Mélanges characterize Phanerozoic convergent plate boundaries, but have rarely been reported from Archean orogens. In this paper, we document a Neoarchean ophiolitic mélange in the Eastern Hebei Province of the North China Craton. The Zunhua ophiolitic mélange is composed of a structural mixture of metapelites, ortho- and para-gneisses, and magnetite-quartzite mixed with exotic tectonic mafic blocks of metabasalts, metagabbroic rocks, and metadiabases, along with ultramafic blocks of serpentinized peridotites and podiform chromitites. The Zunhua ophiolitic mélange shows typical “block in matrix” structures. All units of the mélange have been intruded by granitic dikes and quartz veins that clearly cross-cut the foliation of blocks and matrix of the mélange. Laser-ablation−inductively coupled plasma−mass spectrometry zircon U-Pb dating of detrital zircons from the meta-sedimentary mélange matrix and intruding granitic dikes constrains the formation time of the Zunhua mélange to be between 2.52 and 2.46 Ga. Metamorphic rims on zircons from meta-sedimentary mélange matrix have ages of 2467 ± 27 Ma, confirming metamorphism of the mélange occurred at ca. 2.47 Ga. High-precision (scale 1:20 and 1:50) litho-structural mapping, along with detailed structural observations along several transects documents the internal fabrics and kinematics of the mélange, revealing a northwest to southeast directed transportation. The asymmetric structures in the mélange with folding and faulting events in the Zunhua mélange record kinematic information and are similar to the tectonic style of an accretionary wedge. Field relationships and geochemical analysis of various mafic blocks show that these blocks formed in an arc-related subduction tectonic environment. We suggest that the Zunhua mélange marks the suture zone of a Neoarchean arc-continent collisional event in the Central Orogenic Belt of the North China Craton. Combined with our previous studies, we demonstrate that a ca. 2.5 Ga tectonic suture exists between an arc/accretionary prism terrane in the Central Orogenic Belt and the Eastern Block of the North China Craton. We correlate this segment of the suture with other similar zones along strike, for >1000 km, including sections of the ca. 2.5 Ga in Dengfeng greenstone belt in the southern margin of the Central Orogenic Belt, and the ca. 2.5 Ga Zanhuang ophiolitic mélange in the center of the orogen. These relationships demonstrate that tectonic processes in the late Archean included subduction/accretion at convergent margins, and the horizontal movement of plates, in a style similar to modern-day accretionary convergent margins.
Geology of a Neoarchean suture: Evidence from the Zunhua ophiolitic mélange of the Eastern Hebei Province, North China Craton
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Junpeng Wang, Xiawen Li, Wenbin Ning, Timothy Kusky, Lu Wang, Ali Polat, Hao Deng; Geology of a Neoarchean suture: Evidence from the Zunhua ophiolitic mélange of the Eastern Hebei Province, North China Craton. GSA Bulletin doi: https://doi.org/10.1130/B35138.1
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