Auxiliary materials Figures Figure S1. As Figure 5 (a)–(c) but for the Yangtze and Cathaysia blocks of the South China craton. Figure S2. (a)–(f) Photomicrographs of samples from the North–Qinling complex. (a), (c), and (f) plane polarized light, (b), (d), and (e) cross-polarized light. Mineral abbreviations follow Kretz [1983 and Spear . (a) Recrystallized garnet together with an omphacite prism and late amphibole, retrogressed eclogite 811084A. (b) Relic omphacite encased in amphibole, retrogressed eclogite Q09B. (c) Euhedral inclusionrich garnet together with aligned omphacite and amphibole prisms, retrogressed eclogite 811081A. (d) Phengite flakes, retrogressed eclogite 811084A. (e) Coarse phengite flakes and albite porphyroblasts including garnet, garnet-bearing phengite gneiss 75223A. (f) Garnet poikiloblasts in a weakly foliated matrix of biotite, plagioclase and quartz, garnet gneiss 75214D. (g)–(h) Photographs of outcrop 76163 showing typical structures of migmatite of the Qinling complex. (g) Folded felsic migmatite. (h) Resorption zone at the margin of a garnet amphibolite embedded in leucosome. (i)–(r) Photomicrographs of migmatitic gneisses and intercalated metabasites of the Qinling complex. (i), (k), (l), (m), (p), and (q) cross-polarized light; (j), (n), (o), and (r) plane polarized light. (i) K-feldspar grains together with plagioclase, quartz and biotite; garnet-bearing sillimanite gneiss 75247F. (j) Sillimanite intensively intergrown with plagioclase; garnet-sillimanite gneiss 75248C. (k) Randomly oriented cummingtonite prisms in a matrix of plagioclase, biotite and quartz, garnet-cummingtonite gneiss 75254A. (l) Late muscovite mantels peak metamorphic sillimanite, garnet-sillimanite gneiss 75251E. (m) Monazite grain included in biotite, garnet-sillimanite gneiss 75248C. (n) Massive inhomogeneous garnet-sillimanite gneiss 75247F. (o) Compositional banding of garnet gneiss 76172C. (p) Garnet clasts in a mylonitic matrix, garnet gneiss 76163B. (q) Granular leucosome in contact to foliated melanosome, garnet gneiss 76175A. (r) Euhedral garnet porphyroblast in a matrix of amphibole, biotite, plagioclase, and quartz, garnet amphibolite 76163F. (s)–(v) Photomicrographs of Songshugou ultra-mafic rocks; (s) and (t) cross-polarized light, (u) and (v) plane polarized light. (s) Amphibole prisms and spinel in a granular olivine matrix; spinel dunite 75295A. (t) Clinopyroxene with exsolution lamellae; olivine-clinopyroxenite 75295B. (u) Amphibole and orthopyroxene prisms in serpentinized matrix; spinel harzburgite 75257A. (v) Cummingtonite, zoned phlogopite and relic olivine in serpentinized matrix; spinel harzburgite 75257A. Figure S3. Equilibrium assemblage diagram and dependency on pressure and temperature of garnet composition, its molar amount, the XAn of plagioclase, and the composition of muscovite-phengite of sample 75223A. Bulk rock composition (in mol): Si 24.176, Ti 0.179, Al 7.388, Fe 0.987, Mg 0.545, Ca, 0.179, Na, 1.324, K, 2.036, O 63.183. Figure S4. Equilibrium assemblage diagram and dependency of garnet composition, its molar amount, and the XAn of plagioclase of sample 75214D on pressure and temperature. Bulk rock composition (in mol): Si 26.272, Ti 0.127, Al 4.528, Fe 1.071, Mg 0.955, Ca 0.743, Na 1.889, K 0.702, O 63.6545. Figure S5. Equilibrium assemblage diagram and dependency of garnet composition, garnet molar amount, and the XTi of biotite of sample Q33B on pressure and temperature. Bulk rock composition (in mol): Si 20.139, Ti 0.115, Al 9.013 Fe 3.487, Mg 1.841, Ca 0.860, Na 1.367, K 1.489, O 61.6435. Figure S6. Equilibrium assemblage diagram and dependency of garnet composition, garnet molar amount, and the XTi of biotite of sample 75247F on pressure and temperature. Bulk rock composition (in mol): Si 23.476, Ti 0.136, Al 6.247, Fe 1.873, Mg 0.598, Ca 0.880, Na 1.738, K 1.282, O 61.4555. Figure S7. Equilibrium assemblage diagram and dependency of garnet composition, garnet molar amount, and the XTi of biotite of sample 75248C on pressure and temperature. Bulk rock composition (in mol): Si 24.019, Ti 0.284, Al 5.980, Fe 2.643, Mg 1.086, Ca 0.367, Na 0.818, K 1.555, O 62.8585. Figure S8. Equilibrium assemblage diagram and dependency of garnet composition, garnet molar amount, and the XTi of biotite of sample 75251E on pressure and temperature. Bulk rock composition (in mol): Si 23.379, Ti 0.399, Al 