2022 Vol. 28, No. 5

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2022, 28(5)
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Development history of geological and mineral survey in China
LI Tingdong
2022, 28(5): 653-682. doi: 10.12090/j.issn.1006-6616.20222818
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China is an ancient civilization country with a history of 5000 years and the habitat of ancient human beings. There are abundant descriptions of geological phenomena and geological processes in the vast number of ancient books and folklore. Due to the scientific and technological progress and the breakthrough of production mode brought about by the transformation of social productive forces and production relations, the development of the geological cause is characterized by stages. Including the exploration of geological phenomena by human beings in ancient times, this paper divides the development history of China's geological cause into six stages: geological relics in the Stone Age; geological cognition in the Ancient Age; geological investigation in the Enlightenment Age; geological survey and research in the Foundation Age; geological work in the period of rapid development, and geological cause in the new era of reform and opening up. Each stage is further discussed in terms of the important geological events, the content and characteristics of geological work, the main research achievements and the contributions to the national economic and social development.
Tectonic evolution of the South China Ocean-Continent Connection Zone: Transition and mechanism of the Tethyan to the Pacific tectonic domains
LI Sanzhong, SUO Yanhui, ZHOU Jie, WANG Guangzeng, LI Xiyao, JIANG Zhaoxia, LIU Jinping, LIU Lijun, LIU Yongjiang, ZHAN Huawang, JIANG Suhua, CHENG Haohao, WANG Pengcheng, ZHU Junjiang, DAI Liming, DONG Hao, LIU Lin, GUO Xiaoyu
2022, 28(5): 683-704. doi: 10.12090/j.issn.1006-6616.20222809
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The northern South China Sea continental margin is the key or critical segment of the Ocean-Continent Connection Zone (OCCZ) of the Great South China Block, the junction between the Tethyan and the (Paleo-) Pacific dynamic systems, and the interaction area between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. However, due to the low-degree geophysical exploration in the past, the regional tectonic background, processes and mechanism of the transition between the Tethyan and the Pacific tectonic domains are unclear. Based on the latest large number of seismic profiles, we focus on the Cenozoic basin structure in the continental margin of the northern South China Sea and try to reveal the Mesozoic basement structures of the northern South China Sea continental margin, with the aim of exploring the pre-Cenozoic tectonic evolution and the Cenozoic opening, spreading, ridge fossil and closure of the South China Sea oceanic basin, so as to serve the accurate oil and gas exploration in this area at the same time. The seismic interpretation of the Pearl River Mouth Basin and the field structural investigation of the South China continental margin show that the OCCZ of the South China Block has experienced three processes: Mesozoic Indosinian collisional orogeny, Early Yanshanian accretionary orogeny and Late Yanshanian transpressive orogeny. During the Cenozoic era, it experienced the dispersive extension into basins under the control of NW-SE-directed normal extension in the early stage, the dextral pull-apart into basins under the control of NE-NNE-trending strike-slip faults in the middle stage, and the sinistral pull-apart into basins under the control of NW-WNW strike-slip faults in the late stage. In general, the transition process from the Tethyan to the Pacific tectonic systems can be subdivided into four stages: the transition from the Paleo-Tethyan to the Neo-Tethyan tectonic systems, the transition from the Neo-Tethyan to the Paleo-Pacific tectonic systems, the transition from the Neo-Tethyan to the Pacific tectonic systems, and the transition from the Paleo-Pacific to the Pacific tectonic systems. The tectonic transition of the East Asian OCCZ reflects the long-term mechanism of the Earth plate dynamic system driving the plate superconvergence in East Asia, in particular of the importance of the deep or submarine “Triple Poles”, the Southeast Asian U-shape subduction system, the Pacific LLSVP and the African LLSVP. More importantly, the Southeast Asian U-shape subduction system is also one of the important dynamic engines of the Earth plate motion.
