The Upper Permian volcanic-sedimentary succession in northern Qamdo Block, central Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and its sedimentary, paleogeographic and tectonic significance

  • Shengqian LiuEmail author
  • Zaixing Jiang
  • Yi Gao
  • Youbin He
  • Chao Han
Original Paper


A combined sedimentological and geochemical study has been carried out on a volcanic-sedimentary succession from a borehole newly drilled in the northern Qamdo Block (QMB, in central Qinghai-Tibet Plateau) in order to improve the knowledge of the sedimentary and tectonic environment. The lithologic data allow to separate four main lithofacies, including massive volcanic lithofacies (LF1), tuffaceous lithofacies (LF2), sandstone lithofacies (LF3) and mudstone lithofacies (LF4). LF1 likely reflects the products of felsic lava flows that were formed during the process of magma ascent onto the seafloor at an earlier stage. LF2 contains two sublifhofacies that respectively represents the proximal and distal accumulation of tuffaceous turbidity flows. LF3 could be the arc-sourced submarine fan deposits, and the sublithofacies LF3a and LF3b represent mid-fan distributaries and interchannel deposits in fan lobes. LF4 is mainly composed of suspension deposits, which represents the sedimentation of post-volcanic activities. Furthermore, the lithofacy associations reveal the evolution of a volcano-sourced submarine fan in the back-arc basin. Geochemically, LF1 and LF2 are characterized by LREE-enriched patterns with negative Eu anomalies, enrichment in large ion lithophile elements (LILEs) and depletion in high-field-strength elements (HFSEs), which correspond with the previously published island arc environment. However, LF2 shows more distinctive patterns, which represents a later evolution stage than that of LF1. This volcanic-sedimentary succession reveals that the sedimentary-tectonic setting could be consistent with the subduction of Jinshajiang oceanic slab in the late Permian period.


Volcanic-sedimentary succession Submarine fan Late Permian Central Qinghai-Tibet Plateau 



Thanks to Antonio Herrero-Hernández, Abdullah M. Al-Amri, Domenico Doronzo, and another anonymous reviewer for reviewing and assisting the manuscript.

Funding information

This study was financially supported by China Geological Survey (grant number GZH201400301) and Open Fund of Key Laboratory of Exploration and Technologies for Oil and Gas Resources (Yangtze University), Ministry of Education (grant number K2018-07).


