Early Cretaceous granitic rocks are widely distributed in the Great Xing’an Range, northeast China. However, their precise age and tectonic evolution remain controversial. This study presents new zircon U–Pb, Lu–Hf, and whole-rock geochemical data for the granitic plutons in the Yili area, Xing’an Massif, northern Great Xing’an Range. The aim of this study was to decipher the tectono-thermal history and obtain further understanding of the geodynamic setting of the large-scale Late Mesozoic magmatism in the Great Xing’an Range. Zircon U–Pb age dating indicated that the plutons were emplaced during the Early Cretaceous, with ages of 132.2–130.1 Ma. The plutons showed similar geochemical features, characterized by high concentrations of SiO2 and Na2O + K2O and low concentrations of P2O5, CaO, MgO, and TFe2O3. The plutons were enriched in light rare earth elements and large ion lithophile elements and depleted in heavy earth elements and high-field-strength elements. Such features indicate that the plutons are highly fractionated with I-type granite affinity. These findings, combined with pluton ε Hf(t) values of + 5.25 to + 8.28 and two-stage model ages (t DM2) of 661–855 Ma, indicate that the primary magmas originated from partial melting of juvenile basaltic crustal material accreted during the Neoproterozoic. These results combined with regional geological evolution indicated that the generation of Early Cretaceous plutons in the northern Great Xing’an Range might be closely related to the post-collisional gravitational collapse and subsequent extension resulting from the closure of the Mongolia-Okhotsk Ocean. Their generation also superimposed the back-arc extension resulting from retraction of the Paleo-Pacific subduction plate.
The Central Asian Orogenic Belt (CAOB) is restricted to the north by the Siberia Craton and Baltica Craton, and to the south by the Tarim Craton and North China Craton  (Figure 1a and b). The CAOB is one of the world’s major Phanerozoic accretionary orogens [2,3]. The Great Xing’an Range of the Xing-Meng orogenic belt in eastern CAOB is composed of several microcontinents and intervening tectonic belts. The CAOB is separated into five tectonic blocks from northwest to southeast: Erguna, Xing’an, Songnen, Jiamusi, and Xingkai. These blocks are separated by ophiolite-decorated suture zones [4,5,6,7] (Figure 1c). The area has a complex tectonic history. During the Paleozoic period, the area underwent evolution of the Paleo-Asian tectonic system , characterized by the collision and amalgamation of multiple microcontinents and the final closure of the Paleo-Asian Ocean [9,10,11]. The extensional orogeny following the closing of the Paleo-Asian Ocean and the subduction of the Mongolia-Okhotsk Ocean and the Paleo-Pacific Plate during the Mesozoic had a significant impact on the tectonic evolution of northeast (NE) China. However, the spatiotemporal consequences of the closure of the three tectonic domains remain debatable [12,13,14,15,16,17]. Many multi-stage granitic rocks were generated in NE China during the geological evolution of the Paleozoic–Mesozoic. These granite rocks documented the crustal accretion and reconstruction that occurred then . Granitic magmatism can be separated into five major stages: (1) 475–505 Ma; (2) 310–340 Ma; (3) 240–270 Ma; (4) 170–200 Ma; and (5) 115–145 Ma. The Great Xing’an Range is mostly constituted of granites from the Late Paleozoic (310–340 Ma) and Early Cretaceous (115–145 Ma) . There have been many studies on the ages, petrogenesis, tectonic settings, and geodynamics of the Early Cretaceous granitoids in the Great Xing’an Range [20,21,22]. These studies have provided geological and geochronological data and established a comparatively systematic geochronological framework for Early Cretaceous granitoids in the region. The information provided by these studies has improved understanding of the geodynamic setting of the Early Cretaceous granitoids in the Great Xing’an Range.
However, the petrogenesis of those Early Cretaceous granitoids, as well as the mechanisms under which magmatism was induced in this area, remain debatable. Various tectonic models for large-scale Early Cretaceous magmatism in the Great Xing’an Range have been presented, including (1) plume activity from crust–mantle interactions [23,24]; (2) post-orogenic gravitational collapse and subsequent extension associated with the closure of the Mongol-Okhotsk Ocean [22,25,26]; and (3) the westward subduction and consequent rollback of the Paleo-Pacific oceanic plate [27,28,29,30,31]. However, scholarly agreement has gravitated toward relating the genetic structure of Early Cretaceous magmatic rocks in the Great Xing’an Range to the closing of the Mongolia-Okhotsk Ocean and the subduction environment of the Paleo-Pacific Plate [32,33]. Dominant topics within recent studies have been the spatial extent and duration during which the Mongolia-Okhotsk Ocean and the Paleo-Pacific Ocean existed in the Great Xing’an Range. Some studies have suggested that the Great Xing’an Range and its western areas were influenced by subduction of the Mongolian-Okhotsk Ocean during the Mesozoic [17,34]. The mainstream scientific hypothesis asserts that the Great Xing’an Range and its western portions were mostly influenced by subduction of the Mongolia-Okhotsk Ocean from the Jurassic to the initial Early Cretaceous, and only by subduction of the Paleo-Pacific plate during the late Early Cretaceous (135–106 Ma) [35,36,37,38]. Consequently, the question of which regime was primarily responsible for Mesozoic magmatism and tectonic progression in NE China has arisen?
The uncertainties regarding the geological history of this area relate to a lack of geochronological and geochemical data on the Late Mesozoic granitic rocks in the northern Great Xing’an Range. This is because most studies have focused on the southern and middle parts of the range [30,46]. The northern Great Xing’an Range provides an ideal study area for understanding the complex impacts of multiple tectonic domains in NE China, especially in the Late Mesozoic. The present study presents new zircon U–Pb dates, Lu–Hf isotopes, and whole-rock major and trace element data for samples collected from the Kaoshanhe (KSH) and Yilisidui (YLSD) granitic plutons in the northern Great Xing’an Range (Figure 2). These new data were integrated with previously reported geochemical, isotopic, and geochronological data of the Early Cretaceous granitic rocks of the Great Xing’an Range. The data were used to further constrain the magma source of Early Cretaceous granitic and assess the geodynamic setting of the Great Xing’an Range and adjacent regions.
2 Geological setting and sample descriptions
The Yili region in the northern section of the Great Xing’an Range and the eastern part of the Xing-Meng orogenic belt falls within the Xing’an block. The Xing’an block extends NE, encompassing most of the Hailar Basin and the Great Xing’an Range . The Xinlin-Xiguitu suture zone separates the Xing’an and Erguna blocks in the northwestern portion, and collision and assembly of this area occurred during the Early Paleozoic (490 Ma) . The Hegenshan–Heihe suture zone separates the southern Xing’an block and the Songnen-Zhangguangcailing block . There was a collision between these two blocks in this area during the late Paleozoic (−320 Ma) [40,41]. The Xing’an block was mainly composed of Paleozoic granitic rocks, volcanic rocks, and sedimentary rocks, which were later destroyed by Mesozoic volcanic rocks or covered by sedimentary rocks [6,22,42]. The Xing’an block experienced three main periods of magmatic activity: (1) the Late Cambrian to Early Silurian (500–440 Ma); (2) the Carboniferous to Permian (356–260 Ma); and (3) the Mesozoic. Magmatic activity during the Mesozoic was large in scale, characterized by many granite and volcanic rocks distributed in a NE direction. These rocks may have been the products of the Mongolian-Okhotsk tectonic system superimposed on the influence of subduction of the Paleo-Pacific plate [6,16]. The “Precambrian metamorphic rock basement” in the Xing’an block remains a controversial subject . The initial theory was that the Precambrian metamorphic basement and late cap were unified in the early stage . However, later studies determined that the metamorphic rock series of the original Cambrian crystalline basement was in fact composed of different types of magmatic rock, metamorphic rock, and sedimentary rock from Paleozoic to Mesozoic . This result implied the absence of large-scale Precambrian metamorphic crystalline basement in the Xing’an block.
