Laboratory of Isotope Geology

Chen Wen


Details of the Faculty or Staff

Chen Wen

Address: Institute of Geology,Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences

Baiwanzhuang Road 26, Beijing, 100037 P.R. China

                   Tel.: 010-68999757


Education Experience

  • 9 / 1979 – 6 / 1984  China University of Science and Technology, specialized in geochemistry.; B.S.
  • 9 / 1999 – 6 / 2002  China University of Geosciences (Beijing), mineralogy, petrology, ore mineralogy.; Ph.D.

Professional Experience

8 / 1984 – 9 / 1988  worked in Institute of Geology of Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, engaged in Rb-Sr isotopic chronology experiment and application research; 1985-1988, responsible for the management of Rb-Sr chronology laboratory

2 / 1988 – 5 / 1989  engaged in chronological experimental technology in Languedoc University of Science and Technology in France 

1989 – present  Institute of Geology of Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences.; research assistant, associate researcher, researcher, doctoral tutor 

10 / 1990 – 11 / 2003  China Geological Society isotope geology professional committee and member and Secretary-General of the third and fourth term.; member and secretary 

10 / 1994 – 8 / 1998  The ninth international isotope geology chronology, cosmic chronology and isotope geology Conference Organizing Committee.; member 

2013  The sixth isotope geology professional committee of the Chinese Geological Society, and member of the Committee of Isotope Geochemistry of China Mineral Rock Geochemistry Society.; member and deputy director 


Research interests

(1)isotopic chronology

(2)thermal chronology

(3)Rare gas isotope dating method research and thermal chronology technical method research

(4)Study on the orogenic process of the orogenic belt and uplift erosive history (Take Tianshan Mountains, Sanjiang region in Southwest China, the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and Altun Mountains as the main research base)

(5)Study on the exothermic chronology of the metallogenic process and uplift and exhumation process of metal deposits (gold, copper and iron ore as the main research objects)

(6)The study of the occurrence, development and extinction of important paleontology

(7)The study of tectonic-thermal evolution history of oil-bearing sedimentary basins (the Tarim Basin, Turpan-Hami Basin, Qaidam Basin and Songliao Basin as the main research base)

Awards and Honors, Academic posts

  1. First prize of Science and Technology Achievement Award the Ministry of Land and Resources 

Scientific Research Projects

(1)Isotopic chronology, thermal chronology technical methods research results

(2)In the early nineties of last century, took the lead in the research of laser micro-area Ar-Ar dating in China, and in 1994, built the first laser micro-probe Ar-Ar micro-dating laboratory in China;

(3)led postgraduates to carry out the isotopic dating technique of sedimentary rocks, and established the experimental process of separation and purification of autogenous illite from sedimentary rocks and conventional Ar-Ar dating

(4)led the research team to carry out (U-Th) / He isotope dating technology in China, established the first non-diluent method and thinner method (U-Th) / He Dating Laboratory in China's in 2009 and 2013 respectively; at the end of 2014, established China's first zircon (U-Th)/ He Dating Laboratory. 

(5)Research results of development of standard materials and isotope basic theory

(6)Successfully developed the new generation argon-argon age standard material, also made good progress in the development of the Paleozoic argon-argon age standard material, zircon and apatite (U-Th)/ He isotope dating standard materials;

(7)studied the causes of excess argon in high pressure muscovite and obtained some new knowledge: ① high pressure muscovite does not contain excess argon in high-pressure metamorphic positive gneisses and eclogites with carbonate rocks being the surrounding rocks, which can be used for Ar-Ar isotope dating analysis; ② there is a positive correlation between the occurrence of excess argon in high pressure muscovite and Mg / (Mg + Fe), but negatively correlated with Na / (K + Na); ③ the experimental results negate the international argument about the excess argon in the high pressure muscovite coming from fluid. It is tentatively determined that the excess argonite of the polysilica in the eclogite is mainly inherited from the inside during the high pressure-UHP metamorphism process. 

(8)Research results of important tectonic belt (orogenic belt) isotopic chronology and thermal chronology

(9)The Ar-Ar isotopic chronology of the large-scale ductile shear zone in the eastern Tianshan orogenic belt: ① The upper limit of the age of the ductile shear zone is determined to be 280Ma; ② The strike slip shear deformation of the ductile shear zone in later period occurred in 263Ma-243Ma; ③ It is found that in the different sections of the shear zone there is discrepant uplifting, the maximum difference of uplifting of the eastern section and the western section in time of uplifting is 20Ma. 

