Abstract

The Dunnage zone of central Newfoundland records the closing of an oceanic tract — the Iapetus Ocean. Within this tract, the Red Indian line separates arc terranes developed close to Laurentia (Notre Dame subzone) from those associated with the peri-Gondwanan terrane Ganderia (Exploits subzone). Sandstones and conglomerates of the Badger Group were deposited on the Exploits subzone, southeast of the Red Indian line, from Late Ordovician (Katian) to early Silurian (Llandovery) time. Two samples were collected from the base and top of the Badger Group for detrital zircon U/Pb dating. The lower sample yielded detrital zircon populations with a large statistical peak at ca. 1.0 Ga, and other features characteristic of derivation from Laurentian sources. Paleozoic zircons with ages from Late Cambrian to Late Ordovician were probably derived from the Notre Dame arc on the margin of Laurentia. The upper sample yielded a comparable age distribution, but with a much smaller proportion of Mesoproterozoic relative to Paleozoic detrital zircon. These results date the earliest arrival of Laurentia-derived detritus on the peri-Gondwanan Exploits subzone crust in the early Katian (ca. 455 Ma). However, the absence, in both samples, of Neoproterozoic grains suggests that there was still a seaway separating the Gander margin from arc terranes accreted to Laurentia until at least the middle Llandovery (ca. 436 Ma).

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