and U/Yb, lower values of Th/U, and lower Ti contents than the zircons from Group II rocks. However, the rocks of both groups have identical depleted whole-rock Sr-Nd and zircon Hf isotope values. The geochemical data indicate that rocks of both groups were generated by partial melting of a juvenile lower crust, but the differences in the two groups reflect a transition from deep-cold melting to relatively shallower-hotter melting in the period from ca. 105 to 100 Ma. This transition was synchronous with the rapid cooling of granitoids, topographic uplift, and the shutdown of magmatism in the central-north Lhasa Terrane, and followed by sedimentation and the resumption of magmatism in the south Lhasa Terrane. The above observations collectively indicate that the central-north Lhasa Terrane was under an extensional setting in late Early Cretaceous, and we tentatively suggest that it was in response to lithospheric drip during roll-back of the northward-subducting Neo-Tethyan oceanic plate.

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