The exposed strata in the study area range from the Paleozoic to the Cenozoic, and from old to the new are the upper Silurian Wuduhe Formation of the Paleozoic, the Mesozoic volcanic rocks, and the modern river deposits of the Cenozoic and Holocene. The Wuduhe Formation is in the western part and its rock types are mainly fine-grained metamorphic sandstones, siliceous slate, and slate. The Mesozoic volcanic rocks are a series of terrestrial volcanic-sedimentary strata. These rocks are widely exposed in the eastern part of the region and sporadically exposed in the southwest. The lithology of the study area is mainly early Cretaceous neutral-intermediate acidic volcanic rocks and pyroclastic rocks.
The study area experienced intensive and voluminous magmatic activity over a long period, including widespread Paleozoic and Mesozoic intrusive rocks. The Paleozoic intrusive rocks include the early Carboniferous mylonitized monzogranites that occur as batholith in the northern part and the Late Carboniferous granodiorites in the southeast. In addition, the Permian monzogranites exposed as batholiths and stocks are widespread in the west and south and intrude into the Upper Silurian Wuduhe Formation. Some Permian monzogranites were unconformably overlain by Early Cretaceous volcanic rocks and were intruded by Early Cretaceous intrusive rocks. The dominant voluminous Mesozoic granites in the study area are Early Jurassic and Early Cretaceous in age. The Early Jurassic intrusive rocks are mainly composed of monzogranites that occur in large volumes in the northern part. These rocks invaded the Early Carboniferous mylonitized monzogranite and were later destroyed by magmatism. The Early Cretaceous intrusive rocks in the west and south consist mainly of monzogranites. These intrusions crosscut the early Carboniferous mylonitized monzogranite and Permian and Early Jurassic granites and are unconformably overlain by the Early Cretaceous volcanic rocks, the subject of the present study. Mesozoic intrusive rocks in the study area’ are mostly related to the closing of the Okhotsk Ocean and the Paleo-Pacific tectonic domain .
The present study chose the KSH (samples KSH-1, KSH-2, KSH-3, KSH-4, and KSH-5) and YLSD (samples YLSD-1, YLSD-2, YLSD-3, YLSD-4) plutons in the Xing’an Massif for geochronological and geochemical analyses (Figure 2). Observations of natural outcrops in various parts of different plutons indicated minor changes in mineral composition, content, and particle sizes of rock samples, with relatively uniform and stable spatial characteristics (Figure 3a and b).
The KSH pluton intrudes the Early Jurassic and Permian plutons to the west of KSH hamlet (Figure 2). This pluton is composed of monzogranite, which has a medium-coarse granitic texture and a massive structure. The primary minerals contained in the pluton include quartz (30–35%), plagioclase (30–35%), orthoclase (20–25%), biotite (3–4%), and a trace of opaque mineral (1%) (Figure 3c).
The YLSD pluton, located to the south of YLSD village, intrudes the Permian pluton. This pluton consists mainly of monzogranite and displays a medium-coarse grained granitic texture and a massive structure. The main rock-forming minerals are plagioclase (29–36%), orthoclase (20–24%), quartz (32–33%), biotite (4–6%), and minor accessory minerals, including zircon and apatite (<1%) (Figure 3d).
3 Analytical method
3.1 Major and trace element analyses
After petrographic investigation and the removal of changed rims, samples for major and trace element geochemical analyses were crushed and processed to pass through a 200 mesh in an agate mill. Chemical analysis was conducted at Beijing Geoanalysis Co. Ltd in Beijing, China. Major elements were examined using fused glass disks and X-ray fluorescence. The analytical uncertainties of all major elements were less than 3%. The powdered samples were dissolved in high-pressure Teflon bombs containing a combination of HF and HNO3, following which trace element compositions were measured using an Agilent 7500a ICP-MS analyzer. The Chinese national standards GSR-1, GSR-3, and GSR-5 were used to calibrate the element concentrations of the measured samples. Analytical uncertainties ranged from 1 to 3%. The results showed that the analytical precisions of the Chinese national standards (GSR-1, GSR-3, and GSR-5) were higher than 95% for major elements and 90% for trace and rare earth elements (REEs) . Table 1 displays the findings of major and trace element analyses.
3.2 Zircon U–Pb dating
Zircon grains were separated from whole-rock samples using a combination of heavy liquid and magnetic separation techniques, followed by handpicking under a binocular microscope at Beijing Geoanalysis Co., Ltd. The selected zircon grains were then bonded to double-sided adhesive, submerged in epoxy resin, inserted into the laser target, and polished until the zircon cores were exposed. Cathodoluminescence (CL) images were produced using a (JEOL) JSM-IT500 scanning electron microscope at Beijing Geoanalysis Co. Ltd, to characterize the interior structures of the zircons and to choose potential sites for U–Pb dating. Isotopic studies were performed on the grains of transparent, euhedral, non-fractured, and inclusion-free zircon.
The zircon U–Pb dating tests were conducted using an Agilent 7500 inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer (ICP-MS) fitted with a 193 nm laser ablation (LA) system at the Beijing Geoanalysis Co. Ltd. The laser spot had a diameter of 36 μm, a fluence of 5.5 J/cm2, and an ablation rate of 6 Hz. Helium was utilized to carry ablated material from the typical laser ablation cell to a mixing chamber before entering the ICP-MS burner. Zircon GJ-1 and 91500 were utilized as primary and secondary reference materials, respectively. Double and single analyses of 91500 and GJ-1 were conducted every 10–12 rounds of sample analysis. After 20 s of gas background measurement, the sample signals were typically collected in 35–40 s. The exponential function was used to adjust the downhole fractionation . NIST 610 and 96Zr were employed as external reference material and internal standard element to calibrate the trace element concentrations, respectively. The measured ages of the reference materials in the batch for 91500 and GJ-1 were (1061.5 ± 3.2 Ma, 2σ) and (604 ± 6 Ma, 2σ), respectively, consistent with the reference value within definite uncertainty. Zircon Plešovice were dated as unknown samples, yielding a weighted mean 206Pb/238U age of (337.5 ± 1.5 Ma, 2σ), consistent with the reference value within the defined uncertainty . A detailed description of the experimental procedures and instrument parameters followed in the present study can be found in Yuan et al. . The ICPMSDataCal program was used to process date data within the current study . Lead correction was implemented to remove the influence of common lead [51,52], following which a U–Pb harmony diagram with an age inaccuracy of 1σ was generated using ISOPLOT3.0 software. Table 2 displays the dating results.
|Sample no.||Element content||Th/U||Isotopic ratios||Age (Ma)|
3.3 Zircon Hf isotope analyses
All zircon points used in the Lu–Hf isotope study were chosen from the effective points that correlated well with zircon U–Pb dating using LA inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS). In situ zircon Hf isotopic studies were performed at the Beijing Geoanalysis Co. Ltd using a Neptune Plus MC-ICP-MS equipped with a Resolution SE 193 nm excimer LA system. All zircon data were collected in the single spot ablation mode. During the analyses, a laser beam with a diameter of 63 μm and a repetition rate of 10 Hz at 100 mJ was used. Helium was employed as the carrier gas within the ablation cell and was subsequently combined with argon. The international standard zircon Plešovice was employed to monitor the instrument status and rectify the exterior portions of the samples. The weighted average value of 176Hf/177Hf was 0.282480 ± 0.000016 (2σ, n = 10), compatible with the suggested value within the error range . The analytical processes were described by Wu et al. . The 176Lu decay constant of 1.867 × 10−11 , and the present-day chondritic values of 176Hf/177Hf = 0.282772 and 176Lu/177Hf = 0.0332 were used to calculate the values of εHf . The depleted mantle model age (t DM1) was calculated using the present-day depleted mantle values of 176Hf/177Hf = 0.28325 and 176Lu/177Hf = 0.0384. The two-stage model age (t DM2) was calculated using f LC = −34 for the lower crust and the f DM = 0.16 for the depleted mantle .
