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Ordovician 40Ar/39Ar phengite ages from the blueschist-facies Ondor Sum subduction-accretion complex (Inner Mongolia) and implications for the early Paleozoic history of continental blocks in China and adjacent areas

Abstract : We obtained 453.2 ± 1.8 Ma and 449.4 ± 1.8 Ma (2{sigma}) laser step-heating 40Ar/39Ar plateau ages for phengite from quartzite mylonites from the blueschist-facies Ondor Sum subduction-accretion complex in Inner Mongolia (northern China). These ages are within error of the inverse isochron ages calculated using the plateau steps and the weighted mean ages of total fusion of single grains. The compositional change from glaucophane in the cores to crossite in the rims of blue amphiboles, as revealed by electron microprobe analysis, points to decompression, probably caused by progressive exhumation of the subducted material. The Late Ordovician ages were not affected by excess argon incorporation because in all likelihood the oceanic sediments were wet on arrival at the trench and free of older detrital mica. The ca. 450 Ma ages are, hence, interpreted as the time of crystallization during mylonitization under high fluid activity at fairly low temperatures. This means that accretion of the quartzite mylonite unit occured about 200 Ma before final closure of the Paleo-Asian Ocean, amalgamation of the Siberian, Tarim and North China cratons, and formation of the end-Permian Solonker suture zone. We argue that the Early Paleozoic evolution of the Ondor Sum complex occurred along the northeastern Cimmerian margin of Gondwana, which was composed of micro-continents fringed by subduction-accretion complexes and island arcs. The later evolution took place during the building of the Eurasian continent following middle Devonian and younger rifting along the East Gondwanan margin and northward drift of the detached North China craton. An extensive review shows that this type of two-stage scenario probably also applies to the geodynamic evolution of other micro-continents like, South China, Tarim, a number of Kazakh terranes, Alashan, Qaidam and Kunlun, as well as South Kitakami and correlatives in Japan, and probably Indochina. Like the North China craton, these were bordered by Early Paleozoic subduction-accretion complexes, island arcs or contained calc-alkaline volcanic margins, like for example, the central Tienshan, North Qinling, North Qaidam-Altun, North Qilian and Kunlun belts in China, as well as the Oeyama and Miyamori ophiolites and Matsugadaira-Motai blueschist belt of Japan and the dismembered Sergeevka ophiolite of the southern part of the Russian Far East. This implies that a vast orogenic system, comprising an archipelago of micro-continents, seems to have existed along the Cimmerian margin of East Gondwana in Early Paleozoic time in which the ultrahigh-pressure metamorphism that characterizes the early evolution of many of the Asian micro-continents occurred.
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Koenraad de Jong, Wenjiao Xiao, Brian F. Windley, Hideki Masago, Ching-Hua Lo. Ordovician 40Ar/39Ar phengite ages from the blueschist-facies Ondor Sum subduction-accretion complex (Inner Mongolia) and implications for the early Paleozoic history of continental blocks in China and adjacent areas. American journal of science, American Journal of Science, 2006, 306 (10), pp.799-845. ⟨10.2475/10.2006.02⟩. ⟨hal-00139003⟩

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