Age and Duration of Eclogite-facies Metamorphism, North Qaidam HP/UHP Terrane, Western China
Department or Administrative Unit
Amphibolite-facies para- and orthogneisses near Dulan, at the southeast end of the North Qaidam terrane, enclose minor eclogite and peridotite which record ultra-high pressure (UHP) metamorphism associated with the Early Paleozoic continental collision of the Qilian and Qaidam microplates. Field relations and coesite inclusions in zircons from paragneiss suggest that felsic, mafic, and ultramafic rocks all experienced UHP metamorphism and a common amphibolite-facies retrogression. SHRIMP-RG U-Pb and REE analyses of zircons from four eclogites yield weighted mean ages of 449–422 Ma, and REE patterns (flat HREE, no Eu anomaly) and inclusions of garnet, omphacite, and rutile indicate these ages record eclogite-facies metamorphism. The coherent field relations of these samples, and the similar range of individual ages in each sample suggests that the ∼25 m.y. age range reflects the duration of eclogite-facies conditions in the studied samples. Analyses from zircon cores in one sample yield scattered 433–474 Ma ages, reflecting partial overlap on rims, and constrain the minimum age of eclogite protolith crystallization. Inclusions of Th + REE-rich epidote, and zircon REE patterns are consistent with prograde metamorphic growth. In the L¨uliang Shan, approximately 350 km northwest in the North Qaidam terrane, ages interpreted to record eclogite-facies metamorphism of eclogite and garnet peridotite are as old as 495 Ma and as young as 414 Ma, which suggests that processes responsible for extended high-pressure residence are not restricted to the Dulan region. Evidence of prolonged eclogitefacies metamorphism in HP/UHP localities in the Northeast Greenland eclogite province, the Western Gneiss Region of Norway, and the western Alps suggests that long eclogite-facies residence may be globally significant in continental subduction/collision zones.
Mattinson, C.G., Wooden, J.L., Liou, J.G., Bird, D.K., and Wu, C.L. (2006) Age and duration of eclogite-facies metamorphism, North Qaidam HP/UHP terrane, western China. American Journal of Science, 306(9), 683-711.
American Journal of Science