Abstract

The Caledonian Highlands of southern New Brunswick consist of Late Proterozoic to Cambrian rocks generally considered typical of the Avalon terrane of the northern Appalachian Orogen. Mainly tuffaceous volcanic and sedimentary rocks of the Broad River Group and cogenetic dioritic to granitic plutons with ages ca. 620 Ma form most of the eastern Caledonian Highlands. They have petrological features indicative of origin in a continental margin subduction zone. Significantly younger ca. 560–550 Ma dacitic to rhyolitic lapilli tuffs and flows, laminated tuffaceous siltstone, basaltic and rhyolitic flows, and clastic sedimentary rocks of the Coldbrook Group form most of the western highlands, and occur locally throughout the highlands. The mainly tuffaceous lower part of the group has been intruded by gabbroic and syenogranitic plutons that are interpreted to be cogenetic with basaltic and rhyolitic flows in the upper part of the group. This voluminous subaerial magmatism may have formed during postorogenic extension in the earlier ca. 620 Ma subduction zone complex represented by the Broad River Group and associated plutons. This tectono-magmatic model differs from other interpretations that related most of the igneous units to ca. 630–600 Ma subduction, and did not recognize the importance of ca. 560–550 Ma magmatism. The ca 620 Ma subduction-related volcanic and plutonic rocks of the Caledonian Highlands are comparable to units in other parts of the Avalon terrane, but voluminous ca. 560–550 Ma igneous activity like that represented by the Coldbrook Group and related plutons has not been documented yet in other Avalonian areas.

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