Neoproterozoic to Paleozoic long-lived accretionary orogeny in the northern Tarim Craton
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The Tarim Craton, located in the center of Asia, was involved in the assembly and breakup of the Rodinia supercontinent during the Neoproterozoic and the subduction-accretion of the Central Asian Orogenic Belt (CAOB) during the Paleozoic. However, its tectonic evolution during these events is controversial, and a link between the Neoproterozoic and Paleozoic tectonic processes is missing. Here we present zircon U-Pb ages, Hf isotopes, and whole-rock geochemical data for the extensive granitoids in the western Kuruktag area, northeastern Tarim Craton. Three distinct periods of granitoid magmatism are evident: circa 830–820 Ma, 660–630 Ma, and 420–400 Ma. The magma sources, melting conditions (pressure, temperature, and water availability), and tectonic settings of various granitoids from each period are determined. Based on our results and the geological, geochronological, geochemical, and isotopic data from adjacent areas, a long-lived accretionary orogenic model is proposed. This model involves an early phase (circa 950–780 Ma) of southward advancing accretion from the Tianshan to northern Tarim and a late phase (circa 780–600 Ma) of northward retreating accretion, followed by back-arc opening and subsequent bidirectional subduction (circa 460–400 Ma) of a composite back-arc basin (i.e., the South Tianshan Ocean). Our model highlights a long-lived accretionary history of the southwestern CAOB, which may have initiated as part of the circum-Rodinia subduction zone and was comparable with events occurring at the southern margin of the Siberian Craton, thus challenging the traditional southward migrating accretionary models for the CAOB.
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