Determination of the double-layer structure in orogenic belts and its geological significance
WANG Genhou, LI Dian, LIANG Xiao, TANG Yu
2022, 28(5): 705-727. doi: 10.12090/j.issn.1006-6616.20222814
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At present, the study of accretionary orogenic belts and collisional orogenic belts has achieved numerous insights and improvements. However, continental subduction, which often occurs during the oceanic and continental transition, has not received enough attention for a long time, such as what kind of structural deformation characteristics it has and how it affects the evolution of the orogenic belt. This paper studied two Cenozoic orogenic belts (the Taiwan orogenic belt and the Yarlung Zangbo River orogenic belt) and one Mesozoic orogenic belt (the Qiangtang orogenic belt) in order to clarify the unique structural deformation characteristics of continental subduction and its interaction with orogenic processes. It is found that the subduction of continental crust often forms a double-layer structure in the orogenic belt. The upper part is a set of thrust imbricate composed of Smith strata, and the lower part is a set of subduction complexes with a “blocks in the matrix” structure. The upper and lower parts of the double-layer structure are similar, mainly slope facies–submarine fan facies rocks and little shelf facies rocks. Due to the similar deformation time, the double-layer structure should be a structural system formed in different depths by the subduction of the same passive continental margin. We suppose that the subduction of the slope–submarine fan is the main factor for the formation of the double-layer structure. The subsequent continental shelf subduction could induce the collision and thus lead to strain’s gradual propagation to the craton’s interior, resulting in the foreland fold-thrust. Also, the double-layer structure is often destroyed during the collision, so the deeply underplated continental subduction complex can be exhumed to the shallow level. Therefore, this study also emphasizes the importance of continental subduction and the exhumation of subducted crustal rocks in the evolution of orogenic belts.
The source-sink system and its control on large-area lithologic reservoirs of the lower Minghuazhen Formation in the southern Bohai Sea
XU Changgui, DU Xiaofeng, PANG Xiaojun, WANG Qiming, PAN Wenjing
2022, 28(5): 728-742. doi: 10.12090/j.issn.1006-6616.20222813
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In recent years, a large number of large-area sand bodies have been drilled in the Neogene in the southern Bohai Sea, and several 100-million-ton oilfields have been discovered, indicating that the lower member of the Minghuazhen Formation has enormous exploration potential. The source-sink elements of the development of such sand bodies are unclear, which seriously restricts the exploration of lithologic reservoirs in the lower member of the Minghuazhen Formation. Using paleontology, heavy minerals, seismic, drilling and other data, this paper explores the source-sink system and its control on large-area lithologic reservoirs in the lower member of the Minghuazhen Formation of the southern Bohai Sea. The results show that: The Yanshan-Liaoxi uplift, the Liaodong uplift, the Luxi uplift and the Jiaodong uplift mainly develop source-sink systems in four directions in the study area’s lower member of the Minghuazhen Formation. Next, the Luxi uplift and the Jiaodong uplift are relatively close. The Luxi uplift and the Liaodong uplift significantly impact the source-sink system in the study area’s lower part of the Minghuazhen Formation. In contrast, the Yanshan-Liaoxi uplift has a weaker impact on the source-sink system. Three sedimentary systems, including rivers, river-lake interactions and lakes, are mainly developed in the study area’s lower member of the Minghuazhen Formation. Among them, the sand bodies formed by river-lake interactions and lake shallow water deltas are larger. The study area’s lower member of the Minghuazhen Formation has favorable source-sink conditions for creating large-scale sand bodies. Among them, temperate-subtropical climate, sufficient rainfall, developed paleo-water system, felsic metamorphic rocks and magmatic parent rocks, and frequent expansion and shrinkage of lakes are beneficial to the development of large-area sand bodies. The connection of channel sand–sheet sand–channel sand leads to the development of large-scale lithologic traps in the study area’s lower member of the Minghuazhen Formation. Compared with channel sand alone, river-lake interactions and shallow water deltas have the potential to form large-area lithologic reservoirs. This understanding can help explore large Neogene oil and gas reservoirs in the Bohai Sea.
