Mineralium Deposita

, 41:152 | Cite as

Zircon Ce4+/Ce3+ ratios and ages for Yulong ore-bearing porphyries in eastern Tibet

  • Hua-Ying Liang
  • Ian H. Campbell
  • Charlotte Allen
  • Wei-Dong Sun
  • Cong-Qiang Liu
  • Heng-Xiang Yu
  • Ying-Wen Xie
  • Yu-Qiang Zhang


Yulong ore-bearing porphyries, along the northwestern extension of the Red River–Ailao Shan fault system in eastern Tibet, consist of five porphyry deposits, containing a total of more than 8 million tons of copper resources. U–Th–Pb laser inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry dating of zircon shows that the porphyries were emplaced in Early Tertiary (41.2–36.9 Ma), covering a period of ∼4.3 Ma, with formation ages decreasing systematically from northwest to southeast. The start of porphyry magmatism coincided with the onset of transpressional movement along the Red River–Ailao Shan fault system, implying a close link between these two events. Age sequence in intrusions can be plausibly explained by assuming that a region of melting in the lower northwestern plate moved southeasternward along the Tuoba–Mangkang fault relative to the upper plate. Zircon grains from the Yulong ore-bearing porphyries have higher Ce4+/Ce3+ than those from barren porphyries in the region. This suggests that the ore-bearing porphyries crystallized from a relatively oxidized magma, which has important implications for future ore exploration in the region and other Cu deposits in convergent margin environments in general.


Porphyry copper deposits Geochronology Zircon Laser ablation ICP-MS Continental subduction Tibet 



We thank the Tibet Geological Survey for its help in our field work. Liang Huaying thanks the Chinese Academy of Sciences for supporting his visit to the Research School of Earth Sciences, Australian National University. The first author would like to thank the Research School of Earth Sciences for access to the excimer laser ablation ICP-MS and mineral separation facilities. This work was cosupported by the Chinese NSF (40472049 and 48972035), the Chinese National Key Project for Basic Research (G1999043203), and the Chinese Academy of Sciences Key Project (kzcx2-sw-117 and GIGCX-04-03). Victor Maksaev, Osvaldo Rabbia, Larry Meinert, and Rob King are thanked for greatly improving the manuscript through their thoughtful and thorough reviews.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hua-Ying Liang
    • 1
  • Ian H. Campbell
    • 2
  • Charlotte Allen
    • 2
  • Wei-Dong Sun
    • 3
  • Cong-Qiang Liu
    • 4
  • Heng-Xiang Yu
    • 5
  • Ying-Wen Xie
    • 1
  • Yu-Qiang Zhang
    • 1
  1. 1.Key Laboratory for Metallogenic Dynamics, Guangzhou Institute of GeochemistryChinese Academy of SciencesGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.Research School of Earth SciencesAustralian National UniversityCanberraAustralia
  3. 3.Key Laboratory of Isotope Geochronology and Geochemistry, Guangzhou Institute of GeochemistryChinese Academy of SciencesGuangzhouChina
  4. 4.Institute of GeochemistryChinese Academy of SciencesGuiyangChina
  5. 5.Guilin Institute of TechnologyGuilinChina

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