Abstract

Within the Precambrian of Yemen, we have identified four gneiss terranes and two island-arc terranes on the basis of existing literature, mapping, and our own field observations, together with new Sm-Nd isotopic data. The two western gneiss terranes can be correlated with well-documented terranes (Asir and Afif) in Saudi Arabia. To the east of these, the Abas and Al-Mahfid gneiss terranes yield Sm-Nd model ages (tDM) of 1.7–2.3 Ga and 1.3–2.7 Ga, respectively, and cannot be correlated with any documented terranes in Saudi Arabia. These two terranes are separated by a Pan-African island-arc terrane that has been obducted onto one or both of the gneiss terranes, and a second arc bounds the Al-Mahfid gneiss terrane to the east. Our discovery of extensive Proterozoic to late Archean gneisses in Yemen provides important constraints upon the much-discussed tectonic framework of northeast Gondwana and the rate of Pan-African crustal growth. The terranes in Yemen may be correlated with comparable terranes on the eastern margin of the Arabian Shield and in northern Somalia. Thus Yemen provides a link between the arc collage of the Arabian Shield and the gneissic Mozambique belt of East Africa.

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