Abstract

We report U–Pb electron microprobe (zircon and monazite) and Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS) U–Pb (zircon) ages from a granulite-facies metapelite and a garnet–biotite gniess from Chittikara, a classic locality within the Trivandrum Block of southern India. The majority of the electron-microprobe data on zircons from the metapelite define apparent ages between 1500 and 2500 Ma with a prominent peak at 2109 ± 22 Ma, although some of the cores are as old as 3070 Ma. Zircon grains with multiple age zoning are also detected with 2500–3700 Ma cores, 1380–1520 mantles and 530–600 Ma outer rims. Some homogeneous and rounded zircon cores yielded late Neoproterozoic ages that suggest that deposition within the Trivandrum Block belt was younger than 610 Ma. The outermost rims of these grains are characterized by early Cambrian ages suggesting metamorphic overgrowth at this time. The apparent ages of monazite grains from this locality reveal multiple provenance and polyphase metamorphic history, similar to those of the zircons. In a typical case, Palaeoproterozoic cores (1759–1967 Ma) are enveloped by late Neoproterozoic rims (562–563 Ma), which in turn are mantled by an outermost thin Cambrian rim (~ 515 Ma). PbO v. ThO*2 plots for monazites define broad isochrons, with cores indicating a rather imprecise age of 1913 ± 260 Ma (MSWD = 0.80) and late Neoproterozoic/Cambrian cores as well as thin rims yielding a well-defined isochron with an age of 557 ± 19 Ma (MSWD = 0.82). SIMS U–Pb isotopic data on zircons from the garnet–biotite gneiss yield a combined core/rim imprecise discordia line between 2106 ± 37 Ma and 524 ± 150 Ma. The data indicate Palaeoproterozoic zircon formation with later partial or non-uniform Pb loss during the late Neoproterozoic/Cambrian tectonothermal event. The combined electron probe and SIMS data from the metapelite and garnet–biotite gneiss at Chittikara indicate that the older zircons preserved in the finer-grained metapelite protolith have heterogeneous detrital sources, whereas the more arenaceous protolith of the garnet–biotite gniess was sourced from a single-aged terrane. Our data suggest that the metasedimentary belts in southern India may have formed part of an extensive late Neoproterozoic sedimentary basin during the final amalgamation of the Gondwana supercontinent.

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