New progress and trend in ten aspects of lithium exploration practice and theoretical research in China in the past decade
WANG Denghong, DAI Hongzhang, LIU Shanbao, LI Jiankang, WANG Chenghui, LOU Debo, YANG Yueqing, LI Peng
2022, 28(5): 743-764. doi: 10.12090/j.issn.1006-6616.20222811
Abstract (1597) HTML (369) PDF (2853KB)(413)
China is rich in lithium resource, among which lithium ore in the Salt Lake has huge reserves, but the development and utilization technology has yet to be developed, and the main target of development is hard-rock lithium ore at present. Hard-rock lithium ore is mainly pegmatitic and concentrated in Xinjiang and Sichuan. The Mesozoic is the most important metallogenic period for pegmatite-type lithium deposits in China. A relatively stable tectonic environment after an orogeny is favored by the formation of pegmatite-type lithium deposits. After a decade of exploration practice and theoretical research, the types of lithium resource in China have shown a great variety. The brine-type lithium resource has expanded from surface brine to both shallow brine and deep brine, and the hard-rock lithium resources from single granitic pegmatite-type to altered granite-type, cryptoexplosion breccia tube-type and sedimentary-type. The metallogenic age has extended from the Meso-Cenozoic to the Paleozoic and other epochs. The metallogenic zones has increased from 12 to 16, and a number of new mineralized areas have been discovered in the Jiajika and Ke’eryin areas in western Sichuan and the Dahongliutan and Shaligou areas in Xinjiang . A new resource pattern of lithium is being formed. Moreover, Prospecting methods and exploration techniques have also developed from single surface prospecting and mapping to an integration of new techniques and methods, e.g., remote sensing to determine the prospective area, geological surveying to determine the type, geochemical prospecting to determine the mineral, geophysical prospecting to determine the location of drilling, drilling to determine the reserves, as well as biological prospecting, deep penetration of the deep exploration. In view of the rigid demand for lithium resources due to the rapid development of strategic emerging industries, it is suggested to strengthen a) the investigation, research, development and utilization of new types of lithium resources with lepidolite as the main industrial mineral and sedimentary-type lithium resources with Li-bearing clay as the main lithium resources; b) the research and prospecting of the Paleozoic and even Precambrian lithium deposits; c) the exploration of new lithium mineralization belts such as Altyn Tagh, Himalaya, Gangdise and western slope of Great Hinggan Mountains; d) the research on new mechanisms of dynamic management of lithium resources under market economy; e) the advanced research and resource reserve on lithium isotope as the raw material of controllable nuclear fusion, for leading the development of high-end mining industry.
A method for locating ore bodies by geochemical indexes of pegmatite-type lithium deposits in the Ke'eryin area, western Sichuan, China
TANG Wenchun, DUAN Wei, ZOU Lin, YANG Guibing, ZHANG Wei, XIONG Guan
2022, 28(5): 765-792. doi: 10.12090/j.issn.1006-6616.20222812
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The Ke'eryin area in Sichuan province is one of the large rare metal ore concentration areas in the Songpan–Garze metallogenic belt. Numerous granite pegmatite dikes spread around the Ke'eryin mass. However, locating rare metal dikes in such a large pegmatite field has always been one of the challenges in this region. This paper summarized the geochemical element distribution in the Ke'eryin pegmatite and put forward geochemical indexes, e.g., characteristic element indexes, indicator indexes and grade indexes, to locate rare metal ore in the Ke'eryin area based on a systematic petrogeochemical analysis of two-mica granite, pegmatite microcline albite granite, different pegmatite types and typical deposits. Characteristic element indexes include Li, B, Sn, Rb, Be, Nb and Ta, etc. Indicator indexes for lateral variation are Cs, Tl, F, Zr, Y and ΣREE elements as well as values, e.g., TiO2/Ta, Zr/Hf, Ta/Zr, Nb/Ta, K/Na, etc., while indicator indexes for vertical variation include B, U, Zr, Be, Sn, Rb, Sr, Ba, Tl and In, etc. The variation in these indexes can be used to locate rare-metal-mineralized pegmatite, indicating ore bodies in a deep basin. Grade indexes are aluminum saturation index(A/CNK, A/NK)and rittmann index(σ), etc. Li ore grade is positively correlated with aluminum saturation but is negatively correlated with alkalinity. Grade index variation is a good indicator of lithium enrichment in ore bodies.
