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Mid-Neoproterozoic magmatism in the South Qilian Belt, NE Tibetan Plateau and its tectonic implications

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 May 2022

Yu Qin
State Key Laboratory of Continental Dynamics, Department of Geology, Northwest University, Northern Taibai Str. 229, Xi’an710069, China School of Petroleum Engineering and Environmental Engineering, Yan’an University, Yan’an716000, China
Xiaoli Zhang*
State Key Laboratory of Continental Dynamics, Department of Geology, Northwest University, Northern Taibai Str. 229, Xi’an710069, China
Qiao Feng
Shandong Provincial Key Laboratory of Depositional Mineralization & Sedimentary Minerals, Shandong University of Science and Technology, Qingdao266590, China
Xi Zhang
School of Petroleum Engineering and Environmental Engineering, Yan’an University, Yan’an716000, China
Yun Liu
Geological Exploration Institute of Shandong Zhengyuan, China Metallurgical Geology Bureau, Ji’nan250014, China
Yu Kang
State Key Laboratory of Continental Dynamics, Department of Geology, Northwest University, Northern Taibai Str. 229, Xi’an710069, China
Yan Chen
Qinghai Oilfield Branch PetroChina, Dunhuang736202, China
Pengju Chu
School of Petroleum Engineering and Environmental Engineering, Yan’an University, Yan’an716000, China
Yuexiang Yang
School of Petroleum Engineering and Environmental Engineering, Yan’an University, Yan’an716000, China
Lingchuan Tian
School of Petroleum Engineering and Environmental Engineering, Yan’an University, Yan’an716000, China
Longxue Li
School of Petroleum Engineering and Environmental Engineering, Yan’an University, Yan’an716000, China
Author for correspondence: Xiaoli Zhang, Email


Widely distributed Mid-Neoproterozoic mafic rocks of the Qilian – Qaidam – East Kunlun region record the tectonic evolution of the northeastern Tibetan Plateau. This study presents whole-rock geochemistry, zircon U–Pb geochronology and Hf isotopes for the Xialanuoer gabbros of the central South Qilian Belt (SQB). Zircon laser ablation – inductively coupled plasma – mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) U–Pb dating indicates that the gabbros were emplaced at ca. 738 Ma, indicating they are contemporaneous with mafic magmatism elsewhere in the northeastern Tibetan Plateau. The gabbros have low SiO2, Cr and Ni contents and Mg# values, are relatively enriched in light rare-earth elements (LREEs) and depleted in high-field-strength elements (HFSEs; e.g. Nb and Ta), have no positive Zr or Hf anomalies and have relatively high Nb/Ta but low Nb/La ratios. These data indicate that the Xialanuoer gabbros formed from calc-alkaline basaltic magmas that were originally generated by the partial melting of an enriched mantle of type-I (EMI-type) enriched region of the lithospheric mantle, underwent little to no crustal contamination prior to their emplacement, and have within-plate basalt geochemical affinities. Combining these data with the presence of widespread contemporaneous continental rift-related magmatism and sedimentation in the North Qilian, Central Qilian, South Qilian, Quanji, North Qaidam and East Kunlun regions suggests that the northeastern Tibetan Plateau underwent Mid-Neoproterozoic continental rifting, which also affected other Rodinian blocks (e.g. Tarim, South China, Australia, North America and Southern Africa).

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© The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press

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