Abstract

Whole-rock Rb–Sr isochron ages from nine granitic plutons that intrude the Central Mobile Belt and the Avalon Zone of Newfoundland are consistent with the view that most of the magmatic activity for this segment of the Appalachian Orogen is related to the Acadian Orogeny. Most of the granites are between 400 Ma and 340 Ma old, although two from the Avalon Zone are significantly different. One, the foliated Swift Current granite, is late Cambrian – early Ordovician (500 ± 30 Ma), whereas the other, the peralkaline St. Lawrence granite, is Carboniferous (315 ± 5 Ma).Several foliated granites from the Gander Zone of the Central Mobile Belt, formerly considered to be older than Mid-Ordovician, are Silurian or Devonian in age. Five megacrystic biotite granites have ages ranging between 420 ± 20 Ma and 340 ± 10 Ma, and a leucocratic granite, the Middle Ridge Pluton, gives an age of 370 ± 15 Ma. None of the granites from the Gander Zone is older than 420 ± 20 Ma, and geochronological evidence for a Precambrian basement in the Central Mobile Belt has still to be found.The initial 87Sr/86Sr ratios show no correlation with age, although the initial ratio of 0.722 for the St. Lawrence granite is much higher than the ratios of between 0.704 and 0.709 for the other granites; this high ratio is consistent with derivation of the granite by partial melting of the continental crust.The isotopic data impose certain constraints on models proposed for the evolution of Newfoundland, the most important being: (i) extensive Devonian magmatism; (ii) intense post-400 Ma cataclasis; (iii) generation of petrographically similar granites at different times; and (iv) Carboniferous magmatism.

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