Dike distribution density: Method for quantitative mine targets prediction in the South Alatao Mountains area, NW China

The correlation between dike density and regional‐scale mineralization indicates a fundamental criterion for ore‐forming process. Here, a novel dike distribution density method is formulated for evaluating this correlation and exploring mine targets quantitatively. Three parameters (dike density, dike orientation scatter degree and dike fractal dimension) are proposed to express the degree of irregularity and complexity of dike distribution patterns. This method is applied to the South Alatao Mountains area (China), where the dike swarms show regionally well‐developed density gradients and the mineral deposits are spatially associated with abundant dike swarms. On the basis of this quantitative dike distribution density method, 60% of the deposit targets are delineated in this area. This result indicates that the method is an effective quantification tool for prospecting mine targets. The dike distribution density method is applicable for areas where abundant regional‐scale dike swarms and mineralization occur. It should be considered as an effective and complimentary technique for the common mine prospectivity analysis.

Geochronology, geochemistry, and tectonic implications of Jishou Cretaceous diabase, western Xuefengshan tectonic zone in South China

From the east of the Xuefengshan tectonic zone (XTZ) to the Pacific coast of the South China Block, there exist widespread Mesozoic magmatic rocks, which attract a great deal of attention for their forming mechanism and evolutional history. Among them, the Mesozoic Jishou diabase located at the west of the XTZ is reported in this study. Based on our geochronologic analysis, the diabase has a U–Pb age of 134 ± 2.3 Ma. The diabase belongs to calc‐alkaline series in a SiO2‐K2O diagram and illustrates significant enrichment in light rare earth elements and flat heavy rare earth elements without obvious Eu anomalies. Meanwhile, the diabase has negative εHf(t) and εNd(t) values and higher radiogenic 87Sr/86Sr(t) ratios, suggestive of EM2‐like Sr‐Nd isotopic compositions. The diabase shows high variations in 207Pb/204Pb(t; 15.609–15.671), 206Pb/204Pb(t; 17.943–18.742), and 208Pb/204Pb(t; 38.268–39.302). It is suggested that the Jishou diabase may be generated from the lithospheric mantle in response to the decompression melting accompanied by lithospheric extension during Pacific subduction process. During the Early Cretaceous (145–120 Ma), the upwelling and melting of the mantle occurred under the XTZ, causing intraplate Jishou diabase magma. Subsequently, the significantly descending of the subducted Paleo‐Pacific slab led progressively eastward generation and migration of subduction‐related magmas, resulting in a widespread distribution of igneous rocks in the Cathaysia Block.

Late Triassic‐Early Jurassic abnormal thermal event constrained by zircon fission track dating and vitrinite reflectance in Xishan coalfield, Qinshui Basin, central North China

Xishan coalfield, Shanxi, is located in the northwest of the Qinshui Basin, central North China. It is notable for its varieties of coal rank ranging from high volatile bituminous coals to anthracite as well as having abundant coalbed methane resources. Zircon fission track (ZFT) analyses were carried out on the zircons in 2 Upper Carboniferous and 5 Lower‐Middle Permian sandstones, and vitrinite reflectance of Late Carboniferous and Early Permian coals were measured to determine the timing of thermal events and maximum paleo‐temperatures, which were responsible for coal maturation and coalbed methane generation. Maximum paleo‐temperatures calculated from vitrinite reflectance values reached to about 232 and 223 °C in Late Carboniferous and Early Permian coals, respectively, and the estimated paleo‐temperature gradient was 11.84 °C/100 m, representing an intensive abnormal thermal event. Results of the ZFT dating indicated that 5 samples failed the χ2‐test and 2 samples passed the test. The decomposition results of the 5 samples divided their age populations into 3 periods: (a) older ages (537, 584, and 802 Ma) than sandstones ages, (b) close to or slightly older than their depositional ages (289, 301, and 331 Ma), and (c) younger than the depositional ages (181–215). The 2 samples that passed χ2‐test yield the central ages of 168 ± 7 Ma and 190 ± 8 Ma, respectively, younger than the deposition age. The close to or older ages than the sandstones depositional ages represent the tectonothermal events occurring in their source areas; the younger ages indicate the existence of the postdepositional tectonothermal event. The agreement of the partly annealing temperature zone (210–300 °C) of zircon fission tracks with the calculated maximum paleo‐temperatures from vitrinite reflectance suggests a Late Triassic‐Early Jurassic abnormal thermal event with the formation time of the present coal rank being 181–215 Ma, rather than a unique intrusion at 95–135 Ma on the western margin of coalfield as previously believed. Combined with other ZFT ages regionally, this abnormal event also occurred in the southern as well as the northern parts of the Qinshui Basin. The Late Triassic‐Early Jurassic intensive extension in the North China Craton is the geodynamic setting of this tectonothermal event.

Timing of formation of the Keketale Pb–Zn deposit, Xinjiang, Northwest China, Central Asian Orogenic Belt: Implications for the metallogeny of the South Altay Orogenic Belt

The Keketale is the largest Pb–Zn deposit in the volcano‐sedimentary Maizi Basin of the South Altay Orogenic Belt (AOB), Northwest China. The stratabound orebodies are hosted in a suite of meta‐sedimentary rocks intercalated with volcanic rocks of the Lower Devonian Kangbutiebao Formation. The massive and banded ores representing the main mineralization stage are relatively well‐preserved in the ore district. This paper reports systematic geochronological results including the zircon laser ablation–multiple collector–inductively coupled plasma–mass spectrometry (LA‐MC‐ICP‐MS) U–Pb analyses on two meta‐felsic volcanic rocks from the Kangbutiebao Formation and Rb–Sr isotope dating on seven sphalerite samples from the main mineralization stage, together with some sulphur isotopic data to constrain the mineralization age and the genesis of the deposit. Rb–Sr isotope dating yield an isochron age of 398.2 ± 3.3 Ma generally synchronous with the zircon (LA‐MC‐ICP‐MS) U–Pb analyses of a meta‐rhyolite and a meta‐dacite from the strata (410.5 ± 1.3 Ma and 394.8 ± 1.9 Ma, respectively). The δ34S values of seven pyrite samples in the main massive and banded ores vary from −12.4‰ to −6.2‰, indicating that the main ore‐forming sulphur of the deposit was derived from bacterial reduction of seawater sulphate. By integrating the field, chronological, and isotopic evidences, we conclude that the Keketale Pb–Zn deposit is a VMS‐type deposit. Combining our results with the isotopic geochronology in the South AOB, we argue that the South AOB has undergone three mineralization episodes: the syndepositional mineralization (412–387 Ma), the subvolcanic hydrothermal‐related mineralization (382–379 Ma), and the epigenetic mineralization that is genetically linked to regional metamorphism and deformation (260–204 Ma). The Keketale Pb–Zn deposit is a product of the Devonian seafloor hydrothermal exhalation system in the South AOB.

Discovery of Mesoproterozoic kimberlite from Dörbed Banner, Inner Mongolia and its tectonic significance

Porphyritic olivine kimberlitic breccia, discovered in the Dörbed Banner of Inner Mongolia, Western China, is referred to as Longtou Shan Kimberlite in our study. This kimberlite occurs as a pipe in the Halahuogete Formation of Bayan Obo Group. Zircon U–Pb ages of Longtou Shan Kimberlite reveals a Mesoproterozoic age of ~1,552 Ma, constraining the deposition age of Halahuogete Formation to the Mesoproterozoic. Compared with Mesoproterozoic kimberlite of the ancient landmass, it can be inferred that the North China Craton is a member of the Ur ancient continent of the Columbia supercontinent. Furthermore, according to the tectonic background of the Bayan Obo Group, we raise this possibility that “Bayan Obo Aulacogen” should be renamed the “Bayan Obo Continental Rift.”

Petrogenesis and tectonic setting of the Shiduolong skarn Pb–Zn deposit in the East Kunlun Orogenic Belt: Constraints from whole‐rock geochemical, zircon U–Pb and Hf isotope analyses

