Abstract

Convergent tectonism along the Appalachian continental margin in Middle Ordovician time resulted in cratonward-prograding clastic wedges. Detrital modes of 52 sandstones of the Blount clastic wedge in Georgia and Tennessee are dominated by monocrystalline quartz (68%), feldspar (10%, plagioclase >K-feldspar), and pelitic rock fragments (10%), with lesser amounts of polycrystalline quartz (6%), chert (2%), low-grade metamorphic rock fragments (2%), and quartzofeldspathic rock fragments (0.3%). The primary source rocks were sedimentary; subordinate contributions were from low-grade metamorphic and plagioclase-rich plutonic and/or gneissic rocks. The composition of sandstones from the Martinsburg clastic wedge, based on point-counting 18 samples from the collection of McBride, and from the Taconic clastic wedge, based on data of Hiscott, is similar to the Blount clastic wedge except that Martinsburg and Taconic sandstones have additional evidence of derivation from intermediate or mafic volcanic and deep-water sedimentary source rocks, which were lacking in the Blount source terrane. The differences in provenance among the clastic wedges may indicate along-strike variations in tectonic style, or variations in the distribution of rock types, or differences in the level of erosion within orogenic terranes of similar origin.

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