6.745, Fe 1.887, Mg 0.582, Ca 0.667, Na 1.580, K 2.084, O 62.6415. Figure S9. Equilibrium assemblage diagram and dependency of garnet composition, garnet molar amount, and the XTi of biotite of sample 76172C on pressure and temperature. Bulk rock composition (in mol): Si 23.842, Ti 0.346, Al 5.786, Fe 2.246, Mg 0.900, Ca 0.741, Na 1.952, K 1.435, O 62.6355. Figure S10. Equilibrium assemblage diagram and dependency of garnet composition, garnet molar amount, and the XTi of biotite of sample 76175A on pressure and temperature. Bulk rock composition (in mol): Si 23.842, Ti 0.346, Al 5.786, Fe 2.246, Mg 0.900, Ca 0.741, Na 1.952, K 1.435, 62.6355. Figure S11. Equilibrium assemblage diagram and dependency of garnet composition, garnet molar amount, and the XTi of biotite of sample 75254A on pressure and temperature. Bulk rock composition (in mol): Si 20.373, Ti 0.233, Al 6.573, Fe 2.207, Mg 2.212, Ca 1.364, Na 1.977, K 1.000, O 58.343. Figure S12. Equilibrium assemblage diagram and dependency of garnet composition, garnet molar amount, and the XTi of biotite of sample 76163B on pressure and temperature. Bulk rock composition (in mol): Si 24.300, Ti 0.221, Al 5.741, Fe 1.871, Mg 0.957, Ca 0.923, Na 2.116, K 0.866, O 62.8955. Figure S13. Equilibrium assemblage diagram and dependency of garnet composition, garnet molar amount, and the XTi of biotite of sample 76163F on pressure and temperature. Bulk rock composition (in mol): Si 19.345, Ti 0.693, Al 6.613, Fe 5.194, Mg 3.594, Ca 1.603, Na 0.166, K 1.548, O 61.2435. Figure S14. Equilibrium assemblage diagram and dependency of garnet composition, garnet molar amount, and the XTi of biotite of sample 75271B on pressure and temperature. Bulk rock composition (in mol): Si 23.336, Ti 0.206, Al 6.002, Fe 2.223, Mg 0.777, Ca 0.495, Na 1.511, K 1.358, O 61.0165. Figure S15. Equilibrium assemblage diagram and dependency of garnet composition, garnet molar amount, and the XTi of biotite of sample 811102F on pressure and temperature. Bulk rock composition (in mol): Si 22.133, Ti 0.223, Al 7.034, Fe 2.904, Mg 1.304, Ca 0.695, Na 2.095, K 1.570, O 61.9985. Figure S16. Equilibrium assemblage diagram and dependency of garnet composition, garnet molar amount, and the XTi of biotite of sample 811079A on pressure and temperature. Bulk rock composition (in mol): Si 23.287, Ti 0.209, Al 6.069, Fe 1.800, Mg 0.970, Ca 1.176, Na 2.168, K 1.016, O 61.6335. Figure S17. Representative cathodo-luminescence images of zircons dated in this study. Tables Table S1. Auxiliary material summarizing published (partly re-calculated) U/Th– Pb geochronology of the Qinling orogenic collage. Table S2. Auxiliary material summarizing sample locations and sample characteristics. Table S3. Auxiliary material summarizing representative microprobe analyses of garnet. Cations based on a 12 oxygen basis. Ferric iron calculated after method of Droop . Table S4. Representative microprobe analyses of pyroxene. Cations based on a 6 oxygen basis. Ferric iron estimated after method of Droop . Table S5. Representative microprobe analyses of white micas. Cations based on a 12 oxygen basis. End members follow Schliestedt . Table S6. Representative microprobe analyses of amphibole. Cations based on a 23 oxygen basis. Ferric iron estimated by minmax-midpoint method [Schumacher, 1997]. Table S7. Representative microprobe analyses of feldspar. Cations based on an 8 oxygen basis. Table S8. Representative microprobe analyses of biotite. Cations based on a 12 oxygen basis. Water was iteratively estimated assuming F + Cl + OH = 2. 23. Table S9. Representative microprobe analyses of olivine. Cations based on a 4 oxygen basis. Table S10. Representative microprobe analyses of spinel. Cations based on a 4 oxygen basis. Ferric iron was calculated after method of Droop . Table S11. New U/Th–Pb zircon, monazite, and titanite and 40 Ar–39Ar phengite data from this study. Appendix S1 Description of analytical methods used in this study Sampling 300 samples were studied mainly along N–S trending traverses; sample localities are summarized in Figure 2 and Table S2. Microprobe analysis Nineteen samples were analyzed with the electron microprobe (EMP) at GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam, TU Bergakademie Freiberg, and UC Santa Barbara. The operation conditions were as follows: (1) Four-spectrometer CAMECA SX-100 at Potsdam: 15 kV