Journal of Earth Science

, Volume 30, Issue 5, pp 996–1004 | Cite as

Late Triassic-Cenozoic Thermochronology in the Southern Sanjiang Tethys, SW China, New Insights from Zircon Fission Track Analysis

  • Li Yang
  • Wanming YuanEmail author
  • Xiaoyong Zhu
  • Zhen Shi
Structural Geology and Thermochronology


The Sanjiang Tethys orogenic belt is located in the southeast side of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. It has undergone the opening and closing movements in different periods of Tethys oceans, complex accretive orogeny and strong mineralization from Paleozoic to Mesozoic. Using zircon fission track (ZFT) thermochronology, this study reveals the Sanjiang Tethys has experienced multi-stage tectonic activities during the Late Triassic-Cenozoic. The 15 ZFT ages with their decomposition components obtained from Sanjiang Tethysian region range from 212 to 19 Ma, which not only shows 6 age groups of 212, 179–172, 156–133, 121–96, 84–70 and 50–19 Ma, but also constrains the age limit of the tectonothermal events. These age groups recorded the Paleo-Tethys main and branches ocean opening/closure time. The age-elevation plot indicates the Sanjiang region had differential uplifting and exhumation and fast uplifting times of ca. 133, 116 and 80 Ma, coinciding with the age groups mentioned above. These results show new geochronological evidences and viewpoints.

Key words

tectonic events zircon fission track analysis tethys evolution Sanjiang region Qinghai-Tibet Plateau thermochronology 


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This research was jointly supported by the National Program on Key Basic Research Project (973 Program) (No. 2015CB452606) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 41730427, 41172088). The authors thank Profs. Chuanbo Shen (China University of Geosciences, Wuhan), Ruxin Ding (Sun Yat-Sen University) and Li Li (China University of Petroleum) for discussion and good suggestions. We express our sincere thanks to anonymous reviewers who are greatly appreciated for improving the manuscript. The final publication is available at Springer via

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© China University of Geosciences (Wuhan) and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, Part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Science Research InstituteChina University of GeosciencesBeijingChina

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