A significant portion of the continental crust of northern Eurasia is thought to have formed during the evolution of the Central Asian Orogenic Belt at the time of accretion of continental terranes and island arcs. Records of this event are well preserved within the Siberian craton–Central Asian Orogenic Belt transition zone in Lake Baikal region, particularly in the Olkhon terrane. Our results establish granulite-facies conditions for peak metamorphism in the Olkhon terrane, and indicate that the granulites were derived from island arc mafic volcanic rocks and back-arc basin sediments. Sensitive high-resolution ion microprobe dating of metamorphic zircons from two mafic granulites yielded 238U/206Pb ages of 507 ± 8 and 498 ± 7 Ma, and magmatic zircons from syntectonic syenite yielded an age of 495 ± 6 Ma. The main metamorphic event occurred at about 500 Ma, and was probably related to collision of the Barguzin microcontinent with the Siberian craton. Ages from 535 to 2750 Ma for detrital zircon cores in early Palaeozoic metasediments of the Olhkon terrane were obtained. Archaean ages of detrital zircons in such metasediments suggest that the Barguzin microcontinent was originally part of the Aldan Province of the Siberian craton that was detached in late Mesoproterozoic, and reattached to the craton during early Palaeozoic collision.