The crustal evolution of the Yangtze block and its tectonic affinity to other continents of Rodinia and subsequent Gondwana have not been well constrained. Here, we present new U-Pb ages and Hf isotopes of detrital zircons from the late Neoproterozoic to early Paleozoic sedimentary rocks in the northwestern margin of the Yangtze block to provide critical constraints on their provenance and tectonic settings. The detrital zircons of two late Neoproterozoic samples have a small range of ages (0.87−0.67 Ga) with a dominant age peak at 0.73 Ga, which were likely derived from the Hannan-Micangshan arc in the northwestern margin of the Yangtze block. In addition, the cumulative distribution curves from the difference between the depositional age and the crystalline age (CA−DA) together with the mostly positive εHf(t) values of these zircon crystals (−6.8 to +10.7, ∼90% zircon grains with εHf[t] > 0) suggest these samples were deposited in a convergent setting during the late Neoproterozoic. In contrast, the Cambrian−Silurian sediments share a similar detrital zircon age spectrum that is dominated by Grenvillian ages (1.11−0.72 Ga), with minor late Paleoproterozoic (ca. 2.31−1.71 Ga), Mesoarchean to Neoarchean (3.16−2.69 Ga), and latest Archean to early Paleoproterozoic (2.57−2.38 Ga) populations, suggesting a significant change in the sedimentary provenance and tectonic setting from a convergent setting after the breakup of Rodinia to an extensional setting during the assembly of Gondwana. However, the presence of abundant Grenvillian and Neoarchean ages, along with their moderately to highly rounded shapes, indicates a possible sedimentary provenance from exotic continental terrane(s). Considering the potential source areas around the Yangtze block when it was a part of Rodinia or Gondwana, we suggest that the source of these early Paleozoic sediments had typical Gondwana affinities, such as the Himalaya, north India, and Tarim, which is also supported by their stratigraphic similarity, newly published paleomagnetic data, and tectono-thermal events in the northern fragments of Gondwana. This implies that after prolonged subduction in the Neoproterozoic, the northwestern margin of the Yangtze block began to be incorporated into the assembly of Gondwana and then accept sediments from the northern margin of Gondwanaland in a passive continental margin setting.
Late Neoproterozoic to early Paleozoic paleogeographic position of the Yangtze block and the change of tectonic setting in its northwestern margin: Evidence from detrital zircon U-Pb ages and Hf isotopes of sedimentary rocks
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Bingshuang Zhao, Xiaoping Long, Jin Luo, Yunpeng Dong, Caiyun Lan, Jingyu Wang, Bin Wu; Late Neoproterozoic to early Paleozoic paleogeographic position of the Yangtze block and the change of tectonic setting in its northwestern margin: Evidence from detrital zircon U-Pb ages and Hf isotopes of sedimentary rocks. GSA Bulletin 2021; doi: https://doi.org/10.1130/B35980.1
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