In the Cobequid Highlands of Nova Scotia, low-grade late Precambrian arc-related volcano-sedimentry rocks typical of the Avalon Composite Terrane overlie platformal metasedimentry rocks and are spatially associated with gneisses previously considered to be basement to both these units. U–Pb zircon dates of 580–587 Ma from an orthogneiss and an amphibolite are similar to the U–Pb zircon dates of 580–610 Ma from both syntectonic granites in ductile shear zones and high-level posttectonic plutons that intruded the Avalonian successions. Hence, the gneisses do not represent basement but are an integral part of the Avalonian orogenic cycle. The geochronological data indicate that penetrative fabrics in the gneisses, syntectonic granites, and volcano-sedimentary successions are penecontemporaneous (ca. 580–620 Ma) and not sequential, as previously interpreted. The gneisses have a metamorphic fabric (S1a), crystallized under amphibolite-facies conditions, and may represent the deeper roots of a late Precambrian magmatic arc. Fabrics within the deformed granite gneisses (S1b) are interpreted as reflecting crystallization within active ductile shear zones associated with intra-arc transtension and basin development. Fabrics in the volcano-sedimentary successions (S1c) are associated with deformation of the basin.

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