Ailaoshan-Red River Belt - Beiya, Machangqing, Yaoan, Habo, Tongchang, Changanchong, Daping, Zhenyuan, Jinchang, Mojiang, Changan

Yunnan, China

Main commodities: Cu Au Mo
Our Global Perspective
Series books include:
Click Here
Super Porphyry Cu and Au

Click Here
IOCG Deposits - 70 papers
All available as eBOOKS
Remaining HARD COPIES on
sale. No hard copy book more than  AUD $44.00 (incl. GST)

The Ailaoshan-Red River Belt hosts two main clusters of porphyry and porphyry-skarn Cu-Au and Au-Cu deposits as well as significant orogenic gold mineralisation. The first of the 'porphyry' clusters is located ~200 km WNW of Kunming in southern Yunnan, southwestern China, and includes the Beiya porphyry-skarn Au, Machangqing porphyry Cu-Mo Yao'an porphyry Au deposits.
  A second cluster of smaller porphyry-style and related deposits and occurrences are located another 350 km to the SE, in southern Yunnan, along the continuation of the same structural zone. These include the Habo, Chang'anchong, Tongchang and Daping deposits.

The Ailaoshan shear zone is divided into two metamorphic sequences by three major NW striking and NE dipping shears, a high-grade and low grade zone to the NW and SW respectively. The high-grade metamorphic sequence between the Red-River and Ailaoshan shears (to the NW and SE respectively) is dominated by an assemblage of paragneiss, granitic gneiss, hornblende-schist, marble and amphibolite with granite emplaced at ~800 Ma, 250 Ma and ~30 Ma (Lin et al., 2012; Qi et al., 2012; Liu et al., 2015). The low-grade zone, between Ailaoshan and Jiujia-Anding shears, contains Palaeozoic metasedimentary and Triassic volcanic rocks, separated by a Devono-Carboniferous ophiolite (Shen et al., 1998; Zhong, 2000). Four major orogenic gold deposits including Zhenyuan, Jinchang, Mojiang and Chang'an occur in the low-grade zone (Sun et al., 2006, 2007, 2009; Deng et al., 2013; Zhao et al., 2013; Zhang et al., 2014). The intersections of NW striking brittle shear zones and nearly east-west thrusts control the localisation of these deposits (Hou et al., 2007; Deng et al., 2014).

  The Ailaoshan-Red River Belt lies within the broader, >1400 km long Jinshajiang-Ailaoshan-Red River Metallogenic Belt, which also includes the Yulong Porphyry Belt ~550 km to the NNW, along the same narrow string of intrusions that includes the hosts to both suites of porphyry deposits (Hou et al., 2003, 2007; Deng et al., 2010, 2014; Xu et al., 2012).

  The Ailaoshan-Red River Belt lies within the East Tethyan Orogenic Belt of central to southeast Asia, which, in turn, is the eastern half of the greater Tethyan Orogenic Belt that extends from Indochina to the Atlas Mountains of Morocco.

  Other significant porphyry clusters and belts within the East Tethyan Orogenic Belt include the Duolong Cluster, Gangdese Belt, Yulong Porphyry Belt, and the Yidun or Zhongdian Arc.

