Southwest Spitsbergen, Wedel Jarlsberg Land, consists of two Proterozoic crustal blocks with differing metamorphic histories. Both blocks experienced Caledonian greenschist-facies metamorphism, but only the southern block records an earlier pervasive M1 amphibolite-facies metamorphism and strong deformational fabric. In situ EMPA total-Pb monazite geochronology from both matrix and porphyroblast inclusion results indicate that the older M1 metamorphism occurred at 643 ± 9 Ma, consistent with published cooling ages of c. 620 Ma (hornblende) and 580 Ma (mica) obtained from these same rocks. This region thus contains a lithostratigraphic profile and metamorphic history which are unique within the Svalbard Archipelago. Documentation of a pervasive late Neoproterozoic Barrovian metamorphism is difficult to reconcile with a quiescent non-tectonic regime typically inferred for this region, based on the occurrence of rift-drift sequences on the Baltic and Laurentian passive margins. Instead, our new metamorphic age implies an exotic origin of the pre-Devonian basement exposed in SW Spitsbergen and supports models of terrane assembly postulated for the Svalbard Archipelago.

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