Abstract

New zircon U-Pb age data and geochemistry for the Sa'al metamorphic complex (SMC) in Sinai (Egypt) provide the first robust evidence of latest Mesoproterozoic island arc rocks at the northernmost Arabian-Nubian Shield, possibly indicating that formation of the shield commenced prior to 870 Ma. An older series of calc-alkaline volcanic and intrusive rocks yielded ages of ca. 1.03–1.02 Ga. Zircon xenocrysts within these rocks attest to arc magmatism predating the SMC by ∼80 m.y., as well as the minor contribution of Paleoproterozoic crust. Detrital zircons of the SMC pelites exhibit textural and U-Pb age patterns supporting their derivation from the volcanic rocks as arc detritus. A ca. 820 Ma gneissic pluton intruding the SMC indicates that by Cryogenian time, the SMC was already incorporated within the evolving Arabian-Nubian Shield. The 1.0–1.1 Ga SMC rocks provide a possible connection between latest Mesoproterozoic ocean closure during the assembly of Rodinia and the later buildup of Gondwana. There is growing indication, including the findings of this study, that 1.0–1.1 Ga crust composed a more significant component in northernmost Gondwana than hitherto recognized.

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