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First report of coupled Early Permian paleomagnetic and geochronologic data from the Dunhuang block (NW China), and implications for the tectonic evolution of the Paleo-Asian ocean

journal contribution
posted on 2019-03-01, 00:00 authored by W Xu, Z Sun, Guang ShiGuang Shi, J Lu, L Yu, Y Niu, Y Zhao, X Han, B Wang, B Song, Y Cao
© 2018 International Association for Gondwana Research In order to better understand the tectonic relationship between the Dunhuang block (DHB) and its adjacent blocks, and to constrain the timing of the closure of the Paleo-Asian ocean, a combined geochronologic and paleomagnetic investigation has been undertaken on Early Permian tuff, basalt flows and sandstones from the Shuangbaotang Formation in the northwestern part of the DHB. U-Pb zircon dating indicates that the age of the strata is between 280.6 ± 2.9 Ma and 291.4 ± 2.6 Ma. Thermal demagnetization of a three-component isothermal remanent magnetization (IRM), and Curie point experiment suggest that magnetite dominates in the rock samples analyzed. In addition, there is a minor amount of hematite in some sandstones. Stepwise thermal demagnetization successfully isolated stable characteristic remanent magnetization (ChRM) from 11 tuff layers, two lava flows and nine sandstone beds. Two components were isolated from all samples: a lower temperature component (LTC) and a higher temperature component (HTC). The LTC is near the direction of the present-day geomagnetic field and produced a negative fold test, indicating it is a viscous remanent magnetization in the present-day geomagnetic field. Most of the HTC are reverse polarity (Normal = 4, reverse = 158), which is in accordance with the Kiaman Reversed Superchron that spans the Late Carboniferous-Permian interval. In addition, the HTC of all studied sites passed the fold and reverse tests, suggesting that they likely represent primary remanent magnetization. The tilt-corrected mean direction from all sites (tuff, basalts and sandstones) is D s = 1.7° I s = 43.1° k s = 403, α 95 = 1.5° N = 22. The mean paleopole of the site-mean direction-corresponded VGPs lies at 74.5°N, 268.5°E with A 95 = 1.6°. Considering the consistent inclination values recorded among the studied tuff, basalts and sandstones, and the low degrees of anisotropy within all samples, we suggest that there is no significant inclination shallowing caused by depositional compaction in the sedimentary layers of the studied section. Taking into account the results from this study as well as previous Late Paleozoic paleomagentic studies from adjacent tectonic blocks, we conclude that the DHB formed part of the amalgamated Dunhuang-North China-Alxa-Qaidam mega-block during the Early Permian, but was separated from the Tarim block by a small ocean (here named the Qiemo-Xingxingxia paleo-ocean) at this time. A comparison of the Early Permian paleolatitudes of these and other adjacent blocks suggest that the Paleo-Asian ocean (sensu lato) was still open at this time. Combined with other geological evidence, a paleogeographic reconstruction of the Paleo-Asian ocean has been reconstructed for the Early Permian.



Gondwana research




46 - 63




Amsterdam, The Netherlands





Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

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2018, International Association for Gondwana Research