Abstract

New data for zircon (external morphology, cathodoluminescence zoning, and sensitive high resolution ion microprobe [SHRIMP] U-Pb ages) from the Carvers Gap granulite gneiss of the Mars Hill terrane (Tennessee and North Carolina, United States) require reevaluation of interpretations of the age and origin of this rock. The new results indicate that the zircon is detrital and that the sedimentary protolith of this gneiss (and related Cloudland gneiss) was deposited no earlier than ca. 1.02 Ga and was metamorphosed at ca. 0.98 Ga. Tectonic models that included the gneiss as a piece of 1.8 Ga Amazonian crust (perhaps as part of the hypothetical Columbia supercontinent) are now untenable. The remarkably fast cycle of exhumation, erosion, deposition, and deep burial also is characteristic of other late Grenvillian (post-Ottawan) Mesoproterozoic paragneisses that occur throughout the Appalachians. These rocks provide new evidence for the duration of the formation of the Rodinia supercontinent lasting until at least 0.98 Ma.

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