The Shiduolong Pb–Zn deposit, located in the East Kunlun Orogenic Belt, is a medium‐scale skarn deposit (0.4 Mt metal reserves with a grade of 1.46% Pb and 4.38% Zn). The mineralization occurs along the contact zone between Carboniferous marbles and Triassic quartz diorite and granodiorite. Zircon LA‐ICP‐MS dating indicates that the Shiduolong quartz diorite is coeval with the granodiorite (245 Ma). Whole‐rock geochemical analysis shows that both phases are high‐K calc‐alkaline metaluminous (A/CNK < 1) I‐type granites with similar rare earth (REE) element contents and (La/Yb)N values, indicating that they formed via crystal fractionation from a common parental magma. However, the granodiorite has higher SiO2 contents, lower total Fe2O3, TiO2, MgO, Sr, and Ba contents, and more negative Eu anomalies than the quartz diorites, suggesting that the granodiorite experienced stronger fractional crystallization during magmatic evolution. The zircon εHf(t) values of the quartz diorite range from −3.3 to 1.6. The two‐stage model ages (TDM2) vary from 1,175 to 1,487 Ma. Hf isotope data indicate that the magma of the quartz diorite was mainly derived from partial melting of Mesoproterozoic lower crustal materials with contributions from mantle‐derived magmas. Combined with the regional tectonic and magmatic activities, we propose that the Shiduolong Pb–Zn deposit might have formed during the hydrothermal event associated with the release of magmatic water from the granodiorite‐quartz diorite intrusions, which were generated by the subduction of the Paleo‐Tethys oceanic slab in the Early Triassic.

Fluid inclusion and isotope geochemistry of the Atebayue Sb deposit, South Tianshan Orogen, Kyrgyzstan

The Atebayue Sb deposit is hosted in the Silurian clastics in the South Tianshan Orogen in Kyrgyzstan. The Sb ores appear as veins/veinlets and disseminations, with stibnite being the main ore mineral. Gangue minerals comprise quartz, calcite, and clay minerals. The quartz at Atebayue only contains aqueous fluid inclusions with low homogenization temperature (215–336 °C) and salinity (3.4–6.9 wt.% NaCl equiv.), supporting an epizonogenic hydrothermal origin. The minimum trapping pressures estimated from the NaCl─H2O inclusions are 9–14 MPa, suggesting that the Sb mineralization mainly occurred at a depth of 0.9–1.4 km. Sulphur isotopes (δ34S = −0.4 to 6.2‰) suggest that the host rocks within the Silurian system to be a significant source of ore metals. The ores contain average 206Pb/204Pb, 207Pb/204Pb, and 208Pb/204Pb values of 18.112, 15.547, and 38.064, respectively, and 2‐stage model ages of 337–381 Ma, indicating the ores were likely sourced from the Paleozoic strata. Integrating the data obtained from the studies including ore geology, fluid inclusion, and S─Pb isotope geochemistry, we conclude that that the Atebayue Sb deposit is best classified as epizonogenic type formed by the Tarim–Kazakhstan continent–continent collision.

Early Carboniferous tectonic evolution of the northern Heihe–Nenjiang–Hegenshan suture zone, NE China: Constraints from the mylonitized Nenjiang rhyolites and the Moguqi gabbros

The Heihe–Nenjiang–Hegenshan suture zone has long been accepted as the major tectonic boundary between the Xing’an and Songliao blocks and extends through the Great Xing’an Range in NE China, but its location of the northern segment between the Moguqi and Nenjiang areas and its timing remain unclear. We address these issues by presenting zircon LA‐ICP‐MS U–Pb ages, Lu‐Hf isotopes, bulk‐rock major, and trace elemental data for mylonitized rhyolites collected from the Moergenhe Formation in the Nenjiang area and for gabbros of the Moguqi area, respectively. The mylonitized rhyolites, which display an arc‐related geochemical affinity with enrichment in Th and U, and depletion of Nb, Ta, and Ti, and gently right‐tilted rare earth element (REE) patterns (light REE [LREE]/heavy REE [HREE] =4.53–7.60), as well as the εHf (t) values (+6.4 to +11.8) of analyzed zircons, indicate an origin by partial melting of potentially young lower continental crust of a subducting slab. The zircon LA‐ICP‐MS U–Pb data show the formation age of the mylonitized rhyolites is 352.4 Ma. The analyzed gabbros with an emplacement age of 352.6 Ma have high concentrations of Th and U, slightly enriched LREE patterns and relative low LREE/HREE ratios (4.3 to 4.6). These features, together with their high positive εHf (t) values (+7.7 to +15.2), suggest that they were likely derived from the partial melting of a depleted mantle source that was metasomatized by subduction‐related fluids. Combined with the geochemical features of the coeval igneous rocks from the northern Great Xing’an Range, these results reveal that the existence of an early Carboniferous NE‐trending magmatic arc (ca. 350–330 Ma), extending along the west of the Heihe–Nenjiang–Hegenshan suture zone, gives more constraints on the amalgamation of the Xing’an and Songliao blocks along the Nenjiang–Moguqi areas and indicates that the amalgamation should have terminated by at least the end of the early Carboniferous.

The uppermost Carboniferous (Gzhelian)–Lower Permian (Asselian–Sakmarian) stratigraphy and smaller foraminifers of the Ozbak‐Kuh region (Tabas Block, east central Iran)

The uppermost Carboniferous (Gzhelian)–Lower Permian (Asselian to Sakmarian) Anarak Group of the Zaladou section in central Iran is more than 180‐m thick and includes thick units of shale, calcareous sandstone, fusulinid limestone, sandy limestone, and dolomite. The Zaladou and Tigh‐e‐Madanu formations of this group were dated as Gzhelian to Sakmarian. A review of the smaller foraminifers of the Zaladou section is presented. Five foraminiferal subzones grouped in three biozones are proposed in this work: The first assemblage zone (I) is Gzhelian; the second zone (II) corresponds to the Gzhelian–Asselian boundary interval, and the third biozone (III) is Asselian in age. Biozone I is subdivided informally into two subzones: the Hemigordius spirilliniformis‐Bradyina cf. samarica subzone IA (probably early Gzhelian in age) and the Raphconilia modificata and Globivalvulina spp. subzone IB (middle to late Gzhelian); biozone II is the Nodosinelloides spp. zone; biozone III is subdivided informally into two subzones: IIIA with Pseudoacutella partoazari‐Bradyina lucida and IIIB with Planoendothyra persica n. sp.‐Rectogordius sp. The studied assemblages are correlated with those from the Carnic Alps (Austria–Italy), East European Platform of Russia, the Urals (Russia), Darvas (Uzbekistan), the northern and central Pamirs (Tajikistan), northern Iran (Alborz), northern Afghanistan, and other classical regions of the Tethyan realm. The genera Raphconilia and Planoendothyra are revised, and Planoendothyra persica n. sp. is described.

Geochemistry and zircon U–Pb–Hf isotopes of the granitoids of Qianjinchang pluton in the Xi Ujimqi, Inner Mongolia: Implications for petrogenesis and geodynamic setting

We conducted zircon U–Pb dating and geochemical analyses for the Qianjinchang (QJC) pluton in the Xi Ujimqi, Northeast China, with an aim to determine their ages, petrogenesis, and sources. The QJC pluton consists of coarse/medium‐grained biotite monzogranite in the core and fine‐grained biotite granodiorite in the rim; those rocks intrude into quartz diorite but are intruded by minor intrusive phases, including small biotite syenogranite, diorite bodies, late diorite, granodiorite, granite, and pegmatite dykes. Our new laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry zircon U–Pb data indicate that the QJC composite pluton composed of 2 phases of magmatic activities, with the ages of 301~313 Ma for the quartz diorite, 283 ± 1 Ma for the biotite granodiorite, 280 ± 1 Ma for the biotite syenogranite, and 280 ± 2 Ma for the diorite dyke. Hf isotopic analyses for the quartz diorite sample show εHf (t) = 3.75 to 11.72, with 2‐stage Hf model age (TDM2) ranging 568–1,078 Ma. The biotite syenogranite sample also shows a depleted εHf (t) = 4.47 to 8.71, with TDM2 ranging 745–1,015 Ma, suggesting the major involvement of juvenile crustal components. The various εHf values of the QJC pluton indicate a hybrid magma source of juvenile material with old crustal component, and the TDM2 values increase from the Carboniferous to Permian, which suggests an increasing proportion of old continental material during this period. Petrological and geochemical characteristics of the biotite granodiorite and biotite monzogranite samples suggest that they are S‐type granites and derived from partial melting of the clay‐poor, plagioclase‐rich psammitic source, produced at low‐medium pressure. The biotite syenogranite sample belongs to alkaline and shoshonitic series and probably formed by a hybridization process between basaltic magma and old continental components. Combined with previous studies on the contemporaneous magma‐tectonic activities in the Xilinhot microcontinent, we suggest that the QJC pluton formed in a postcollisional setting.