Tectonic Emplacement of the Ophiolitic Mélange in the West Junggar, NW China: Comment on the Plate Boundary Significance of Ophiolitic Mélange Belt

Friday, 19 December 2014
Guocan Wang, Yixian Xu, Long Xiao and Chao Chen, China University of Geosciences Wuhan, Wuhan, China
Many ophiolitic mélanges distribute in the West Junggar, NW China. They are fault-contacted with Carboniferous turbidites with mostly NE trend and some NS trend with ages mostly Ordovician-Silurian and some Late Devonian. The boundary faults and the foliation inside the mélanges are of high-angle or nearly vertical. The NE trend ophiolitic mélange belts were structurally emplaced into the Carboniferous strata mainly by dextral transpressive deformation, but the NS trend ophiolitic mélange belts mainly by lateral extrusion deformation or pure shearing, suggesting a uniform stress field of nearly EW compression controlled the emplacements. The tectonic relationship between the ophiolitic mélanges and the Carboniferous turbidites imply that the ophiolitic mélanges are the main components of the basement of the Carboniferous strata. The geophysical data also reveal that high gravity, high magnetic and medium resistivity exist under the Carboniferous strata, matching well to the distribution of the ophiolitic mélanges on the surface. The neodymium model ages (TDM) of widely distributed Late Carboniferous-Permian granites are mostly between 0.352-0.923Ga and concentrate in 0.45-0.6Ga with positive eNd(t) mostly between 5~10, suggesting the Early Paleozoic rocks as the main magma source, consistent with the age of the ophiolitic mélanges, also coinciding with the conclusion of the ophiolitic mélanges as the basement of the Carboniferous strata.

The Carboniferous turbidites primarily formed in residual basin. Early Permian terrestrial coarse molasses deposits unconformitily cover on the Carboniferous turbidites, suggesting the residual basin closed in Late Carboniferous. The accretionary complex or residual oceanic crust emplaced into the overlying Carboniferous turbidites through the dextral transpression or lateral extrusion due to EW convergent when the residual basin closed.

The tectonic juxtaposition relationship between the ophiolitic mélanges and the younger lateral strata with same stratigraphic system suggests that the ophiolitic mélange belts do not separate different tectonic palaeogeographic or stratigraphic divisions. The traditional understanding of the ophiolitic mélange belt as plate or terrane boundary should be carefully to apply to the West Jungar.