4 Analysis results
4.1 Zircon U–Pb ages
The present study chose two samples from the above two granitic plutons in the northern Great Xing’an Range for zircon LA-ICP-MS U–Pb dating. Figure 4 shows the CL images of representative zircons, and Figure 5 shows the U–Pb data plotted on the Concordia diagrams. Table 2 lists the zircon U–Pb analytical data.
The U–Pb isotope test used 25 zircon grains from sample KSHTW1. Most of the zircon grains in the CL pictures were distinguished by oscillatory zoning in euhedral and semi-euhedral crystalline columnar crystals, ranging in size from 100 to 250 μm and with length-to-width ratios ranging from 1:1 to 2.5:1 (Figure 4a). The zircon grains were colorless and translucent–transparent under transmitted and reflected light, although a few zircons had a brown-black color. The Th and U contents of zircon grains ranged from 101.59 to 743.75 ppm (average of 347.21 ppm) and 176.94 to 738.40 ppm (average of 471.91 ppm), respectively. Furthermore, the zircon grains had high Th/U ratios ranging from 0.47 to 1.11. These characteristics, along with high strong positive anomalies in Ce content, point to a magmatic origin . The remaining 25 concordant studies yielded 206Pb/238U ages ranging from 126 to 136 Ma, providing a weighted mean 206Pb/238U age of 132.2 ± 0.5 Ma (MSWD = 0.66, n = 25) (Figure 5a), which is considered to represent the crystallization age of the KSH pluton.
The U–Pb isotope test used 24 zircon grains from sample YLSDTW1. Most of the zircon grains in the CL pictures were distinguished by oscillatory zoning in euhedral and semi-euhedral crystalline columnar crystals ranging in size from 100 to 300 μm and with length-to-width ratios ranging from 1:1 to 3:1 (Figure 4b). The zircon grains were colorless and translucent–transparent under transmitted and reflected light, although a few zircons had a brown-black color. The Th and U contents of zircon grains ranged from 21.73 to 345.84 ppm (average of 139.61 ppm) and 26.23 to 369.05 ppm (average of 131.54 ppm), respectively. Furthermore, the zircon grains had high Th/U ratios ranging from 0.49 to 2.76, both of which exceeded 0.4. These characteristics, along with high positive anomalies in Ce content, point to a magmatic origin . The remaining 24 concordant studies yielded 206Pb/238U ages ranging from 125 to 143 Ma, providing a weighted mean 206Pb/238U age of 130.1 ± 0.7 Ma (MSWD = 2.30, n = 24) (Figure 5b), which is taken to represent the crystallization age of the YLSD pluton.
4.2.1 Major and trace elements
Table 1 and Figures 6(a)–(d) and 7(a) and (b) present the results of whole-rock major and trace element analysis appeared. Figures 6 and 7 show the combined major and trace element compositions of ten Early Cretaceous granitoid rocks from the northeastern Great Xing’an Range for comparison.
|Pluton||YLSD pluton||KSH pluton|
The geochemical features of the KSH and YLSD plutons were comparable. All the monzogranite samples from the two plutons contained high proportions of silica and alkalis, with SiO2 ranging from 67.97 to 72.29% and total K2O + Na2O varying from 8.41 to 9.07% (Table 1). However, they had lower proportions of total TFeO (1.13–4.23%), MnO (0.04–0.06%), MgO (0.34–2.18%), Mg# (15.37–40.55), CaO (1.49–2.48%), TiO2 (0.22–0.41%), and P2O5 (0.06–0.14%) (Table 1). The rocks fell within the subalkalic series on the total Na2O + K2O vs SiO2 diagram (TAS)  (Figure 6a) and within the high-K calc-alkaline series on a SiO2 vs K2O diagram  (Figure 6c). All samples fell along the alkali-calcium and calc-alkaline boundaries on the SiO2 vs (Na2O + K2O–CaO) diagram  (Figure 6d). The samples containing Al2O3 concentrations of 14.59–15.27% in the A/NK vs A/CNK diagram provided A/CNK [molar ratio of Al2O3/(CaO + Na2O + K2O)] ratio values of 0.90–1.00, and were categorized as metaluminous to weakly peraluminous  (Figure 6b). Therefore, the monzogranite in Yili area can be classified as metaluminous to weakly peraluminous high-k calc-alkaline rock.
All samples showed similar REE patterns on the chondrite-normalized REE diagram (Figure 7a). The total REE content (ΣREE) was 72.46–112.82 ppm, with light and heavy rare earth elements (LREE and HREE, respectively) ranging from 68.98 to 107.91 ppm and from 3.48 to 7.00 ppm, respectively. The ratio of LREE to HREE (LREE/HREE) of 13.94–22.83 and a (La/Yb)N of 17.52–42.59 indicated relatively enriched LREEs, relatively deficient HREEs, and obvious REE fractionation. The distribution curve of REEs displayed a noticeable right-leaning feature with a minor Eu anomaly, with δEu values ranging from 0.95 to 1.66 (Figure 7a). The normalized trace element spider diagram of the primitive mantle shown in Figure 7b indicates that all samples had comparable trace element distribution patterns. The spider diagram appeared to have a rightward sloping pattern with a multi-peak valley “W” layout. All samples were enriched in large ion lithophile elements (LILEs; e.g., Rb, Ba, Sr, and K) and depleted in high field strength elements (HFSEs; e.g., Nb, Ta, Ti, and P), indicating subduction-related igneous rock geochemical features .
4.2.2 Zircon Hf isotopes
Table 3 shows the results of in situ Hf isotopic analysis of zircons for two samples (KSHTW1 and YLSDTW1).
|Spots||Age (Ma)||176Yb/177Hf||2σ||176Lu/177Hf||2σ||176Hf/177Hf||2σ||εHf(0)||εHf(t)||T DM||T DMc||f Lu/Hf|
The 176Yb/177Hf and 176Lu/177Hf ratios of the 14 zircons measured by KSHTW1 ranged from 0.015349 to 0.053813 and from 0.000619 to 0.001956, respectively, whereas the 176Hf/177Hf ratios ranged from 0.282839 to 0.282925 (average of 0.282873). The ε Hf(t) values of all zircons ranged from 5.24 to 8.28 (average of 6.46). The ages of single-stage Hf models (t DM1) ranged from 466 to 582 Ma, whereas the ages of two-stage Hf models (t DM2) ranged from 661 to 855 Ma (Table 3).
The 176Yb/177Hf and 176Lu/177Hf ratios of the ten zircons measured by YLSDTW1 ranged from 0.023312 to 0.053234 and from 0.000805 to 0.001208, respectively, whereas the 176Hf/177Hf ratios ranged from 0.282852 to 0.282922 (average of 0.282882). The ε Hf(t) values of all zircons ranged from 5.51 to 7.99 (average of 6.63). The ages of single-stage Hf models (t DM1) ranged from 479 to 564 Ma, whereas the ages of two-stage Hf models (t DM2) ranged from 675 to 829 Ma (Table 3).
All zircons studied were plotted between the depleted mantle field and the CHUR line on a ε Hf(t) vs U–Pb age diagram (Figure 11a), as was the case for zircons from Phanerozoic magmatic rocks in the eastern CAOB [63,64].
