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Counterclockwise exhumation of a hot orogen: The Paleoproterozoic ultrahigh-temperature granulites in the North China Craton

Santosh, M and Sajeev, K and Li, JH and Liu, SJ and Itaya, T (2009) Counterclockwise exhumation of a hot orogen: The Paleoproterozoic ultrahigh-temperature granulites in the North China Craton. In: Lithos, 110 (1-4). pp. 140-152.

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Regional metamorphic belts provide important constraints on the plate tectonic architecture of orogens. We report here a detailed petrologic examination of the sapphirine-bearing ultra-high temperature (UHT) granulites from the Jining Complex within the Khondalite Belt of the North China Craton (NCC). These granulites carry diagnostic UHT assemblages and their microstructures provide robust evidence to trace the prograde, peak and retrograde metamorphic evolution. The P–T conditions of the granulites estimated from XMgGrt(Mg/Fe + Mg) − XMgSpr isopleth calculations indicate temperature above 970 °C and pressures close to 7 kbar. We present phase diagrams based on thermodynamic computations to evaluate the mineral assemblages and microstructures and trace the metamorphic trajectory of the rocks. The evolution from Spl–Qtz–Ilm–Crd–Grt–Sil to Spr–Qtz–Crd–Opx–Ilm marks the prograde stage. The Spl–Qtz assemblage appears on the low-pressure side of the P–T space with Spr–Qtz stable at the high-pressure side, possibly representing an increase in pressure corresponding to compression. The spectacular development of sapphirine rims around spinel enclosed in quartz supports this inference. An evaluation of the key UHT assemblages based on model proportion calculation suggests a counterclockwise P–T path. With few exceptions, granulite-facies rocks developed along collisional metamorphic zones have generally been characterized by clockwise exhumation trajectories. Recent evaluation of the P–T paths of metamorphic rocks developed within collisional orogens indicates that in many cases the exhumation trajectories follow the model subduction geotherm, in accordance with a tectonic model in which the metamorphic rocks are subducted and exhumed along a plate boundary. The timing of UHT metamorphism in the NCC (c. 1.92 Ga) coincides with the assembly of the NCC within the Paleoproterozoic Columbia supercontinent, a process that would have involved subduction of passive margins sediments and closure of the intervening ocean. Thus, the counterclockwise P–T path obtained in this study correlates well with a tectonic model involving subduction and final collisional suturing, with the UHT granulites representing the core of the hot or ultra-hot orogen developed during Columbia amalgamation.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Lithos
Publisher: Elsevier Science
Additional Information: Copyright of this article belongs to Elsevier Science.
Keywords: Ultrahigh-temperature granulite;Petrology;Counterclockwise P-T path;Tectonics;North China Craton;Columbia supercontinent.
Date Deposited: 14 Jul 2009 14:17
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2010 05:35
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/20990

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