The link between an anorthosite complex and underlying olivine–Ti-magnetite-rich layered intrusion in Damiao, China: insights into magma chamber processes in the formation of Proterozoic massif-type anorthosites

  • Li–Xing LiEmail author
  • Hou–Min Li
  • Jian–Wei Zi
  • Birger Rasmussen
  • Stephen Sheppard
  • Yu–Bo Ma
  • Jie Meng
  • Zhe Song
Original Paper


Mafic–ultramafic intrusions comagmatic with Proterozoic massif-type anorthosites can provide insights into the parental magma from which large volumes of hyper-feldspathic rocks are produced. Recent deep drilling has unveiled a large olivine–Ti-magnetite-rich layered intrusion (named Dawusunangou) beneath the Damiao massif-type anorthosite complex in the North China Craton. The layered intrusion is composed of alternating olivine–Ti-magnetite-rich dark layers and plagioclase-rich light layers (ca. 35–80% plagioclase), with the latter also containing pod- or lens-shaped pyroxene–Ti-magnetite-rich aggregates. This layered intrusion shows low Mg# and REE patterns similar to the overlying Damiao anorthosite complex. Baddeleyite Pb–Pb geochronology yielded indistinguishable crystallization ages of ca. 1735 Ma for both the Dawusunangou layered intrusion and the Damiao anorthosite complex, suggesting coeval emplacement. Using the average bulk compositions of the two intrusions, mass balance calculations assuming 30–40% Dawusunangou and 70–60% Damiao would give a composition similar to high-Al basaltic magma. Collectively, these features indicate that the Dawusunangou layered intrusion represents the mafic residues after the segregation of the Damiao anorthosites from high-Al basaltic parental magma. A short-lived magma chamber is thought to have supplied the two intrusions. In situ crystallization with variable nucleation rates for plagioclase combined with the mafic minerals crystallizing in equilibrium proportions resulted in the formation of repeated dark and light layers of the Dawusunangou layered intrusion. The two intrusions are interpreted to have formed by multiple magma injections, instead of continuous differentiation of one melt. The parental magma was derived from a depleted mantle source with significant crustal contribution during magma evolution. The large Nd–Hf isotopic variations suggest contamination by Paleoarchean to Neoarchean crust.


Olivine Layered intrusion Massif-type anorthosites High-Al basalt Residual melt North China Craton 



We thank the 4th geological team of HGMB for giving access to drill cores. This study was financially supported by the National Key R&D Program of China (2018YFC0603905) and National Natural Foundation of China (41873062; 41402067; 41672078). LXL acknowledges a fellowship from the China Scholarship Council. We appreciate Xiaoxiao Ling, Jiao Li, Xiaodan Chen, Pan Sun and Mu Liu for their assistance with analyses. We are grateful to LD Ashwal, JC Duchesne and H Keppler for their insightful comments and detailed suggestions that greatly improved the paper.

Supplementary material

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.MLR Key Laboratory of Metallogeny and Mineral Assessment, Institute of Mineral ResourcesChinese Academy of Geological SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.School of Earth and Planetary SciencesCurtin UniversityPerthAustralia
  3. 3.State Key Laboratory of Geological Processes and Mineral Resources, School of Earth SciencesChina University of GeosciencesWuhanChina
  4. 4.John de Laeter Centre for Isotope ResearchCurtin UniversityPerthAustralia
  5. 5.School of Earth SciencesUniversity of Western AustraliaPerthAustralia
  6. 6.Calidus Resources LtdWest PerthAustralia

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