Abstract

The ∼470 Ma Ammonoosuc Volcanics of the Bronson Hill terrane of New Hampshire have back-arc basin basalt compositions. Major and trace element compositions compare favorably to coeval volcanic rocks in the Miramichi Highlands of New Brunswick and the Munsangan and Casco Bay volcanics of Maine, back-arc basin basalts of known peri-Gondwanan origins. Additionally, the Ammonoosuc Volcanics have Nd and Pb isotopic compositions indicative of peri-Gondwanan provenance. Thus, the Ammonoosuc Volcanics correlate with Middle Ordovician, peri-Gondwanan, Tetagouche–Exploits back-arc rocks of eastern New England and Maritime Canada. This correlation indicates that the Red Indian Line, the principle Iapetus suture, lies along the western margin of the Bronson Hill terrane. However, the younger (∼450 Ma) Oliverian Plutonic Suite rocks that intruded the Ammonoosuc Volcanics, forming domes along the core of the Bronson Hill anticlinorium, have Laurentian isotopic signatures. This suggests that the Ammonoosuc Volcanics were thrust westwardly over the Laurentian margin, and that Laurentian basement rocks are present under the Bronson Hill terrane. A plausible explanation for these relationships is that an easterly dipping subduction zone formed the Ammonoosuc Volcanics in the Tetagoughe–Exploits oceanic tract, just east of the coeval Popelogan arc. With the closure of the Iapetus Ocean, this terrane was thrust over the Laurentian margin. Subsequent to obduction of the Ammonoosuc Volcanics, subduction polarity flipped to the west, with the Oliverian arc resulting from a westerly dipping subduction zone that formed under the Taconic Orogeny-modified Laurentian margin.

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