Indexed on: 29 Sep '19Published on: 01 Jun '19Published in: Geological magazine
The Early Palaeozoic geology of the South China Craton (SCC) is characterized by an Early Palaeozoic intracontinental orogen with folded pre-Devonian strata and migmatites, MP/MT metamorphic rocks and Silurian post-orogenic peraluminous magmatic rocks in both the Yangtze and the Cathaysia blocks. In this contribution, we present new zircon U–Pb ages and Hf isotope data for detrital zircons from the Neoproterozoic to Silurian sedimentary sequences in the southeastern Yangtze Block. Samples from Neoproterozoic rocks generally display a major peak at 900–560 Ma, whereas samples from Lower Palaeozoic rocks are characterized by several broader peaks within the age ranges 600–410 Ma, 1100–780 Ma, 1.6–1.2 Ga and 2.8–2.5 Ga. Provenance analysis indicates that the 900–630 Ma detritus in Cryogenian to Ediacaran samples was derived from the Late Neoproterozoic igneous rocks in South China that acted as an internal source. The occurrence of 620–560 Ma detritus indicates the SE Yangtze was associated with Late Neoproterozoic arc volcanism along the north margin of East Gondwana. The change of provenance resulted in the deposition of 550–520 Ma and 1.1–0.9 Ga detrital zircons in the Cambrian–Ordovician sedimentary rocks. The εHf(t) values of these detrital zircons are similar to those of zircons from NW Australia–Antarctica and South India. This change of provenance in the Cambrian can be attributed to the intracontinental subduction between South China and South Qiangtang, and the convergence of India and Australia when East Gondwana finally amalgamated.