Origin and geodynamic significance of the early Mesozoic Weiya LP and HT granulites from the Chinese Eastern Tianshan

Journal article

Publication Details

Author(s): Mao LJ, He Z, Zhang Z, Klemd R, Xiang H, Tian Z, Zong K
Journal: Lithos
Publication year: 2015
Volume: 239
Pages range: 142-156
ISSN: 0024-4937
Language: English


The Chinese Tianshan in the southwestern part of the Central Asian Orogenic Belt (CAOB) is characterized by a variety of high-grade metamorphic rocks, which provide critical constraints for understanding the geodynamic evolution of the CAOB. In this paper, we present detailed petrological and zircon U–Pb geochronological studies of the Weiya low-pressure and high-temperature (LP-HT) granulites of the Chinese Eastern Tianshan. These granulites were previously considered to be a product of a regional metamorphic orogenic event. Due to different bulk-rock chemistries the Weiya granulites, which occur as lenses within the contact metamorphic aureole of the Weiya granitic ring complex, have a variety of felsic–pelitic and mafic granulites with different textural equilibrium mineral assemblages including garnet–cordierite–sillimanite-bearing granulites, cordierite–sillimanite-bearing granulites, cordierite–orthopyroxene-bearing granulites, and orthopyroxene–clinopyroxene-bearing granulites. Average P–T thermobarometric calculations and conventional geothermobarometry indicates that the Weiya granulites underwent early prograde metamorphism under conditions of 600–650 °C at 3.2–4.2 kbar and peak metamorphism of 750–840 °C at 2.9–6.3 kbar, indicating a rather high geothermal gradient of ca. 60 °C/km. Zircon U–Pb LA–ICP–MS dating revealed metamorphic ages between 244 ± 1 to 237 ± 3 Ma, which are in accordance with the crystallization age of the Weiya granitic ring complex. We suggest that the formation of the Weiya granulites was related to contemporaneous granitic magmatism instead of a regional metamorphic orogenic event. In addition, a Late Devonian metamorphic age of ca. 380 Ma was recorded in zircon mantle domains from two pelitic samples which is consistent with the metamorphic age of the Xingxingxia metamorphic complex in the Chinese Eastern Tianshan. This suggests that the mantle domains of the zircon grains of the Weiya granulites probably formed during the Late Devonian regional metamorphism and were overprinted by the Early Triassic contact metamorphism. Therefore, Early Triassic geodynamic models for the southwestern part of the CAOB, which are based on a previously suggested regional metamorphic orogenic event of the Weiya granulites, need to be viewed with caution.

FAU Authors / FAU Editors

He, Zhenyu Dr.
Geozentrum Nordbayern
Klemd, Reiner Prof. Dr.
Professur für Geochemie und Lagerstättenkunde

External institutions with authors

China University of Geosciences (Beijing College of Geology) / 中囯地质大学
China University of Geosciences / 中国地质大学
Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences (CAGS) / 中国地质科学院

How to cite

Mao, L.-J., He, Z., Zhang, Z., Klemd, R., Xiang, H., Tian, Z., & Zong, K. (2015). Origin and geodynamic significance of the early Mesozoic Weiya LP and HT granulites from the Chinese Eastern Tianshan. Lithos, 239, 142-156. https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.lithos.2015.10.016

Mao, Ling-Juan, et al. "Origin and geodynamic significance of the early Mesozoic Weiya LP and HT granulites from the Chinese Eastern Tianshan." Lithos 239 (2015): 142-156.


Last updated on 2019-07-06 at 01:10