The ~1.85 Ga carbonatite in north China and its implications on the evolution of the Columbia supercontinent

Gondwana Research
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Abstract

Mantle-derived carbonatites provide a unique window in the understanding of mantle characteristics and dynamics, as well as insight into the assembly and breakup of supercontinents. As a petrological indicator of extensional tectonic regimes, Archean/Proterozoic carbonatites provide important constraints on the timing of the breakup of ancient supercontinents. The majority of the carbonatites reported worldwide are Phanerozoic, in part because of the difficulty in recognizing Archean/Proterozoic carbonatites, which are characterized by strong foliation and recrystallization, and share broad petrologic similarities with metamorphosed sedimentary lithologies. Here, we report the recognition of a ~1.85 Ga carbonatite in Chaihulanzi area of Chifeng in north China based on systematic geological, petrological, geochemical, and baddeleyite U-Pb geochronological results. The carbonatite occurs as dikes or sills emplaced in Archean metasedimentary rocks and underwent intense deformation. Petrological and SEM/EDS results show that calcite and dolomite are the dominant carbonate minerals long with minor and varied amounts of Mg-rich mafic minerals, including forsterite (with Fo N 98), phlogopite, diopside, and an accessory amount of apatite, baddeleyite, spinel, monazite, and ilmenite. The relatively high silica content together with the non-arc and OIB-like trace element signatures of the carbonatite indicates a hot mantle plume as the likely magma source. The depleted Nd isotopic signatures suggest that plume upwelling might be triggered by the accumulation of recycled crust in the deep mantle. As a part of the global-scale Columbia supercontinent, the Proterozoic tectonic evolution of the North China Craton (NCC) provides important insights into the geodynamics governing amalgamation and fragmentation of the supercontinent. The Paleo-Mesoproterozoic boundary is the key point of tectonic transition from compressional to extensional settings in the NCC. The newly identified ~1.85 Ga carbonatite provides a direct link between the long-lasting super continental breakup and plume activity, which might be sourced from the “slab graveyard,” continental crustal slabs subducted into asthenosphere, beneath the supercontinent. The carbonatite provides a precise constraint of the initiation of the continental breakup at ~1.85 Ga.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title The ~1.85 Ga carbonatite in north China and its implications on the evolution of the Columbia supercontinent
Series title Gondwana Research
DOI 10.1016/j.gr.2018.10.001
Volume 65
Year Published 2019
Language English
Publisher International Association for Gondwana Research.
Contributing office(s) Geology, Geophysics, and Geochemistry Science Center
Description 17 p.
First page 125
Last page 141