Evidence for late Proterozoic subduction from 700-Myr-old blueschists in China

T. Nakajima, S. Maruyama, S. Uchiumi, J. G. Liou, X. Wang, X. Xiao, S. A. Graham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

93 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

IN a comprehensive review of the world's blueschists, Ernst1 noted an apparent absence of these high-pressure, low-temperature rocks in the Precambrian, and ascribed it to a cooling of the Earth in the Phanerozoic eon. As blueschists are thought to be formed in subduction zones, the absence of Precambrian blueschists has been adduced as evidence that plate tectonics did not operate on the early Earth2. Although this conclusion is not inevitable, in that ancient mobile belts are more likely to have been obliterated than younger ones3, the presence of paired metamorphic belts of kyanite-sillimanite and andalusite-sillimanite grade in Proterozoic Gondwanaland supports the existence of a subducted slab, but with ancient geothermal gradients too high to form blueschists along the convergent plate boundary4,5. On the other hand, data from inclusions in African diamonds support the opposing view, that Archaean continental geotherms were similar to those of today6. Here we present Rb-Sr and K-Ar ages of 698-718 Myr for phengitic mica from high-pressure pelitic schists from the Aksu region of China, which are interleaved with blueschists. We interpret these dates as representing the time of the blueschist-facies metatmorphism, suggesting that subduction was occurring in the late Proterozoic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-265
Number of pages3
JournalNature
Volume346
Issue number6281
Publication statusPublished - Jul 19 1990
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

blueschist
Proterozoic
subduction
sillimanite
Precambrian
blueschist facies
andalusite
mobile belt
kyanite
geothermal gradient
Phanerozoic
plate tectonics
mica
diamond
schist
subduction zone
Archean
slab
cooling
rock

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

Cite this

Nakajima, T., Maruyama, S., Uchiumi, S., Liou, J. G., Wang, X., Xiao, X., & Graham, S. A. (1990). Evidence for late Proterozoic subduction from 700-Myr-old blueschists in China. Nature, 346(6281), 263-265.

Evidence for late Proterozoic subduction from 700-Myr-old blueschists in China. / Nakajima, T.; Maruyama, S.; Uchiumi, S.; Liou, J. G.; Wang, X.; Xiao, X.; Graham, S. A.

In: Nature, Vol. 346, No. 6281, 19.07.1990, p. 263-265.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Nakajima, T, Maruyama, S, Uchiumi, S, Liou, JG, Wang, X, Xiao, X & Graham, SA 1990, 'Evidence for late Proterozoic subduction from 700-Myr-old blueschists in China', Nature, vol. 346, no. 6281, pp. 263-265.
Nakajima T, Maruyama S, Uchiumi S, Liou JG, Wang X, Xiao X et al. Evidence for late Proterozoic subduction from 700-Myr-old blueschists in China. Nature. 1990 Jul 19;346(6281):263-265.
Nakajima, T. ; Maruyama, S. ; Uchiumi, S. ; Liou, J. G. ; Wang, X. ; Xiao, X. ; Graham, S. A. / Evidence for late Proterozoic subduction from 700-Myr-old blueschists in China. In: Nature. 1990 ; Vol. 346, No. 6281. pp. 263-265.
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