Skip to Main Content
Skip Nav Destination

West Avalonia is a composite terrane that rifted from the supercontinent Gondwana in the Ordovician and accreted to Laurentia during the latest Silurian to Devonian Acadian orogeny. The nature and extent of West Avalonia are well constrained in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland, Canada, by U-Pb detrital zircon data and/or isotope geochemistry of (meta)sedimentary and igneous rocks. The southeastern New England Avalon terrane in eastern Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island has generally been interpreted as an along-strike continuance of West Avalonia in Canada, but the ages and origins of metasedimentary units along the western boundary of the Avalon terrane in Massachusetts and Connecticut remain poorly constrained. In this study, new detrital zircon U-Pb and Lu-Hf laser-ablation–inductively coupled plasma–mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) data from three samples of metasedimentary units along the western boundary of the southeastern New England Avalon terrane in Connecticut and Massachusetts were compared with existing data to test whether these metasedimentary units can be correlated along strike. The data were also compared with existing detrital zircon U-Pb and εHf data in New England and Canada in order to constrain the extent and provenance of West Avalonia.

The maximum depositional age of two of the three detrital zircon samples analyzed in this study, based on the youngest single grain in each sample (600 ± 28 Ma, n = 1; 617 ± 28 Ma, n = 1) and consistency with existing analyses elsewhere in the southeastern New England Avalon terrane, is Ediacaran, while that of the third sample is Tonian (959 ± 40 Ma, n = 4). Detrital zircon analyses of all three samples from this study showed similar substantial Mesoproterozoic and lesser Paleoproterozoic and Archean populations. Other existing detrital zircon U-Pb data from quartzites in the southeastern New England Avalon terrane show similar Tonian populations with or without Ediacaran grains or populations. Most published detrital zircon U-Pb data from (meta)sedimentary rocks in West Avalonia in Canada yielded Ediacaran youngest detrital zircon age populations, except for a quartzite unit within the Gamble Brook Formation in the Cobequid Highlands of Nova Scotia, which showed a Tonian maximum depositional age, and otherwise a nearly identical detrital zircon signature with rocks from the southeastern New England Avalon terrane. All samples compiled from the southeastern New England Avalon terrane and West Avalonia in Canada show main age populations between ca. 2.0 Ga and ca. 1.0 Ga, with major peaks at ca. 1.95, ca. 1.50, ca. 1.20, and ca. 1.00 Ga, and minor ca. 3.1–3.0 Ga and ca. 2.8–2.6 Ga populations.

The εHf(t) values from the three samples yielded similar results to those from West Avalonia in Canada, suggesting that both regions were derived from the same cratonic sources. The εHf(t) values of all West Avalonian samples overlap with both Amazonia and Baltica, suggesting that there is a mixed signature between cratonic sources, possibly as a result of previous collision and transfer of basement fragments between these cratons during the formation of supercontinent Rodinia, or during subsequent arc collisions.

You do not have access to this content, please speak to your institutional administrator if you feel you should have access.
Close Modal

or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal