Orogenic belts: South China, Central China and Qinling-Dabie, Hinggan

  • Franco Pirajno


The South China Fold Belt, Qinling-Dabie-Sulu, Qilian and Hinggan orogens are reviewed in this chapter. The South China Fold Belt is the coastal part of the Cathaysia Block, which was directly influenced by subduction-related calc-alkaline magmatism in the Jurassic-Cretaceous. During this time mineral deposits of Sn, W, Mo, Pb-Zn, Cu, Sb, hydrothermal vein-type, porphyry Cu-Au, skarns, and precious metal epithermal were formed. The Zhilingtou and Huangshan epithermal deposits are reviewed, followed by Au-Cu high-sulphidation epithermal mineralisation in the Zijinshan mining district (Fujian Province) and the polymetallic Ag-rich and low-sulphidation veins and/or stockworks of the Coastal Volcanic Belt. Chinkuashih is the youngest (1 Ma) epithermal system in the northern tip of Taiwan and part of the western extension of the active Ryukyu volcanic arc.

The Qinling-Dabie-Sulu orogen is the eastern part of the Central China Orogen and was formed by continental subduction and collision between the Yangtze Craton and the North China Craton. The orogen extends northward along the major Tanlu fault zone (Sulu orogen). An understanding of the geodynamicevolution and associated magmatism of the Qinling-Dabie-Sulu orogen is pivotal for the genetic modelling of related mineral systems. Although tectonic models are debated, unifying factors include the Mesozoic Indosinian and Yanshanian tectono-thermal events, dominated by granitic magmatism, and the northward subduction of crustal materials beneath the North China Craton. Partial melting of the Proterozoic lithologies was instrumental in the delivery of CO2- and F-rich fluids as well as metals, resulting in the formation of porphyry deposits, auriferous breccia pipes and lode deposits. In the Xiaoqinling-Xiong’ershan region of the Qinling mountains there are more than 100 lode Au-Ag, with an estimated total resource greater than 550 tonnes. Tieluping and Shanggong are examples described in this chapter. The East Qinling porphyry, porphyry-skarn systems have a total resource of Mo metal of about 2.7 Mt In addition, the Sandaozhuang deposit also contains 502,465 tonnes of W metal. A review of the salient features of a number of these porphyry deposits is provided. The Qiyugou auriferous breccia pipe is discussed in some detail and linked to a wider hydrothermal system, characterised by volatile-rich fluids derived from subducted Proterozoic lithologies. The unusual Huanglongpu Mo-Pb mineralisation associated with carbonatite dykes is briefly described. There are numerous sediment-hosted Au deposits in the Qinling region. These all share some similarities with the classic Carlin deposits of the western USA, such as jasperoidal alteration and metal assemblages (Au, Hg, Sb, Ag, Tl). Some of the Carlin-type or style deposits have local features with metals such as W and U. The Qilian orogen is the western extension of the Qinling-Dabie orogenic belt, striking west-northwest from Gansu Province, to Qinghai, Shaanxi and Henan provinces. In southeastern Gansu Province, the Qilian orogen hosts numerous VMS deposits in a submarine 600–520 Ma bimodal volcanic belt, about 1,200 km long and 50 km wide, at the southeast margin of the Tarim Craton.

The closure of the Palaeo-Asian Ocean separating the North China Craton from the Siberian plate resulted in the formation of the Altai and Tianshan-Hinggan orogenic belts, which are part of the Central Asian Orogenic Belt. In northeast China, the Hinggan orogenic belt evolved by accretion of volcanic arc systems, oceanic crust and microcontinental blocks, eventually sutured along the Solonker zone and the Kangbao-Chifeng fault that separates the terranes of the Altaids from the northern margin of the North China Craton. Indosinian to Yanshanian intraplate magmatism, comprising calc-alkaline to high-K calc-alkaline volcanic rocks and subvolcanic intrusions, overprinted the Hinggan orogen. The Hinggan mineral deposits can be geographically grouped into four districts: the northern Great Hinggan Range, the southern Great Hinggan Range, the Lesser Hinggan Range and Changbaishan. In the Great Hinggan Range are low-sulphide Au (Ag) epithermal systems characterised by quartz veins, with low contents of sulphides, as exemplified by the Shabaosi, Sandaowanzi, Dong’an, Ciweigou and Tuanjiegou deposits. High-sulphide Au (Cu, Zn) systems, are less common and exemplified by Jinchang Au deposit, Daba Au (Cu), Naozhi Au (Cu) and Naoniushan Cu (Au) deposits. Silver-rich polymetallic deposits and occurrences are mainly found in the Manzhouli Basin and Erguna Massif, exemplified by the Jiawula, Chaganbulagen and E’rentaolegai deposits. The Jiwula, Chaganbulagen, Xijinuo Shan and Erdaohezi deposits have atypical epithermal features, as shown by the absence of diagnostic minerals (adularia or enargite) and are considered as hydrothermal vein deposits. In the southern Manzhouli basin is a porphyry-epithermal district, where porphyry Cu-Mo mineralisation is associated with skarns and high-level epithermal systems. The Dong’an is a low-sulphidation (adularia-sericite) epithermal Au deposit, characterised by at least 14 orebodies, surrounded by quartz- and sericite-dominated alteration zones. In general, the country rocks and Au orebodies have distinct boundaries which are characterized by alteration zones along faults.

The east-west-trending Xilamunum metallologenic belt, is within the Hinggan orogenic belt and is known to contain at least 20 porphyry Mo deposits as well as vein-type and epithermal deposits. Some of the economically most important are: Chehugou, Kulitou, Daiheshan, Xiaodonggou and Jiguanshan porphyry Mo, Nianzigou and Xinjing vein-type Mo and Hongshanzi Mo-U epithermal deposit. The time of the Mo mineralisation and host porphyry rocks between 156 and 154 Ma.

Within the Hinggan fold belt there are also about 1,000 mafic-ultramafic complexes. In the Hongqiling area, there is a series of northwest-trending mafic-ultramafic intrusions and dykes, some of which host orthomagmatic Ni-Cu disseminated and massive sulphide mineralisation. In the Hongqiling district at least five intrusions are known to have Ni-Cu sulphide mineralisation. The No. 7 Fujia intrusion has ore reserves estimated at 88.9 Mt grading 2.3 % Ni, 0.63 % Cu and 0.05 % Co. Re-Os dating of pyrrhotite from Ni-Cu sulphide ore in the Fuja (No. 1) intrusion, gave an age of 208 ± 21 Ma (Lü et al. 2011). These ages are coincident with A-type post-orogenic granitic magmatism in northeast China. Chromitite lenses are present in 280 Ma zoned mafic-ultramafic intrusions (Alaskan type), intruded during south-directed subduction beneath the northern margin of the North China Craton.


Fluid Inclusion North China Craton Granite Porphyry Rare Earth Element Pattern Yangtze Craton 
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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Geological Survey of Western Australia Centre for Exploration TargetingThe University of Western AustraliaPerthAustralia

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