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Glastonbury Gneiss and mantling rocks (a modified Oliverian dome) in south-central Massachusetts and north-central Connecticut; geochemistry, petrogenesis, and isotopic age

January 1, 1994

The Glastonbury dome is a long, narrow structure trending approximately 70 km north-northeast through Connecticut and Massachusetts along the west side of the Bronson Hill anticlinorium. Structurally and stratigraphically the dome is analogous to the Oliverian domes of New Hampshire. It is cored by Glastonbury Gneiss and is mantled by Ammonoosuc Volcanics and Partridge Formation (or their equivalents) of Ordovician age. The Glastonbury Gneiss intrudes the Ammonoosuc and, thereby, establishes the relative age of the two units. Monson Gneiss, which unconformably underlies the Ammonoosuc Volcanics in the Monson anticline to the east, is not in contact with Glastonbury Gneiss except near Stafford Springs, Conn., where the contact may be gradational. In some places, Monson Gneiss shows evidence of plastic flow and potential anatexis. The northern part of the Glastonbury Gneiss typically is leucocratic, granoblastic, relatively potassium-poor gneiss that appears homogeneous in outcrop, but proves to be chemically and modally inhomogeneous over short distances, as shown by variation diagrams and REE plots. The gneiss straddles the compositional fields of trondhjemite, tonalite, and granodiorite, and partly overlaps that of Monson Gneiss. The southern part of the Glastonbury Gneiss is consistently more potassic than the northern, having compositions ranging from granite to granodiorite. All of the Glastonbury Gneiss show pervasive, strong foliation, deformation, and local shearing related to the Acadian orogeny.

Field relations, textures, and chemistry of the northern part of the Glastonbury suggest an origin by anatexis of the premetamorphic Monson sequence at temperatures of about 690 DC to 750 DC and pressures of <3kbars. The southern part of the Glastonbury appears to have been generated contemporaneously but not comagmatically from calcalkaline crust. U-Pb zircon ages for both the northern and southern bodies are slightly discordant with 207PbfosPb ages of 445 to 467 m.y. At first these results seem to contradict the known stratigraphic position of the Glastonbury relative to the Monson, which yields distinctly younger zircon 207PbfosPb ages of 428 to 440 m.y. However, this apparent discrepancy in the radiometric ages-younger Monson, older Glastonbury-could be resolved by postulating either (1) a small component of old inherited zircon in the Glastonbury or (2) preferential metamorphic overprinting of the zircon in the Monson. In any case, the isotopic age discrepancy is not so large as to render the proposed Monson anatectic model implausible. Rb-Sr whole-rock data show a large amount of scatter on an isochron diagram and hence do not permit a reliable estimate of age. This condition may reflect inhomogeneities in the initial 87S r /8SS r ratio or may have been also induced by later Acadian or Alleghanian metamorphism.

An early Silurian to Middle Ordovician age of the Glastonbury Gneiss gives evidence of higher heat flow and more extensive plutonism in the Taconic than has generally been recognized. With certain qualifications, the Glastonbury and associated volcanic rocks are compatible with recent plate-tectonic models involving the Bronson Hill anticlinorium.

Citation Information

Publication Year 1984
Title Glastonbury Gneiss and mantling rocks (a modified Oliverian dome) in south-central Massachusetts and north-central Connecticut; geochemistry, petrogenesis, and isotopic age
DOI 10.3133/pp1295
Authors G. W. Leo, R. E. Zartman, D.G. Brookins
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Professional Paper
Series Number 1295
Index ID pp1295
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization