Abstract

Stratigraphic relationships and bulk-rock geochemical data indicate that Upper Permian metabasalts in the Songpan–Ganzi and Yidun terranes, on the eastern margin of the Tibetan Plateau, are part of the Emeishan large igneous province, which is believed to have formed from the Emeishan mantle plume. Eruption of the Emeishan basalts at 260 Ma was coincident with rifting of the western margin of the South China Craton to form the Songpan–Ganzi ocean basin. The spatial and temporal coincidence between basalt eruption and continental rifting, as well as regional doming prior to eruption, suggest that continental break-up was a response to the Late Permian Emeishan plume. The Songpan–Ganzi ocean basin was rapidly filled with Triassic flysch deposits, then deformed and uplifted during Mesozoic collision between the North China and South China Blocks and the Tertiary collision of India and Eurasia.

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