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Timing of initiation of extension in the Tianshan, based on structural, geochemical and geochronological analyses of bimodal volcanism and olistostrome in the Bogda Shan (NW China)

Abstract : This paper describes an olistostrome formation and accompanied bimodal volcanic rocks occurring in the Baiyanggou area, south of Bogda Shan. The main lithotectonic units consist of olistostrome, volcanic rocks and turbidite. The olistostrome is tectonically underlain by Upper Carboniferous limestone and sandstone along a NEE-trending detachment fault. Paleo-growth fault is locally observed. The olistostrome unit includes plenty of blocks of limestone, sandstone, rhyolite and volcaniclastic rocks, and a matrix of graywacke. Limestone blocks are dated as Pennsylvanian-Bashkirian in age by the coral and brachiopod fossils that are extensively recognized in the Upper Carboniferous strata. The volcanic unit consists of pillowed and massive basalt and rhyolite, the latter occur as an 8- to 10-meter-thick layer above the olistostrome unit. The turbidite unit is mainly composed of chert, siliceous mudstone and sandstone, within which the Bouma sequence can be locally recognized. Meter-wide gabbro and diabase dykes intrude these three units. Geochemically, rhyolites are characterized by high ACNK value of >1.1, depletion of Ba, Nb and Sm, and enrichment in Rb, Th and Zr. Basaltic rocks are rich in K2O, they show a LREE-enriched pattern and depletion in Ba, Nb and Zr, and enrichment in Ti, Ce and Hf, similar to continental rift-type tholeiite series. A gabbro porphyrite intruding the olistostrome was dated at 288 ± 3 Ma by a sensitive high-resolution ion microprobe (SHRIMP) zircon U-Pb method, and a rhyolite at 297 ± 2 Ma by a laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer (LA-ICPMS) zircon U-Pb method. The Baiyanggou olistostrome and accompanying bimodal volcanic series are linked to an extensional setting that developed in the south of the Bogda Shan. Several lines of evidence, e.g. occurrence of large-scale strike-slip shear zones, large number of mantle-derived magmatic rocks and available geochronological data, demonstrate a significant geodynamic change from convergence to extension in the Chinese Tianshan belt, even in the whole Central Asian Orogenic Belt. The extension in the Chinese Tianshan belt is initiated at ca. 300 Ma, i.e. around Carboniferous-Permian boundary times, and the peak period of intra-plate magmatism occurred in the interval of 300-250 Ma.
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Liangshu S. Shu, Bo Wang, Wenbin Zhu, Liangshu Guo, Jacques Charvet, et al.. Timing of initiation of extension in the Tianshan, based on structural, geochemical and geochronological analyses of bimodal volcanism and olistostrome in the Bogda Shan (NW China). International Journal of Earth Sciences, Springer Verlag, 2011, 100 (7), pp.1647-1663. ⟨10.1007/s00531-010-0575-5⟩. ⟨insu-00524560⟩

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