Report

The Archean Dongwanzi Ophiolite Complex, North China Craton: 2.505-Billion-Year-Old Oceanic Crust and Mantle

Science  11 May 2001:
Vol. 292, Issue 5519, pp. 1142-1145
DOI: 10.1126/science.1059426

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Abstract

We report a thick, laterally extensive 2505 ± 2.2–million-year-old (uranium-lead ratio in zircon) Archean ophiolite complex in the North China craton. Basal harzburgite tectonite is overlain by cumulate ultramafic rocks, a mafic-ultramafic transition zone of interlayered gabbro and ultramafic cumulates, compositionally layered olivine-gabbro and pyroxenite, and isotropic gabbro. A sheeted dike complex is rooted in the gabbro and overlain by a mixed dike–pillow lava section, chert, and banded iron formation. The documentation of a complete Archean ophiolite implies that mechanisms of oceanic crustal accretion similar to those of today were in operation by 2.5 billion years ago at divergent plate margins and that the temperature of the early mantle was not extremely elevated, as compared to the present-day temperature. Plate tectonic processes similar to those of the present must also have emplaced the ophiolite in a convergent margin setting.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: kusky{at}eas.slu.edu

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