Defining the timing, extent, and conditions of Paleozoic metamorphism in the southern Appalachian Blue Ridge terranes of Tennessee, North Carolina, and northern Georgia
The tectonometamorphic evolution of the southern Appalachians, which results from multiple Paleozoic orogenies (Taconic, Neoacadian, and Alleghanian), has lacked a consensus interpretation regarding its thermal-metamorphic history. The Blue Ridge terranes have remained the focus of the debate, with the interpreted timing of regional Barrovian metamorphism and associated deformation ranging from early (Taconic) to late Paleozoic (Alleghanian). New monazite U-Pb geochronology and thermobarometric data are integrated with previously reported geo- and thermochronology to delimit the Paleozoic thermal-metamorphic evolution of these terranes. Monazite compositional, textural, and U-Pb age systematics are remarkably consistent for all samples, yielding a single dominant age mode for each sample. The western, central, and eastern Blue Ridge terranes yield weighted mean monazite U-Pb ages of 450–441, 459–457, and 458–453 Ma, respectively. Thermodynamic modeling using mineral assemblages yields peak conditions of 600°C–650°C and 5.8–8.9 kbar for staurolite and kyanite grade western Blue Ridge units, including the stratigraphically youngest unit in the Murphy syncline, which also yields a weighted mean monazite U-Pb age of 441 Ma. The Taconic metamorphic core of the central Blue Ridge yields peak conditions of 775°C and ∼11.5 kbar. Combined, these ages indicate that the relatively intact Barrovian metamorphic progression mapped across the Blue Ridge of Tennessee, North Carolina, and northern Georgia is solely of Ordovician (Taconic) age. Synthesis of this new data with existing geo- and thermochronology support a model of Barrovian metamorphism resulting from construction of a Taconic accretionary wedge and subduction complex, followed by post-Taconic unroofing during Neoacadian and Alleghanian thrusting.
|Defining the timing, extent, and conditions of Paleozoic metamorphism in the southern Appalachian Blue Ridge terranes of Tennessee, North Carolina, and northern Georgia
|J. Ryan Thigpen, David P. Moecher, Harold H. Stowell, Arthur J. Merschat, Robert D. Hatcher, Nicholas Edwin Powell, Brandon M. Spencer, Calvin A. Mako, Elizabeth M. Bollen, Andrew R C Kylander-Clark
|USGS Publications Warehouse
|Florence Bascom Geoscience Center