Zircon U–Pb age and geochemical constraints on the origin and tectonic implication of the Tuotuohe Cenozoic alkaline magmatism in Qinghai–Tibet Plateau

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A large number of Eocene–Oligocene alkaline/alkali-rich igneous rocks were developed in the Tuotuohe region of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. In this study, we present zircon U–Pb ages, Hf isotope data, and major and trace element compositions of the Cenozoic alkaline rocks from the Tuotuohe region in order to constraint the petrogenesis and tectonic evolution history of Qiangtang Block. Zircon U–Pb ages were measured via LA–ICP–MS to be 39.6, 37.6 and 32.0 Ma. The 39.6 Ma trachyte was characterized by low SiO2 and high K2O and MgO contents. The 37.6 and 32.0 Ma orthophyres show enrichment in SiO2 and K2O, but deficient in MgO. All of the samples belong to the alkaline rocks. These rocks display enrichment in REE, LREE, and LILE, depletion in HFSE, and no obvious Eu anomalies. Geological and geochemical features suggest that there were two possible mechanisms for the origin of the alkaline rocks in the Tuotuohe region: (1) the removed mafic lower crust dropped into the asthenosphere, forming the mix magma (Nariniya trachyte); (2) the upwelling asthenosphere triggered the crustal melting (Nariniya and Zamaqu orthophyre). The Eocene–Oligocene alkaline rocks in the study and adjacent areas are likely to be the result of the same tectonic–magmatic event of deep lithospheric evolution that is the crustal material melting triggered by lithospheric delamination. This conclusion extends the influence scope of lithospheric delamination eastward to the Tuotuohe region (~ 92°E) from Banda Co (~ 82°E).

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The authors would like to thank two anonymous journal reviewers for critical reviews and helpful comments which greatly improved the manuscript. This indoor research was supported by Dr. Huo Liang, College of Earth Science, Jilin University. Field geological work was supported by colleagues in Qinghai Geological Survey and the Qinghai Fifth Geological and Mineral Exploration Institute. The authors would like to acknowledge the above-named individuals and institutes for their support and help. This research was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 41402060).

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Correspondence to Fengyue Sun.

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Qian, Y., Tian, S., Li, Y. et al. Zircon U–Pb age and geochemical constraints on the origin and tectonic implication of the Tuotuohe Cenozoic alkaline magmatism in Qinghai–Tibet Plateau. Acta Geochim 39, 67–84 (2020) doi:10.1007/s11631-019-00354-w

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  • Zircon U–Pb chronology
  • Zircon Hf isotopic
  • Delamination
  • Tuotuohe region
  • Qinghai–Tibetan Plateau