(10)Geological evolution of the northern part of the Paleo-tethys (southwest Sanjiang region): ① reshaped the evolution process of the Paleo-tethys Jinsha River oceanic basin: paleo-tethyan oceanic basin opens progressively from the southeast to the northwest like scissors, and oceanic basin expansion lasts nearly 100Ma; oceanic basin closure takes place from the southern section to the north progressively, with the south closing before the late Permian at the soonest and the northern region closing in the late Triassic; survival time of the Paleo-tethys Jinsha River ocean is more than 150Ma. ② After the establishment of era framework: 206Ma of the collisional orogenic events in the northern part of Paleo-tethys, the northern part of paleo-tethyan ocean enters the continental evolutionary stage of the collision orogeny, 195-190 Ma; the collisional orogenic period metamorphism (deformation) enters the peak stage, around188Ma, and Mesozoic orogenic events in the region are basically over. ③ Through large-scale fine chronology analysis, it is found that the Cenozoic magmatic activity takes place from the northwest section to the south section in the west of Xijr Ulan-Jinsha River suture zone and its surroundings, indicating geological evolution events extruded from the Cenozoic to the southeast in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. 

(11)Research on late-Cenozoic uplift history in south-eastern Tibetan plateau: through Ar-Ar thermochronology research, it is discovered that as of late Cenozoic, episodic uplifting actions happened in the south-eastern Tibetan plateau in 10.1Ma, 5.7Ma-4.4Ma and about 3.6Ma respectively.

(12)Research on isotope chronology of geological evolution in northern Tibetan plateau as of Mesozoic: by multiple means of isotopic dating, it relatively accurately dates multi-period geological incidents, e.g. plate sub-ducting, terrain patching and collision as well as inner continental evolution, etc. occurred in northern Tibetan plateau as of Mesozoic and initially establishes the isotope chronology frame of geological evolution in northern Tibetan plateau as of Mesozoic.

(13)Research on the forming and evolution of Altun Tagh fault belt: through systematic isotope chronology study, it confirms the forming age (240-220Ma) of Alltun Tagh fault belt and the three periods of late activity age (157-140Ma; 120-90Ma; as of 45Ma)

(14)Research on the subduction action of South Tianshan ocean in Paleozoic Era: through systematic petrology, geochemistry and isotope chronology study, it is considered that a south-north bilateral subduction existed in South Tianshan ocean in Paleozoic, and the southward one is a short-term, impulse type or batch type normal high-angle subduction process, ending in Middle Devonian while the northward one is a long-term and multi-stage subduction.

(15)Research on tectono – thermal evolution history in Hongyun beach area, East Tianshan Mountains: it is discovered that the Hongyun beach area of East Tianshan Mountains experienced a very slow uplifting and cooling process as a whole as of late Carboniferous epoch, of which, the uplift rate from Triassic epoch to Eocene epoch was only 20 micron per year, which showed that this area kept stability continuously. As of the Eocene epoch, impacted by the far-field effect of Indo-Asian collision, the uplift rate of Hongyun beach area of East Tianshan Mountains obviously accelerated, leading to an overburden blasting. 

(16)Research on tectono – thermal evolution history in the middle section of South Tianshan Mountains: the thermo-chronology shows that the middle section of South Tianshan Mountains had experienced 5 different tectono – thermal evolution stages from late Paleozoic up to now, including two most typical stages: the silent period of early-stage geological movement from middle Permian to Eocene epoch and the quick uplift and erosion period as of Eocene epoch of Cenozoic. As of the Eocene epoch, the denudation quantity of middle section of South Tianshan Mountains had exceeded 3km, the fierce uplift of this stage subjected to the far-field effect of Indo-Asian collision.

(17)Research on the tectono – thermal evolution history in the Kuqa Basin in Eocene epoch: he led the research team subtly limit the quick uplift incidents of Kuqa River area in late Miocene (~ 6 Ma) and the starting time and denudation range of typical tectonic belt of northern Kuqa Basin in Eocene epoch; in addition, it is discovered that the thrust-fold belt had uplift and denudation phenomenon in Eocene epoch, and on this basis, it established the temporal spatial pattern of uplift or deformation of northern Kuqa Basin in Eocene epoch. (10) The activity time limit of Ailao Mountains- Red River shear belt was re-determined by the isotope thermochronology theory and technology: ① it is proved that the sinistral strike-slip ductile shear action of Ailao Mountains- Red River shear belt happened in about 45Ma, and upon ductile shear action, it quickly uplifted to 5-7km underground, and stayed or extremely slowly uplifted in following about 25Ma time scope; ② the Ailao Mountains- Red River shear belt started quick uplift in about 20Ma and its uplift range exceeded 7km in less than 1Ma; ③ the thermochronology and other multi-evidences showed that a significant change of tectonic system happened in Ailao Mountains tectonic belt in about 20Ma that it changed to vertical uplift movement from long-term horizontal movement and it gradually changed the  sinistral strike-slip ductile shear to dextral strike-slip – traction fracture.

