Abstract

Geochronological studies in northern Wedel Jarlsberg Land, southwestern Svalbard (Norway), showed that the Tonian (c. 950 Ma) igneous rocks were subjected to metamorphism during the Torellian (c. 640 Ma) and early Caledonian (470–460 Ma) events. Predominant augen gneisses, derived from a Tonian protolith, are intercalated in that area, with schists comprising two distinct metamorphic mineral assemblages. The M1 (Torellian) assemblage containing garnet-I + quartz + plagioclase-I + biotite-I + muscovite-I was formed under amphibolite-facies conditions at c. 550–600 °C and 5–8 kbar (1 kbar = 100 MPa). The M2 (Caledonian) assemblage comprising garnet-II + quartz + plagioclase-II + biotite-II + muscovite-II + zoisite + chlorite crystallized at c. 500–550 °C and 9–12 kbar, corresponding to epidote–amphibolite facies conditions. The M2 mineral assemblage constitutes the pervasive Caledonian fabric of the schists that was subsequently reactivated in a left-lateral strike-slip shear regime. The subsequent c. 70° clockwise rotation of the original structure to its present position was caused by a large-scale passive rotation during the Paleogene Eurekan orogeny. The new pressure–temperature estimates suggest that metamorphic basement in the study area was consolidated during the Torellian middle-grade event and then overprinted by Caledonian moderate- to high-pressure subduction-related metamorphism. A following sinistral shear zone assembled the present structure of basement units. Our results pose a question about the possible extent of Torellian precursor to the Caledonian basement across the High Arctic and the scale of its subsequent involvement in early Caledonian subduction. In conjunction with previous studies, the results suggest a possible correlation between southwestern Spitsbergen and the Pearya Terrane in Ellesmere Island.

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