Abstract

In southwestern Newfoundland, pelitic migmatites of the Meelpaeg Subzone of the Gander Zone are separated by faults and plutons from metasedimentary rocks of the Port-aux-Basques gneiss complex (PBGC). The PBGC is a polymetamorphic sequence of amphibolite-facies, pelitic, semipelitic, and psammitic rocks (and associated metabasic dykes). Maximum metamorphic grade surpassed the first sillimanite (i.e., staurolite-consuming) isograd. Metamorphic conditions approached 650–700 °C at Pmax approximately 6.5–8.5 kbar (1 kbar = 100 MPa).The Meelpaeg gneisses also include sillimanite-grade, two-mica rocks, but they lack the Barrovian mineralogy (e.g., kyanite, staurolite, rutile) characterizing parts of the PBGC. The Meelpaeg rocks attained temperatures similar to those of the PBGC, but confining pressure was substantially lower (approx. 4 kbar), indicating uplift from relatively shallow structural levels.Both groups of paragneisses also differ in some aspects of their bulk chemistry (notably CaO/K2O ratios) and their lithologic associations. The Meelpaeg metapelites are less calcic and relatively potassic (mean CaO/K2O = 0.32) compared with their counterparts in the PBGC (mean CaO/K2O = 1.12), but both groups of rocks have similar bulk Fet/(Fet + Mg) ratios (mean XFe ≈ 0.75). In contrast with the PBGC, which contains abundant metabasites and thin coticule-like (garnet + quartz) seams, the Meelpaeg metapelites are associated with biotite + garnet "tonalitic" gneiss and, despite their relatively lime-poor composition, calc-silicate layers and pods.In terms of contrasting lithologic associations and bulk chemistry, paragneiss of the PBGC is distinct from gneissic rocks in the Meelpaeg Subzone. This underscores difficulties in relating rocks in the Port-aux-Basques area to well-established lithotectonic entities elsewhere in Newfoundland. Despite apparent differences in their protoliths and contrasts in metamorphic pressure, available U–Pb data suggest that high-grade metamorphism in both areas occurred during the middle Silurian.

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