New Zircon geochronological and Nd isotopic evidence for Neoproterozoic crust reworking events in the Abas terrane, Yemen

University dissertation from Stockholm : Stockholm University

Abstract: The Arabian-Nubian Shield is an excellent natural laboratory to study crust formation processes during the Neoproterozoic. It is one of the largest juvenile tracts of continental crust formed during this time. It diachronously evolved between the breakup of Rodinia (c.780 Ma) and amalgamation of Gondwana (c.550 Ma). New SIMS zircon U-Pb, whole-rock Sm-Nd isotopic and geochemical data are presented. The results are used to establish the geochronology of the Abas terrane and constrain its crustal evolution. The U-Pb data show bimodal age distribution: an older age group c. 790-760 Ma, which corresponds to the arc-forming stage of the ANS and a younger group c. 625-590 Ma, belonging to post-collisional episode in the region. The oldest sample in the post-collisional tectonomagmatic group is slightly deformed indicating that pervasive deformation in the area was decaying by c. 625 Ma. The inherited zircons documented range in age from Meso-to-Paleoproterozoic. Although few, these inherited zircons indicate that crust material of that age was assimilated during the Neoproterozoic magmatic events. The U-Pb geochronologic also resolved the temporal transition from high-K calc-alkaline to alkaline magmatism in the post-collisional suits. This transition commonly marks the end of orogeny. Almost all samples studied exhibit a strongly enriched initial ?Nd compositions and Nd model ages that predate the crystallization ages of the rocks by several hundred million years. These features highlight the sharp contrast in the magmatic sources between the Abas granitoids and the rest of the ANS, which is dominantly juvenile except that of the Afif terrane of Saudi Arabia. This suggests that the Abas terrane of Yemen had a distinctive crustal evolution history compared to the rest of the shield and these features provide evidence for the presence of pre-Neoproterozoic crust at depth in this region.

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