The 186 Ma dashibalbar alkaline granitoid pluton in the North-gobi rift of central Mongolia: Evidence for melting of neoproterozoic basement above a plume

J. Dostal*, J. V. Owen, O. Gerel, J. D. Keppie, R. Corney, J. G. Shellnutt, A. Macrae

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The Jurassic Dashibalbar granitoid pluton (∼300 km2) crops out in the Triassic North-Gobi rift of central Mongolia, just south of the 230 to 195 Ma Khentei batholith. The granitoids are shallow-seated dominantly, amphibole-bearing alkali feldspar granite that contain quartz-syenite/syenite enclaves. They are all composed of megacrystic mesoperthite, quartz, Ca-Na amphibole altered to biotite and rarely with pyroxene cores, magnetite and ilmenite. The pluton yielded a concordant U-Pb zircon age of 186 ± 1 Ma, which is similar to a published 189 ± 3 Ma 40Ar/39Ar amphibole age, and indicates rapid cooling through ca. 550 °C. This age is ca. 10 my younger than the 196 ± 4 Ma age of the bimodal volcanic complex intruded by the pluton. The volcanic complex is composed of augite-phyric transitional basalt and rhyolite/ comendite. Both basalts and rhyolites/comendites are evolved within-plate varieties with positive εNd(t) (∼ +2.5) values. The granitoids are evolved alkaline, A-type granites and quartz-syenites/syenites that are enriched in light REE's, but show a distinct depletion in Eu, Sr and Ba, indicative of feldspar fractionation. The data are consistent with derivation of the granites from the syenites by an assimilationfractional crystallization process involving a silicic crustal contaminant. The granitic rocks have εNd(t) values of ∼ +0.8 to +1.2, which are slightly lower than εNd(t) values +1.3 to +1.6 in the syenites, although both have similar TDM model ages (∼800-970 Ma). The∼800 Ma model ages of the basalt and rhyolite/comendite are comparable to those of the intrusion and enclaves. The compositions of all these rocks, including εNd(t) and TDM, are within the range of A-type granites and volcanic complexes of the Early Mesozoic Mongolian-Transbaikalian igneous province. The results suggest derivation of a parent magma of the granitoids and felsic volcanic rocks from underplated, enriched, Neoproterozoic mantle-derived basaltic rocks in the lower crust, whereas the Dashibalbar basalts were derived from Neoproterozoic subcontinental lithospheric mantle; Neoproterozoic megablocks crop out in adjacent parts of the Central Asian Orogenic Belt. Melting of lower crust and subcontinental lithospheric mantle implies a rising heat source. Although such a heat source is consistent with both rifting and passage over the Mongolian mantle plume, only the latter explains the west-to-east migration of the magmatism and rifting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)613-648
Number of pages36
JournalAmerican Journal of Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Feb


  • A-type granite
  • Central Asian Orogenic belt
  • Geochemistry
  • Jurassic
  • Mantle plume
  • Rifting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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