Tectonic models of the Ordovician Taconian orogeny in western New England usually invoke a collision between the Laurentian margin and a magmatic arc identified as the Bronson Hill arc. However, in central Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire, rocks in the Bronson Hill arc are 454 to 442 Ma and therefore younger than much of the Taconian deformation and metamorphism in western New England and eastern New York, which began by 470 Ma. U-Pb and single-grain evaporation zircon ages combined with geochemical analyses reveal the presence of an older magmatic arc, the Shelburne Falls arc, that formed west of the Bronson Hill arc at 485 to 470 Ma. The Shelburne Falls arc formed above an east-dipping subduction zone by the Early Ordovician. The Taconian orogeny was the result of the collision between Laurentia and the Shelburne Falls arc beginning ca. 475 to 470 Ma. The younger Bronson Hill arc formed above a west-dipping subduction zone that developed along the eastern edge of the newly accreted terrane during the final stages of and subsequent to the Taconian orogeny. The Taconian orogeny ended when plate convergence between Laurentia and Iapetus was accommodated by the newly developed west-dipping subduction zone instead of by crustal shortening in the Taconian thrust belt. The tectonic history of the New England Appalachians is inconsistent with a Middle Ordovician collision between Laurentia and the proto-Andean margin of Gondwana.

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