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The Sargur Group has been considered to be the oldest group (>3.0 Ga) in the Archaean sequence of the Dharwar Craton in south India, whereas the rocks of the Dharwar Supergroup are younger (between 3.0 and 2.55 Ga). The supracrustal units of the Sargur Group were deposited during the Archaean period. The Banavara quartzite forms part of the supracrustal Sargur Group and contains significant amounts of chromian spinel (Cr-spinel). Here, U–Pb and Hf isotopes of detrital zircons are integrated with compositional data and X-ray refinement parameters for Cr-spinels to decipher the provenance of the metasediments. Zircons show an age spectrum from 3.15 to 2.50 Ga, and juvenile Hf isotopic compositions (ϵHf = +0.8 to +6.4) with model ages between 3.3 and 3.0 Ga. Major- and trace-element contents of the Cr-spinels do not resemble those in the Sargur ultramafic rocks, but resemble well-characterized Archaean anorthosite-hosted chromites. Cr-spinel trace-element signatures indicate that they have undergone secondary alteration or metamorphism. X-ray refinement parameters for the Cr-spinels also resemble the anorthosite-hosted chromites. We conclude that the detrital minerals were probably derived from gneissic and anorthositic rocks of the Western Dharwar Craton, and that the Sargur Group sequences have experienced a younger (2.5 Ga) metamorphic overprint.
Six acidic dykes were discovered surrounding the Laiziling pluton, Xianghualing area, in the western Cathaysia Block, South China. A number of captured zircons are found in two of these acidic dykes. By detailed U–Pb dating, Lu–Hf isotopes and trace-element analysis, we find that these zircons have ages clustered at c. 2.5 Ga. Two acidic dyke samples yielded upper intersection point 206U/238Pb ages of 2505 ± 42 Ma and 2533 ± 22 Ma, and weighted mean 207Pb/206Pb ages of 2500 ± 30 Ma and 2535 ± 16 Ma. The majority of these zircons have high (Sm/La)N, Th/U and low Ce/Ce* ratios, indicating a magmatic origin, but some grains were altered by later hydrothermal fluid. Additionally, the magmatic zircons have high Y, U, heavy rare earth element, Nb and Ta contents, indicating that their host rocks were mainly mafic rocks or trondhjemite–tonalite–granodiorite rock series. Equally, their moderate Y, Yb, Th, Gd and Er contents also indicate that a mafic source formed in a continental volcanic-arc environment. These zircons have positive ϵHf(t) values (2.5–6.9) close to zircons from the depleted mantle, with TDM (2565–2741 Ma) and TDM2 (2608–2864 Ma) ages close to their formation ages, indicating that these zircons originated directly from depleted mantle magma, or juvenile crust derived from the depleted mantle in a very short period. We therefore infer that the Cathaysia Block experienced a crustal growth event at c. 2.5 Ga.
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