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Many large and super-large copper deposits have been discovered and explored in the Tibet Plateau, which makes it the most important copper resource reserve and development base in China. Based on the work of the research team, the paper summarizes the geological characteristics of the main copper deposits in Tibet and puts forward a further prospecting direction. A series of large accumulated metal deposits or ore districts from subduction of Tethys oceanic crust to India-Asia collisionhave been discovered, such as Duolong Cu (Au) ore district and Jiama copper polymetallic deposit. The ore deposits in the Duolong ore district are located in the lowstand domain, the top of lowstand domain, and the highstand domain of the same magmatic-hydrothermal metallogenic system, and their relative positions are the indicators for related deposits in the Bangong Co-Nujiang metallogenic belt. The polycentric metallogenic model of the Jiama copper polymetallic deposit is an important inspiration for the exploration of the porphyry mineralization related to collision orogeny. Further mineral exploration in the Tibet Plateau should be focused on the continental volcanic rocks related to porphyry-epithermal deposits, orogenic gold deposits, hydrothermal Pb-Zn deposits related to nappe structures, skarn Cu (Au) and polymetallic deposits, and the Miocene W-Sn polymetallic deposits.
The Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (also referred to as the Plateau) is the largest area bearing alpine permafrost region in the world and thus is endowed with great formation conditions and prospecting potential of natural gas hydrates (NGH). Up to now, one NGH accumulation, two inferred NGH accumulations, and a series of NGH-related anomalous indicators have been discovered in the Plateau, with NGH resources predicted to be up to 8.88×1012 m3. The NGH in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau have complex gas components and are dominated by deep thermogenic gas. They occur in the Permian-Jurassic strata and are subject to thin permafrost and sensitive to environment. Furthermore, they are distinctly different from the NGH in the high-latitude permafrost in the arctic regions and are more different from marine NGH. The formation of the NGH in the Plateau obviously couples with the uplift and permafrost evolution of the Plateau in spatial-temporal terms. The permafrost and NGH in the Qilian Mountains and the main body of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau possibly formed during 2.0–1.28 Ma BP and about 0.8 Ma BP, respectively. Under the context of global warming, the permafrost in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is continually degrading, which will lead to the changes in the stability of NGH. Therefore, The NGH of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau can not be ignored in the study of the global climate change and ecological environment.
When and how the Tibetan Plateau formed and maintained its thick crust and high elevation on Earth is continuing debated. Specifically, the coupling relationship between crustal thickening and corresponding paleoelevation changing has not been well studied. The dominant factors in crustal thickness changing are crustal shortening, magmatic input and surface erosion rates. Crustal thickness change and corresponding paleoelevation variation with time were further linked by an isostatic equation in this study. Since 120 Ma crustal shortening, magmatic input and surface erosion rates data from the central Tibetan Plateau are took as input parameters. By using a one-dimensional isostasy model, the authors captured the first-order relationship between crustal thickening and historical elevation responses over the central Tibetan Plateau, including the Qiangtang and Lhasa terranes. Based on the modeling results, the authors primarily concluded that the Qiangtang terrane crust gradually thickened to ca. 63 km at ca. 40 Ma, mainly due to tectonic shortening and minor magmatic input combined with a slow erosion rate. However, the Lhasa terrane crust thickened by a combination of tectonic shortening, extensive magmatic input and probably Indian plate underthrusting, which thickened the Lhasa crust over 75 km since 25 Ma. Moreover, a long-standing elevation >4000 m was strongly coupled with a thickened crust since about 35 Ma in the central Tibetan Plateau.
Fluid-absent and fluid-fluxed melting of muscovite in metasedimentary sources are two types of crustal anatexis to produce the Himalaya Cenozoic leucogranites. Apatite grains separated from melts derived from the two types of parting melting have different geochemical compositions. The leucogranites derived from fluid-fluxed melting have relict apatite grains and magmatic crystallized apatite grains, by contrast, there are only crystallized apatite grains in the leucogranites derived from fluid-absent melting. Moreover, apatite grains crystallized from fluid-fluxed melting of muscovite contain higher Sr, but lower Th and LREE than those from fluid-absent melting of muscovite, which could be controlled by the distribution of partitioning coefficient (DAp/Melt) between apatite and leucogranite. DAp/Melt in granites derived from fluid-absent melting is higher than those from fluid-fluxed melting. So, not only SiO2 and A/CNK, but also types of crustal anatexis are sensitive to trace element partition coefficients for apatite. In addition, due to being not susceptible to alteration, apatite has a high potential to yield information about petrogenetic processes that are invisible at the whole-rock scale and thus is a useful tool as a petrogenetic indicator.
