Late Jurassic I-type rhyolites from the Duobuza region, north-central Tibet: evidence for the occurrence of juvenile lower crust and crustal growth in the Southern Qiangtang Terrane

Previous studies of the Southern Qiangtang (SQ) Terrane in Tibet have shown significant growth of continental crust during the late Mesozoic (ca. 170–120 Ma) through underplating of mantle-derived melts beneath ancient lower crust. However, the mechanism of crustal growth remains defective during the Late Jurassic. In this contribution, we report new zircon U–Pb ages, whole-rock major and trace element concentrations, and zircon Hf isotopic compositions of Late Jurassic rhyolites from the Duobuza area in the SQ Terrane. Zircon LA–ICP–MS U–Pb dating yields concordant ages and weighted mean 206Pb/238U ages of 151–149 Ma, indicating that the rhyolites were erupted during the Late Jurassic. The rhyolite samples yield high SiO2 (69.1–73.4 wt.%) and Na2O (3.82–6.49 wt.%) concentrations, high values of the differentiation index (95.4–98.5), moderate Al2O3 (13.1–15.5 wt.%) and K2O (2.55–3.26 wt.%) concentrations, and relatively low TiO2 (0.34–0.44 wt.%), MgO (0.14–0.67 wt.%), and MnO (0.01–0.10 wt.%) concentrations and Mg# values (8.9–33.5). They are enriched in Rb, Th, Ba, and Pb, depleted in Nb, Ta, Sr, Ti, and P, and yield negative Eu anomalies. These characteristics suggest that the Duobuza rhyolites represent medium- to high-K calc-alkaline, highly fractionated I-type granitoids. Variations in major and trace element concentrations indicate that the rhyolites underwent significant fractionation of Fe–Ti oxides, plagioclase, K-feldspar, hornblende, biotite, and apatite. The samples yield positive zircon εHf(t) values (+0.08 to +10.9) and young TCDM model ages (816–386 Ma), indicating that they were generated through partial melting of juvenile lower crust of the SQ Terrane. These data are distinct from those of Late Jurassic intermediate–felsic plutons in the SQ Terrane that generally yield negative εHf(t) values and ancient TCDM model ages. We suggest that the occurrence of the Duobuza rhyolites is the significant witness. The presence of juvenile lower crust beneath the SQ Terrane during the Late Jurassic (ca. 150 Ma) rather than during the Early Cretaceous (ca. 120Ma). The transition from ancient to juvenile lower crust has already began in the SQ Terrane during the Late Jurassic.