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The late Proterozoic geologic setting of the Boston Basin

Nicholas Rast and James W. Skehan
The late Proterozoic geologic setting of the Boston Basin (in Geology of the composite Avalon Terrane of southern New England, Anthony D. Socci (editor), James W. Skehan (editor) and Geoffrey W. Smith (editor))
Special Paper - Geological Society of America (1990) 245: 235-247


Boston Basin is an outcrop of metasedimentary and metavolcanic strata bordered by faults mainly against late Precambrian and Paleozoic granitoids. No unit-by-unit stratigraphic correlations can be made between this basin and others of the same general age in the circum-Atlantic region. Its sedimentary, mainly clastic rocks, named the Boston Bay Group, contain a diamictite frequently referred to as the Squantum tillite. The Boston Bay Group is underlain and partly interbedded with mainly felsic meta-volcanics. In the Boston Basin the sediments are of Vendian age determined by microfossils and isotopic dating. The surrounding calc-alkaline granitoids are closely associated with gabbro-diorites that often show close ("acid-basic") relations between products of coexisting mafic and felsic magmas. These lithological associations are typical of late Proterozoic Avalonian terranes in the North Atlantic. H. Williams" original concept of the Avalon domain in Newfoundland was that of a platform at the edge of a continent. Thereafter, the platform was successively referred to as a prong, a microcontinent, a plate, and then a terrane. Keppie (1985) and ourselves advocated that the terrane, in turn, consists of a collage of linked (accreted) blocks. Yet the broad lithological similarity of rock associations among such blocks in Precambrian and possibly earliest Cambrian time indicates that they were parts of an originally distinct major lithotectonic unit such as an island arc. The collage of the closely related blocks is referred to as the Avalon superterrane. It is conjectured that the superterrane broke up in late Proterozoic and possibly Early Cambrian time into several blocks, which drifted apart during the opening of the Iapetus Ocean. From mid-Paleozoic time onward the ocean started closing. The blocks were assembled and accreted to the Laurentian continent as a new collage, referred to as the Avalon composite terrane. It is proposed that the thick terrigenous-volcanic Boston Bay Group accumulated in a graben-like structure within the late Proterozoic superterrane, although now it is a fragmented part of the Boston block that is a constituent of the composite terrane.

ISSN: 0072-1077
EISSN: 2331-219X
Serial Title: Special Paper - Geological Society of America
Serial Volume: 245
Title: The late Proterozoic geologic setting of the Boston Basin
Title: Geology of the composite Avalon Terrane of southern New England
Author(s): Rast, NicholasSkehan, James W.
Author(s): Socci, Anthony D.editor
Author(s): Skehan, James W.editor
Author(s): Smith, Geoffrey W.editor
Affiliation: Univ. Ky., Dep. Geol. Sci., Lexington, KY, United States
Affiliation: Ohio Univ., Dep. Geol., Athens, OH, United States
Pages: 235-247
Published: 1990
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
ISBN: 0-8137-2245-4
References: 51
Accession Number: 1991-000900
Categories: Structural geology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 2 tables, geol. sketch maps
N41°15'00" - N42°55'00", W73°30'00" - W69°55'00"
Secondary Affiliation: Boston Coll., USA, United StatesBoston Coll., USA, United States
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute.
Update Code: 1991
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