The timing of the initial Indo-Asian collision is a subject of debate for a long time. Besides, the magmatic trace of the collisional process is also unclear. In the present study, the authors report Early Eocene leucocratic sill/dike swarms in the northern edge of the Nymo intrusive complex of the Gangdese belt, southern Tibet. The Nymo intrusive complex was emplaced at ca. 50–47 Ma and surrounded by the metamorphosed Jurassic-aged Bima Formation volcano-sedimentary sequence along its northern side. At outcrops, the leucocratic sills/dikes intruded along or truncated the deformed foliations of the host Bima Formation, which has been subject to high-temperature amphibolite-facies metamorphism at ca. 50–47 Ma. Detailed cathodoluminescence image analyses reveal that the zircon grains of the leucocratic sills/dikes have core-mantle textures. The cores yield the Jurassic ages comparable to the protolith ages of the Bima Formation. In contrast, the mantles of zircon grains yield weighted mean ages of ca. 49–47 Ma, representing the crystallization timing of these leucocratic sills/dikes. The coeval ages for the Nymo intrusive complex, the high-temperature metamorphism, and the leucocratic sills/dikes indicate that a close relationship exists among them. The authors tentatively suggest that these leucocratic sills/dikes were generated from partial melting of the Jurassic-aged Bima Formation volcanic rocks, triggered by the high heat from the magma chamber of the Nymo intrusive complex. This Early Eocene tectono-thermal event of coeval magmatism, metamorphism and partial melting was most likely formed during the Indo-Asian collisional setting.
The Pamir Plateau comprises a series of crustal fragments that successively accreted to the Eurasian margin preceded the India-Asia collision, is an ideal place to study the Mesozoic tectonics. The authors investigate the southern Tashkorgan area, northeastern Pamir Plateau, where Mesozoic metamorphic and igneous rocks are exposed. New structural and biotite 40Ar-39Ar age data are presented. Two stages of intense deformation in the metamorphic rocks are identified, which are unconformably covered by the Early Cretaceous sediment. Two high-grade metamorphic rocks yielding 128.4 ± 0.8 Ma and 144.5 ± 0.9 Ma 40Ar-39Ar ages indicate that the samples experienced an Early Cretaceous cooling event. Combined with previous studies, it is proposed that the Early Cretaceous tectonic records in the southern Tashkorgan region are associated with Andean-style orogenesis. They are the results of the flat/low-angle subduction of the Neotethyan oceanic lithosphere.
The Chayu area is located at the southeastern margin of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. This region was considered to be in the southeastward extension of the Lhasa Block, bounded by Nujiang suture zone in the north and Yarlung Zangbo suture zone in the south. The Demala Group complex, a set of high-grade metamorphic gneisses widely distributed in the Chayu area, is known as the Precambrian metamorphic basement of the Lhasa Block in the area. According to field-based investigations and microstructure analysis, the Demala Group complex is considered to mainly consist of banded biotite plagiogneisses, biotite quartzofeldspathic gneiss, granitic gneiss, amphibolite, mica schist, and quartz schist, with many leucogranite veins. The zircon U-Pb ages of two granitic gneiss samples are 205 ± 1 Ma and 218 ± 1 Ma, respectively, representing the ages of their protoliths. The zircons from two biotite plagiogneisses samples show core-rim structures. The U-Pb ages of the cores are mainly 644–446 Ma, 1213–865 Ma, and 1780–1400 Ma, reflecting the age characteristics of clastic zircons during sedimentation of the original rocks. The U-Pb ages of the rims are from 203 ± 2 Ma to 190 ± 1 Ma, which represent the age of metamorphism. The zircon U-Pb ages of one sample taken from the leucogranite veins that cut through granitic gneiss foliation range from 24 Ma to 22 Ma, interpreted as the age of the anatexis in the Demala Group complex. Biotite and muscovite separates were selected from the granitic gneiss, banded gneiss, and leucogranite veins for 40Ar/39Ar dating. The plateau ages of three muscovite samples are 16.56 ± 0.21 Ma, 16.90 ± 0.21 Ma, and 23.40 ± 0.31 Ma, and the plateau ages of four biotite samples are 16.70 ± 0.24 Ma, 16.14 ± 0.19 Ma, 15.88 ± 0.20 Ma, and 14.39 ± 0.20 Ma. The mica Ar-Ar ages can reveal the exhumation and cooling history of the Demala Group complex. Combined with the previous research results of the Demala Group complex, the authors refer that the Demala Group complex should be a set of metamorphic complex. The complex includes not only Precambrian basement metamorphic rock series, but also Paleozoic sedimentary rock and Mesozoic granitic rock. Based on the deformation characteristics, the authors concluded that two stages of the metamorphism and deformation can be revealed in the Demala Group complex since the Mesozoic, namely Late Triassic-Early Jurassic (203–190 Ma) and Oligocene–Miocene (24–14 Ma). The early stage of metamorphism (ranging from 203–190 Ma) was related to the Late Triassic tectono-magmatism in the area. The anatexis and uplifting-exhumation of the later stage (24–14 Ma) were related to the shearing of the Jiali strike-slip fault zone. The Miocene structures are response to the large-scale southeastward escape of crustal materials and block rotation in Southeast Tibet after India-Eurasia collision.