5.1 Geochronology of the Early Cretaceous granitoid in NE China
Current knowledge has divided granitic magmatic activity in NE China into five stages: (1) 475–505 Ma, (2) 310–340 Ma, (3) 240–270 Ma, (4) 170–200 Ma, and (5) 115–145 Ma. The Mesozoic granitic magmatism in the Great Xing’an Range may be separated into three periods [6,19,65]: (1) Triassic (233–212 Ma), (2) Jurassic (180–156 Ma), and (3) Early Cretaceous (115–145 Ma). Granitoids are abundant in NE China, and high-precision geochronological data reveal that they are primarily Mesozoic in age. The resultant high-precision geochronological data demonstrate that the granitoids are concentrated in 114–142 Ma [66,67,68,69,70,71,72,73,74,75,76] (Figure 8) (Table 4). The Early Cretaceous granitoid was a significant phase of magmatism in NE China and is now essential in understanding the geodynamics of the paleo-Pacific and the Mongolia-Okhotsk Ocean. In contrast, the KSH and YLSD plutons were previously thought to be Early Cretaceous in age because they intruded the Early Jurassic plutons and were not adequately limited by exact zircon dates. As a result, the current study used LA-ICP-MS zircon U–Pb dating to precisely identify the geochronological framework of the Early Cretaceous intrusions in the northern Great Xing’an Range.
|Order||Pluton||Lithology||GPS location||Method||Age (Ma)||References|
|1||YLSD||Monzogranite||N49°32′24″||E124°04′12″||LA-ICP-MS||130.1 ± 0.7||This study|
|2||KSH||Monzogranite||N49°36′07″||E124°04′08″||LA-ICP-MS||132.2 ± 0.5||This study|
|3||Niuerhe||Alkali feldspar granite||N51°26′18″||E122°14′40″||LA-ICP-MS||125 ± 2|||
|4||Qianjinlinchang||Granodiorite||N51°37′40″||E124°09′22″||LA-ICP-MS||131 ± 3|||
|5||Linhai||Granodiorite||N51°36′22″||E124°19′26″||LA-ICP-MS||132 ± 3|||
|6||Alkali feldspar granite||LA-ICP-MS||138 ± 1|||
|7||Shenshan||Alkali feldspar granite||N46°54′42″||E122°08′29″||LA-ICP-MS||120 ± 1|||
|8||Cuifeng||Plagiogranite||N50°35′26″||E124°16′36″||LA-ICP-MS||122 ± 1|||
|9||Hamagou||Monzonitic porphyry||N47°04′33″||E120°50′17″||LA-ICP-MS||126 ± 1|||
|10||Jiagedaqi||Monzogranite||N50°25′57″||E124°05′17″||LA-ICP-MS||128 ± 1|||
|11||Nuomin||Monzogranite||N49°10′38″||E123°45′33″||LA-ICP-MS||130 ± 1|||
|12||Yilinongchang||Monzogranite||N49°14′31″||E123°46′04″||LA-ICP-MS||131 ± 1|||
|13||Tongshan||Granite||N50°14′53″||E125°47′34″||LA-ICP-MS||131 ± 1|||
|14||Songling||Porphyritic granite||N50°31′58″||E124°28′34″||LA-ICP-MS||131 ± 3|||
|15||Zhalantun||Syenogranite||N47°42′24″||E122°35′49″||LA-ICP-MS||132 ± 1|||
|16||Xinlitun||Monzogranite||N47°45′50″||E122°16′16″||LA-ICP-MS||133 ± 1|||
|17||Wuchagou||Syenogranite||N46°42′04″||E120°22′36″||LA-ICP-MS||133 ± 1|||
|18||Songling||Porphyritic granite||N50°32′11″||E124°27′13″||LA-ICP-MS||133 ± 3|||
|19||Suolunmachang||Syenogranite||N46°40′39″||E121°11′20″||LA-ICP-MS||134 ± 1|||
|20||Suolun||Syenogranite||N46°19′57″||E120°41′35″||LA-ICP-MS||135 ± 1|||
|21||Hamagou||Monzogranite||N47°23′09″||E121°12′20″||LA-ICP-MS||136 ± 1|||
|22||Hamagou||Granite porphyry||N47°04′06″||E120°34′17″||LA-ICP-MS||136 ± 1|||
|23||Bijiadian||Syenogranite||N47°52′36″||E121°20′27″||LA-ICP-MS||136 ± 3|||
|24||Ailinyuan||Monzogranite||N48°26′30″||E121°53′41″||LA-ICP-MS||137 ± 1|||
|25||Woduhe||Granite||N50°33′53″||E125°41′47″||LA-ICP-MS||137 ± 1|||
|26||Baiyinbangou||Monzogranite||N43°15′08″||E117°49′12″||LA-ICP-MS||131 ± 2|||
|27||Huanggangliang||Syenogranite||N43°26′13″||E117°29′47″||LA-ICP-MS||132 ± 1|||
|28||Luotuobozi||Granite porphyry||N47°07′13″||E122°04′20″||LA-ICP-MS||132 ± 2|||
|29||Mingshui||Alkali feldspar granite||N46°42′10″||E120°50′52″||SIMS||134 ± 1|||
|30||Suolun||Alkali feldspar granite||N46°40′58″||E121°13′11″||LA-ICP-MS||134 ± 2|||
|31||Jilasitai||Alkali feldspar granite||N46°36′30″||E120°53′55″||LA-ICP-MS||135 ± 2|||
|32||Beidashan||Syenogranite||N43°57′15″||E117°32′24″||LA-ICP-MS||136 ± 2|||
|33||Chaoyanggou||Monzogranite||N44°07′36″||E118°10′03″||LA-ICP-MS||142 ± 3|||
|34||Shuguang||Granite porphyry||N46°12′15″||E132°59′27″||LA-ICP-MS||110 ± 1|||
|35||Huanan||Granite porphyry||N46°05′57″||E130°41′09″||LA-ICP-MS||123 ± 1|||
|36||Mayihe||Granodiorite||N46°48′52″||E133°50′49″||LA-ICP-MS||124 ± 1|||
|37||Mayihe||Granodiorite||N47°04′36″||E133°53′47″||LA-ICP-MS||116 ± 1|||
|38||Taipingcun||Syenogranite||N46°43′31″||E133°52′49″||LA-ICP-MS||114 ± 1|||
The present study investigated the chronology of the KSH and YLSD plutons in the Great Xing’an Range’s Yili region. Zircon crystals from the Early Cretaceous intrusions dated in this study are euhedral–subhedral and exhibit fine-scale rhythmic growth zones in the CL images (Figure 4), suggesting a magmatic origin. Their high Th/U ratios of 0.47–2.76 are likewise suggestive of a magmatic origin (Table 2).
As shown in Table 4, the present study combined previously published data from the Erguna, Xing’an, and western Songnen–Zhangguangcai Range massifs with data generated in the current study to better understand the Early Cretaceous magmatism in the northern Great Xing’an Range and adjacent areas. As a result, the results of the LA-ICP-MS zircon U–Pb dating represent the replacement age of the magma. The Concordia ages of the KSH and YLSD plutons are 132.2 ± 0.5 and 130.1 ± 0.7 Ma, respectively (Figure 5), showing that the two plutons were emplaced concurrently during the Early Cretaceous period. These combined data revealed that large quantities of Cretaceous intrusive rocks, as well as contemporaneous volcanic rocks, have been discovered throughout NE China [16,77,78], confirming the importance of Early Cretaceous rocks in NE China. According to Xu et al. , the Early Cretaceous magmatism in NE China can be divided into two episodes: (1) the early stage (145–138 Ma) and (2) the late stage (133–106 Ma). The results of the present study suggest that the two plutons in the Yili area developed during the early stage of the Early Cretaceous period. It can be concluded that the Early Cretaceous was a prominent phase of magmatism. The spatiotemporal distribution of Early Cretaceous granitoid in NE China contributes to crucial further understanding of tectonic development and the magmatism of the CAOB.
5.2.1 Granite type
Granites are classified as M-, A-, S-, as well as I-types [79,80,81]. The formation of M-type granites is mostly based on the differentiation of mantle-based magma, with characteristics of mantle origin . Since the granites in this area are characterized by high silicon and low Mg# contents, they cannot be M-type granites.
