Continental subduction and exhumation of UHP rocks. Structural and geochronological insights from the Dabieshan (E. China). - INSU - Institut national des sciences de l'Univers Access content directly
Journal Articles Lithos Year : 2003

Continental subduction and exhumation of UHP rocks. Structural and geochronological insights from the Dabieshan (E. China).


In the Dabieshan, the available models for exhumation of ultrahigh-pressure (UHP) rocks are poorly constrained by structural data. A comprehensive structural and kinematic map and a general cross-section of the Dabieshan including its foreland fold belt and the Northern Dabieshan Domain (Foziling and Luzenguang groups) are presented here. South Dabieshan consists from bottom to top of stacked allochtons: (1) an amphibolite facies gneissic unit, devoid of UHP rocks, interpreted here as the relative autochton; (2) an UHP allochton; (3) a HP rock unit (Susong group) mostly retrogressed into greenschist facies micaschists; (4) a weakly metamorphosed Proterozoic slate and sandstone unit; and (5) an unmetamorphosed Cambrian to Early Triassic sedimentary sequence unconformably covered by Jurassic sandstone. All these units exhibit a polyphase ductile deformation characterized by (i) a NW–SE lineation with a top-to-the-NW shearing, and (ii) a southward refolding of early ductile fabrics. The Central Dabieshan is a 100-km scale migmatitic dome. Newly discovered eclogite xenoliths in a Cretaceous granitoid dated at 102 Ma by the U–Pb method on titanite demonstrate that migmatization post-dates HP–UHP metamorphism. Ductile faults formed in the subsolidus state coeval to migmatization allow us to characterize the structural pattern of doming. Along the dome margins, migmatite is gneissified under post-solidus conditions and mylonitic–ultramylonitic fabrics commonly develop. The north and west boundaries of the Central Dabieshan metamorphics, i.e. the Xiaotian–Mozitan and Macheng faults, are ductile normal faults formed before Late Jurassic–Early Cretaceous. A Cretaceous reworking is recorded by synkinematic plutons. North of the Xiaotian–Mozitan fault, the North Dabieshan Domain consists of metasediments and orthogneiss (Foziling and Luzenguang groups) metamorphosed under greenschist to amphibolite facies which never experienced UHP metamorphism. A rare N–S-trending lineation with top-to-the-south shearing is dated at 260 Ma by the 40Ar/39Ar method on muscovite. This early structure related to compressional tectonics is reworked by top-to-the-north extensional shear bands. The main deformation of the Dabieshan consists of a NW–SE-stretching lineation which wraps around the migmatitic dome but exhibits a consistently top-to-the-NW sense of shear. The Central Dabieshan is interpreted as an extensional migmatitic dome bounded by an arched, top-to-the-NW, detachment fault. This structure may account for a part of the UHP rock exhumation. However, the abundance of amphibolite restites in the Central Dabieshan migmatites and the scarcity of eclogites (found only in a few places) argue for an early stage of exhumation and retrogression of UHP rocks before migmatization. This event is coeval to the N–S extensional structures described in the North Dabieshan Domain. Recent radiometric dates suggest that early exhumation and subsequent migmatization occurred in Triassic–Liassic times. The main foliation is deformed by north-verging recumbent folds coeval to the south-verging folds of the South Dabieshan Domain. An intense Cretaceous magmatism accounts for thermal resetting of most of the 40Ar/39Ar dates. A lithosphere-scale exhumation model, involving continental subduction, synconvergence extension with inversion of southward thrusts into NW-ward normal faults and crustal melting is presented.

Dates and versions

hal-00069382 , version 1 (17-05-2006)



Michel Faure, Wei Lin, Urs Schärer, Liangshu S. Shu, Yan Sun, et al.. Continental subduction and exhumation of UHP rocks. Structural and geochronological insights from the Dabieshan (E. China).. Lithos, 2003, 70, pp.213-241. ⟨10.1016/S0024-4937(03)00100-2⟩. ⟨hal-00069382⟩
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