Discovery of Neoarchean suprasubduction zone ophiolite suite from Yishui Complex in the North China Craton
Santosh et al
The Archean tectonic realm of the North China Craton (NCC) is considered in recent models as a collage of several microblocks which were amalgamated along zones of ocean closure during late Neoarchean. Here we report the finding of a dismembered ophiolite suite from the southern margin of the Jiaoliao microblock in the interior of the unified Eastern Block of the NCC. The suite is composed of lherzolite, pyroxenite, noritic and hornblende gabbro, and hornblendite intruded by veins and sheets of leuco granite. Together with transposed layers and bands of metavolcanics and amphibolites, banded iron formation (BIF), and diabase dykes in the adjacent locations, the Yishui complex corresponds well with a dismembered suprasubduction zone ophiolite suite. Clinopyroxene in the pyroxenite and gabbroic rocks are Mg rich and range in composition from augite to diopside. Among orthopyroxenes, those in lherzolite shows the highest XMg of 0.84-0.85. Plagioclase in hornblende gabbro shows high anorthite content (An50 -64). Calcic amphiboles in the gabbroic rocks range in composition from ferropargasite to ferro-edenite, edenite and pargasite. Spinel inclusions in lherzolite are Cr-rich magnesiospinel. Geochemically, the mafic rocks from Yishui complex show subalkaline basaltic source, whereas the granitoids show volcanic arc affinity. The hornblende gabbro and gabbro, lherzolite and hornblendite show compositional similarity to E-MORB and N-MORB respectively. The lherzolite and hornblendite possess arc-related ultramafic cumulate nature, with overall features straddling the fields of IAT and IAT-MORB. The geochemical features are consistent with evolution in a suprasubduction regime with no significant crustal contamination. The majority of zircon grains in the Yishui suite exhibit magmatic texture and high Th/U ratios. Zircon grains from hornblendite define 207Pb/206Pb upper intercept age of 2538 ± 30 Ma. Zircons from the granite show ages of 2538 ± 16 Ma and 2503 ± 21 Ma, and those from the gabbros yield ages of 2503 ± 16 Ma and 2495 ± 10 Ma. The well defined major age peak at 2500 Ma is broadly coeval with Neoarchean ages reported from the microblocks in the North China Craton. The zircon Lu–Hf data from the Yishui suite display εHf(t) values between -2.5 and 5.0, with corresponding model ages suggesting magma derivation from Neoarchean juvenile sources together with limited reworked Paleo-Mesoarchean crustal components.
Our study is the first report of Neoarchean suprasubduction-type ophiolites from a locality far from the margins of the major crustal blocks and suture zones in the NCC and strengthens the concept that the craton is a mosaic of several microblocks with intervening oceans that closed along multiple subduction zones. We envisage that the amalgamation between the Xuhuai and the Jiaoliao microblocks resulted in the accretion of the Yishui suprasubduction zone ophiolitic assemblages onto the southern margin of the Jiaoliao microblock. The Neoarchean microblock amalgamation in the North China Craton provides new insights into continental growth in the early Earth and confirms that modern style plate tectonics might have been initiated early in the history of our planet.