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Detrital rutile geochemistry and thermometry from the Dabie orogen: Implications for source–sediment links in a UHPM terrane

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Type of Publication:
Dabie UHPM terrane
Liu, Lei; Xiao, Yilin; Wörner, Gerhard; Kronz, Andreas; Simon, Klaus; Hou, Zhenhui
Journal of Asian Earth Sciences
123 - 140
Abstract This study explores the potential of detrital rutile geochemistry and thermometry as a provenance tracer in rocks from the Central Dabie ultrahigh-pressure metamorphic (UHPM) zone in east-central China that formed during Triassic continental collision. Trace element data of 176 detrital rutile grains selected from local river sediments and 91 rutile grains from distinct bedrocks in the Shuanghe and Bixiling areas, obtained by both electron microprobe (EMP) and in situ LA-ICP-MS analyses, suggest that geochemical compositions and thermometry of detrital rutiles are comparable to those from their potential source rocks. After certification of the Cr–Nb discrimination method for the Central Dabie \{UHPM\} zone, we show that 29% of the detrital rutiles in the Shuanghe area were derived from metamafic sources whereas in the Bixiling area that it is up to 76%. Furthermore, the proportion of distinct types of detrital rutiles combined with modal abundances of rutile in metapelites and metamafic bedrocks can be used to estimate the proportion of different source lithologies. Based on this method the proportion of mafic source rocks was estimated to ∼10% at Shuanghe and >60% at Bixiling, respectively, which is consistent with the proportions of eclogite (the major rutile-bearing metamafic rock) distribution in the field. Therefore, the investigation of detrital rutiles is a potential way to evaluate the proportion of metamafic rocks and even to prospect for metamafic bodies in \{UHPM\} terranes. Zr-in-rutile temperatures were calculated at different pressures and compared with temperatures derived from rock-in rutiles and garnet-clinopyroxene Fe–Mg thermometers. Temperatures calculated for detrital rutiles range from 606 °C to 707 °C and 566 °C to 752 °C in Shuanghe and Bixiling, respectively, at P = 3 GPa with an average temperatures of ca. 630 °C for both areas. These temperature averages and ranges are similar to those calculated for rutiles from surrounding source rocks. Combined with comparable Zr distribution characteristics between detrital and source rock rutiles, demonstrating a close source–sediment link for rutiles from clastic and rock in \{UHPM\} terranes. Thus rutiles can be accurate tracers of source rock lithologies in sedimentary provenance studies even at a small regional scale. In Bixiling, Nb/Ta ratios of metamafic and metapelitic detrital rutiles fall between 11.0 to 27.3 and 7.7 to 20.5, respectively. In contrast, in Shuanghe, these ratios are highly variable, ranging from 10.9 to 71.0 and 7.6 to 87.1, respectively. When ignoring four outlier compositions with extremely high Nb/Ta in Shuanghe, a distinct clustering of Nb/Ta ratios in rutiles is shown: metapelitic detrital rutiles have Nb/Ta of 7–40 vs. metamafic detrital rutiles with Nb/Ta = 11–25. The Nb/Ta characteristics in detrital rutiles from both areas may reflect the degree of fluid–rock interaction during metamorphism and/or different source lithologies. Therefore, the trace element compositions in detrital rutiles can accurately trace the lithology, proportion and fluid–rock interaction of different source rocks.


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