High-Mg diorite from Qulong in southern Tibet: Implications for the genesis of adakite-like intrusions and associated porphyry Cu deposits in collisional orogens

Z.M. Yang, Yongjun Lu, Z.Q. Hou, Z.S. Chang

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    © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. We have investigated a suite of Miocene high-Mg diorite porphyries from Qulong in southern Tibet, the largest porphyry Cu-Mo deposit in China. Laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry zircon U-Pb dating shows that the high-Mg diorite porphyry was emplaced at 15·7 ± 0·2 Ma, which is slightly younger than the Qulong adakite-like Rongmucuola pluton (c. 19·5-16·4 Ma). The Qulong high-Mg diorites have phenocrysts showing disequilibrium textures and include high-Mg# clinopyroxene (0·91-0·97). These porphyry rocks exhibit both ultrapotassic and adakite-like features, and are characterized by high contents of MgO (4·2-5·1 wt %), K2O (3·2-3·6 wt %), and compatible trace elements (e.g. Ni: 115-142 ppm; Cr: 214-291 ppm), as well as by high Sr/Y and La/Yb ratios. The rocks have highly radiogenic isotopic compositions with (87Sr/86Sr)i = 0·707004-0·707198, e{open}Nd(t) = -5·1 to -5·5, 207Pb/204Pb = 15·697-15·704, and 208Pb/204Pb = 39·082-39·116, as well as variable zircon e{open}Hf values of -3·0 to +5·9. Petrographic, elemental, and isotopic evidence suggests that the Qulong high-Mg diorites were formed by mixing between ultrapotassic and adakite-like melts, derived from metasomatized Tibetan lithospheric mantle and juvenile lower crust, respectively. In contrast, the Qulong pre-ore Rongmucuola pluton is characterized by high SiO2 (66·3-68·9 wt %) and Al2O3 (16·4-17·0 wt %) contents, high Sr/Y ratios (121-151), low compatible element contents (e.g. Ni = 16·0-17·4 ppm; Cr = 14·5-20·2 ppm), low Mg# values (0·44-0·52), positive large-ion lithophile element (LILE) anomalies, marked negative high field strength element (HFSE) anomalies, positive eNd(t) values (+0·4 to +2·5), and low (87Sr/86Sr)i values (0·704847-0·705237). These features indicate that the Rongmucuola pluton was formed by partial melting of subduction-modified juvenile lower crust within the garnet stability field. The newly identified Qulong high-Mg diorite allows us to propose a mixing model for the origin of the Gangdese high-K, adakite-like rocks. In this model, the formation of these rocks occurred in two stages: (1) partial melting of highly metasomatized lithospheric mantle that generated ultrapotassic mafic melts; (2) underplating of such melts beneath thickened juvenile lower crust, which resulted in melting of the lower crust and the generation of adakite-like magmas. Mixing of the adakite-like melt with ultrapotassic magmas elevated the K2O, MgO, and other LILE (e.g. Rb and Ba) contents of the adakite-like melt. Exogenous water necessary for formation of the Gangdese porphyry Cu systems was mainly added during mixing of ultrapotassic magma with adakite-like melt at lower- and/or upper-crustal depths, reflecting the large decrease in the H2O solubility of the ultrapotassic mafic melt upon ascent and decompression. Upper-crustal fractionation of the Rongmucuola magma could also possibly increase the water content of mineralization-related, adakite-like porphyry intrusions at Qulong. Fluid exsolution from the ultrapotassic magma is likely to have been a key process in the generation of the Gangdese porphyry Cu deposits, as well as other porphyry Cu deposits in the Tibetan collisional orogens.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)227-254
    JournalJournal of Petrology
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


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