The North China Craton records multiple metamorphic events related to supercontinent assembly during the Paleoproterozoic, forming Columbia, and again during the late Paleozoic, forming Pangea. Here we show that the Paleoproterozoic high-pressure granulites (HPGs) formed from enriched mid-ocean ridge basalt protoliths and record a clockwise pressure-temperature-time (P–T–t) path with prograde metamorphism at 7.8–10.0 kbar and 780–820 °C, peak granulite-facies metamorphism at 12–12.3 kbar and ∼860–880 °C, and retrograde metamorphism at 8.7–9.1 kbar and 850–855 °C. Subduction initiated prior to 1.90 Ga, with final collision and orogeny at 1.88 Ga, followed by post-collision/exhumation at 1.80 Ga, defining a prolonged exhumation period (∼90 m.y.) that occurred at a slow velocity of ∼0.16 ± 0.08 mm/y. Late Paleozoic HPGs are normal mid-ocean ridge basalt type and record a near clockwise P–T–t path, with peak/post-peak amphibolitefacies metamorphism at 11.0–12.5 kbar and 860–890 °C, isothermal decompression to 7.2–7.5 kbar and 810–820 °C, and retrogression to 5.5–7.2 kbar and 805–850 °C. Subduction initiated earlier than ca. 340 Ma, exhumation and uplift initiated at 335–309 Ma and continued to 297–287 Ma. The exhumation was short-lived (∼50 m.y.) and relatively fast (0.38 ± 0.14 mm/y). When compared to granulite-facies metamorphism documented in many Paleoproterozoic HPGs, late Paleozoic HPGs appear to commonly form with an initial period of steep subduction leading to eclogite-facies metamorphism, with subsequent exhumation to middle/lower levels of the crust. Our results further reveal that the exhumation velocity for supercontinent collision was facilitated and duration shortened through time, and that the exhumation mechanism might have been controlled by subduction angle, compression pressure, and temperature.

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