Abstract

New 40Ar/39Ar mineral ages from rocks collected west of Penobscot Bay, Maine, indicate this region was regionally deformed, metamorphosed to amphibolite facies conditions, and intruded by plutons in Silurian times rather than in the Devonian as previously assumed. Disturbed hornblende age spectra, along with the presence of some Devonian felsic plutons and extensive retrograde metamorphic textures do suggest, however, that these rocks were subsequently affected by low-grade Devonian thermal events. In sharp contrast, rocks west of the Sennebec Pond thrust fault, a major tectono-stratigraphic boundary in this region, lack a significant Silurian tectono-thermal signature, and instead record the effects of intense Devonian deformation and high-grade regional metamorphism. The data suggest the two regions experienced very different pre-Devonian histories and were most likely juxtaposed by the Sennebec Pond thrust fault in latest Silurian to Early Devonian time. Rocks now exposed east of the Sennebec Pond fault probably occupied much higher structural levels during Devonian orogenesis and were not subjected to the same intense Devonian deformation and metamorphism as those rocks now found to the west of this structure. The Silurian tectonism now recognized in this region bears striking resemblance to events of similar age recorded along the northwest margin of the Avalon composite terrane throughout much of Atlantic Canada. This greatly extends the zone of Silurian orogenesis in the northern Appalachians and requires that previous models of New England middle Paleozoic tectonism be significantly revised.

You do not currently have access to this article.