accelerating voltage; 20 nA beam current; 1-15 µm beam diameter; 10–20 s major and 20–40 s minor elements peak-counting time. (2) Fivespectrometer JEOL JXA-8900R at Freiberg: 15 kV accelerating voltage; 20 nA beam current; Si, Al, Mg, Ca, Sr, Ba, and K 20 s and Fe, Ni, Na, Cr, Mn, Ti 30 s peak-counting time. (3) Five-spectrometer CAMECA SX50 at Santa Barbara: 15 kV accelerating voltage; 15 nA beam current; 10–20 s major and 20–40 s minor elements peak-counting time. We used natural and synthetic mineral standards of the Smithsonian Institute, MAC™, and CAMECA. Raw intensity data were corrected with the PAP program [Pouchou and Pichoir, 1985]. Representative analyses of major phases are shown in Tables S3–S10. Bulk-rock geochemistry Bulk-rock geochemistry was analyzed by X-ray fluorescence using a Bruker SRS 3000 WDS-XRF at Basel University on fused glass discs made of 300 mg ignited rock powder and 4700 mg ultrapure Li2B4O7. Accuracy was checked against USGS, NIM, and SARM standards. Determination of metamorphic conditions We obtained data on the metamorphic evolution mainly with the Theriak/Domino-program package [de Capitani and Brown, 1987; de Capitani, 1994; de Capitani and Petrakakis, 2010]; the program package is available at http://titan.minpet.unibas.ch/minpet/theriak/theruser.html. It uses Gibbs free-energy minimization to calculate equilibrium assemblages together with the modal proportions and compositions of individual stable phases at given T and P based on bulk-rock composition and thermodynamic models of rock-forming minerals. Equilibrium assemblage and isopleth diagrams, showing the compositions of major phases such as garnet, plagioclase, phengite, biotite or amphiboles, were computed and interpreted by comparing observed assemblages and intersections of isopleths. For all equilibrium-assemblage calculations, we used the thermodynamic database of Holland and Powell [1998; version tcds55] together with activity models of thermocalc 3.30 (see below). Model systems are CaO-K2O-FeO-MgOAl2O3-SiO2-H2O (CKFMASH), and TiO2-Na2O-CaO-K2O-FeO-MgO-Al2O3-SiO2H2O (NCKFMASHT). Generally, H2O was in excess. An essential aspect of the equilibrium-assemblage calculations is the choice of a proper bulk-rock composition for the equilibrium-mineral assemblage. In case of homogeneous samples (i.e., the investigated ultra-mafic rocks), we used bulk-rock chemical analysis data. As several accessory phases, which are not considered in the calculation (e.g., apatite, pyrite), contribute to the bulk, P and S were subtracted from the chemical data before modeling. In samples with distinct compositional layering or other inhomogeneities, we modeled the local chemical composition using microprobe analyses of the equilibrium-mineral assemblage and counting of typically 700 points. Apart from thermodynamic modeling, we applied winTWQ multi-equilibrium calculations ([Berman, 1991, 2007]; see below for solution models) as well as conventional thermobarometers. Garnet growth modeling The zoning of a garnet porphyroblasts reflects their evolution [e.g., Spear, 1993] and allows the reconstruction of the P–T history of metamorphic rocks [e.g., Evans, 2004; Tinkham and Ghent, 2005; Gaidies et al., 2006; 2008a]. A key aspect for garnet-growth modeling is the thorough examination of the observed zoning, i.e. whether it results from prograde, possibly multi-stage growth with minor or negligible influence of diffusion, or whether diffusion strongly modified the garnet zoning. For example, core isopleths of a zoned garnet may intersect far away from the calculated garnet-in isograde. If the zoning is restricted to rims, garnet-isopleth thermobarometry can still be used, as the homogeneous core results from homogenization or reaction overstepping. In any other case, the application of the method is doubtful, because (i) the chosen bulk-rock composition might be inappropriate; (ii) the garnet-core composition could have undergone strong modification by diffusion; (iii) the garnet core might be inherited. On the other hand, if distinct rimward decreasing pyrope and increasing spessartine contents reflect a strong retrograde zoning, or, if the calculated amount of garnet implies resorption instead of growth along the suggested P–T path, the garnet zoning has been distinctly modified by diffusion. However, the core of the crystal could still preserve its original