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The Cosoltepec Formation consists of unfossiliferous phyllites and psammites with tectonic slices of basalt and forms a major part of the Acatlán Complex of southern México. It has traditionally been interpreted as part of either a Cambro-Ordovician accretionary prism or a passive margin deposited in the Iapetus Ocean. Although no reliable age data are available from the basaltic slices, their widespread tectonic interleaving with the Cosoltepec Formation suggests that some of the sedimentary rocks were originally deposited directly on the ocean-floor basalts. The age of the Cosoltepec metasediments ranges from Ordovician to uppermost Devonian (oldest unconformably overlying sediments: uppermost Devonian). The mafic rocks have been affected by greenschist- to sub-greenschist-facies metamorphism. The geochemistry indicates that they are mainly mid-ocean ridge basalt (MORB) tholeiites with flat or depleted rare earth element (REE) patterns and resemble MORB derived from heterogeneous sources. Another minor group consists of ocean island basalts and andesites, which have distinctly fractionated REE patterns, whereas their mantle-normalized trace element patterns do not show Nb-Ta or Ti negative anomalies. Thus, these mafic rocks appear to represent oceanic lavas that were tectonically incorporated into the clastic rocks of the Cosoltepec Formation during deformation that started immediately prior to deposition of late Fammenian sedimentary rocks and continued into the Mis-sissippian. Tectonic juxtaposition of these rocks with eclogitic rocks suggests that the deformation was related to exhumation following subduction: the Cosoltepec Formation and its mafic lenses derived from the overriding plate, whereas the eclogitic rocks represent parts of the subducting plate. The probable Middle Ordovician–Middle Devonian age of the oceanic rocks together with their initial deformation during the Devonian–Carboniferous suggest that they represent vestiges of the Rheic Ocean.

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