  1. Altermann W, Lenhardt N (2012) The volcano-sedimentary succession of the Archean Sodium Group, Ventersdorp Supergroup, South Africa: Volcanology, sedimentology and geochemistry. Precambrian Res 214-215:60–81CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Baas JH (2004) Conditions for formation of massive turbiditic sandstones by primary depositional processes. Sediment Geol 166:293–310CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Cas R (1978) Silicic lavas in Paleozoic flyschlike deposits in New South Wales, Australia: Behavior of deep subaqueous silicic flows. Geol Soc Am Bull 89:1708–1714CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cas R, Giordano G (2014) Submarine volcanism: a review of the constraints, processes and products, and relevance to the Cabo de Gata volcanic succession. Ital J Geosci 133:362–377CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cas RA, Wright JV (1991) Subaqueous pyroclastic flows and ignimbrites: an assessment. Bull Volcanol 53:357–380CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cheng X, Wu H, Diao Z, Wang H, Ma L (2013) Paleomagnetic data from the Late Carboniferous-Late Permian rocks in eastern Tibet and their implications for tectonic evolution of the northern Qiangtang-Qamdo block. Sci China Earth Sci 56:1209–1220CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cisterna CE, Coira B (2014) Subaqueous eruption-fed mass-flow deposits: Records of the Ordovician arc volcanism in the northern Famatina Belt, Northwestern Argentina. J S Am Earth Sci 49:73–84CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Condie KC (1989) Geochemical changes in baslts and andesites across the Archean-Proterozoic boundary: identification and significance. Lithos 23:1–18CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Deng Z, An Y, Wang Q, An S (2014) Regional geological survey of the People’s Republic of China - the Tuotuo River map sheet (I46C002002). China University of Geosciences Press, Wuhan (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  10. Doronzo DM, Dellino P (2010) A fluid dynamic model of volcaniclastic turbidity currents based on the similarity with the lower part of dilute pyroclastic density currents: evaluation of the ash dispersal from ash turbidites. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 191:193–204CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Doronzo DM, Dellino P (2013) Hydraulics of subaqueous ash flows as deduced from their deposits: 2. Water entrainment, sedimentation, and deposition, with implications on pyroclastic density current deposit emplacement. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 258:176–186CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Doucet P, Mueller W, Chartrand F (1994) Archean, deep-marine, volcanic eruptive products associated with the Coniagas massive sulfide deposit, Quebec, Canada. Can J Earth Sci 31:1569–1584CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Doyle MG, McPhie J (2000) Facies architecture of a silicic intrusion-dominated volcanic centre at Highway-Reward, Queensland, Australia. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 99:79–96CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Herrero-Hernández A, López-Moro FJ, Gallardo-Millán JL, Martín-Serrano A, Gómez-Fernández F (2015) Volcanism – sedimentation interaction in the Campo de Calatrava Volcanic Field (Spain): a magnetostratigraphic and geochronological study. Int J Earth Sci 104:103–122CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Houghton B, Carey RJ (2015) Pyroclastic fall deposits, The Encyclopedia of Volcanoes. Elsevier, pp 599–616. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kimura J, Yoshida T (2006) Contributions of slab fluid, mantle wedge and crust to the origin of quaternary lavas in the NE Japan arc. J Petrol 47:2185–2232CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Kong L, Yao H, Xu Y, Luo M, Luo L, Wu J (2014) Evolution of sedimentary basins in Qiangtang-Sanjiang from Paleozoic to Mesozoic. Earth Sci J China Univ Geosci 39:1217–1229 (in Chinese with English abstract)Google Scholar
  18. Li L, Bai Y, Niu Z (2010) Geochemical characteristics and tectonic environment of the Middle Permian volcanics in Zhiduo-Zaduo area, southern Qinghai province. Geol Surv Res 33(2):97–102 (in Chinese with English abstract)Google Scholar
  19. Liu S, Jiang Z, Liu H, Pang S, Xia Z, Jin Z, Wang J, Wei X (2016) The natural-gas hydrate exploration prospects of the Nayixiong Formation in the Kaixinling-Wuli Permafrost, Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Mar Pet Geol 72:179–192CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lowe DR (1982) Sediment gravity flows: II. Depositional models with special reference to the deposits of high-density turbidity currents. J Sediment Petrol 52:279–297Google Scholar
  21. Ma L, Niu Z, Bai Y, Duan Q, Wang J (2007) Sr, Nd and Pb isotopic geochemistry of Permian volcanic rocks from southern Qinghai and their geological significance. Earth Sci J China Univ Geosci 32:22–28 (in Chinese with English abstract)Google Scholar
  22. Meng Y, Santosh M, Li R, Xu Y, Hou F (2018) Petrogenesis and tectonic implications of Early Cretaceous volcanic rocks from Lingshan Island in the Sulu Orogenic Belt. Lithos 312–313:244–257CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Metcalfe I (2013) Gondwana dispersion and Asian accretion: tectonic and palaeogeographic evolution of eastern Tethys. J Asian Earth Sci 66:1–33CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Mutti E (1985) Turbidite systems and their relations to depositional sequences. In: Zuffa GG (ed) Provenance of Arenites. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, pp 65–93CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Mutti E, Normark WR (1991) An Integrated Approach to the Study of Turbidite Systems, in: Seismic Facies and Sedimentary Processes of Submarine Fans and Turbidite Systems. Springer, New York, pp 75–106Google Scholar
  26. Niu Z, Xu A, Wang J, Duan Q, Zhao X, Yao H (2008) Depositional model of Permian Luodianian volcanic island and its impact on the distribution of fusulinid assemblage in southern Qinghai, northwest China. Sci China Ser D Earth Sci 51:594–607CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Niu Z, Duan Q, Wang J, He L, Bai Y (2010) Early Permian (Cisuralian) Lithostratigraphical succession in volcanic-sedimentary setting from southern Qinghai. Earth Sci J China Univ Geosci 35:11–21 (in Chinese with English abstract)Google Scholar
  28. Niu Z, Wu J, Duan Q, Bai Y, Ma L, Zhao X, He L (2011) Permian tectonic setting of southern Qinghai and its tectonic evolution. Geol Rev 57:609–622 (in Chinese with English abstract)Google Scholar
  29. Normark WR, Piper D, Hess GR (1979) Distributary channels , sand lobes , and mesotopography of Navy Submarine Fan, California Borderland, with applications to ancient fan sediments. Sedimentology 26:749–774CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Pan G, Wang L, Li R, Yuan S, Ji W, Yin F, Zhang W, Wang B (2012) Tectonic evolution of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. J Asian Earth Sci 53:3–14CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Pearce JA (2008) Geochemical fingerprinting of oceanic basalts with applications to ophiolite classification and the search for Archean oceanic crust. Lithos 100:14–48CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Pearce JA, Peate DW (1995) Tectonic implications of volcanic arc magmas. Annu Rev Earth Planet Sci 23:251–285CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Peng T, Wang Y, Zhao G, Fan W, Peng B (2008) Arc-like volcanic rocks from the southern Lancangjiang zone, SW China: geochronological and geochemical constraints on their petrogenesis and tectonic implications. Lithos 102:358–373CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Pilote C, Corcoran PL, Mueller WU (2012) A Neoproterozoic continental rift succession: the volcano-sedimentary Koivib Mountains deposits of Namibia. Precambrian Res 214–215:172–184CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Qi S, Wang Y, He S, Song S, Qi Z, Wang F (2009) The assurance of syncollisional granite in Tanggula area during Late Permian epoch and its significance. Northwest Geol 42:26–35 (in Chinese with English abstract)Google Scholar
  36. Ricci-Lucchi F (1975) Depositional cycles in two turbidite formations of northern Apennines. J Sediment Res 45:3–43CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Sun X, Jian P (2004) The Wilson Cycle of the Jinshajiang Paleo-Tethys Ocean, in Western Yunnan and Western Sichuan Provinces. Geol Rev 50:343–350 (in Chinese with English abstract)Google Scholar
  38. Sun S, McDonough WF (1989) Chemical and isotopic systematics of oceanic basalts: implications for mantle composition and processes. Geol Soc Lond, Spec Publ 42:313–345CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Walker RG (1978) Deep-water sandstone facies and ancient submarine fans: models for exploration for stratigraphic traps. AAPG Bull 62:932–966Google Scholar
  40. Wang X, Metcalfe I, Jian P, He L, Wang C (2000) The Jinshajiang-Ailaoshan Suture Zone, China: tectonostratigraphy, age and evolution. J Asian Earth Sci 18:675–690CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Wang C, Liu L, Wang YH, He SP, Li RS, Li M, Yang WQ, Cao YT, Collins AS, Shi C, Wu ZN (2015) Recognition and tectonic implications of an extensive Neoproterozoic volcano-sedimentary rift basin along the southwestern margin of the Tarim Craton, northwestern China. Precambrian Res 257:65–82CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. White J (2000) Subaqueous eruption-fed density currents and their deposits. Precambrian Res 101:87–109CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. White J, Houghton BF (2006) Primary volcaniclastic rocks. Geology 34:677–680CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. White J, Mcphie J, Soule SA (2015) Submarine lavas and hyaloclastite, The Encyclopedia of Volcanoes. Elsevier, pp 363–375Google Scholar
  45. Winchester JA, Floyd PA (1977) Geochemical discrimination of different magma series and their differentiation products using immobile elements. Chem Geol 20:325–343CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Wood DA (1980) The application of a Th-Hf-Ta diagram to problems of tectonomagmatic classification and to establishing the nature of crustal contamination of basaltic lavas of the British Tertiary Volcanic Province. Earth Planet Sci Lett 50:11–30CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Xiao L, He Q, Pirajno F, Ni P, Du J, Wei Q (2008) Possible correlation between a mantle plume and the evolution of Paleo-Tethys Jinshajiang Ocean: evidence from a volcanic rifted margin in the Xiaru-Tuoding area, Yunnan, SW China. Lithos 100:112–126CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Xu Z, Dilek Y, Cao H, Yang J, Robinson P (2015) Paleo-Tethyan evolution of Tibet as recorded in the East Cimmerides and West Cathaysides. J Asian Earth Sci 105:320–337CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Yang R, van Loon AJ (2016) Early Cretaceous slumps and turbidites with peculiar soft-sediment deformation structures on Lingshan Island (Qingdao, China) indicating a tensional tectonic regime. J Asian Earth Sci 129:206–219CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Yang TN, Zhang HR, Liu YX, Wang ZL, Song YC (2011) Permo-Triassic arc magmatism in central Tibet: evidence from zircon U–Pb geochronology, Hf isotopes, rare earth elements, and bulk geochemistry. Chem Geol 284:270–282CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Zhang HR, Yang TN, Hou ZQ, Song YC, Ding Y, Cheng XF (2013) Petrogenesis and tectonics of late Permian felsic volcanic rocks, eastern Qiangtang block, north-central Tibet: Sr and Nd isotopic evidence. Int Geol Rev 55:1017–1028CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Zhang H, Yang T, Hou Z, Bian Y (2016) Tectonophysics Devonian Nb-enriched basalts and andesites of north-central Tibet: evidence for the early subduction of the Paleo-Tethyan oceanic crust beneath the North Qiangtang Block. Tectonophysics 682:96–107CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Zhao X, Wang J, Niu Z, Tang Z, Yao H (2008) Discussion on the tectonic setting and geochemical characteristics of sandstones from Carboniferous to Triassic in Zhidoi-Zadoi area, Southern Qinghai. Acta Sedimentol Sin 26:11–20 (in Chinese with English abstract)Google Scholar
  54. Zhu Y, Tian J, Bai H, Yu C, Zhang X, Xiao L, Cao T (2009) Lithofacies palaeogeography of the Carboniferous–Triassic in Qinghai Province. J Palaeogeogr 11:384–392 (in Chinese with English abstract)Google Scholar
  55. Zi JW, Cawood PA, Fan WM, Tohver E, Wang YJ (2013) Late Permian–Triassic magmatic evolution in the Jinshajiang orogenic belt, SW China and implications for orogenic processes following closure of the paleo-tethys. Am J Sci 313:81–112CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Saudi Society for Geosciences 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Exploration Technologies for Oil and Gas Resources (Yangtze University)Ministry of EducationWuhanPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Shandong Key Laboratory of Depositional Mineralization & Sedimentary MineralShandong University of Science and TechnologyQingdaoPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.College of GeosciencesYangtze UniversityWuhanPeople’s Republic of China
  4. 4.School of Energy ResourcesChina University of GeosciencesBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  5. 5.State Key Laboratory of Continental Dynamics, Department of GeologyNorthwest UniversityXi’anPeople’s Republic of China

Personalised recommendations