Abstract

Metamorphosed mafic rocks from west-central Vermont crop out in tectonic slices of the Stowe Formation within the Rowe–Hawley Belt of New England. The rocks include greenstone and amphibolite, which are interpreted to have been basaltic flows and gabbroic intrusions, respectively. Even though the rocks have been metamorphosed to greenschist or amphibolite facies, their igneous origins can be deciphered through careful use of geochemistry. Three geochemical types have been identified. Type 1 and 2 samples have geochemical characteristics similar to those found in mid-ocean ridge basalts (MORB), except that they have slightly elevated light rare-earth element (LREE) concentrations and are higher in Nb/Y ratios. Their Nb/Y ratios are similar to basalts found in Iceland and parts of the Afar region of the East African Rift. Types 1 and 2 are similar to metabasalts of the Caldwell and Maquereau formations in southern Quebec. The less-common type 3 samples have highly enriched LREE and are high in Nb/Y and Zr/Y ratios, similar to some alkali basalts from Afar and Iceland. Detailed analysis of the geochemistry suggests that greenstones and amphibolite from the Stowe Formation formed as basaltic eruptions during very late stages in rifting of the Rodinian continent that eventually led to formation of the Iapetus Ocean. This interpretation is consistent with tectonic models of the Vermont and Quebec Appalachians.

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