Regional Setting

  The Eastern Tethyan Orogenic Belt was initiated during the late Palaeozoic, following closure of the Central Asian Orogenic Belt to the north. For detail of the development and framework of the orogen and the Indian-Asian collision, see the Regional Setting sections of the following records:
• The Gangdese Belt record relates to the section of the orogen to the north of the Indian Plate in southern Tibet. Accretion of east-west elongated, sliver-like, Precambrian basement cored terranes, overlain by volcanic arcs, and intruded by extensive batholiths were dominant, deformed by NNE vergent overthrusting and imbrication. Orogenic activity persisted from the Late Palaeozoic to the present, prior to and during collision between the Indian and the amalgamated Tibet/Asian plates. This description centres on the Lhasa Terrane which hosts Jurassic to Miocene deposits of the Gangdese Porphyry Belt. The Lhasa Terrane is separated from the Indian Craton to the south by a thick accretionary wedge that forms the main Himalaya Range.
• The Yulong Belt record, principally describes the setting of the Qiangtang Terrane which is to the north and east of the Lhasa Terrane and hosts the Eocene deposits of the Yulong Porphyry Belt deposited between 42 and 41 Ma. In contrast, this description concentrates on the north-eastern to eastern segment of the orogen, east of the advancing Indian Plate, where the tectonic framework changed from east-west imbrication, to instead be controlled by major NNW-SSE to north-south strike slip faulting escape structures.
• The Yidun/Zhongdian Arc record relates to development of the Yidun and Songpan-Garze terranes to the north and east of the Qiangtang Terrane. The former is a lensoid terrane that collided with the eastern margin of the Qiangtang Terrane in the Mid Triassic. It comprises an eastern Middle and Upper Triassic volcanosedimentary arc overlying a fragment rifted from the Yangtze Craton to the SE and a western sliver of metamorphosed basement. This arc hosts Late Triassic and Late Cretaceous porphyry and porphyry skarn mineralisation. The Yidun Terrane is bounded across sutures to the east and north by the Songpan-Garze Terrane, represented by a thick sequence of Upper Triassic marine turbidites, interpreted to be mostly floored by oceanic crust. To the north of the Yidun Terrane, the Songpan-Garze and Qiangtang Terrane share a sutured boundary. The southern margin of the Yidun Terrane is defined by the sutured contact with the Yangtze Craton, which to the south of the former is in direct faulted contact with the Qiangtang Terrane.
  The major structural features of the >1500 km long Jinshajiang-Ailaoshan-Red River Metallogenic Belt, which incorporates both the Ailaoshan-Red River and Yulong porphyry belts, is the major regional Jinshajiang-Ailaoshan-Red River fault/shear zone. This structure follows the Jinshajiang suture separating the Qiangtang terrane from the Songpan-Garze and Yidun terranes in the north and NE respectively, and the Yangtze Craton in the south. To the NW, on the Tibetan Plateau, this fault/suture trends WNW-ESE, curving SE, then NNW-SSE adjacent to the Yulong Porphyry Belt deposits which are around 40 km to its SW. Then it swings to near north-south towards the south of the Yidun Terrane where it is 50 to 80 km west of the porphyry and known skarn deposits. Further south, it trends NNW-SSE where it is a few, up to 75 km west of the deposits that form the main cluster of the northern end of the Ailaoshan-Red River Belt. From there it trends NW-SE to the South China Sea as the sinistral Ref River Shear Zone and passes within 20 km to the NE of the southern cluster of deposits in the latter porphyry belt.
  In the northern section of the Ailaoshan-Red River Belt the eastern Indian‐Asian collision zone trends north-south and comprises from east to west, the i). Yangtze Craton, which to the north is succeeded by the Songpan-Ganze and Yidun terranes that have pinched out southward such that the craton is in direct structural contact with the ii). Qiangtang Terrane, which predominantly composed of the eastern Changdu-Simao and the thinned Western South Qiangtang blocks; iii). Lhasa Terrane, which curves to the SW and lenses out between the Myanmar Plate to the west and the Shan Thai Block to the SE.
Setting of the Ailaoshan-Red River Belt

This record is currently being researched and written - as such it is incomplete - the remainder will be available soon

The most recent source geological information used to prepare this summary was dated: 2019.    
This description is a summary from published sources, the chief of which are listed below.
© Copyright Porter GeoConsultancy Pty Ltd.   Unauthorised copying, reproduction, storage or dissemination prohibited.

  References & Additional Information
   Selected References:
Cai, F., Ding, L.,Yao, W., Laskowski, A.K., Xu, Q., Zhang, J. and Sein, K.,  2017 - Provenance and tectonic evolution of Lower Paleozoic-Upper Mesozoic strata from Sibumasu terrane, Myanmar: in    Gondwana Research   v.41, pp. 325-336.
Chen, X., Liu, J., Fan, W., Qi, Y., Wang, W., Chen, J. and Burg, J.-P.,  2017 - Neoproterozoic granitoids along the Ailao Shan-Red River belt: Zircon U-Pb geochronology, Hf isotope analysis and tectonic implications: in    Precambrian Research,   v.299, pp. 244-263.
Deng, J. and Wang, Q.,  2016 - Gold mineralization in China: Metallogenic provinces, deposit types and tectonic framework: in    Gondwana Research   v.36, pp. 219-274.
Deng, J., Wanga, Q., Li, G., Li, C. and Wang, C.,  2014 - Tethys tectonic evolution and its bearing on the distribution of important mineral deposits in the Sanjiang region, SWChina: in    Gondwana Research   v.26, pp. 419-437.
Faure, M., Lepvrier, C., Nguyen, V.V., Vu, T.V., Lin, W. and Chen, Z.,  2014 - The South China block-Indochina collision: Where, when, and how?: in    J. of Asian Earth Sciences   v.79, pp. 260-274.
Gao, L., Wang, Q., Deng, J., Zhang, S. and Yang, Z.,  2018 - Relationship Between Orogenic Gold Mineralization and Crustal Shearing Along Ailaoshan-Red River Belt, Southeastern Tibetan Plateau: New Constraint From Paleomagnetism: in    Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems,   v.19, pp. 2225-2242. doi.org/10.1029/2018GC007493.
He, W.-Y., Mo, X.-X., He, Z.-H., White, N.C., Chen, J.-B., Yang, K.-H., Wang, R., Yu, X.-H., Dong, G.-C. and Huang, X.-F.,  2015 - The geology and mineralogy of the Beiya skarn gold deposit in Yunnan, southwest China: in    Econ. Geol.   v.110, pp.1625-1641.
Hou, Z., Zeng, P., Gao, Y, Du, A. and Fu, D.,  2006 - Himalayan Cu-Mo-Au mineralization in the eastern Indo-Asian collision zone: constraints from Re-Os dating of molybdenite: in    Mineralium Deposita   v.41, pp. 33-45.
Li, H., Wang, Q., Deng, J., Yang, L., Dong, C. and Yu, H.,  2019 - Alteration and mineralization styles of the orogenic disseminated Zhenyuan gold deposit, southeastern Tibet: Contrast with carlin gold deposit: in    Geoscience Frontiers   v.10, pp. 1849-1862.
Li, W.-C., Wang, J.-H., He, Z.-H. and Dou, S.,  2016 - Formation of Au-polymetallic ore deposits in alkaline porphyries at Beiya, Yunnan, Southwest China: in    Ore Geology Reviews   v.73, pp. 241-252.
Lu, Y.-J., Kerrich, R., Kemp, A.I.S., McCuaig, T.C., Hou, Z.-Q., Hart, C.J.R., Li, Z.-X., Cawood, P.A., Bagas, L., Yang, Z.-M., Cliff, J., Belousova, E.A., Jourdan, F. and Evans, N.J.,  2013 - Intracontinental Eocene-Oligocene Porphyry Cu Mineral Systems of Yunnan, Western Yangtze Craton, China: Compositional Characteristics, Sources, and Implications for Continental Collision Metallogeny: in    Econ. Geol.   v.108, pp. 1541-1576.
Metcalfe, I.,  2013 - Gondwana dispersion and Asian accretion: Tectonic and palaeogeographic evolution of eastern Tethys: in    J. of Asian Earth Sciences   v.66, pp. 1-33.
Metcalfe, I.,  2009 - Late Palaeozoic and Mesozoic tectonic and palaeogeographical evolution of SE Asia: in Buffetaut, E., Cuny, G., Le Loeuff, J. and Suteethorn, V. (Eds.), 2009 Late Palaeozoic and Mesozoic Ecosystems in SE Asia. The Geological Society, London,    Special Publications, 315, pp. 7-23.
Sun, X., Zhang, Y., Xiong, D., Sun, W., Shi, G., Zhai, W. and Wang, S.,  2009 - Crust and mantle contributions to gold-forming process at the Daping deposit, Ailaoshan gold belt, Yunnan, China: in    Ore Geology Reviews   v.36, pp. 235-249.
Wang, C., Bagas, L., Lu, Y., Santosh, M., Dua, B. and McCuaig, C.,  2016 - Terrane boundary and spatio-temporal distribution of ore deposits in the Sanjiang Tethyan Orogen: Insights from zircon Hf-isotopic mapping: in    Earth Science Reviews   v.156, pp. 39-65.
Wang, Q., Groves, D.I., Deng, J., Li, H., Yang, L. and Dong, C.,  2020 - Evolution of the Miocene Ailaoshan orogenic gold deposits, southeastern Tibet, during a complex tectonic history of lithosphere-crust interaction: in    Mineralium Deposita   v.55, pp. 1085-1104.
Wang, Y., Qian, X., Cawood, P.A., Liu, H., Feng, Q., Zhao, G., Zhang, Y., He, H. and Zhang, P.,  2018 - Closure of the East Paleotethyan Ocean and amalgamation of the Eastern Cimmerian and Southeast Asia continental fragments: in    Earth Science Reviews   v.186, pp. 195-230.
Wang, Y., Zhang, H., Zhang, H., Chai, P. and Hou, Z.,  2020 - Gold in the lithosphere of the western South China Block, SW China: Insights from quartz porphyries from the giant Zhenyuan gold deposit: in    Ore Geology Reviews   v.119, 15p. doi.org/10.1016/j.oregeorev.2020.103312.
Xu, L., Bi, X., Hu, R., Zhang, X., Su, W., Qu, W., Hu, Z. and Tang, Y.,  2012 - Relationships between porphyry Cu-Mo mineralization in the Jinshajiang-Red River metallogenic belt and tectonic activity: Constraints from zircon U-Pb and molybdenite Re-Os geochronology: in    Ore Geology Reviews   v.48, pp. 460-473.
Yang, Z.,Yang, L.-Q., He, W.-Y., Gao, X., Liu, X.-D., Bao, X.-S. and Lu, Y.-G.,  2017 - Control of magmatic oxidation state in intracontinental porphyry mineralization: A case from Cu (Mo-Au) deposits in the Jinshajiang-Red River metallogenic belt, SW China: in    Ore Geology Reviews   v.90, pp. 827-846.
Zhang, J., Wang, H., Li, S. and Li, T.,  2017 - Paleogene magmatism and gold metallogeny of the Jinping terrane in the Ailaoshan ore belt, Sanjiang Tethyan Orogen (SW China): Geology, deposit type and tectonic setting: in    Ore Geology Reviews   v.91, pp. 620-637.
Zhang, K.-J., Zhang, Y.-X., Tang, X.-C. and Xia B.,  2012 - Late Mesozoic tectonic evolution and growth of the Tibetan plateau prior to the Indo-Asian collision: in    Earth Science Reviews   v.114, pp. 236-249.
Zhang, Y., Zhang, D., Wu, G., Di, Y., Li, X., Bu, X. and Liu, J.,  2018 - Origin of the Daping gold deposit in the Ailaoshan metallogenic belt, SW China: Insights from geology, isotope geochemistry and geochronology: in    Ore Geology Reviews   v.96, pp. 1-12.

Porter GeoConsultancy Pty Ltd (PorterGeo) provides access to this database at no charge.   It is largely based on scientific papers and reports in the public domain, and was current when the sources consulted were published.   While PorterGeo endeavour to ensure the information was accurate at the time of compilation and subsequent updating, PorterGeo, its employees and servants:   i). do not warrant, or make any representation regarding the use, or results of the use of the information contained herein as to its correctness, accuracy, currency, or otherwise; and   ii). expressly disclaim all liability or responsibility to any person using the information or conclusions contained herein.

Top | Search Again | PGC Home | Terms & Conditions

PGC Logo
Porter GeoConsultancy Pty Ltd
 Ore deposit database
 Conferences & publications
 International Study Tours
     Tour photo albums
PGC Publishing
 Our books  &  bookshop
     Iron oxide copper-gold series
     Super-porphyry series
     Porhyry & Hydrothermal Cu-Au
 Ore deposit literature
 What's new
 Site map