Mineralium Deposita

, Volume 53, Issue 3, pp 299–309 | Cite as

Oxidation state inherited from the magma source and implications for mineralization: Late Jurassic to Early Cretaceous granitoids, Central Lhasa subterrane, Tibet

  • MingJian Cao
  • KeZhang Qin
  • GuangMing Li
  • Noreen J. Evans
  • Brent I.A. McInnes
  • JinXiang Li
  • JunXing Zhao


Arc magmas are more oxidized than mid-ocean ridge basalts; however, there is continuing debate as to whether this higher oxidation state is inherited from the source magma or developed during late-stage magmatic differentiation processes. Well-constrained Late Jurassic to Early Cretaceous arc-related intermediate to felsic rocks derived from distinct magma sources provide us with a good opportunity to resolve this enigma. A series of granitoids from the western Central Lhasa subterrane were analyzed for whole-rock magnetic susceptibility, Fe2O3/FeO ratios, and trace elements in zircon. Compared to Late Jurassic samples (1.8 ± 2.0 × 10−4 emu g−1 oe−1, Fe3+/Fetotal = 0.32 ± 0.07, zircon Ce4+/Ce3+* = 15.0 ± 13.4), Early Cretaceous rocks show higher whole-rock magnetic susceptibility (5.8 ± 2.5 × 10−4 emu g−1 oe−1), Fe3+/Fetotal ratios (0.43 ± 0.04), and zircon Ce4+/Ce3+* values (23.9 ± 22.3). In addition, positive correlations among whole-rock magnetic susceptibility, Fe3+/Fetotal ratios, and zircon Ce4+/Ce3+* reveal a slight increase in oxidation state from fO2 = QFM to NNO in the Late Jurassic to fO2 = ∼NNO in the Early Cretaceous. Obvious linear correlation between oxidation indices (whole-rock magnetic susceptibility, zircon Ce4+/Ce3+*) and source signatures (zircon εHf(t), TDM C ages) indicates that the oxidation state was predominantly inherited from the source with only a minor contribution from magmatic differentiation. Thus, the sources for both the Late Jurassic and Early Cretaceous rocks were probably influenced by mantle wedge-derived magma, contributing to the increased fO2. Compared to ore-forming rocks at giant porphyry Cu deposits, the relatively low oxidation state (QFM to NNO) and negative εHf(t) (−16 to 0) of the studied granitoids implies relative infertility. However, this study demonstrates two potential fast and effective indices (fO2 and εHf(t)) to evaluate the fertility of granitoids for porphyry-style mineralization. In an exploration context for the west Central Lhasa subterrane, features indicative of potential fertility might include more oxidized, positive εHf(t), young rocks (<130 Ma).


Oxidation state Magnetic susceptibility Fe3+/Fetotal ratios Zircon Ce4+/Ce3+Central Lhasa subterrane 



The authors are greatly indebted to Jingpeng Sun for assistance with the measurement of whole-rock magnetic susceptibility, Hongyue Wang for assistance with the whole-rock Fe2O3/FeO analysis, and Yueheng Yang for assistance with the LA-ICPMS zircon trace element analysis. We express our gratitude to two anonymous reviewers and the editor Dr. Bernd Lehmann for their constructive comments and excellent suggestions that helped to improve the manuscript. This research was financially supported by Chinese Academy of Sciences Strategic Priority Research Program (XDB03010303), the Natural Science Foundation of China (41672090 and 41472074), the Tibetan Large Deposit Metallogenic Specialization (1212011221073), and International Postdoctoral Exchange Fellowship Program of China to Mingjian Cao.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • MingJian Cao
    • 1
    • 2
  • KeZhang Qin
    • 1
    • 3
  • GuangMing Li
    • 1
    • 3
  • Noreen J. Evans
    • 2
  • Brent I.A. McInnes
    • 2
  • JinXiang Li
    • 3
    • 4
  • JunXing Zhao
    • 1
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Mineral Resources, Institute of Geology and GeophysicsChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.John de Laeter Center/TIGeR/Applied GeologyCurtin UniversityPerthAustralia
  3. 3.CAS Center for Excellence in Tibetan Plateau Earth SciencesBeijingChina
  4. 4.Key Laboratory of Continental Collision and Plateau Uplift, Institute of Tibetan Plateau ResearchChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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