The East Tianshan is a remote Gobi area located in eastern Xinjiang, northwestern China. In the past several years, a number of gold, porphyry copper, and Fe(-Cu) and Cu-Ag-Pb-Zn skarn deposits have been discovered there and are attracting exploration interest. The East Tianshan is located between the Junggar block to the north and early Paleozoic terranes of the Middle Tianshan to the south. It is part of a Hercynian orogen with three distinct E-W-trending tectonic belts: the Devonian-Early Carboniferous Tousuquan-Dananhu island arc on the north and the Carboniferous Aqishan - Yamansu rift basin to the south, which are separated by rocks of the Kanggurtag shear zone. The porphyry deposits, dated at 322 Ma, are related to the late evolutionary stages of a subduction-related oceanic or continental margin arc. In contrast, the skarn, gold, and magmatic Ni-Cu deposits are associated with post-collisional tectonics at ca. 290-270 Ma. These Late Carboniferous - Early Permian deposits are associated with large-scale emplacement and eruption of magmas possibly caused by lithosphere delamination and rifting within the East Tianshan.
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Late paleozoic base and precious metal deposits, East Tianshan, Xinjiang, China: Characteristics and geodynamic setting