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Recognition of the timing of peak metamorphism in the eastern Blue Ridge (ca. 460 Ma), Inner Piedmont (ca. 360 Ma), and Carolina terrane (ca. 540 Ma) has been critical in discerning the history of the collage of terranes in the hinterland of the southern Appalachian orogen. The Inner Piedmont consists of two terranes: the Tugaloo terrane, which is an Ordovician plutonic arc intruding thinned Laurentian crust and Iapetus, and the Cat Square paragneiss terrane, which is interpreted here as a Silurian basin that formed as the recently accreted (ca. 455 Ma) Carolina terrane rifted from Laurentia and was transferred to an oceanic plate. The recognition of an internal Salinic basin and associated magmatism in the southern Appalachian hinterland agrees with observations in the New England and Maritime Appalachians. Structural analysis in the Tugaloo terrane requires the Inner Piedmont to be restored to its pre-Carboniferous location, near the New York promontory. At this location, the Catskill and Pocono clastic wedges were deposited in the Devonian and Mississippian, respectively. Between the two wedges, an enigmatic formation (Spechty Kopf and its correlative equivalent Rockwell Formation) was deposited. Polymictic diamictites within this unit contain compositionally immature exotic clasts that may prove to have been derived from the Inner Piedmont. Following deposition of the Spechty Kopf and Rockwell Formations, the Laurentian margin became a right-lateral transform plate boundary. This continental-margin transform was subsequently modified and translated northwest above the Alleghanian Appalachian décollement. Thus, several critical recent observations presented here inspire a new model for the Silurian through Mississippian terrane dispersal and orogeny that defines southern Appalachian terrane geometry prior to emplacement of the Blue Ridge–Inner Piedmont–Carolina–other internal terranes as crystalline thrust sheets.

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