Formation and evolution of Precambrian continental crust in South China
- Cite this article as:
- Zheng, Y. & Zhang, S. CHINESE SCI BULL (2007) 52: 1. doi:10.1007/s11434-007-0015-5
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The occurrence of zircons with U-Pb ages of ∼3.8 Ga and Hf model ages of ∼4.0 Ga in South China suggests the existence of the Hadean crustal remnants in South China. Furthermore, a detrital zircon with a U-Pb age as old as 4.1 Ga has been found in Tibet. This is the oldest zircon so far reported in China. These results imply that continental crust was more widespread than previously thought in the late Hadean, but its majority was efficiently reworked into Archean continental crust. On the basis of available zircon U-Pb age and Hf isotope data, it appears that the growth of continental crust in South China started since the early Archean, but a stable cratonic block through reworking did not occur until the Paleoproterozoic. Thus the operation of some form of plate tectonics may occur in China continents since Eoarchean. The initial destruction of the South China craton was caused by intensive magmatic activity in association with the assembly and breakup of the supercontinent Rodinia during the Neoproterozoic. However, most of the Archean and Paleoproterozoic crustal materials in South China do not occur as surface rocks, but exist as sporadic crustal remnants. Nevertheless, the occurrence of Neoproterozoic magmatism is still a signature to distinguish South China from North China.