Multiple sources of the Upper Triassic flysch in the eastern Himalaya Orogen, Tibet, China: Implications to palaeogeography and palaeotectonic evolution

Xianghui Li*, Frank Mattern, Chaokai Zhang, Qinggao Zeng, Guozheng Mao

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


The Upper Triassic flysch-Langjiexue Group (tentatively named the "Shannan Terrane") of the eastern Himalaya Orogen has been tectonically assigned either to the Tethys Himalaya or the Yarlung Zangbo Suture Zone (YZSZ). In this work, geochronology of detrital zircon U-Pb isotope shows that the Shannan Terrane is characterized by the population of ~260-200 Ma (peak ca. 240 Ma), strongly supporting the view of no affinity to the Tethys Himalaya. The detrital zircons dated as ~400-290 Ma display relatively positive εHf(t) values of -5.0 to +15.0 with TDMC ages of 2.6-1.3 Ga for the Shannan Terrane, whereas highly negative are of -20.0 to -5.0 for the Lhasa Terrane, indicating that the two terranes have different Devonian-Carboniferous sources. Numerous Cr-spinels found in the Shannan Terrane but not in the Lhasa Terrane, exhibit contents in Cr2O3 and Cr# of mainly 44-100% and 48-95%, in TiO2 of 0.01-1.0%, and in Al2O3 of 5-257%, respectively, denoting several parent lithologies. These differences suggested that the Shannan Terrane has multiple sources, not only from the Lhasa Terrane, but also from oceanic (island) arc/seamount and mid-ocean ridge areas as well as likely from Greater India and Australia. Considering the Early Cretaceous diabase dykes within the Upper Triassic flysch defined to the Comei-Bunbury Large Igneous Province, we propose that the Langjiexue Group could have been deposited on the ocean between India and Australia, and would have not stopped till the Lhasa Terrane was separated from Australia during the terminal Triassic. According to the Cenozoic deformation and metamorphic history and palaeogeography of the Langjiexue Group, we postulate that the Shannan Terrane could have been loaded onto the Greater India during the middle Early Cretaceous, and subsequently drifted northward to the collision zone of India and Asia, implying that it does not represent an accretionary prism within the YZSZ.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-22
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Jan 15 2016


  • Himalaya Orogen
  • Langjiexue Group
  • Palaeogeography
  • Palaeotectonics
  • Provenance
  • Upper Triassic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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