Abstract

Volcanic–sedimentary facies and structural relationships of the Silurian Springdale Group in west-central Newfoundland are indicative of a large collapse caldera with an area of more than 2000 km2. Basaltic flows, andesite flows and pyroclastic rocks, silicic ash-flow tuffs, high-silica rhyolite domes, and volcanically derived debris flows and breccias, fluviatile red sandstones, and conglomerates make up the group. It is bounded on the east and west by up-faulted basement rocks, which include gneisses, amphibolites, and pillow lavas, and in the northwest it unconformably overlies Lower Orodovician submarine volcanics. These margins are intruded by cogenetic and younger granitoid rocks. The volcanic rocks form a calc-alkaline series, although gaps in silica content at 52–56, 67–68, and 73–74% separate them into four groups: basalts, andesites–dacites, rhyolites, and high-silica rhyolites.The high-silica rhyolites are chemically comparable to melts thought to form the upper parts of large, layered silicic magma chambers of epicontinental regions. Such an environment is also suggested by the large area of the Springdale caldera and the fact that it is one of a number of calderas that make up a large Silurian volcanic field in western Newfoundland. An epicontinental tectonothermal environment for central Newfoundland in Silurian–Devonian times is readily explained by the fact that this magmatic activity followed a period of destruction and closure of the early Paleozoic Iapetus Ocean, with trapped heat and basaltic magma causing large-scale melting of thickened and subducted continental crust in an overall transpressional tectonic regime.

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