Abstract

40Ar/39Ar dating of whole-rock samples and muscovite separates using age spectrum analysis, and of single muscovite grains using total fusion analysis, yields new insights into the timing of regional metamorphism and sediment provenance in the Late Devonian – Early Carboniferous Horton Group in the Lochaber–Mulgrave area of Nova Scotia. The time of regional metamorphism is constrained to ca. 340–335 Ma by whole-rock spectra from well-cleaved slate and shale samples from the lowermost Clam Harbour River and overlying Tracadie Road formations of the Horton Group. This ca. 340–335 Ma event may have been the result of burial and deformation of the Horton Group by older volcanic and sedimentary rocks of the Guysborough Group, which were overthrust from the south as the result of development of a positive flower structure at a restraining bend along the Cobequid–Chedabucto fault system, the boundary between the Meguma and Avalon terranes. Detrital muscovite ages of ca. 410–380 and ca. 500 Ma were obtained from single-grain analysis and from spectral analysis of separated grains. Whole-rock spectra for two samples from a mylonitic metasedimentary unit in the Cape Porcupine Complex yielded plateau ages of 364 ± 4 and 367 ± 4 Ma, providing a likely source for ca. 370–360 Ma detrital muscovite, ages that may be reflected in some of the age spectrum data. However, the Meguma terrane to the south is the most likely source for most of the detrital muscovite.

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