EGU21-15241, updated on 04 Mar 2021
EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Collision and reactivation along the South Tianshan Orogen (NW China) through late Paleozoic to Mesozoic time

Yigui Han1 and Guochun Zhao1,2
Yigui Han and Guochun Zhao
  • 1State Key Laboratory of Continental Dynamics, Department of Geology, Northwest University, Northern Taibai Street 229, Xi’an 710069, China (
  • 2Department of Earth Sciences, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong, China

The South Tianshan Orogenic Belt in NW China marks the suturing site between the Tarim Craton and the Central Asian Orogenic Belt (CAOB) during late Paleozoic-Mesozoic time. Despite numerous investigations, the amalgamation history along the South Tianshan Orogen remains controversial, especially on the timing and process of the final continental collision between the Tarim Craton and the Central Tianshan (CTS)-Yili Block. We inquire into this issue on the basis of a compiled dataset across the Tarim, South Tianshan and CTS-Yili regions, comprising elemental and isotopic data of magmatic rocks and radiometric ages of regional magmatism, detrital zircons, (ultra-)high pressure metamorphism and tectonothermal events. The data support a continental collision along the South Tianshan belt in 310-300 Ma, in accord with a contemporaneous magmatic quiescence and a prominent decrease of εNd(t) and εHf(t) values of magmatic rocks in the CTS region, and a main exhumation stage of (U)HP rocks in the South Tianshan region. The collisional orogeny along the South Tianshan have most likely been influenced by a mantle plume initiated at ca. 300 Ma underneath the northern Tarim Craton, as evidenced by temporal and spatial variations of geochemical proxies tracing magma source characteristics. The new model of plume-modified collision orogeny reconciles the absence of continental-type (U)HP rocks in the orogen and the insignificant upper-plate uplift during continental collision. In the mid-Triassic (ca. 240 Ma), the Chinese western Tianshan underwent intense surface uplift and denudation, as indicated by sedimentary provenance analysis and tectonothermal events. Paleocurrent and detrital zircon age data from Triassic strata in northern Tarim suggest a provenance change from a single source of the Tarim Craton to multiple sources including the CTS-Yili Block to the north and the Western Kunlun Orogen to the south. We suggest that the mid-Triassic uplifting in Chinese western Tianshan was an intracontinental orogeny caused by far-field effects of the collision between the Tarim Craton and the Qiangtang Block. This research was financially supported by NSFC Projects (41730213, 42072264, 41902229, 41972237) and Hong Kong RGC GRF (17307918).

How to cite: Han, Y. and Zhao, G.: Collision and reactivation along the South Tianshan Orogen (NW China) through late Paleozoic to Mesozoic time, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-15241,, 2021.


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