A-type granites usually contain sodium amphibole, aegirine, iron olivine, and other signature alkaline dark minerals [83,84,85,86,87,88]. The geochemistry of A-type granites is characterized by high Si, K, Ga, Zr, Nb, and Ta contents, but low contents of Ca, Al, Sr, and Ba, with high TFeO/MgO ratios. Meanwhile, this type of rock has a high zircon saturation temperature and can be categorized as high-temperature granite . The chondrite-normalized REE patterns demonstrated that the granite samples in this location are enriched in LREEs, with no evident Eu anomaly. The total quantity of REEs was less than that in A-type granites, but comparable to that in I-type granites (Figure 7a). The primitive mantle normalized trace element diagram (Figure 7b) demonstrated that the granite samples are deficient in HFSEs such as Nb, Ta, and U, but contained far higher Sr content than A-type granites. In addition, the TFeO/MgO ratios were low (only 1.1–4.2), inconsistent with the Fe-rich characteristics of A-type granites (TFeO/MgO > 10) . The Zr (66.8–95 ppm) and Zr + Nb + Ce + Y (115.0–138.9 ppm) contents were clearly lower than the lower limit of A-type granite (Zr = 250 ppm; Zr + Nb + Ce + Y = 350 ppm) . A-type granite is characterized by a significant geothermal gradient and high-temperature properties, far exceeding those of other types of granites. Therefore, temperature can be used as an indirect basis for assessment of granite type . The present study calculated the zircon saturation temperature using the zircon saturation temperature simulation formula:
In equation (1), M = (Na + K + 2Ca)/(Al × Si) . The calculated zircon saturation temperatures (T Zr) of granites ranged from 732 to 771°C (average of 754°C), significantly lower than that of A-type granites (average > 800°C) , but close to the formation temperature (764°C) of highly fractionated I-type granites calculated by King et al. . This finding is supported by plotting these samples on the Ce vs SiO2 diagram and (Na2O + K2O)/CaO vs Zr + Nb + Ce + Y diagram of Whalen et al. , with virtually all the samples charting in the I-type granite field and the highly fractionated I-type field, rather than the A-type field (Figure 9). According to the evidence presented above, the Early Cretaceous plutons can be categorized as I- or S-type granites, rather than A-type granites.
I-type granites are generally metaluminous to weakly peraluminous (A/CNK<1.1), whereas S-type granites are strongly peraluminous (A/CNK>1.1). Typical S-type granites are strongly peraluminous granitoids containing muscovite, cordierite, and garnet, with a corundum content of >1% , whereas the typical minerals found in I-type granites are hornblende and pyroxene [95,96]. No aluminum-rich minerals such as muscovite, cordierite, and garnet reflecting the characteristics of typical S-type granites were found in the granites of the study area . In addition, the A/CNK ratios ranged from 0.90 to 1.00, falling into the metaluminous series category, and a corundum content less than 1%. The above characteristics show that the granite samples had properties that were clearly different from the characteristics of S-type granite. Experimental results reveal that metaluminous to weakly peraluminous and peralkaline granitic magmas have low apatite solubilities, implying that fractionation of these magmas always results in apatite, which in turn results in melts with very low P2O5 contents. In contrast, apatite is generally undersaturated in highly peraluminous magmas that rarely become saturated in apatite . This suggests that P2O5 concentrations in I-type granitic magmas are negatively correlated with SiO2, whereas P2O5 concentrations in S-type magmas are slightly increased with the increase in the SiO2 concentrations . The P2O5 content of granite samples in this area is low (0.06–0.14%), and there is a strong negative correlation between SiO2 and P2O5 (Figure 10c), showing a similar evolution trend to I-type granite . This result is also supported by the positive correlation between Y and Rb and the negative correlation between A/CNK and P2O5 . In addition, the average Na2O content of granites is as high as 4.87%, far exceeding the threshold of 2.81% , which is generally considered to be an important symbol of I-type granites .
Given the aforementioned petrologic and geochemical data, the present study inferred that the rocks of the KSH and YLSD plutons are I-type granites, whereas those of the KSH and YLSD plutons are highly fractionated I-type granites.
5.2.2 Magma evolution
Fractional crystallization is critical in the development of magmas. All samples were rich in silica and alkali, with high differentiation index values (DI = 80–89) and a low Mg# value (15.37–40.55). This indicated that fractional crystallization significantly restricts evolution of magmatic components . It is worth noting that good systematic trends were evident in the Harker diagram of the main oxides vs SiO2 (Figure 10c–i). This shows that Al2O3, TFeO, MgO, CaO, TiO2, P2O5, and Na2O are negatively correlated with SiO2 content, whereas K2O is positively correlated with SiO2 content, implying that fractional crystallization occurred during the evolution of the magma. This view is also supported by the La/Sm-La discriminant diagram  (Figure 10a). The relationship between SiO2 content and the contents of Al2O3, CaO, TFeO, and MgO reflects the fractional crystallization of mafic minerals, such as hornblende and biotite, during magma evolution. The relationship is also supported by the relatively flat distribution of heavy REEs and the Ba-Sr diagram (Figure 10b). Separation of accessory minerals such as apatite and Fe–Ti oxides could explain the observed reductions in P2O5 and TiO2 with the increase in the SiO2 content (Figure 10c and f). Meanwhile, since the distribution coefficient of Yb in hornblende exceeded that of Y, the fractional crystallization of hornblende resulted in an increase in the Y/Yb ratio in the melt. The Y/Yb ratios of the samples were 10.3–11.8, and the high ratio indicated the fractional crystallization of hornblende occurs . Lack of a clear Eu anomaly indicated that plagioclase did not undergo fractional crystallization during magma evolution . The normalized trace element spider diagram of the primitive mantle (Figure 7b) showed clear negative anomalies of Nb, Ta, P, and Ti. Among them, the negative anomalies of Nb, Ta, and Ti were related to the fractional crystallization of titanium-bearing minerals, such as ilmenite, uranite, and rutile, whereas the negative anomalies of P were related to the fractional crystallization of apatite.
The present study hypothesized that granites in the Yili region were formed as a result of fractional crystallization during the evolution of the magma with hornblende, apatite, ilmenite, sphene, and rutile.
5.2.3 Magma source
As shown in Figure 6c, all samples fell into the high-K calc-alkaline series fields. According to Barbarin , the samples of the present study could be classified as high-K calc-alkaline I-type granitoids. I-type granites can be formed mainly through three different petrogenetic models, namely, (1) fractional crystallization of mantle-derived basaltic magma [83,112], (2) mixing of mantle-derived mafic magma and crust-derived felsic magma [113,114], and (3) under-transgression of mantle-derived magma, resulting in partial melting of crustal material [115,116].
Field investigation in the present study found no evidence of mixing dark particulate inclusions and other magmas. In addition, the isotopic composition of the rocks in this area varied within a small range, suggesting that the magma source area is relatively uniform in composition (Figure 11). Therefore, the possibility of a magma mixed origin can be excluded. Both KSH and YLSD plutons contain high SiO2 (67.97–72.29%), Al2O3 (14.59–15.27%), and total alkalis (Na2O + K2O = 8.41–9.07%) contents, with low MgO (0.34–2.18%), TFe2O3 (1.13–4.23%), Cr (10.5–21.3 ppm), Co (2.77–5.84 ppm), and Ni (0.34–4.10 ppm) concentrations. Their major element compositions indicate that they were derived from a primary magma generated by the partial melting of lower crustal material . Meanwhile, enrichment in LREE occurred in the chondrite-normalized REE patterns, whereas relative depletion of Nb, Ta, Ti, P, and an enrichment of certain LILE were evident in the primitive mantle-normalized trace element patterns. All of these patterns provide additional evidence suggesting that the Early Cretaceous plutons were formed by the partial melting of crustal material [118,119,120]. Experimental studies have shown that Mg# can be used as an indicator to assess the source of magma. The magma that had been partially melted by the subduction plate is characterized by a higher Mg# value (>43) . In contrast, the magma partially melted by the ancient crust is characterized by a lower Mg# value (<43) since it does not interact with the mantle [63,122,123]. The studied granite samples possess low Mg# values (15.37–40.50), indicating that these two plutons are characterized by partial melting of the ancient crust and that the parent magma does not interact with the mantle.
