Identification of subduction to post-collisional tectonic transitions is critical to the study of orogenic belts. To characterize such a transition in the Tianshan Orogenic Belt, a systematic study was conducted on the late Carboniferous (305−301 Ma) Hongshankou dolerite and Dikan’er basalt of Eastern Tianshan. The Hongshankou dolerites have relatively high Ti and Nb contents, akin to Nb-enriched arc basalts. Based on the Nb/La ratios, these dolerites can be divided into low-Nb/La (0.35−0.40) and high-Nb/La (0.67−1.4) groups, which were likely derived respectively from slab melt-metasomatized mantle wedge and a mixed mantle source involving depleted super-slab and enriched sub-slab asthenospheric components. Like the low-Nb/La dolerites, the Dikan’er basalts possess low Nb/La (0.42−0.46) ratios, suggesting a mantle source previously modified by slab components. In addition, the Dikan’er basalts have variable Nb contents and can be grouped into normal arc basalts and Nb-rich basalts that can be attributed to a common mantle source with different degrees of mantle melting, as demonstrated by the positive correlations of La/Sm with La and Nb. By integrating available data, two late Carboniferous belts of Nb-enriched mafic magmatism are recognized in the Eastern Tianshan, with one in the Yamansu arc (336−301 Ma) and the other in the Bogda Mountains (305−301 Ma). The former is characterized by low Nb/La (<0.6) ratios, reflecting derivation from mantle metasomatized by slab-derived melt during a subduction process; the latter exhibits an abrupt Nb/La increase from 0.6 to 1.4, indicating significant input of sub-slab asthenospheric mantle that was probably induced by slab break off. Accordingly, we propose that the tectonic transition from subduction to post-collision in the Eastern Tianshan occurred in the latest Carboniferous (305−301 Ma) and was marked by the abrupt input of deep and enriched asthenospheric mantle.
Two late Carboniferous belts of Nb-enriched mafic magmatism in the Eastern Tianshan: Heterogeneous mantle sources and geodynamic implications
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Yunying Zhang, Chao Yuan, Min Sun, Xiaoping Long, Zongying Huang, Yingde Jiang, Pengfei Li, Long Du; Two late Carboniferous belts of Nb-enriched mafic magmatism in the Eastern Tianshan: Heterogeneous mantle sources and geodynamic implications. GSA Bulletin doi: https://doi.org/10.1130/B35366.1
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