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Evolution of Grenville massifs in the Blue Ridge geologic province, southern and central Appalachians

By
Mervin J. Bartholomew
Mervin J. Bartholomew
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Sharon E. Lewis
Sharon E. Lewis
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Published:
January 01, 1984

Within the southern and central Appalachians, Grenville-age basement rocks are found in major massifs in the Blue Ridge and Sauratown Mountains anticlinoria and in the vicinity of the Grandfather Mountain window. These massifs are, respectively, Pedlar and Lovingston Massifs in the Blue Ridge anticlinorium, Sauras Massif in the Sauratown Mountains anticlinorium, and Watauga, Globe, and Elk River Massifs near the Grandfather Mountain window. In central Virginia the Lovingston Massif is juxtaposed against the Pedlar Massif, and in northwestern North Carolina-southwestern Virginia, the Elk River Massif is thrust over the Globe and Watauga Massifs, all along faults of the Fries fault system, which includes the Rockfish Valley, Fork Ridge, Devil’s Fork, and Linville Falls faults, as well as the Fries fault per se. The Pedlar Massif is a deeper granulite facies country-rock terrane intruded by charnockite plutonic suites. The Lovingston Massif primarily is a shallower granulite/amphibolite facies terrane intruded by biotite dioritoid plutonic suites containing bodies of charnockite. Country rocks of the Watauga Massif were subjected to metamorphic conditions similar to those of the Lovingston Massif, but were intruded by a plutonic suite of biotite dioritoid, biotite granitoid, and granitoid. The Elk River, Globe, and Sauras Massifs all are terranes metamorphosed to amphibolite facies and intruded by granitoid/dioritoid suites containing some porphyritic biotite dioritoid phases. A suite of late Precambrian (post-Grenville) peralkaline granitoid plutons intruded all of the massifs except the Pedlar. These plutons presumably are related to upper Precambrian volcanic rocks that were associated with a rifting environment and that were later metamorphosed and deformed along with overlying sedimentary rocks to form part of the Appalachian orogenic belt.

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