Study of ore-forming theoretical innovation and prospecting breakthrough of magmatic copper–nickel–cobalt sulfide deposits in China
LI Wenyuan
2022, 28(5): 793-820. doi: 10.12090/j.issn.1006-6616.20222810
Abstract (1180) HTML (373) PDF (3222KB)(238)
Chinese magmatic copper–nickel–cobalt sulfide deposit is the main source of strategic key metal resources, such as nickel, cobalt and platinum group elements in China, and it is an important deposit type with a future value that needs special attention. This type of deposit comes from the mafic and ultramafic magma formed by the upper mantle, especially the asthenosphere, and the immiscible (liquation) action between sulfide liquid–silicate melt is the main mineralization mechanism. They are mainly formed in two geological settings: the continental rift and the extended environment in the orogenic zone. China is a major producer of magmatic copper–nickel–cobalt sulfide deposits, but compared with the world it is relatively unique. Most magmatic copper–nickel–cobalt sulfide deposits in the world are formed in the ancient craton, and are the result of the mantle plume geodynamics. Archeozoic–early Proterozoic komatiite nickel–cobalt sulfide deposits is a distinct metallogenic characteristics. Ancient komatiite-related nickel–cobalt sulfide deposits have been rarely discovered in China, and their mineralization age is relatively late, mainly in the Neoproterozoic, Early and Late Paleozoic. The Neoproterozoic is represented by the Jinchuan super-large deposit with nickel metal reserves ranked the third in the world, and the Early Paleozoic by the Xiarihamu super-large deposit discovered in the prospecting breakthrough of recent years. The Xiarihamu deposit is also the only super-large magmatic copper–nickel–cobalt sulfide deposit found in the Tethys orogenic belt in the world. Mineralization theory of “big magma–deep immiscibility–injection” and “forming big ore deposits in small intrusive rocks” proposed by Chinese scholars based on China’s prospecting practice has been widely accepted and applied by field geological exploration workers, and has made important prospecting breakthrough discoveries. At the same time, it has been recognized by foreign peers, which changed the traditional metallogenic understanding of magma copper–nickel–cobalt sulfide deposits. The extensive distribution of magmatic copper–nickel–cobalt sulfide deposits in orogenic belts is an important feature of such deposits in China. According to the different evolution of orogenic zones and metallogenic history, it can be divided into two important types: Tethys type and Central Asian type. The Tethys type is represented by the Xiarihamu ore deposit, and it is the product of the Tethys structural transformation, which the Paleo-Tethys cracking after the Proto-Tethys orogeny; the Central Asian type is represented by a large number of the early Permian of the Late Palaeozoic magmatic copper–nickel–cobalt sulfide deposits distributed in the Eastern Tianshan–Beishan and Altai zones of the Central Asian Orogenic belt, which is the result of the dual geodynamics mechanism of plate tectonics and mantle plume. China's magmatic copper–nickel–cobalt sulfide deposit has huge prospecting potential, and the Jinchuan deposit as a result of nappe structure from deep horizontal “sill” thrusted to the surface of the inclined “dyke”, it still has significant prospecting potential in its deep and marginal locations, in which important new ore bodies have been found at both ends of the ore-bearing rock body; more than 10 new ore deposits (points) have been found in East Kunlun and its adjacent areas, where the Xiarihamu deposit is located. In the region, the southeastern margin of Tarim Landmass, the northern margin of Tarim Landmass, the western margin of Yangtze Landmass and the northeast margin of North China Landmass are the exploration prospect areas to strengthen prospecting, while the northern margins of Yangzi Landmass and North China land block are the new prospecting areas for urgent investigation.
Yanshanian gold metallogenic system and metallogenic model of the Guilaizhuang gold ore field, western Shandong
YU Xuefeng, LI Dapeng, SHAN Wei, LI Zengsheng, GENG Ke, SHU Lei, SUN Yuqin, SONG Yingxin
2022, 28(5): 821-841. doi: 10.12090/j.issn.1006-6616.20222815
Abstract (764) HTML (112) PDF (7761KB)(102)
The Guilaizhuang gold ore field is one of the essential tellurium-rich goldfields in eastern China and the only super-large goldfield in western Shandong so far. These gold deposits controlled by the Tongshi subvolcanic dome occur in different depths, geological structures, and geological bodies. Though their mineralization types are diverse, their host wall rocks, formation environment, geological background, and metallogenic characteristics are generally consistent: (1) The Guilaizhuang gold ore field, mainly composed of Precambrian basement rocks and early Paleozoic carbonate cap rocks, is an endogenous medium−low hydrothermal gold concentration area of relatively developed Mesozoic tectonic magmatism. (2) Yangan fault, a derivative structure of the Tanlu Fault Zone, controls the distribution of strata, magmatic rocks, secondary structures, and gold deposits (points) in this area. The sub-faults of the Yangan fault and the radial and circular structures of subvolcanic domes are good places for ore fluid migration and sedimentation. (3) The mineralization types are mainly cryptoexplosive breccia, magnesian carbonate micro-disseminated, porphyry, skarn superposition, and altered fracture zone. The ores generally develop into disseminated, veinlet disseminated, stockwork, crumb, and block structures, reflecting that they were formed in the post-magmatic hydrothermal environment. (4) It shows a distinguished character of coexistence of tellurium and gold super concentration. In addition to common native gold and electrum, there are also tellurium-containing minerals such as bessmertnovite, petzite, hessite, calaverite, etc. (5) The early Jurassic intermediate alkaline magma initially started the gold mineralization process in this area and provided parent rock and material source for the early Cretaceous alkaline magmatic activities. The main mineralization period of the Guilaizhuang gold ore field in western Shandong may be in the early Cretaceous. (6) The ore-forming fluid has the characteristics of low temperature and low salinity. The isotopic characteristics are multi-sourced. They are dominated by magmatic water and atmospheric precipitation, with a small amount of metamorphic water. (7) Au likely combines with Te and S to form transportable complexes for migration in the ore-forming hydrothermal fluid. There is a high tellurium fugacity in the ore-forming hydrothermal fluid. Under medium- and low- temperature conditions, tellurium can easily replace sulfur and enter the sulfide lattice. Under high tellurium fugacity conditions, tellurium is prone to form telluride with elements such as gold, silver and lead to mineralization. The consistency of the regional metallogenic characteristics indicates that the Mesozoic large-scale gold mineralization in the Guilaizhuang area of western Shandong is controlled by a unified geological event and can be classified into a unified subvolcanic medium-low hydrothermal gold metallogenic system.
