【91755103】ACTA GEOLOGICA SINICA (English Edition)：The Open of the Paleo-Tethys Ocean: Inferred from the Early Paleozoic Ophiolite
The Paleo‐Tethys Ocean was a Paleozoic ocean located between the Gondwana and Laurasia supercontinents. It was usually consider to opening in the early Paleozoic with the rifting of the Hun superterrane from Gondwana following the subduction of the Rheic Ocean/proto‐Tethys Ocean. However, the opening time and detailed evolutionary history of the Paleo‐Tethys Ocean are still unclear. The Paleozoic ophiolites have recently been documented in the middle of the Qiangtang terrane, northern Tibetan Plateau, and they mainly occur in the Gangma Co area. These ophiolites are composed of serpentinite, pyroxenite, isotropic and cumulate gabbros, basalt, hornblendite and plagiogranite. Whole‐rock geochemical data suggest that all mafic rocks were formed in an oceanic‐ridge setting. Furthermore, positive whole‐rock εNd(t) and zircon εNd(t)values suggest that these rocks were derived from a long‐term depleted mantle source. The data allow us to conform that these rocks represent an ophiolite suite. Zircon U‐Pb dating of gabbros and plagiogranites yielded weighted mean ages of 437‐501 Ma. The occurrence of the ophiolite suite suggests that a Paleozoic Ocean basin (Paleo‐Tethys) existed in middle of the Qiangtang terrane. We hypothesize that the ophiolite in the middle of the Qiangtang terrane represents the western extension of the Sanjiang Paleo‐Tethys ophiolite in the east margin of the Tibetan Plateau, and they mark the main Paleo‐Tethys Ocean. This is the oldest ophiolite from the Paleo‐Tethyan suture zones and the Paleo‐Tethys Ocean basin probably opened in the Middle Cambrian, and continued to grow throughout the Paleozoic. The ocean was finally closed in the Middle to Late Triassic as inferred from the metamorphic ages of eclogite and blueschist that occur nearby. The Paleo‐Tethys Ocean was probably formed by the breakup of the northern margin of Gondwana, with southward subduction of the proto‐Tethys oceanic lithosphere along the northern margin of the supercontinent.