composition, thus a P–T estimate for garnet-core growth via isopleth thermobarometry is still possible. However, it is questionable to derive P–T data for intermediate or rim compositions; although the influence of diffusion can be calculated (e.g., with the Theria_g program; Gaidies et al. [2008a,b]), the reactivity of the rock matrix must be considered. During prograde growth, the matrix usually is considered to be fluid-saturated due to dehydration reactions with rising T, which ensures quick ion-exchange and equilibration. But this may not be valid for a retrograde P–T evolution. Furthermore, different matrix minerals have different diffusivities and closure temperatures. If the corresponding matrix phase is a ferromagnesian sheet silicate, the Fe-Mg exchange between garnet and the matrix is limited by the garnet as sheet silicates re-equilibrate easier and at lower temperatures. Mn is well known to back-diffuse into garnet [e.g., Kohn and Spear, 2000], because matrix phases cannot incorporate (enough) Mn into their lattice; the same could happen with Ca. In felsic metamorphic rocks, the other relevant Caphase is plagioclase. However, Ca-diffusion in plagioclase is distinctly lower than in garnet due to coupled substitution with Si, Al and Na and therefore retrograde Ca exchange with garnet might be hampered. As a consequence, different elements could stop retrograde equilibration at different P–T conditions and an isopleth intersection may deviate distinctly from the actual P–T conditions. Solution models used to calculate equilibrium assemblage diagrams and isopleths Solid solutions: Garnet, melt, biotite, spinell: White et al. ; white mica: Coggon and Holland ; amphibole: Diener et al. ; clinopyroxene: Green et al. ; chlorite, chloritoid, staurolite, cordierite, ilmenite: Holland and Powell ; orthopyroxene: White et al. . Non-solution phases: unless otherwise noted all other included into the database of Holland and Powell . Solution models used for winTWQ 3.34 multi-equilibrium calculations For winTWQ calculations, we used the mineral data file “DEC06.DAT” together with the solution data file “DEC06.SLN” and the solution models: Garnet: BA07 (based on Berman and Aranovich, ); clinopyroxene: BAP95 [Berman et al., 1995]. U/Th–Pb geochronology We performed U/Th–Pb zircon geochronology on grain mounts; multiple grains and several spots within some grains were analyzed in each sample. Grain liberation employed high-voltage pulse power fragmentation in the TU Bergakademie Freiberg SELFRAG facility (specifications see http://selfrag.com). Final separation was by magnetic, heavy liquid, and optical methods; grains were mounted in resin blocks and all grains were inspected by optical microscopy and SEM-based cathodoluminescence before analysis. The U/Th–Pb analyses were conducted (i) on monazite by secondary-ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) at UCLA following Robinson et al.  and (ii) on zircon by LA-ICPMS methods in three different laboratories: the University of Arizona, USA (marked as LA-ICPMS (UA) in the data Figures), the Senckenberg Naturhistorische Sammlungen Dresden, Germany (LA-ICPMS (DD)), and the University of California, Santa Barbara, USA (LAICPMS (UCSB)). Laser-ablation multi-collector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-MCICPMS) at the University of Arizona followed procedures outlined in Hacker et al. . The Dresden laboratory uses a Thermo-Scientific Element 2 XR sector field ICP-MS coupled to a New Wave UP-193 Excimer Laser System. As this facility is relative new, we provide a more detailed analytical description below. The analyses at UCSB were conducted using a Nu Instruments Plasma MCICPMS and a Photon Machines 193 nm ArF excimer laser ablation system. The analytical method is detailed in Schmidt et al. . U/Th–Pb LA-ICPMS geochronology at the Senckenberg Naturhistorische Sammlungen, Dresden Zircons were analyzed for U, Th, and Pb isotopes by LA-ICPMS techniques using a Thermo-Scientific Element 2 XR sector field ICP-MS coupled to a New Wave UP193 Excimer Laser System. A teardrop-shaped, low volume laser cell constructed by Ben Jähne (Dresden) and Axel Gerdes (Frankfurt/M.) was used to enable sequential sampling of heterogeneous grains (e.g., growth zones) during time resolved data acquisition. Each analysis consisted of approximately 15 s background acquisition followed