The theory and method of ore prospecting prediction for exploration area: Case studies of the Lala copper deposit in Sichuan, Muhu–Maerkantu manganese ore deposit in Xinjiang and Aonaodaba tin-polymetallic deposit in Inner Mongolia
LYU Zhicheng, CHEN hui, MI Kuifeng, ZHANG Banglu, XIE Yueqiao, PANG Zhenshan, CHENG Zhizhong, XUE Jianling, GONG Fanying, DUAN Bin, LYU Xin
2022, 28(5): 842-865. doi: 10.12090/j.issn.1006-6616.20222816
Abstract (940) HTML (189) PDF (7559KB)(220)
Reducing exploration risks and realizing scientific prospecting always have been frontier fields and research hotspots in the world of mineral exploration, the theory and method of ore prospecting prediction for exploration area is the valid channel to deal with this problem. Using this method, a geological model of ore prospecting can be established by combining the internal (geochemical behavior of elements) and external (types of geological processes) control factors for mineralization. The main components of the prospecting prediction model include geological bodies related to mineralization, metallogenetic structure planes and mineralization characteristics. Together with the results of special geological mapping, geophysical and geochemical exploration on large scale, orebodies have been located by synthetic information and explored by drilling. Case studies of the Lala copper deposit in Sichuan, Muhu–Maerkantu manganese ore deposit in Xinjiang and Aonaodaba tin-polymetallic deposit in Inner Mongolia, illustrate the effective application of this method in ore prospecting prediction.
Huge growth of the late Mesoarchean–early Neoarchean (2.6~3.0 Ga) continental crust in the North China Craton: A review
WAN Yusheng, DONG Chunyan, XIE Hangqiang, LI Yuan, WANG Yuqing, WANG Kunli
2022, 28(5): 866-906. doi: 10.12090/j.issn.1006-6616.20222817
Abstract (875) HTML (201) PDF (34448KB)(167)
Based on a brief introduction of the spatial distribution, rock types and formation ages of the late Mesoarchean–early Neoarchean (2.6~3.0 Ga) rocks in some key areas of the North China Craton, this paper summarizes the ages and geochemical and Nd-Hf-O isotopic compositions of the granitoids all over the craton. The late Mesoarchean–early Neoarchean basement shows the following features: (1) The late Mesoarchean–early Neoarchean magmatism is almost continuous, with a peak period of 2.70~2.75 Ga; (2) The late Mesoarchean–early Neoarchean rocks widely occur in the North China Craton, mainly in the Eastern Ancient Terrane, the Central Ancient Terrane and the Southern Ancient Terrane; (3) The intrusive rocks are mainly tonalite in composition, with trondhjemite, granodiorite, K-rich granite and gabbro-diorite; (4) The supracrustal rocks are commonly small in scale and scatter in granitoids. The rock types are mainly meta-basaltic rocks. In some areas, there are meta-komatiites, meta-andesitic-dacitic rocks and meta-clastic sedimentary rocks; (5) 2.6 Ga can be regarded as the boundary between the early and late Neoarchean in the North China Craton; (6) TTG rocks show large Sr/Y and La/Yb variations, plotting in the high-, medium- and low-pressure TTG areas in the Sr/Y–Y and La/Yb–Yb diagrams. Except for a few K-rich granites, the late Mesoarchean–early Neoarchean rocks are commonly depleted in Nd-Hf isotope compositions, with the magmatic zircon being similar in O isotope composition to that of the Archean magmatic zircon worldwide; (7) Many regions have similar geological characteristics, but some regions show great uniqueness. The research futher supports the understanding that, similar to many other typical cratons worldwide, the late Mesoarchean–early Neoarchean is the most important period of continental accretion in the North China Craton, and the main difference is that the North China Craton underwent a strong and widespread magmato-tectonothermal event at the end of the Neoarchean.