Abstract

Grenville-age granulite facies rocks in southern, central, and northeastern Mexico have distinctive geologic features that suggest a common tectonic evolution. The similarities include northwest-trending structural grain from Oaxaca to Tamaulipas, massif-type anorthosite-charnockite complexes, protoliths rich in sedimentary rocks of shallow-marine platform or continental rift-related facies devoid of calc-alkaline volcanic rocks, common metamorphism under granulite facies conditions, U-Pb zircon ages of about 1.0 Ga., and an apparently common history of uplift and cooling. Altogether, this evidence strongly suggests a coherent geologic history for this block. Paleontologic data from the overlying sedimentary sequences indicate that Oaxaquia was not part of Laurentia during most of the Paleozoic. This precludes emplacement of Oaxaquia in its present position by simple lateral displacement from the southern United States as well as a Taconic time of emplacement. Oaxaquia was probably emplaced to its present position during late Paleozoic time. The concept of a Mesoproterozoic “Oaxaquia” microcontinent extending for about 1000 km in Mexico needs to be considered in the reconstruction of the Grenville orogen as a whole and for the Paleozoic tectonic interactions between eastern Laurentia and western Gondwana.

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