Carboniferous-Triassic magmatism in northern Qiangtang, central Tibet, China, played a key role in the evolution of the Tibetan Plateau yet remains a subject of intense debate. New geochronological and geochemical data from adakitic, Nb-enriched, and normal arc magmatic rocks, integrated with results from previous studies, enable us to determine the Carboniferous-Triassic (312–205 Ma), arc-related, plutonic-volcanic rocks in northern Qiangtang. Spatial-temporal relationships reveal three periods of younging including southward (312–252 Ma), rapid northward (249–237 Ma), and normal northward (234–205 Ma) migrations that correspond to distinct slab geodynamic processes including continentward slab shallowing, rapid trenchward slab rollback, and normal trenchward rollback of the Jinsha Paleotethys rather than the Longmuco-Shuanghu Paleotethys, respectively. Moreover, varying degrees of coexistence of adakites/High-Mg andesites (HMAs)/Nb-enriched basalt-andesites (NEBs) and intraplate basalts in the above-mentioned stages is consistent with the magmatic effects of slab window triggered by ridge subduction, which probably started since the Late Carboniferous and continued into the Late Triassic. The Carboniferous-Triassic multiple magmatic migrations and ridge-subduction scenarios provide new insight into the geodynamic processes of the Jinsha Paleotethys and the growth mechanism of the Tibetan Plateau.

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