Paleo - Position of the South China Craton in the Rodinia Supercontinent: Evidence from the U - Pb age and Hf isotope of detrital zircon from the Nam Co Complex

To constrain the paleo - positions of the South China Cratons in the Rodinia

Supercontinent during the Neoproterozoic, the in - situ U - Pb dating, and

Hf isotope analysis of the detrital zircon from the Nam Co Complex, Song

Ma Suture zone, northwestern Vietnam was performed. The U - Pb isotopic

dating on detrital zircons shows that the Nam Co Complex demonstrates

the major population (>50%) of around ~850 Ma while the minor

population is scattered between ~1.2÷3.0 Ga. The Neoproterozoic age

spectrum exhibits a large range of the εHf(t) from strongly negative to

positive values ( - 17.418022÷ 14.600527), indicating that the source of the

magma for this age range has been not only derived from reworking of the

Archean basement rocks, but also generated from the juvenile material. The

U - Pb age distribution patterns and Hf isotopic data of the detrital zircon

in the Nam Co Complex are compatible with those of the South China Craton

rather than those of the Indochina Craton. The data also indicate that

sedimentary protoliths of the Nam Co Complex were deposited in a

convergent - related basin along the southwestern margin of the South

China Craton during the Neoproterozoic. Combined with the similarities of

the detrital zircon age between western Cathaysia, Indochina, East

Antarctica and East India, it is proved that the South China Craton was

situated at the margin of the Rodinia Supercontinent and in close proximity

to the Indochina, East Antarctica and East India

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Paleo - Position of the South China Craton in the Rodinia Supercontinent: Evidence from the U - Pb age and Hf isotope of detrital zircon from the Nam Co Complex
 Journal of Mining and Earth Sciences Vol. 62, Issue 3 (2021) 1 - 12 1 
Paleo - position of the South China Craton in the 
Rodinia Supercontinent: Evidence from the U - Pb age 
and Hf isotope of detrital zircon from the Nam Co 
Complex 
Hau Vinh Bui 1,2*, Yoonsup Kim 3 
1 Faculty of Geosciences and Geoengineering, Hanoi University of Mining and Geology, Vietnam 
2 Central for Excellence in Analyses and Experiment, Hanoi University of Minhning and Geology, Vietnam 
3 Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Chungbuk National University, Korea 
ARTICLE INFO 
ABSTRACT 
Article history: 
Received 21st Feb. 2021 
Accepted 23rd May 2021 
Available online 30th June 2021 
 To constrain the paleo - positions of the South China Cratons in the Rodinia 
Supercontinent during the Neoproterozoic, the in - situ U - Pb dating, and 
Hf isotope analysis of the detrital zircon from the Nam Co Complex, Song 
Ma Suture zone, northwestern Vietnam was performed. The U - Pb isotopic 
dating on detrital zircons shows that the Nam Co Complex demonstrates 
the major population (>50%) of around ~850 Ma while the minor 
population is scattered between ~1.2÷3.0 Ga. The Neoproterozoic age 
spectrum exhibits a large range of the εHf(t) from strongly negative to 
positive values ( - 17.418022÷ 14.600527), indicating that the source of the 
magma for this age range has been not only derived from reworking of the 
Archean basement rocks, but also generated from the juvenile material. The 
U - Pb age distribution patterns and Hf isotopic data of the detrital zircon 
in the Nam Co Complex are compatible with those of the South China Craton 
rather than those of the Indochina Craton. The data also indicate that 
sedimentary protoliths of the Nam Co Complex were deposited in a 
convergent - related basin along the southwestern margin of the South 
China Craton during the Neoproterozoic. Combined with the similarities of 
the detrital zircon age between western Cathaysia, Indochina, East 
Antarctica and East India, it is proved that the South China Craton was 
situated at the margin of the Rodinia Supercontinent and in close proximity 
to the Indochina, East Antarctica and East India. 
Copyright © 2021 Hanoi University of Mining and Geology. All rights reserved. 
Keywords: 
Hf isotope, 
Nam Co Complex, 
Rodinia, 
South China, 
U - Pb age. 
1. Introduction 
The South China Plate is composed of the 
Yangtze Craton to the northwest and the Cathaysia 
Block to the southeast (Figure 1). The Yangtze 
_____________________ 
*Corresponding author 
E - mail: buivinhhau@humg.edu.vn 
DOI: 10.46326/JMES.2021.62(3).01 
2 Hau Vinh Bui, Yoonsup Kim/Journal of Mining and Earth Sciences 62(3), 1 - 12 
block consists of the oldest core of the granitic 
gneiss (ca. 2.90÷2.95 Ga) in its northern part 
(Zhang et al., 2006; Zhao et al., 2012), and the 
Archaeanbasement is widespread beneath the 
Proterozoic upper - crustal rocks (Zheng et al., 