Trace element ratios such as Nb/Ta, Zr/Hf, La/Nb, Th/La, and Th/Nb are useful indications for determining the origins of magmatic materials because of their stable geochemical features [118,124]. The Nb/Ta and Zr/Hf ratios of the Early Cretaceous intrusions were fairly stable, ranging between 5.0 and 14.7 (with an average value of 9.3) and between 25.2 and 34.4 (with an average value of 29.8), respectively. These ratios are comparable to those of the continental crust (11.4 and 33, respectively) , but different from those of the primitive mantle (17.8 and 37, respectively) . In addition, the La/Nb, Th/Nb, and Th/La ratios ranged from 3.24 to 4.81 (with an average value of 3.87), 0.34 to 1.47 (with an average value of 0.72), and 0.08 to 0.45 (with an average value of 0.20), respectively, closer to crustal values (2.20, 0.44, and 0.20, respectively) than to primitive mantle values (0.94, 0.17, and 0.12, respectively) [125,126]. The ratios of La/Nb (3.24–4.81; average of 3.87), Th/Nb (0.34–1.47; average of 0.72), and Th/La (0.08–0.45; average of 0.20) all reflected the characteristics of the magma crust source; the average La/Nb values of continental crust and primitive mantle were 2.20 and 0.94, Th/Nb ratios were 0.44 and 0.17, and Th/La ratios were 0.20 and 0.12, respectively [125,126]. All these ratios were compatible with those of magma generated by the melting of crust [62,127]. All the samples show a high Sr content (564–727 pm) and low Yb content (0.37–0.88 ppm), falling within the category of high Sr- and low Yb-type granite (Sr > 400 ppm, Yb < 2 ppm). This result indicated that formation pressure and depth exceeded 0.8 GPa and 40 km, respectively . All samples showed positive Eu anomalies, which mainly occur in basic granulites and Precambrian complexes representing lower crust components, indicating the lower crust to be the main magma source region of these granites . These characteristics imply that the granites of the KSH and YLSD plutons were formed during the Early Cretaceous by partial melting of the continental crust.
In addition, the zircon Hf isotope also provides a good constraint on magma source properties [56,130]. Combining zircon in situ Hf isotope analysis with the results of zircon U–Pb dating allowed the tracing of the magma source and a characterization of crustal evolution [64,97,131]. The f Lu/Hf values at all test sites ranged from −0.98 to −0.94, lower than those of the mafic crust (−0.34) and salic crust (−0.72) . As a result, the two-stage model can more accurately depict the time during which the source material was extracted from the depleted mantle or the average age of the source material remaining in the crust . In general, the positive ε Hf(t) value indicates that the magma originated from the depleted mantle or the partial melting of young crustal material, whereas a negative ε Hf(t) value indicates that the magma originated from remelting of the ancient crust .
All zircon data obtained from the Early Cretaceous granite samples showed high positive ε Hf(t) values (5.24–8.28), indicating that these rocks were likely the products of partial melting from juvenile crustal material, as previously thought [46,114]. The present study obtained zircon Hf two-stage modal ages in the range of 855–661 Ma (average of 771 Ma). Therefore, it can be concluded that the major crustal growth of the Xing’an massif must have occurred during Neoproterozoic times. All zircon data obtained from the study of Early Cretaceous granite samples showed high positive ε Hf(t) values (5.24–82.28). Therefore, it is probable that these rocks were formed by partial melting of juvenile crustal material, as was previously believed [46,114]. Hf two-stage modal dates derived in the present study varied between 855 and 661 Ma (average of 771 Ma). Therefore, it can be inferred that significant crustal development of the Xing’an massif occurred during the Neoproterozoic times. All data points were plotted between the depleted mantle and chondrite line in the εHf(t) vs t diagram (Figure 11a), distant from the ancient crustal evolution lines. In addition, all data points were distributed in the middle of the lower crust and upper crust evolution line in the 176Hf/177Hf vs t diagram (Figure 11b). The present study suggests that the Neoproterozoic juvenile crustal source underwent partial melting to yield the main magma of the granites. Furthermore, all the samples plotted in the field of experimental melts originated from medium- to high-K protoliths (Figure 12a) , indicating that they were generated from medium- to high-K protoliths. Furthermore, hydrous melting of basaltic rocks can produce peraluminous melts with high K contents , and the samples of the present study all showed metaluminous to weakly peraluminous characteristics (A/CNK = 0.90–0.99) with high K2O contents (3.56–4.10%). This indicated that the magma was formed by the partial melting of high-K basaltic crust. The K2O vs SiO2 diagram also provided vital support for our above hypothesis (Figure 12b) .
Considering all these, the present study asserts that the primary magma of the granites resulted from the partial melting of a Neoproterozoic juvenile basaltic crustal source.
5.3 The impact of multiple tectonic regimes on NE China
Many recent studies have revealed that calc-alkaline I-type granites may occur in a variety of tectonic settings, including active continental margins, post-collision extension, and non-orogenic environments [138,139,140]. Both the studied Early Cretaceous KSH and YLSD plutons can be categorized as high-K calc-alkaline series (Figure 6c). Their petrological and geochemical characteristics showed highly fractionated I-type granite affinity, with enrichment in LILES (e.g., Rb, Ba, K, and Sr) and depletion in HFSEs (e.g., Nb, Ta, P, and Ti). This indicated that the rocks formed in a subduction-related setting during the Early Cretaceous . Meanwhile, the average La/Nb ratio of rocks is 3.8, whereas the La/Nb ratio of igneous rocks in the active continental margin usually exceeds 2 . The main igneous elements of the subducted plate that developed in the active continental margin or island arc displayed a particular relationship with variation in SiO2 . This relationship is mainly reflected in the compatibility of Al2O3, MgO, TFeO, CaO, TiO2, and P2O5, which decrease with the increase in SiO2. The variations in compatible principal element pairs reflect a trend of continuous melting differentiation of magmatic evolution, similar to the variation characteristics of typical igneous rocks developed along the subduction zone . In addition, the rocks of the KSH and YLSD plutons exhibit relatively low ε Hf(t) values, suggesting magma source that was enriched during the Early Cretaceous. Moreover, this result probably reflects a compressional environment in the Early Cretaceous, possibly resulting from subduction-related processes. Additionally, rocks of the KSH and YLSD plutons have relatively low ε Hf(t) values, indicating enrichment of the magma source for those plutons during the Early Cretaceous. Furthermore, it was likely a compressional environment in the Early Cretaceous, potentially driven by subduction-related events. In the R1 vs R2 diagram , all the samples are plotted in the interface area between the syncollisional type and the late orogenic type (Figure 13a). The discrimination diagrams of Ta vs Yb, Nb vs Yb, and Rb vs Yb + Ta indicated that all samples fell in the volcanic arc-type and syncollisional-type regions and their boundary areas (Figure 13b–d) . The data presented above suggest that the formation of high-fractionated I-type granites in the studied region might be associated with a variety of tectonic settings, including active continental margins, alteration of the post-collision extension regime, and orogenic setting.
There have been many previous studies on the tectonic conditions formed by the early Cretaceous magmatic rocks in the Great Xing’an Range. Three tectonic hypotheses for Early Cretaceous igneous rocks in NE China have recently been proposed: (1) post-orogenic delamination and subsequent extension associated with the closure of the Mongol-Okhotsk Ocean [22,25,26], (2) subduction of the Paleo-Pacific Plate [27,28,29,30], and (3) upwelling of the mantle plume [23,24]. Relevant studies have shown that magmatism associated with mantle plumes is fast and short-lived. However, geochronological data showed that the massive volcanic eruption in the Great Xing’an Range lasted at least 40 Ma, in contrast to the relatively rapid process of magma formation and eruption driven by the upwelling mantle plume . Furthermore, no seismic tomography data supporting the existence of a mantle plume beneath the Great Xing’an Range have been reported to date . As a result, the mantle plume concept as a mechanism for activating magmatic activity appears implausible.
