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Abstract

The Inner Piedmont extends from North Carolina to Alabama and comprises the Neoacadian (360–345 Ma) orogenic core of the southern Appalachian orogen. Bordered to west by the Blue Ridge and the exotic Carolina superterrane to the east, the Inner Piedmont is cored by an extensive region of migmatitic, sillimanite-grade rocks. It is a composite of the peri-Laurentian Tugaloo terrane and mixed Laurentian and peri-Gondwanan affinity Cat Square terrane, which are exposed in several gentle-dipping thrust sheets (nappes). The Cat Square terrane consists of Late Silurian to Early Devonian pelitic schist and metagraywacke intruded by several Devonian to Mississippian peraluminous granitoids, and juxtaposed against the Tugaloo terrane by the Brindle Creek fault. This field trip through the North Carolina Inner Piedmont will examine the lithostratigraphies of the Tugaloo and Cat Square terranes, deformation associated with Brindle Creek fault, Devonian-Mississippian granitoids and charnockite of the Cat Square terrane, pervasive amphibolite-grade Devonian-Mississippian (Neoacadian) deformation and metamorphism throughout the Inner Piedmont, and existence of large crystalline thrust sheets in the Inner Piedmont. Consistent with field observations, geochronology and other data, we have hypothesized that the Carolina superterrane collided obliquely with Laurentia near the Pennsylvania embayment during the Devonian, overrode the Cat Square terrane and Laurentian margin, and squeezed the Inner Piedmont out to the west and southwest as an orogenic channel buttressed against the footwall of the Brevard fault zone.

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