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The Cat Square terrane: Possible Siluro-Devonian remnant ocean basin in the Inner Piedmont, southern Appalachians, USA

By
Arthur J. Merschat
Arthur J. Merschat
Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and Science Alliance Center of Excellence, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee 37996-1410, USA
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Robert D. Hatcher, Jr.
Robert D. Hatcher, Jr.
Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and Science Alliance Center of Excellence, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee 37996-1410, USA
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Published:
January 01, 2007

The Inner Piedmont is a large, composite, sillimanite-grade terrane that extends from near the Virginia–North Carolina border to central Alabama and consists of the eastern Tugaloo and Cat Square terranes. It is bound to the west by the Brevard fault zone and to the east by the central Piedmont suture. It is the core of the Neoacadian (360–350 Ma) orogen in the southern Appalachians and records Late Devonian–Mississippian closure and high-grade metamorphism (sillimanite I and II) of Siluro-Devonian sediments deposited in the remnant Rheic ocean basin.

The Cat Square terrane is bounded by the younger-over-older Brindle Creek fault to the west and the central Piedmont suture to the east. It consists of a unique sequence of Siluro-Devonian metapsammite and pelitic schist that was intruded by Devonian anatectic granitoids (Toluca Granite, ∼378 Ma, and Walker Top Granite, ∼366 or ∼407 Ma). Rare mafic and ultramafic rocks occur in the eastern Cat Square terrane. Minimum sediment thickness is estimated at 4 km (13,000 ft). Detrital zircons indicate that Cat Square terrane rocks have a maximum age of ∼430 Ma, with both Laurentian (2.8, 1.8, 1.4, 1.1 Ga) and peri-Gondwanan (600, 500 Ma) affinities. Deposition on oceanic crust explains the existence of several mafic and ultramafic bodies and the absence of continental basement in the Cat Square terrane. The Cat Square terrane petrotectonic assemblage represents a Siluro-Devonian remnant ocean basin between Laurentia and the approaching Carolina superterrane. Metapsammite and pelitic schist may represent turbidites shed from approaching tectonic highlands on both flanks of the closing ocean. Palinspastic restoration of the Inner Piedmont constrains the location of the Cat Square basin to the Pennsylvania embayment, and links the mid-Devonian to Mississippian deformation in the Neoacadian core to the SW-migrating pulses of the diachronous Acadian-Neoacadian clastic wedge. Location and SW migration of the clastic wedge in concert with structural patterns in the Inner Piedmont support a transpressive NW-directed collision of the Carolina superterrane with the New York promontory and zippering the basin shut from NE to SW.

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GSA Memoirs

4-D Framework of Continental Crust

Robert D. Hatcher, Jr.
Robert D. Hatcher, Jr.
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Marvin P. Carlson
Marvin P. Carlson
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John H. McBride
John H. McBride
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José R. Martínez Catalán
José R. Martínez Catalán
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Geological Society of America
Volume
200
ISBN print:
9780813712000
Publication date:
January 01, 2007

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