Petrology and geochemistry of metabasalts from the Taoxinghu ophiolite, central Qiangtang, northern Tibet: Evidence for a continental back-arc basin system
Austrian Journal of Earth Sciences
Newly discovered ophiolitic metabasalts in the Taoxinghu area of central Qiangtang on the Qinhai-Tibet Plateau, here described for the first time, have important implications for reconstructions of the tectonic history of the Paleo-Tethys Ocean. Most of the metabasalts belong to the tholeiitic basalt series and most have undergone greenschist-facies metamorphism. The distribution of rare earth elements and trace elements shows that the rocks are typical of sub-continental margin arc-basin
... gin arc-basin lavas, similar to the environment of formation of the present-day Okinawa lava, suggesting that the Taoxinghu metabasalts represent the upper portions of a supra-subduction zone (SSZ)-type ophiolite that formed in a continental back-arc basin tectonic environment. The Taoxinghu metabasalts are mainly sourced from a depleted spinel mantle-source region, with a spinel lherzolite content equivalent to partial melting of 6 %-25 %. In addition, lava compositions were likely affected by melting of sediments during subduction, while the influence of aqueous fluids was minor. Combining with the existing knowledge on the ophiolites of Longmuco-Shuanghu-Lancang suture zone (LSLSZ), an evolutionary model is proposed. The LSLSZ Paleo-Tethys Ocean basin may have started to form during the Cambrian or earlier, and subducted in the early Carboniferous. As subduction proceeded, a continental back-arc basin was developed, the site of generation of most of the Taoxinghu metabasalts. The LSLSZ Paleo-Tethys Ocean finally closed in the Triassic.