Mineralogy and Petrology

, Volume 111, Issue 2, pp 237–252 | Cite as

Sr-Nd-Pb isotopic compositions of the lower crust beneath northern Tarim: insights from igneous rocks in the Kuluketage area, NW China

  • Yan Zhang
  • Xun WeiEmail author
  • Yi-Gang XuEmail author
  • Xiao-Ping Long
  • Xue-Fa Shi
  • Jian-Xin Zhao
  • Yue-Xing Feng
Original Paper


The composition of lower crust of the Tarim Craton in NW China is essential to understand the petrogenesis of the ~290–275 Ma Tarim basalts and associated intermediate-felsic rocks. However, it remains poorly constrained because extremely sparse granulite terrains or granulite xenoliths have been found in the Tarim Craton. New trace element and Sr-Nd-Pb isotopic data are reported for the Neoarchean and Neoproterozoic igneous rocks widely distributed in the northern margin of the Tarim Craton. The Neoarchean granitic gneisses show fractionated REE (rare earth element) patterns [(La/Yb) N  = 12–58, YbN = 10.6–36] with pronounced negative Nb-Ta and Ti anomalies. These features, together with negative εNdi (−0.7 to −3.2) suggest that they were derived from melting of mafic lower crust. The Neoproterozoic biotite granodiorites are strongly depleted in HREE with (La/Yb) N up to 55. They are characterized by high Sr (671–789 ppm) but very low Y (7.10–8.06 ppm) and Yb contents (0.47–0.58 ppm), showing typical features of adakitic rocks. The samples with different SiO2 contents display identical 87Sr/86Sri (0.7101–0.7103), εNdi (−14.1 to −15.7) and Pb isotopes (208Pb/204Pbi = 36.94–37.07). These features together with arc-like trace element patterns suggest that they were derived from melting of thickened lower crust. In comparison, the Neoproterozoic hornblende-biotite granodiorites have similar trace element compositions except for weaker depletion in HREE and have lower 87Sr/86Sri (0.7078) and initial Pb isotopes, and higher εNdi (−12.3 to −12.7). This suggests that they were formed by melting of old lower continental crust at a shallower depth than the biotite granodiorites. These rocks were derived from the lower crust, thus providing valuable information on the nature of the lower crust beneath northern Tarim. Combined with published data, the 87Sr/86Sri, εNdi, 206Pb/204Pbi and εHfi of the northern Tarim lower crust ranges from 0.7055 to 0.7103, from −12 to −17, from 16.20 to 16.65, and from −7 to −19, respectively, at ~785 Ma. These data also suggest vertical compositional heterogeneity of the northern Tarim lower crust.


Tarim craton Lower crust Sr-Nd-Pb-Hf isotopic compositions Adakitic rocks 



We thank Qiang Ma for helpful discussions. Constructive reviews by two anonymous experts and journal editors Qiuli Li and L. Nasdala are gratefully acknowledged. This research was supported by the National Basic Research Program of China (grant number 2011CB808906); National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant numbers 41576052, 41506068, 41322036); Aoshan Excellent Young Scientist Plan (2015ASTP-ES16) to Dr. Quan-Shu Yan; and China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (grant number 2015 M580613). Analytical work at the Radiogenic Isotope Laboratory at the University of Queensland was supported by an ARC discovery grant (DP0986542).\.

Supplementary material

710_2016_470_MOESM1_ESM.eps (459 kb)
ESM 1 (EPS 458 kb)
710_2016_470_MOESM2_ESM.docx (37 kb)
ESM 2 (DOCX 36 kb)


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© Springer-Verlag Wien 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Marine Sedimentology and Environmental GeologyThe First Institute of Oceanography, State Oceanic AdministrationQingdaoChina
  2. 2.Laboratory for Marine GeologyQingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and TechnologyQingdaoChina
  3. 3.Key Laboratory of Marine Geology and EnvironmentInstitute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of SciencesQingdaoChina
  4. 4.State Key Laboratory of Isotope GeochemistryGuangzhou Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of SciencesGuangzhouChina
  5. 5.State Key Laboratory of Continental Dynamics, Department of GeologyNorthwest UniversityXi’anChina
  6. 6.Radiogenic Isotope Facility, School of Earth SciencesThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia

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