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Abstract

The Blue Ridge and Piedmont provinces in the central Virginia Appalachians are underlain by Proterozoic and Paleozoic rocks that record multiple episodes of continental collision and rifting. This trip focuses on rocks and structures formed at the southeastern margin of Laurentia during: (1) the Mesoproterozoic assembly of Rodinia, (2) the Cryogenian to Ediacaran rifting that ultimately created the Iapetus Ocean, and (3) the Paleozoic deformation and metamorphism associated with the closure of the Iapetus Ocean and Appalachian orogenesis. A Neoproterozoic to Early Cambrian cover sequence records the transition from continental rifting to a passive margin, but the character of this sequence is vastly different on the eastern and western limbs of the Blue Ridge anticlinorium, reflecting spatial differences in both the timing and tectonics of the Iapetan rift. Blue Ridge rocks experienced NW-directed contractional deformation during the Neo-Acadian (355-330 Ma), whereas low-grade metasedimentary rocks in the western Piedmont were deformed and cooled prior to ca. 400 Ma. In central Virginia, the boundary between the eastern Blue Ridge and western Piedmont is a 3- to 5-km-wide zone of distributed dextral transpression.

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