Geochemistry and Geochronology of the Lower Crust Beneath Central Mongolia

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Leonard D Ancuta1, Richard W Carlson2, Dmitri A Ionov3 and Peter K Zeitler1, (1)Lehigh Univ, Bethlehem, PA, United States, (2)Carnegie Inst Washington, Washington, DC, United States, (3)University of Montpellier II, Montpellier Cedex 05, France
Two-pyroxene granulite xenoliths recovered from the Shavaryn-Tsaram Quaternary basaltic breccia pipe near Tariat Mongolia provide a snapshot of the modern lower crust beneath the elevated Hangay Dome in central Mongolia. Two-pyroxene thermometry indicates the xenoliths equilibrated at temperatures of 840 ± 30ºC. Previous studies using the Grt-Opx-Pl barometer indicated an upper limit on pressures between 12.5 and 15.5 kbar for samples collected from the same locality (Stosch et al., 1995). Whole-rock trace-element data for the xenoliths show similar trends to arc-derived magmatic rocks, with enrichments in the large-ion lithophile elements and rare earth elements compared to depletion in the high field-strength elements. The arc-like geochemical signature of the lower crust suggests it did not form through underplating during the most recent phase of Cenozoic volcanism, which has geochemical characteristics typical of intraplate volcanism. Instead, the lower crust beneath the Hangay dome may have formed during the accretion of the Central Asian Orogenic Belt (CAOB) in the Late Paleozoic to Early Mesozoic. Alternatively, it could include remnants of older Precambrian basement accreted during the formation of the CAOB. Abundant zircon observed in the samples will be dated by U-Pb laser ablation ICP-MS and ID-TIMS to better determine the timing of lower-crust formation and metamorphism. To the extent that a crustal root supports the high elevation of Hangay region, constraining the age of the root will help place constraints on the timing of crustal thickening and the attainment of high elevation. The post-orogenic, long-term thermal evolution of the lower crust can be assessed using U-Pb analyses of a number of trace phases, including monazite and apatite. Results from these measurements will address the timing and evolution of the high topography in central Mongolia.