by 30 s data acquisition, using a laser spot-size of 20 to 35 µm. A commonPb correction based on the interference- and background-corrected 204Pb signal and a model Pb composition [Stacey and Kramers, 1975] was carried out if necessary. The necessity of the correction is judged on whether the corrected 207 Pb/206Pb lies outside of the internal errors of the measured ratios. Discordant analyses were generally interpreted with care. Raw data were corrected for background signal, common Pb, laser induced elemental fractionation, instrumental mass discrimination, and timedependant elemental fractionation of Pb/Th and Pb/U using an Excel® spreadsheet program developed by Axel Gerdes (Institute of Geosciences, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-University Frankfurt, Frankfurt am Main, Germany). Reported uncertainties were propagated by quadratic addition of the external reproducibility obtained from the standard zircon GJ-1 (~0.6% and 0.5-1% for the 207 Pb/206Pb and 206 Pb/238U, respectively) during individual analytical sessions and the within-run precision of each analysis. Further details of the instruments settings are available in the Table below. For further details on analytical protocol and data processing see Gerdes and Zeh . The uncertainty in the degree of concordance of Precambrian–Paleozoic grains dated by the LA-ICPMS method is relatively large and results obtained from just a single analysis have to be interpreted with care. A typical uncertainty of 2–3% (2σ) in 207 Pb/206Pb for a Late Neoproterozoic grain (e.g., 560 Ma) relates to an absolute error on the 207 Pb/206Pb age of 45–65 Ma. Such a result gives space for interpretation of concordance or slight discordance. The latter one could be caused by episodic lead loss, fractionation, or infiltration Pb isotopes by a fluid or on micro-cracks. Thus, zircons showing a degree of concordance in the range of 90–110 % in this paper are classified as concordant because of the overlap of the error ellipse with the concordia [e.g., Linnemann et al., 2011]. Th/U ratios are obtained from the LA-ICP-MS measurements of investigated zircon grains. U and Pb content and Th/U ratio were calculated relative to the GJ-1 zircon standard and are accurate to approximately 10%. Settings for the instruments used in the geochronological Laboratory (GeoPlasmaLab Dresden) of the Senckenberg Naturhistorische Sammlungen Dresden (Excimer Laser, New Wave, UP 193) and (ICP-MS, Thermo Fisher, Element 2 XR). ICP-MS Finnigan Element 2 XR Forward Power 1390 W 15.0 l min-1 (plasma) Gas flow rate 1.07 l min-1 (aux) Scan mode E-scan Scanned masses 202, 204, 206, 207, 208, 232, 235, 238 Mass resolution 300 Dead time 18 ns + Oxide UO /U + < 1% Dwell time 4 ms ≤ 1 ms/amu Settling time Number of scans 1500 Background 15 s Ablation time 30 s Integration time Laser system 1.4 s (=25 scans) UP193 New Wave 193 nm, excimer Nominal spot diameter 25-35 µm (unknowns) 35 µm (standard) 0.25 l min-1 He Carrier gas 1.1 l min-1 Ar Laser settings 10 Hz, 55% LP Drill speed (DS) / ~ 0.5 µm/s (DS) Raster scan speed (RSS) c. 3 cm3 Cell volume Sensitivity 40 6 x 106 counts/pg U Ar–39Ar geochronology 40 Ar/39Ar analysis was carried out at Argonlabor Freiberg (ALF) at TU Bergakademie Freiberg, Germany. Phengites were repeatedly ultrasonicated in alcohol and de-ionized water, dried, and subsequently wrapped into Al foil. The Al- sample packets were loaded in 5 × 5 mm wells on 33 mm Al-discs for irradiation, which was done under Cd shielding for 120 hours at the FRG II reactor in Geesthacht, Germany, at a thermal neutron fluence of ~5x1013 n/cm2s and a thermal to fast neutron ratio of ~40. Irradiated samples were unwrapped and loaded in 3 × 1 mm (diameter × depth) wells on an oxygen free copper disc for measurements. Step heating was performed using an energy controlled floating 30W CO2 laser system at 10.6 µm wavelength with a defocused beam at 3 mm diameter, followed by gas purification applying two AP10N getter pumps, one at room temperature and one at 400°C. Laser heating time was 5 minutes; cleaning time was 10 minutes per step. Ar isotope compositions were measured in static mode using a GV Instruments ARGUS noble gas mass spectrometer equipped with five faraday cups and 1012 Ohm resistors on mass positions 36-39 and a 1011 Ohm resistor on mass position 40. 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