Long-lived association between Avalonia and the Meguma terrane deduced from zircon geochronology of metasedimentary granulites

J. Gregory Shellnutt, J. Victor Owen, Meng Wan Yeh, Jaroslav Dostal, Dieu T. Nguyen

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The Acadian Orogeny of the Northern Appalachians was caused by accretion of the peri-Gondwanan terranes Avalonia and Meguma to the eastern margin of Laurentia during the Devonian. The lithotectonic relationship between Avalonia and Meguma prior to accretion is uncertain. Radioisotopic dating of detrital zircons from metasedimentary granulite xenoliths from the structural basement to the Meguma terrane indicates that Avalonia and Meguma were proximal and likely contiguous as they transited the Rheic Ocean. The zircon ages range from the Cryogenian to Late Silurian with a minor Paleoproterozoic peak. Mesoproterozoic zircons are also identified and, coupled with the Ordovician to Silurian zircons, distinguish the rocks from those of the Meguma terrane. Furthermore, three distinct metamorphic events are identified at 399.0 ± 2.1 Ma, 376.9 ± 1.6 Ma, and 353.8 ± 3.3 Ma. We conclude that the granulite facies metamorphism experienced by the metasedimentary rocks occurred 10 to 20 million years after deposition of their protoliths during the initial stages of the Acadian Orogeny whereas the younger events are related to syn- and post-collisional episodes. The implication is that Avalonia and the Meguma terrane jointly transited from Gondwana.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4065
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Dec 1


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