(18)Research achievement of the metallogenetic epoch and cause of important metallic mineral deposit

(19)He studied the epochs of over thirty domestic metallic mineral deposits and the causes of part mineral deposits dependently or jointly, the representative results were as follows:

(20)It was confirmed that the main metallogenetic epochs of shear belt gold deposit (Kanggul, Matoutan, Hongshi, Hongshan, etc. gold ore) in copper-gold polymetallic metallogenic belt of East Tianshan Mountains were between 261Ma -247Ma and showed that a strong time-dependent coupling relationship existed between the shear deformation action and mineralization action of metallic mineral deposit;

(21)through analysis of laser microprobe Ar-Ar dating on the hydrothermal alteration clay mineral of Changkengin central Guangdong province in main metallogenic epoch, the age of main metallogenic epoch of the gold ore was confirmed in about 110Ma;

(22)through analysis of Ar-Ar chronology research on the rare metal area of Altay Keketuohai and rare matal and gem ore of Azubai, it was discovered that Yanshanian diagenetic mineralization incindent happened in Altay orogenic belt; (4) through Ar-Ar dating analysis on the valencianite contained in gold-ore sample, it limited the main metallogenic epoch of the low-sulfur type epithermal gold deposit in Shiyingtan of East Tianshan Mountains was 285Ma

(23)it determined, through research, the Jianshan iron mine and Wutonggou iron mine in Jueluotage tectonic belt of East Tianshan Mountains were all deposition-dynamometamorphism (hydrotherm) reformed iron ore, and the Ar-Ar dating analysis on metallogenic epoch of biotite limited the two late dynamometamorphism (hydrotherm) reformation metallogenic actions the iron ore experienced respectively happened in ~300Ma (over-thrust-shear metamorphic and deformational events in corresponding areas) and ~267Ma (the geological events in corresponding area were strike-slip metamorphic and deformational events);

(24)the research affirmed that the metallogenic type of the Xiaorequanzi copper mine of East Tianshan Mountains was volcanic cascade deposition – magmatic hydrothermal enrichment superimposition and reformation ore deposit, its mineralogentic epoch of early-stage volcanic cascade deposition was in about 400Ma and the late magmatic hydrothermal enrichment superimposition and reformation action happened in about 265-270Ma;

(25)it re-determined the mineralogenetic epoch and process of Yangla copper deposit: during 239Ma~227Ma, the rock mass in Yangla copper deposit experienced a slowly-cooling process of 12Ma in high-temperature section which provided favorable temperature conditions and enough time for enrichment of ore-forming metal elements and lay a material foundation for mineralization. In about 227Ma, the geologic body in the section played quick uplift and cooling action, and the Yangla copper deposit entered into the main mineralization stage; (8) it re-determined the causes and epochs of Laoweangzhai gold deposit of Ailaoshan gold mineralization belt: Laowangzhai gold deposit was a compound type deposit mineralized in two phases and it mineralized early in Paleotethys stage which was a shear belt gold deposit subjected to tectonic conditions and its mineralogenetic epoch was between 260 and 288Ma. In later period, strongly influenced by tectonic superposition and alkaline magma activities in the area in Cenozoic, it reformed and mineralized, and the epoch of reformation and mineralization was in about 35Ma-45Ma.

(26)Research results of Mesozoic continental facies biota and related stratigraphic age

(27)It precisely determined the stratigraphic ages (125.2Ma) of Jehol biota rare fossils in Sihetun of Northwest Liaoning, including Sinosauropteryx and confuciusornis, etc. as Early Cretaceous Epoch

(28)it limited the isotopic ages of Yixian FM volcanic in 132Ma-120Ma and identified the volcanic activities in three periods. In the meanwhile, the age of 132Ma confirmed the lower limit of the Jehol Biota epoch

(29)the system tested the age of Daohugou fossil-bearing beds and affirmed that the Daohugou biota belonged to Yanliao biota

(30)at hundred meters from the upside of J-K boundary line, south Lake Yamzho Yumco, Ngarzhag County, Tibet, it measured the precise stratigraphic age of 136Ma, which provided a new age basis for the confirmation of J-K boundary line epoch.


Published more than 180 academic papers (including being the first author and corresponding author of more than 60 articles), two monographs (co-authored), 14 independent research reports.