Abstract

Single-grain ages of detrital muscovite from 15 sand(stone) samples from the Lower Carboniferous Horton Group and the Lower Cretaceous Chaswood Formation of central Nova Scotia were used to infer the nature of the Early Carboniferous unroofing of the Meguma terrane and the reworking of Carboniferous rocks in the Early Cretaceous. In the western Windsor Basin, a sample from the oldest Horton Group rocks yielded ages principally between ca. 400 and 380 Ma, suggesting that most of the muscovite present came from the metamorphic rocks of the Meguma terrane but was variably reset by the intrusion of the South Mountain Batholith at ca. 380 Ma. Other samples in this part of the basin show partial post-depositional resetting. Younger Horton Group metamorphic rocks in the eastern Windsor Basin contain many grains with ages of ca. 370–360 Ma, suggesting derivation from the central core of the South Mountain Batholith or the Musquodoboit Pluton. Horton Group sandstones from the western part of the St. Marys Basin contain muscovite derived from the Liscomb Complex along with metamorphic muscovite variably reset by the intrusion of this complex. In general, our data suggest predominant northward dispersion of muscovite from the Meguma terrane to the Horton Group and a lack of axial transport along the Horton grabens through central Nova Scotia, a pattern compatible with tectonic models in which the Meguma terrane is ramped over the Avalon terrane. Muscovite ages obtained for the Chaswood Formation compare well with those from the Horton Group rocks in the western St. Marys Basin. These rocks may have been exposed to rapid erosion by reactivation of the Cobequid–Chedabucto fault zone in the Early Cretaceous and the resulting sediments were perhaps transported to depositional sites along northeast-trending faults. Unlike the detrital monazites in these rocks, there is no evidence that any of the detrital muscovites came from distal sources outside the Meguma terrane.

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