2006; Zhang et al., 2006; Zhao et al., 2012). The 
Neoproterozoic magmatism was extensive in the 
Yangtze Craton (Zhao and Zhou, 2007; Sun et al., 
2008; Dong et al., 2011, 2012; Qi et al., 2012; Cai et 
al., 2014; Figure 1). On the other hand, the 
Cathaysia block is composed of metamorphic 
rocks, most of which are the Neoproterozoic to the 
early Paleozoic in age, and mainly found in the 
northeastern part (southern Zhejiang - northern 
and western Fujian - eastern Jiangxi, i.e. Wuyishan 
area) and the southwestern part (Figure 1). The 
oldest rocks in the Cathaysia block are about 
1.9÷1.8 Ga and are limited to southern Zhejiang 
and northwestern Fujian areas (Li and Li, 2007; Liu 
et al., 2009; Yu et al., 2009; Xia et al., 2012). 
Therefore, the two blocks may have been 
constructed of different Precambrian crustal 
components and might be juxtaposed only after 
∼1.0 Ga (Li, 1999; Zhang et al., 2015). 
The Yangtze and Cathaysia blocks were 
considered to amalgamate along with the Jiangnan 
collision orogenic belt (Figure 1) during the 
Neoproterozoic (Li, 1999; Li et al., 2007; Yu et al., 
2008; Zhao et al., 2011; Wang et al., 2012; 2013; 
Cawood et al., 2013). On a global scale, this tectonic 
event was linked to the assembly of the Rodinia 
Supercontinent. In particular, the position of the 
South China Craton in the Rodinia reconstruction is 
controversial (Li, 1999, 2006; Zheng, 2004; Li et al., 
2007b; Yu et al., 2008; Wang et al., 2012; Cawood 
et al., 2013). Based on the stratigraphic correlation 
and tectonic analyses, Li et al. (1999) proposed that 
the South China Craton is considered to be a link 
between Laurentia and Australia - East Antarctica. 
In contrast, other researchers believe that the 
South China Craton was on the periphery of the 
Rodinia, close to Western Australia and India 
(Zheng, 2004; Yu et al., 2008; Wang et al., 2012a; 
Cawood et al., 2013). Therefore, the 
Neoproterozoic tectonic evolution of the Yangtze 
block plays an important role in the reconstruction 
of the Rodinia Supercontinent. 
The Nam Co Complex located in northwestern 
Vietnam (see the detailed regional geological 
background in Hau et al., 2018) is interpreted to 
record Neoproterozoic northward subduction of a 
Proto - Tethys branch under the southwestern 
South China Craton. Detrital zircon U - Pb ages from 
metasandstones are unimodal and yield a major 
Figure 1. Map of outcropping Precambrian igneous and volcanic rocks in the South China Craton 
showing the abundance of Neoproterozoic subduction - related magmatic rocks along the western 
Yangtze block (modified after Yu et al., 2008). 
 Hau Vinh Bui, Yoonsup Kim/Journal of Mining and Earth Sciences 62(3), 1 - 12 3 
peak centered around ~850 Ma, with 
characteristics of a magmatic arc setting (Hau et al., 
2018). The detrital zircon U - Pb age distribution is 
comparable to that of the southern Yangtze Block, 
but differs from Indo ... genic belts 
have been documented in East Antarctica and East 
India (Hoffman, 1991; Yu et al., 2008) and these 
Cratons were considered to be close to the 
Cathaysia block in Rodinia Supercontinent 
(Hoffman, 1991; Yu et al., 2008; Wang et al., 2013). 
Therefore, it is reasonable to place Indochina 
Craton near the Cathaysia, East Antarctica, and East 
India in the Rodinia Supercontinent (Figure 7). 
5. Conclusions 
The U - Pb age and Hf data of detrital zircon 
from Nam Co Complex indicate that South China 
Figure 6. Density probability diagrams of detrital zircon with age histograms representative for (a) the 
Laurentia, (b) the East India, (c) the East Antarctica, (d) the West Australia, and (e) the Nam Co Complex. 
Age data were compiled from Laskowski et al. (2013) for the Laurentia; from Bose et al. (2011) and Saha 
et al. (2016) for the East India; from Boger et al. (2000), Kelley et al. (2002) and Carson et al. (2002) for 
the East Antarctica; from Sircombe and Freeman (1999), Cawood and Nemchin (2000) and Veevers et al. 
(2005) for the West Australia; from Hau et al. (2018) and this study for the Nam Co Complex. 
 Hau Vinh Bui, Yoonsup Kim/Journal of Mining and Earth Sciences 62(3), 1 - 12 9 
Craton was situated at the margin of Rodinia 
Supercontinent and in close proximity to 
Indochina, East Antarctica, and East India. 
Acknowledgements 
This research is funded by Vietnam National 
Foundation for Science and Technology 
Development (NAFOSTED) under grant number 
105.99 - 2020.12 and partly supported by the 
Hanoi University of Mining and Geology under 
grant number T19 - 40. 
Author contributions 
The author Hau Vinh Bui proposes ideas and 
contributes to the manuscript. The author Yoonsup 
Kim constructs the manuscript and contributes to 
the material analyses. The authors both declare no 
conflict of interest. 
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