The Aksu Proterozoic blueschist terrane in northwestern China is regarded as one of the oldest well-substantiated Precambrian blueschist terranes in the world. Previous work has focused on the high-pressure metamorphism: both the age and PT conditions of the metamorphic event have been well discussed. However, little attention has been paid to protolith identification of the blueschist terrane. In this paper, we present geochemical and Sr–Nd analyses of metabasalt samples from the blueschist terrane. The results show that the protoliths of these mafic schists were enriched mid-ocean ridge basalt (E-MORB). Crystal fractionation has led to differentiation of trace element concentrations. This provides the opportunity to obtain a protolith Sm–Nd isochron age of 890 ± 23 Ma (MSWD = 0.68). We conclude that the Aksu blueschist terrane represents part of an ocean crust at the NW edge of Rodinia around Tarim at c. 890 Ma. It experienced subduction and exhumation followed by accretion to the Tarim craton. If the north margin of present Tarim faced outboard of Rodinia during subduction, it might form one section of the arcuate subduction zone around the supercontinent. Alternatively, the subduction zone may have been located between Tarim and Australia and would later be closed.

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