The transition of the geochemical signature in mafic rocks along the eastern Bangong−Nujiang suture in Tibet contains important information about geodynamic processes in the upper mantle. This study recognized two episodes of Early Jurassic gabbros from the Kaqiong terrane, a microblock within the Bangong−Nujiang suture zone. Early gabbros (ca. 197−191 Ma) appear as lenses in the basement complex and were overprinted by amphibolite/granulite-facies metamorphism at ca. 180 Ma. Later undeformed hornblende gabbros (ca. 177−175 Ma) occur as dikes intruding into the basement complex. The early metagabbros are characterized by arc-like geochemical features and enriched Nd-Hf isotopic compositions (whole rock εNd(t) = −0.7 to +0.3; zircon εHf(t) = −5.7 to −2.2), which suggests formation by partial melting of an enriched lithospheric mantle source. In contrast, the later hornblende gabbros have depleted Nd-Hf isotopic compositions (whole rock εNd(t) = +6.1 to +7.1; zircon εHf(t) = +10.7 to +16.8) and normal mid−oceanic−ridge basalt (N−MORB)-type rare earth element (REE) features. They also show variable enrichments of fluid mobile elements (e.g., Rb, U, Pb), indicative of the input of slab-derived fluids in their mantle source. Thus, the hornblende gabbros were most likely originated from the asthenospheric mantle metasomatized by subducted oceanic slab-derived fluids. The transition in geochemical and isotopic compositions of these mantle-derived magmas reveals a long-lasting lithosphere extension and thinning along the southern margin of the Qiangtang terrane in the Early Jurassic. Combined with geological observations, we propose that this transition has resulted from the southward rollback of the subducting Bangong−Nujiang Tethyan oceanic slab. The slab rollback could have initiated the overriding plate extension and the asthenosphere upwelling. Wider implications of this study are that an onset of slab rollback could be an important trigger for the transition of magmatic geochemistry in subduction zones.

This content is PDF only. Please click on the PDF icon to access.
You do not currently have access to this article.