Abstract

Basement rocks from the Continental Offshore Stratigraphic Test (COST) No. G-1 petroleum exploration well, Georges Bank, offshore Massachusetts, USA, show the first direct evidence for a fragment of Paleoproterozoic West African crust preserved along the eastern North American continental margin. Detrital zircon from two metawacke samples near the base of the core yielded ca. 3.05–1.90 Ga laser ablation–inductively coupled plasma–mass spectrometry dates, with a predominant 2.2–2.0 Ga population. This detrital zircon signature is consistent with that in the Taghdout Group of the Anti-Atlas region, which is part of the Paleoproterozoic passive margin rocks deposited directly on the Archean–Paleoproterozoic WAC shortly after its formation. African provenance has previously been recognized for the Suwannee and Meguma terranes in the southern and northern Appalachians, respectively. However, these areas represent Neoproterozoic–Paleozoic sedimentary basins, deposited well over a billion years after formation of the Paleoproterozoic WAC and cover rocks, including those in the COST No. G-1 well. The Paleoproterozoic rocks in the COST No. G-1 well were likely amalgamated with the North American margin during final closure of the Rheic Ocean and assembly of Pangea near the end of the Paleozoic.

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