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P-T-t paths and differential Alleghanian loading and uplift of the Bronson Hill terrane south central New England

January 1, 2003

Late Paleozoic U-Pb ages of sphene and 40Ar/39Ar cooling ages of amphibole and muscovite from rocks of the Bronson Hill terrane in Connecticut and central Massachusetts reflect a late Paleozoic (Alleghanian) overprint on Acadian metamorphic rocks. Prograde Alleghanian sphenes crystallized during the Late Pennsylvanian, and eliminate the possibility that amphibole ages reflect delayed Permian cooling from Devonian Acadian metamorphism. Fourteen new amphibole ages from Connecticut form a north-to-south trend of decreasing age from 294 to 245 Ma, while in Massachusetts four new amphibole ages together with three others from the literature produce a random Carboniferous pattern. Seven new muscovite ages support existing data indicating uniform cooling throughout the Bronson Hill terrane through ∼350°C in the Early Triassic. The rate of Permian cooling defined by amphibole-muscovite pairs increases from ∼4°C/my in northern Connecticut to ∼50°C/my near Long Island Sound.

Hinged loading and hinged but delayed exhumation in the southern part of the Bronson Hill terrane (with the hinge in central Connecticut) explain these ages and cooling rates as well as a southerly increasing metamorphic field gradient. One-dimensional thermal modeling indicates that loading of Bronson Hill rocks must have begun by the Late Mississippian. The time of peak Alleghanian metamorphic temperature decreases southward from Early Permian in northern Connecticut to Late Permian to the south. These results demonstrate that the metamorphic effects of the Alleghanian orogeny are not restricted to the Avalon terrane of southeastern New England. On the contrary, the Alleghanian orogeny reset 40Ar/39Ar mineral ages, recrystallized minerals, partially melted felsic rocks, and transposed fabrics at least as far west as the Bronson Hill terrane in south-central New England.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2003
Title P-T-t paths and differential Alleghanian loading and uplift of the Bronson Hill terrane south central New England
DOI 10.2475/ajs.303.5.410
Authors R. P. Wintsch, Michael J. Kunk, J.L. Boyd, J. N. Aleinikoff
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title American Journal of Science
Series Number
Index ID 70025647
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization