Tectonic evolution of high-grade metamorphic terranes in central Vietnam: Constraints from large-scale monazite geochronology

Nobuhiko Nakano, Yasuhito Osanai, Masaaki Owada, Tran Ngoc Nam, Punya Charusiri, Keo Khamphavong

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69 Citations (Scopus)


Several metamorphic complexes in Southeast Asia have been interpreted as Precambrian basement, characterized by amphibolite to granulite facies metamorphism. In this paper, we re-evaluate the timing of this thermal event based on the large-scale geochronology and compositional variation of monazites from amphibolite to granulite facies metamorphic terranes in central Vietnam. Most of the samples in this study are from metamorphic rocks (n=38) and granitoids (n=11) in the Kontum Massif. Gneisses (n=6) and granitoids (n=5) from the Hai Van Migmatite Complex and the Truong Son Belt, located to the north of the massif, were also studied. Two distinct thermal episodes (245-230Ma and 460-430Ma) affected Kontum Massif gneisses, while a single dominant event at 240-220Ma is recorded in the gneisses from the Hai Van Complex and the Truong Son Belt. Monazites from granitoids commonly yield an age of 240-220Ma. Mesoproterozoic ages (1530-1340Ma) were obtained only from monazite cores that are surrounded by c. 440Ma overgrowths. Thermobarometric results, combined with concentrations of Y2O3, Ce2O3, and heavy rare earth elements in monazite, and recently reported pressure-temperature paths suggest that Triassic ages correspond to retrograde metamorphism following decompression from high- to medium-pressure/temperature conditions. Ordovician-Silurian ages reflect low-pressure/temperature metamorphism accompanied by isobaric heating during prograde metamorphism. Some samples were affected by both metamorphic events. We conclude that high-grade metamorphism observed in so-called Precambrian basement terranes in central Vietnam occurred during both the Permian-Triassic and the Ordovician-Silurian, while peraluminous granitoid magmatism is Triassic. Additionally, our preliminary analyses for U-Pb zircon age and whole-rock chemistry of granitic gneisses from the Truong Song Belt suggests the presence of the Ordovician-Silurian volcanic arc magmatism in the region. Based on the pressure-temperature-time-protolith evolutions, metamorphic rocks from central Vietnam provide a continuous record of subduction-accretion-collision tectonics between the South China and Indochina blocks: in the Ordovician-Silurian, the region was characterized by active continental margin tectonics, followed by continental collision during the Late Permian to Early Triassic and subsequent exhumation during the Late Triassic. The results also suggest that the timing of metamorphism and protolith formation as well as the geochemical features in other Southeast Asian terranes should be verified to achieve a better understanding of the Precambrian to Early Mesozoic tectonic history in Asia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)520-539
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Asian Earth Sciences
Publication statusPublished - Sept 5 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geology
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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