The White Rock Formation is the lowermost formation of the Rockville Notch Group, an assemblage of Silurian–Devonian rocks preserved in five areas along the northwestern margin of the Meguma terrane of Nova Scotia. The formation consists mainly of mafic and felsic metavolcanic rocks, interlayered with and overlain by marine metasedimentary rocks. Felsic metatuff has now been dated from four locations near both the bottom and top of the volcanic pile and yielded a narrow age range (with errors) of about 446–434 Ma. These dates confirm a 30 Ma hiatus after deposition of the Early Ordovician Hellgate Formation in the underlying Halifax Group. This hiatus is coeval with the “Sardian gap” in the Lower Palaeozoic of peri-Gondwanan Europe. The metavolcanic–metasedimentary assemblage is overlain by mainly metasiltstone with abundant quartzite and metaconglomerate lenses; some of the latter were previously interpreted to be Ordovician tillite, an interpretation no longer viable. New detrital zircon data from metasedimentary samples indicate that the major sediment sources for the White Rock Formation have ages of ca. 670–550 and ca. 2050 Ma, similar to ages from the underlying Goldenville and Halifax groups. A smaller population of Mesoproterozoic zircon grains indicates that the Meguma terrane interacted with a terrane composed mainly of Mesoproterozoic crust during the Silurian and Devonian. The occurrence of the “Sardian gap” and the detrital zircon record constrain the palaeoposition of the Meguma terrane to have been close to Cadomia and West Africa in the Early Cambrian to Early Silurian.

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