Mafic microgranular (microgranitoid) enclaves (MMEs) with fine-to medium-grain–size igneous microstructures are abundant in Permian granitoid plutons in the northern North China Block (NCB). They are mainly dioritic in composition with SiO2 contents from 51.0 wt% to 62.7 wt% and are contiguous with their host granitoids (SiO2 = 60.4–68.4 wt%). Their main mineral assemblage of plagioclase (oligoclase and andesine), hornblende, biotite, K-feldspar, and quartz is similar to that of their host granitoids but with different mineral proportions. Zircon laser ablation–inductively coupled plasma–mass spectrometer (LA-ICP-MS) U-Pb dating, hornblende-plagioclase thermobarometry, and Ti-in-zircon thermometry results show that the crystallization ages and pressure-temperature (P-T) conditions of the MMEs in each Permian granitoid pluton are very similar to those of their host granitoids, indicating simultaneous crystallization at the middle to upper crustal levels. Petrographical, geochemical, and Sr-Nd-Hf isotopic data show that the source areas of the Permian granitoid plutons in the northern NCB are temporally and spatially different and magma mixing was likely involved during formation of some granitoid plutons. However, the whole-rock Sr-Nd and zircon Hf isotopic compositions of the MMEs in each pluton are very similar to those of their host granitoids, indicating complete isotopic equilibration between the host granitoids and their enclaves. Combined with similar mineral assemblage and mineral chemistry between the MMEs and their host granitoids and absence of coeval mantle-derived rocks in or nearby the plutons, we confirm that the MMEs were crystallized from a coeval magma that gave rise to the host granitoids, and not by mixing and/or mingling between mantle-derived mafic and crustal-derived felsic magmas or by synplutonic injections of mafic magma into the host granitoid magma. We conclude that magma isotopic equilibration between host granitoids and their enclaves was achieved prior to emplacement and the magma mixing process during formation of some Permian granitoid plutons occurred mainly in the melting, assimilation, storage, and homogenization (MASH) zone in the lowermost crust or mantle-crust transition, not in the magma conduits or chambers at middle to upper crustal levels. A two-stage model that includes rapid cooling within the cogenetic host granitoid magma operating at pluton margins to form solid to sub-solid dioritic rocks and crystal accumulations of the host granitoid magma at the bottom of the pluton to form cumulates, and dioritic rocks and cumulates then fragmentated and interacted with progressive evolved host granitoid magma to change their shapes and orientations is proposed for origin of the MMEs in the Permian granitoid plutons in the northern NCB. This model may be more widely applicable to the generation of many MMEs in granitic rocks, especially where no direct evidence exists for the presence of mafic magmas coeval with granitoids and where there is a lack of isotopic contrast between hosts and enclaves. Our new results on origin of the enclaves in the granitoid plutons in the northern NCB show that some MMEs previously used as evidence for magma mixing and/or mingling are “autoliths (cognate xenoliths)” crystallized from the same magma as their host granitoids. There is an essential need for caution in using the MMEs as evidence for crustal-mantle interaction or mixing and/or mingling between crustal-derived felsic and mantle-derived mafic magmas during formation of granitic rocks, especially where no independent evidence is found for such a process. The role of MMEs in evaluating the mixing and/or mingling processes between crustal-derived felsic and mantle-derived mafic magmas has been much more likely overestimated by some previous studies and should be reconsidered. Instead, the MMEs in this origin can provide valuable information on emplacement mechanism and incremental growth of granitoid plutons in continental crust.
- Received 8 August 2016.
- Revision received 16 November 2016.
- Accepted 29 December 2016.
- © 2017 Geological Society of America