Abstract

We report single-grain ages for detrital muscovite separated from sandstone samples from five localities in southern New Brunswick and southeastern Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, and from two quartzite clasts from a quartzite-pebble conglomerate that underlies the sampled sandstone units in New Brunswick. The oldest detrital grains were found in one of the quartzite clasts; their age range, ca. 650−630 Ma, is defined not only by the single-grain analyses but also by spot dating (using a UV laser) within a single large grain, suggesting that these grains came from a single source. The second quartzite clast has a blastomylonitic fabric with muscovite “fish,” and most of the muscovite ages have been partially reset (at ca. 550 Ma) from the original ca. 650–630 Ma ages. The age distribution plots obtained for the sandstone samples suggest the presence of muscovite that still retains the original source age, but most of the grains have been partially reset by the same ca. 550 Ma event that reset muscovite ages in the second quartzite clast. We suggest that the quartzite source that produced the two clasts was also the source of muscovite in the Avalonian Cambrian rocks of Maritime Canada. The original source rock was likely a metamorphic or perhaps granitic rock unit situated relatively proximal to the site of deposition of the quartzite protolith, but the actual source is not known, and locally, no potential candidates are exposed. The resetting event at ca. 550 Ma may be linked to initial stages of regional transtension associated with rifting of Avalonia from Gondwana.

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