Thermochronology of the PoSen complex, northern Vietnam: Implications for tectonic evolution in SE Asia

Pei Ling Wang*, Ching Hua Lo, Ching Ying Lan, Sun Lin Chung, Tung Yi Lee, Tran Ngoc Nam, Yuji Sano

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


The PoSen complex, located closely adjacent to the southwestern margin of the Red River shear zone represents the uplifted basement of north Vietnam and may record the motion of the shear zone. However, its thermochronological history has not been fully examined yet. Here we applied U-Pb and 40Ar/39Ar dating methods to reveal its thermochronological history. U-Pb analysis of composite zircon grains by TIMS yielded an average age of 760±25Ma, clustering on the concordia line. Twelve SHRIMP U-Pb analyses also yielded a consistent result of 751±7Ma. Along with the geochemical features, the U-Pb dating results suggest the PoSen complex was a late Proterozoic magmatic complex, which could correspond to the Chengjiang orogeny, a widespread thermal event in southwest China. Results of 40Ar/39Ar dating of micas and K-feldspars were in the range of 36-30Ma, revealing a rapid cooling and exhumation history of the PoSen complex during the late Paleogene. The time span of cooling and exhumation of the PoSen complex is slightly older than the main cooling phases of the Ailao Shan-Red River (ASRR) metamorphic massifs (28-17Ma), but is synchronous with the early igneous activity stage in the eastern Indo-Asian collision zone of southeast China and north Vietnam. Owing to the ongoing debate about the initiation and offset of the ASRR shear zone, the tectonic force for the late Paleogene cooling of the PoSen complex is still inconclusive. The rapid exhumation of the PoSen complex could be in response to either the detachment of the Neo-Tethyan slab or a transpressional phase of continental subduction along the ASRR shear system in the eastern Indo-Asian collision zone.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1044-1055
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Asian Earth Sciences
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Mar 30


  • Ar/Ar dating
  • Northern Vietnam
  • PoSen complex
  • Thermochronology
  • U-Pb dating

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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