Tectonic affinity of the Khanka Massif in the easternmost Central Asian Orogenic Belt: evidence from detrital zircon geochronology of Permian sedimentary rocks

The tectonic affiliation of the Khanka Massif, in the easternmost section of the Central Asian Orogenic Belt (CAOB), is still a matter of debate. Here, we provide new constraints on the provenance and timing of deposition of Permian strata in the western margin of the Khanka Massif. The results, which include U–Pb dating of detrital zircon grains using laser ablation–inductively coupled plasma–mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS), provide evidence regarding the tectonic position of the Khanka Massif and its role in the late Palaeozoic evolution of the eastern CAOB. Detrital zircon grains from a sublitharenite (Pingyangzhen Formation), a litharenite (Liangzichuan Formation), and a metamorphic siltstone (Qinglongcun Group) yielded multiple age populations ranging from Neoproterozoic (~914 Ma) to Permian (~272 Ma). Combined with age constraints from overlying/late-stage igneous rocks and other magmatism of the Khanka Massif, we conclude that the dated strata were deposited during the early–middle Permian and were sourced from the Khanka Massif. A comparison between the detrital zircon age populations and the history of magmatic activity in the neighbouring areas suggests that the Khanka Massif was tectonically linked to the Songnen–Zhangguangcai Range Massif. Based on tectonic discrimination diagrams, we conclude that the western margin of the Khanka Massif was positioned in a convergent-boundary basin during the early–middle Permian. Strike-slip faulting along the Dunhua–Mishan Fault, in response to ridge subduction of the Paleo-Asian Ocean Plate, resulted in a north-eastward movement of the Khanka Massif. The occurrence of Precambrian detrital zircon grains (with ages of 1900–1700 and 900–700 Ma) implies the presence of an ancient basement within the Khanka Massif.