, Volume 45, Issue 1, pp 51-70

First online:

Precambrian microcontinents of the Ural-Mongolian Belt: New paleomagnetic and geochronological data

  • N. M. LevashovaAffiliated withGeological Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences Email author 
  • , A. S. GibsherAffiliated withInstitute of Geology and Mineralogy, Siberian Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences
  • , J. G. MeertAffiliated withDepartment of Geological Sciences, University of Florida

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The knowledge on the early stages of evolution of the Ural-Mongolian Belt (UMB) (Late Neoproterozoic-Cambrian) is a key for understanding of its evolution in the Paleozoic. Unfortunately, this stage remains poorly studied. The tectonic reconstructions of the UMB for this time primarily depend on the views on the kinematics and tectonic evolution of numerous sialic massifs with Precambrian basement in the structure of the Tien Shan, Kazakhstan, Altai, and Mongolia. At present, the concept of the origin of these massifs is largely based on the lithostratigraphic similarity of the Neoproterozoic and Lower Paleozoic sections of the Tarim, South China, and Siberian platforms with coeval sections of Precambrian massifs within the UMB. New paleomagnetic and geochronological data can serve as additional sources of information on the origin and paleotectonic position of the microcontinents. In this paper, we present new isotopic datings and a new paleomagnetic determination for the Neoproterozoic volcanic rocks of the Zabhan Formation from the Baydrag microcontinent in central Mongolia. It is established that 805−770 Ma ago (U-Pb LA-MC-ICP-MS age of zircon) the Baydrag microcontinent was situated at a latitude of 47 ± 14° in the Northern or Southern hemisphere. These data provide new insights into the possible origin of the Precambrian micro-continents in the UMB. Analysis of paleomagnetic data and comparison of the age of the basement beneath various plates allow us to state rather confidently that ∼800 Ma ago the micro-continents of the UMB belonged to one of the North Rodinian plates: Indian, Tarim, or South China; their Australian origin is less probable.