Regional tectonic development indicated that the tectonic evolution of NE Asia’s continental margin was primarily governed by the Mongolia-Okhotsk and Paleo-Pacific tectonic regimes in the Late Mesozoic . As a result, there is a critical need to investigate which tectonic regime was responsible for the creation of Early Cretaceous magmatism in the northern Great Xing’an Range. These questions were addressed by investigating the igneous rock associations and spatiotemporal fluctuations in Early Cretaceous magmatism observed in the northern Great Xing’an Range.
The continuous southward subduction of the Mongolian-Okhotsk Ocean has a significant impact on magmatic activity in NE China since the early Mesozoic, with the spatial extent of its subduction effect reaching at least to the west of the Songliao Basin [90,144]. From the Khangay Mountains in Mongolia to the Uda Gulf in the Okhotsk Sea, the Mongol-Okhotsk tectonic zone spans ∼3,000 km [32,145,146]. It is generally accepted that the Mongol-Okhotsk Ocean closed diachronously as a scissor-type from west to east during the late Triassic to early Cretaceous. Palaeomagnetic studies revealed that the Mongolian-Okhotsk Ocean was relatively broad by the end of the Late Paleozoic , and subduction occurred in some parts , which lasted until the Triassic. The full-scale collision of terranes on both sides occurred during the Early Jurassic in the west, whereas collision in the central and eastern parts occurred during the Late Jurassic–Early Cretaceous [32,148,149,150] (Figure 14). At the same time, the magnetic pole trajectory of the Siberian plate in the early Cretaceous was very consistent with that of other parts of the Eurasia, indicating completion of the collage of the blocks on both sides of the Mongolia-Okhotsk Ocean [151,152]. Statistical analysis of the many magmatic ages in the Transbaikal area and the Great Xing’an Range showed a decreasing trend in age from the Transbaikal to the Great Xing’an Range, with the age of the Great Xing’an Range decreasing from north to south . This was consistent with the characteristics of the Okhotsk Ocean closing from west to east and the bidirectional subduction between north and south.
The closure of Mongolia-Okhotsk Ocean contributed to the development of a set of calc-alkaline intermediate-acid intrusive rock assemblages on the Erguna-Xing’an Massif in the early Jurassic. These included a few calc-alkaline intermediate basic volcanic rock assemblages, showing a NE-SW trending belt distribution . The Hf isotope, Sr-Nd isotope, and other geochemical data of the immense granitoids located in the Erguna-Xing’an massif indicate that they were generated within a southward-subducting active continental margin setting of the Mongol-Okhotsk oceanic plate . Collision between the two sides of the Mongolia-Okhotsk Ocean in the Middle–Late Jurassic resulted in the thrusting of the nappe structures and fold deformations widely developed in the Mongolia-Okhotsk tectonic belt and adjacent areas . Although the Heilongjiang Group was originally thought to be metamorphic basement in NE China, it is in fact thrust nappe of the late Middle Jurassic . In addition, magmatic activity decreased during this period, and muscovite granites with S-type granite geochemical properties showed only local development in the Xing’an Massif. Magmatic activity also decreased during this period, and only muscovite granites with S-type granite geochemical properties were developed locally in the Xing’an massif with a general NE-trending and in the background of crustal thickening  (Figure 15). Besides, the middle Jurassic magmatism in the northern Hebei and western Liaoning provinces was related to the Mongol-Okhotsk tectonic domain [153,156]. The thickened crust of the Mongolian-Okhotsk tectonic belt during the Early Cretaceous could be classified as collapse during which there was continuous upwelling of mantle magma. This produced extensive extensional action in the region and resulted in the formation of many early Cretaceous extensional basins and magmatic rocks. Large detachment faults and metamorphic core complex domes developed at the edge of the extensional basin (Figure 15). At the same time, a large range of early Cretaceous volcanic rock belt spread in a NE direction in the Transbaikalia-mid-eastern Inner Mongolia-Great Xing’an Range . The volcanic events of this period manifested as a typical bimodal volcanic rock combination lying parallel to the NE-trending Okhotsk structural belt . These observations indicate that the tectonic setting of this area transformed from collision-compression to post-orogenic extension during the Early Cretaceous (Figure 16). The results of the present study show that the Pb-Zn-Ag and Mo-Cu deposits in the Yili area were formed during the compressional to extensional transition of the orogenic collision between North China and Mongolia Plate and Siberia Plate after the closure of the Mongolian-Okhotsk Ocean, accompanied by the gravitational collapse of the lower crust [159,160]. In terms of a tectonic position, the study area is in the middle part of the NE-SW Okhotsk Ocean. It is believed that the formation of the early Cretaceous granites in the Yili area is related to the post-collisional gravitational collapse and subsequent extension resulting from the closure of the Mongolia-Okhotsk Ocean.
Recent intensive studies on the Paleo-Pacific tectonic regime mainly focused on two aspects: (1) the moment at which the Paleo-Pacific plate began to subduct under Eurasia and (2) the spatial scope of the Paleo-Pacific regime. Four primary theories have been presented to explain the timing of the commencement of subduction of the Paleo-Pacific plate under Eurasia: (a) Early Permian ; (b) Triassic ; (c) Early Jurassic [162,163]; and (d) Early Cretaceous . The favored hypothesis currently is that subduction began in the Early Jurassic. Arc magmatism and accretionary complexes can act as the best constraints on the initiation of subduction as they are directly related to the subduction along the continental margin . The early Jurassic igneous rocks discovered in the eastern Jilin–Heilongjiang area in recent years are calc-alkaline basic-neutral-acidic igneous rock assemblages [16,165]. The geochemical characteristics of arc igneous rocks are present in these early Jurassic igneous rocks, which are dispersed in a NE-SW strip running parallel to NE Asia’s continental edge. At the same time, the existence of the contemporaneous bimodal igneous rock assemblage in the Lesser Xing’an–Zhangguangcai Range area reveals the change in the polarity of the igneous rock composition from the continental margin to the intracontinental margin, thereby revealing the direction of subduction [16,102]. This observation indicates that subduction of the Paleo-Pacific plate to Eurasia began in the early Jurassic . Since the accretionary complex resulted from scraping and accretion during plate subduction, it is a direct record of plate subduction [166,167]. The formation age of the Zhangguangcai Range accretionary complex in the Jihei high pressure belt equates with that of the Heilongjiang blueschist belt, with metamorphic ages of ∼193 and 170–200 Ma, respectively [13,168]. The ultrabasic and mafic intrusive complexes found in the tumen area were formed in 187 Ma and constitute a complete subduction–accretion complex belt together with the contemporaneous metamorphic Heilongjiang blueschist belt [13,169,170] (Figure 15a). Considered together with contemporaneous mafic intrusions, I-type granitoids, and felsic lavas, these findings show that these mafic rocks represent the start of subduction of the Paleo-Pacific oceanic plate. At the same time, the Meinong terrane in Japan reached the trench at about 190 Ma, with the timing of the final tectonic emplacement at ∼175 Ma . In addition, the timing of the Yuejinshan complex in front of the Nadanhada accretionary complex was 180–210 Ma . According to these findings, the Paleo-Pacific oceanic plate has been impacting the East Asian continental margin since the Early Jurassic.