The garnet amphibolites from the newly identified Wanhe ophiolitic mélange in the Changning-Menglian suture zone (CMSZ) provide a probe to elucidate the evolution of the Triassic Palaeo-Tethys. An integrated petrologic, phase equilibria modeling and geochronological study of the garnet amphibolites, southeast Tibetan Plateau, shows that the garnet amphibolites have a peak mineral assemblage of garnet, glaucophane, lawsonite, chlorite, rutile, phengite and quartz, and a clockwise P-T path with a prograde segment from blueschist-facies to eclogite-facies with a peak-metamorphic P-T conditions of 2000–2100 MPa and 495–515°C, indicating a cold geothermal gradient of about 240–260°C/GPa. Theretrograde metamorphic P-T path is characterized by nearly isothermal decompression to lower amphibolite-facies and subsequent cooling to greenschist-facies. The metamorphic zircons have fractionated HREE patterns and significant negative Eu anomalies, and therefore the obtained zircon U-Pb age of 231 ± 1.5 Ma is interpreted to be the timing of the amphibolite facies metamorphism occurrence. The present study probably indicates that the garnet amphibolites in the Wanhe ophiolitic mélange was the retrograded high-pressure eclogite-facies blueschist, instead of the previously proposed eclogites, and the garnet amphibolites recorded the subduction and exhumation process of the Palaeo-Tethys Oceanic crust in the Triassic.
High/ultrahigh-pressure (HP/UHP) metamorphic complexes, such as eclogite and blueschist, are generally regarded as significant signature of paleo-subduction zones and paleo-suture zones. Glaucophane eclogites have been recently identified within the Lancang Group characterized by accretionary mélange in the Changning-Menglian suture zone, at Bangbing in the Shuangjiang area of southeastern Tibetan Plateau. The authors report the result of petrological, mineralogical and metamorphism investigations of these rocks, and discuss their tectonic implications. The eclogites are located within the Suyi blueschist belt and occur as tectonic lenses in coarse-grained garnet muscovite schists. The major mineral assemblage of the eclogites includes garnet, omphacite, glaucophane, phengite, clinozoisite and rutile. Eclogitic garnet contains numerous inclusions, such as omphacite, glaucophane, rutile, and quartz with radial cracks around. Glaucophane and clinozoisite in the matrix have apparent optical and compositional zonation. Four stages of metamorphic evolution can be determined: The prograde blueschist facies (M1), the peak eclogite facies (M2), the decompression blueschist facies (M3) and retrograde greenschist facies (M4). Using the Grt-Omp-Phn geothermobarometer, a peak eclogite facies metamorphic P-T condition of 3000–3270 MPa and 617–658°C was determined, which is typical of low-temperature ultrahigh-pressure metamorphism. The comparison of the geological characteristics of the Bangbing glaucophane eclogites and the Mengku lawsonite-bearing retrograde eclogites indicates that two suites of eclogites may have formed from significantly different depths or localities to create the tectonic mélange in a subduction channel during subduction of the Triassic Changning-Menglian Ocean. The discovery of the Bangbing glaucophane eclogites may represent a new oceanic HP/UHP metamorphic belt in the Changning-Menglian suture zone.
The Beishan rift zone in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region was formed due to strong activities of faults on the basement of the Tarim continental crust. Despite the fact that many geological research results of the rift zone have been achieved, only a few studies have been conducted on its regional geophysical characteristics. In this paper, the gravity and magnetic anomalies of the rift zone were highlighted through specific data processing of 1∶50000 high-precision aeromagnetic data and gravity data with a grid spacing of 2 km × 2 km. Based on this, the geophysical evidence for the scope and internal structures of the Beishan rift zone was obtained for the first time. The distinct characteristics of magnetic and gravity fields in the areas to the north and south of the Beishan rift zone reveal that deep faults exist between the Beishan rift zone and the geological units on the southern and northern sides. Furthermore, the faults on the two areas contain the bidirectional thrusts and have flower-shaped structures according to the characteristics of the magnetic and gravity fields. The Beishan rift zone can be divided into two tectonomagmatic zones, namely the Zhongposhan-Bijiashan-Cihai-Baishanliang zone (the northern zone) and the Bayiquan-Qixin-Baishan zone (the southern zone). The northern zone can be further subdivided into three comet-shaped anomaly groups (tectonomagmatic areas), while the southern zone can be further subdivided into two tectonomagmatic areas. According to the characteristics of aeromagnetic anomalies and gravity field, 19 mafic-ultramafic complexes were delineated. The known Pobei, Hongshishan, and Qixin complexes are all located within the inferred complexes,with estimates of total explored resources of Ni, Cu, and Au of 3×106 t, 10×103 t and 10 t, respectively. The prospecting of high-grade copper-nickel deposits should focus on the periphery and deep parts of the known and inferred mafic-ultramafic complexes. Among them, the peripheral strata of the complexes specifically have great prospecting potential of large-scale high-grade copper-nickel deposits of magma injection type. Finally, this paper analyzed the application effects of the rapid airborne-ground-drilling synergetic exploration method in the prospecting of copper-nickel deposits in Qixin, Beishan, Xinjiang, which will provide references for further exploration of copper-nickel deposits in Beishan area, Xinjiang.
The Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (also referred to as the Plateau) has long received much attention from the community of geoscience due to its unique geographical location and rich mineral resources. This paper reviews the aeromagnetic surveys in the Plateau in the past 60 years and summarizes relevant research achievements, which mainly include the followings. (1) The boundaries between the Plateau and its surrounding regions have been clarified. In detail, its western boundary is restricted by West Kunlun-Altyn Tagh arc-shaped magnetic anomaly zone forming due to the arc-shaped connection of the Altyn Tagh and Kangxiwa faults and its eastern boundary consists of the boundaries among different magnetic fields along the Longnan (Wudu)-Kangding Fault. Meanwhile, the fault on the northern margin of the Northern Qilian Mountains serves as its northern boundary. (2) The Plateau is mainly composed of four orogens that were stitched together, namely East Kunlun-Qilian, Hoh-Xil-Songpan, Chamdo-Southwestern Sanjiang (Nujiang, Lancang, and Jinsha rivers in southeastern China), and Gangdese-Himalaya orogens. (3) The basement of the Plateau is dominated by weakly magnetic Proterozoic metamorphic rocks and lacks strongly magnetic Archean crystalline basement of stable continents such as the Tarim and Sichuan blocks. Therefore, it exhibits the characteristics of unstable orogenic basement. (4) The Yarlung-Zangbo suture zone forming due to continent-continent collisions since the Cenozoic shows double aeromagnetic anomaly zones. Therefore, it can be inferred that the Yarlung-Zangbo suture zone formed from the Indian Plate subducting towards and colliding with the Eurasian Plate twice. (5) A huge negative aeromagnetic anomaly in nearly SN trending has been discovered in the middle part of the Plateau, indicating a giant deep thermal-tectonic zone. (6) A dual-layer magnetic structure has been revealed in the Plateau. It consists of shallow magnetic anomaly zones in nearly EW and NW trending and deep magnetic anomaly zones in nearly SN trending. They overlap vertically and cross horizontally, showing the flyover-type geological structure of the Plateau. (7) A group of NW-trending faults occur in eastern Tibet, which is intersected rather than connected by the nearly EW trending that develop in middle-west Tibet. (8) As for the central uplift zone that occurs through the Qiangtang Basin, its metamorphic basement tends to gradually descend from west to east, showing the form of steps. The Qiangtang Basin is divided into the northern and southern part by the central uplift zone in it. The basement in the Qiangtang Basin is deep in the north and west and shallow in the south and west. The basement in the northern Qiangtang Basin is deep and relatively stable and thus is more favorable for the generation and preservation of oil and gas. Up to now, 19 favorable tectonic regions of oil and gas have been determined in the Qiangtang Basin. (9) A total of 21 prospecting areas of mineral resources have been delineated and thousands of ore-bearing (or mineralization) anomalies have been discovered. Additionally, the formation and uplift mechanism of the Plateau are briefly discussed in this paper.
To study the current status and causes of the microplastic pollution in surface water of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, this paper compared the average microplastic abundance in sediments and surface water of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and the results are as follows. First, the average microplastic abundance in surface water of the independent rivers and the whole area is 247−2686 items/m3 and 856 items/m3, respectively. The average microplastic abundance in sediments of independent rivers or lakes and the whole area is 0−933 items/m2 and 362 items/m2, respectively. Meanwhile, the degree of microplastic pollution in river sediments is higher than that in lake sediments, and the rivers suffering from microplastic pollution mainly include the Brahmaputra River, Tongtian River, and Nujiang River. Second, compared with the microplastic pollution in other areas of the world, the levelof microplastic pollution in the lakes and rivers of the Qinghai-Tibet plateau is not lower than that of well-developed areas with more intensive human activities. Finally, this study suggests that relevant government departments of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau should strengthen waste management strategies while developing tourism and that much attention should be paid to the impacts of microplastics in the water environment.