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Rb−Sr, K−Ar and fission track ages for granites from Penang Island, West Malaysia: an interpretation model for Rb−Sr whole-rock and for actual and experimental mica data

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Abstract

Penang Island represents the northwestern extension of the western magmatic belt of Peninsular Malaysia. Thirty-one samples of highly evolved biotite-and biotite-muscovite granites were used in an integrated study to unravel the complex magmatic, tectonic and cooling histories of these rocks. Highly distorted Rb−Sr whole-rock age patterns are evident. These are attributed to the partial post-magmatic Sr homogenization within the granite batholith which led to the rotation of isochrons towards younger ages and higher (87/86)Sr intercepts. The recognition of this mechanism allowed the establishment of a new Rb−Sr interpretation model. The intrusion ages of the granites can be extrapolated based on the evolutionary trend of the initial (87/86)Sr. Including the data of Bignell and Snelling, three episodes of granite emplacement at 307±8 Ma, 251±7 Ma and 211±2 Ma are suggested for Penang and the NW Main Range. The late-Triassic intrusive induced a hydrothermal conductive convection system which affected all the granites. It is considered to be responsible for the Rb−Sr whole-rock age distortion, the Rb−Sr and K−Ar biotite age resetting and the textural and mineralogical changes in the granites. The duration of the hydrothermal convections, deduced from the Rb−Sr whole rock ages, is about 6 Ma and 20 Ma in the northern and southern parts of Penang respectively. Fast regional cooling to 350±50°C within a time span of 1–3 Ma is recognized for the late-Triassic Feringgi intrusive from the mica ages, followed by a generally slow cooling rate of about 1°C/Ma. Fission track ages, in addition, indicate blockwise uplift along the N-S and NW-SE tending faults, thus resulting in the exposure of deeper crustal levels in southern and eastern Penang. A change in the tensional regime since Oligocene/Miocene, accompanied by a southwest tilting of the island, is indicated by the fission track apatite ages. Variable sometimes younger K−Ar, respectively Rb−Sr biotite ages mainly depend on the degree of hydrothermal overprint at different crustal levels. An increase of the reaction surface by grain size reduction influences Rb−Sr and K−Ar mica ages in similar ways, as has been demonstrated by experimental data.

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Kwan, T.S., Krähenbühl, R. & Jager, E. Rb−Sr, K−Ar and fission track ages for granites from Penang Island, West Malaysia: an interpretation model for Rb−Sr whole-rock and for actual and experimental mica data. Contr. Mineral. and Petrol. 111, 527–542 (1992). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00320907

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