The subduction of the Paleo-Pacific plate contributed to the formation of a series of tectonic-magmatic-metallogenic events in the eastern Songliao Basin. However, uncertainty remains over whether the magma and mineralization formed in Great Xing’an Range during the Cretaceous were affected by the subduction of the Paleo-Pacific plate. The ages of volcanic rocks in the continental margin of NE China are juvenile from northwest to southeast, and the alkaline compositions increase from continental margin to intracontinental. In addition, the results of the present study showed that a series of Mesozoic deep and large fault structures in Great Xing’an Range were mostly distributed along the boundaries of volcanic eruption belts and volcanic basins. The spatial distribution of these faults was basically the same as that of the NNE tectonic line formed by subduction of the Paleo-Pacific plate to the East Asian continent during the Early Cretaceous. This observation indicates that subduction of the Paleo-Pacific plate to the East Asian continent during the early Cretaceous affected the western slope of the Great Xing’an Range  (Figure 15). There are strong and weak inversion structures in the basins of eastern and western China, respectively. These structures migrate from east to west, thereby confirming the origin of power of tectonic inversion from the east and implying that westward subduction of the Paleo-Pacific plate has affected the western slope of the Great Xing’an Range .
Wu et al.  and Li and Li  proposed the flat-slab subduction model of the Paleo-Pacific plate according to the available geological and geochemical observation data. This model reasonably explained the distribution of the broad magmatic belt in eastern China and the compression deformation of the early Cretaceous. Here the Paleo-Pacific Plate (Izawa Naqi Plate) in the Early–Middle Jurassic began to subduct rapidly in a southwest direction at low angles or flat plates, and the subducting slabs replaced the mantle wedge following dehydration, partially melting to form arc magma and the Yuejin Mountain accretionary complex belt 300–400 km away from the trench . With the plate subduction and the continuous advance of the mantle wedge, the Jurassic arc magma formed by mantle wedge was also continuously spatially removed from the trench (>600 km), and the lithosphere was continuously thickening and gradually migrated inland . NNW-trending igneous belts were formed in the Great Xing’an Range and its adjacent areas, which are widely distributed in the Erguna massif, Lesser Xing’an, and Zhangguangcai ranges. At the same time, the closure of the Mudanjiang Ocean resulted in subduction of the Jiamusi massif toward the Songliao massif to form a nearly northwest Heilongjiang complex belt . From Late Jurassic to the initial Early Cretaceous, this stage remained under the background of advancing subduction of the Paleo-Pacific Plate to the Eurasian Plate. However, the rapid subduction of the Paleo-Pacific Plate (Izenaqi Plate) in a NW direction resulted in the formation of a series of regional transverse-compression faults parallel to the NE continental margin in a NE-NNE direction , and a series of pull-apart basins and faulted basins controlled by these strike-slip faults were successively developed. The terrigenous clastic rocks within the Jurassic accretionary complex (Haba and Raohe complexes) have provenance characteristics of the South China block in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River. The provenance of terrigenous clastic rocks in the Meinong terrane in Japan is mainly derived from the Cathaysia block. The terrigenous clastic rocks in the Jurassic accretionary complex as well as the terrigenous clastic rocks in the Meinong terrane fall in the low latitude of 20°N , thereby revealing the occurrence of complex shifting from a low latitude to high latitude as well as restricting the timing of this strike-slip event to between 160 and 135 Ma [16,175]. The absence of Late Jurassic–early Cretaceous igneous rocks in the NE source region (eastern Jihei) further confirms that the tectonic properties of the continental margin are strike-slip and that low angle subduction of the Paleo-Pacific plate occurred [16,37,106]. The tectonic environment in eastern China changed from a compressional environment to an extensional setting during the Late Jurassic–initial Early Cretaceous period. This could be attributed to the collision of seamounts with Eurasia and northward strike-slip motion in NE China [78,176], and the subduction reached the interior of the continent (including the Great Xing’an Range) [30,78]. During the late Early Cretaceous (∼135 Ma), gravity instability of the subduction plate resulted in deep subduction of the plate. The angle of subduction of the Paleo-Pacific Plate (Izenaqi Plate) increased, accompanied by rotation of the subduction plate and retraction of the subduction zone. These events resulted in retention in the mantle transition zone (Figures 15 and 16). The extension of the lithosphere of the continental margin resulting from retraction of the subduction plate contributed to large-scale magmatic activity. The calc-alkaline volcanic rock assemblages were developed in the eastern part of Jilin and Heilongjiang, whereas bimodal volcanic rock assemblages were mainly developed in the Songliao Basin and the Great Xing’an Range area [67,177]. The contemporaneous granites could mainly be classified as alkaline or alkali feldspar granites . The Early Cretaceous igneous rocks exhibit variations in composition from the continental margin to the intracontinental area. These are related to subduction polarity, and reveal westward subduction of the Paleo-Pacific Plate beneath Eurasia . Wang et al.  discovered a younging trend in Early Cretaceous volcanic rocks and magmatism from northwest to southeast, compatible with retrograde subduction of the Paleo-Pacific plate or rollback movement during the Early Cretaceous.
Zhang et al.  attributed the regional large-scale extension and tectonic migration in the NW–SE direction after 127 Ma to the change from early flat-slab subduction to late high angle subduction. This assertion is consistent with the law and timing of the westward weakening of magmatic activity during the initial Early Cretaceous and the eastward migration during the late Early Cretaceous in the Great Xing’an Rang. The assertion confirmed that the Great Xing’an Range in the Early Cretaceous was affected by the westward subduction of the Paleo-Pacific plate. It also suggests the withdrawal of the Paleo-Pacific plate in response to the retrogressive westward subduction of the Paleo-Pacific plate during the early to late stage of early Cretaceous. In addition, a large-scale tectonic-magmatic-metallogenic event occurred in the coastal Pacific metallogenic domain in NE China during the Yanshan period, with a peak at 130 Ma. The diagenetic and metallogenic environment was interpreted as the superposition of lithospheric extension of the orogenic belt and the back-arc extension caused by the subduction of the Paleo-Pacific plate .
In conclusion, the Early Cretaceous magmatism within the northern Great Xing’an Range was most likely a result of post-collisional gravitational collapse, extension that followed the closure of the Mongolia-Okhotsk Ocean, and the back-arc extension triggered by the retraction of the Paleo-Pacific subduction plate.
The present study arrived at the following conclusions based on zircon U–Pb dating, whole-rock geochemistry, and zircon Hf isotopic compositions:
The LA-ICP-MS Zircon U–Pb geochronology indicated that the KSH pluton was emplaced at 132.2 ± 0.5 Ma and that the YLSD pluton was formed at 130.1 ± 0.7 Ma, suggesting that the Early Cretaceous magmatism occurred in the northern Great Xing’an Range.
The granites from KSH and YLSD plutons in the northern Great Xing’an Range were both categorized as metaluminous to weakly peraluminous and highly fractionated high-k calc-alkaline I-type granite. Their primary magmas were derived from the partial melting of a Neoproterozoic juvenile basaltic crustal source at low pressure.
The Early Cretaceous magmatism in the northern Great Xing’an Range was influenced by the post-collisional gravitational collapse and subsequent extension resulting from closure of the Mongolia-Okhotsk Ocean and the back-arc extension induced by the retraction of the Paleo-Pacific subduction plate.
We are grateful to the staff of the Beijing Geoanalysis Co. Ltd, Beijing, China, for their advice and assistance during the LA-ICP-MS zircon U–Pb dating, major and trace element analysis, and Hf isotope analysis. We thank Wang Yuli and Cheng Long for their advice and assistance during the field work. In particular, we thank three anonymous reviewers and Editor Jan Barabach for their constructive comments that helped improve the manuscript.
Funding information: This study was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 41972004), China Geological Survey Program (Grant no. DD20160047-23), and Discipline Innovation Team Funded Project of Liaoning Technical University (Grant no. LNTU20TD-14).
Author contributions: Niangang Luo wrote the article, analyzed the data, and prepared the manuscript. Lainfeng Gao provided substantial assistance in the petrological studies in the article. Zhenguo Zhang improved the manuscript and polished the English usage. Jing Zhang, Jianyu Cui, and Junfei Wu provided important assistance in the selection of the research region and samples. Jie Xing drew the illustrations for this manuscript. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.
Conflict of interest: Authors state no conflict of interest.
Data availability statement: The data used to support the findings of this study are available within the article.
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