Abstract

The Lower Yangtze river belt is one of the most important metallogenic belts in China. The mechanisms responsible for ore genesis and the formation of related Cretaceous igneous rocks, such as adakite, A-type granitoid, and Nb-enriched basalt, remain controversial. Mesozoic granitoids in the Lower Yangtze river belt were mostly formed in the Early Cretaceous (140–125 Ma), and three granitoid belts—the inner, the south, and the north—have been defined according to petrological and geochemical characteristics. Previously, based mainly on negative εNd and high initial Sr isotope values, the adakitic rocks were generally attributed to partial melting of thickened or delaminated lower crust, both of which require crustal thickening. Mesozoic crustal thickening, however, is not supported by the development of extensional basins in the region. From the Late Jurassic to Cretaceous, eastern China was closely associated with subduction of the Pacific plate in the south and the Izanagi plate in the north. The midocean ridge (MOR) between these two plates was drifting toward and likely subducting under the Lower Yangtze river belt. A ridge subduction model can therefore explain the distribution of different magmatic rocks and ore deposits in the belt. Partial melting of subducting young, hot oceanic slabs close to the ridge formed adakitic rocks. The negative εNd values of adakitic rocks can be plausibly interpreted by mixing between adakitic magmas and enriched components in the lithospheric mantle, and/or crustal materials through AFC process. A slab window opened during ridge subduction as indicated by A-type granitoids in the center of the inner belt. Nb-enriched basalt found in the belt was likely formed by partial melting of a mantle wedge metasomatized by fluids released from the subducting slab at shallow depths.

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