Late Neoarchean subduction-related crustal growth in the Northern Liaoning region of the North China Craton: evidence from ∼2.55-2.50 Ga granitoid gneisses

Wei Wang, Shuwen Liu, Peter A. Cawood, Xiang Bai, Rongrong Guo, Boran Guo, Kang Wang

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The North China Craton (NCC), dominated by ∼2.6-2.5 Ga tectonothermal events, provides a natural laboratory to study Neoarchean crustal growth and geodynamic evolution. Late Neoarchean granitoid gneisses are well exposed in the Northern Liaoning Province, located north of the ancient Anshan-Benxi terrane along the northeastern margin of the Eastern Block (EB) of the NCC. LA-ICPMS zircon U-Pb isotopic dating reveal that granitoid gneisses in the Qingyuan area can be grouped into two major episodes, i.e., ∼2559-2534 Ma strongly gneissic quartz dioritic and tonalitic to trondhjemitic gneisses; and ∼2529-2495 Ma weakly gneissic to massive quartz monzodioritic and monzogranitic gneisses, with subordinate tonalitic to trondhjemitic gneisses. The late magmatic episode was accompanied by regionally high-grade metamorphism (∼2510-2495 Ma). Most granitoid gneisses display highly depleted zircon εHf(t2) values (+4.2-+8.1), whereas one monzogranitic gneiss shows negative values of -4.7 to -1.0, indicating late Neoarchean crustal growth with minor involvement of ancient continental materials probably sourced from the Anshan-Benxi terrane. Geochemical and petrogenetic studies reveal that the quartz dioritic magmas were derived from partial melting of plagioclase-poor garnet amphibolites or eclogites metamorphosed from oceanic slab materials, with slab melts contaminated by mantle wedge peridotites during ascent. The tonalitic to trondhjemitic magmas stemmed from partial melting of mainly juvenile metabasaltic rocks with minor metagreywackes of lower arc crust. In comparison, the quartz monzodioritic and monzogranitic magmas were derived respectively from partial melting of depleted mantle sources metasomatized by slab-derived fluids and metagreywackes with different crustal resident ages at middle to lower crustal levels. Combined with previous studies of metavolcanic rocks, the Northern Liaoning Province records late Neoarchean crustal growth, evolving from mid-ocean ridge, through initiation and maturation of an intra-oceanic arc, to arc-continent collision. Arc-continent accretion and possibly slab rollback processes may have triggered reworking of both juvenile arc crust and minor ancient continental margin materials, generating the magmatic precursors for the monzogranitic gneisses. Overall, the intense late Neoarchean crustal growth of the EB was controlled mainly by arc-continent accretion, possibly linked to global assembly of cratonic fragments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)200-223
Number of pages24
JournalPrecambrian Research
Early online date28 May 2016
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2016


  • Late Neoarchean granitoid gneisses
  • Crustal growth
  • Intra-oceanic arc and arc-continent accretion
  • Northern Liaoning Province
  • Northern margin of North China Craton


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