Redox conditions, compositional parameters, and indirect subduction-related source of Cretaceous Sn and Cu–Mo fertile post-subduction granites in the Yidun Terrane of eastern Tibet

Xue Gao, Li qiang Yang, Wen yan He, David Groves

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The metal and sulfur fertility of granite magmas that formed in post-subduction settings, the key processes that led to their contrasting associated polymetallic mineral deposits, and their post-subduction source remain obscure. The Yidun Terrane, eastern Tibet, extends for 500 km and can be divided into the northern Yidun Terrane (NYT) and southern Yidun Terrane (SYT) based on distinctive magmatic source affinities and related mineral deposits. The NYT has several 103–93 Ma granite plutons and associated magmatic-hydrothermal vein-type Sn–Pb–Zn–Ag polymetallic deposits, such as the giant Xiasai deposit. In contrast, the SYT granites host the Xiuwacu porphyry Mo–W deposit (88–84 Ma) and several porphyry or porphyry–skarn-type Cu–Mo deposits (85–78 Ma), such as Relin, Hongshan and Tongchanggou. The contrasting nature of the causative Cretaceous post-subduction granites and their source is determined from their whole-rock and isotope geochemistry, zircon trace-element concentrations, and biotite and amphibole mineral chemistry. Based on these parameters, the NYT Sn–Pb–Zn–Ag deposits are associated with highly fractionated, reduced ilmenite-series granites derived from a relatively dry magma that formed via mixing between amphibolite-derived and greywacke- and orthogneiss-derived metasomatized crustal melts. In contrast, the SYT Mo–W deposits are associated with strongly- to moderately-evolved and fractionated, oxidized intermediate-series granites. The SYT Cu–Mo deposits are related to more hydrous and less fractionated magnetite-series granites. The granites associated with both Mo–W and Cu–Mo deposits in the SYT were generated by partial melting of metasomatized ancient mafic-intermediate lower continental-crust with variable contributions of metasomatized mantle components. However, there is only evidence for the presence of garnet as a residual phase in the magmatic source of the SYT Cu–Mo-bearing granites. The different magma sources were important in determining the redox state of the Yidun granite magmas, providing a fundamental control on the behaviour of metals and sulfur in fractionating melts and dictating the contrasting polymetallic compositions of causative magmatic-hydrothermal fluids and resultant mineral deposits. The source regions of the granites are thus the primary control on the spatial distribution of the Sn–Pb–Zn–Ag, Mo–W, and Cu–Mo belts in the Yidun Terrane. Although not derived during subduction, as for most Cenozoic porphyry systems, the Yidun deposits are indirectly related to subduction via the metasomatism and fertilization of the mantle lithosphere and lower crust during the earlier subduction phase. The anomalous preservation of Cretaceous porphyry systems in the Yidun Terrane relates to their proximity to the margin of the Yangtze Craton, whose thick buoyant lithosphere inhibited exhumation and erosion.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104506
JournalOre Geology Reviews
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


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