Abstract

Three lithologically and structurally diverse melanges occur within an early Paleozoic (Early–Middle Ordovician) subduction complex in the central Appalachian orogen. Type I melange, characterized by horizons of variably deformed sandstone and scaly mudstone that alternate with coherent sandstone-rich sequences, is interpreted to reflect accretion-related deformation of water-saturated trench deposits. Type II melange, composed of exotic radiolaria-bearing mudstone clasts in a scaly mudstone matrix, can be explained by remobilization and mixing of inner-trench slope sediments. Type III melange is a poorly sorted polymict assemblage of native lithology clasts in a scaly mudstone matrix. Evidence of forceful injection of matrix mud into clasts and inferred discordant contacts between melange and surrounding bedded deposits suggest that the type III melange formed from mud diapirism. The close association of these melanges points out the diversity of tectonic and sedimentary processes previously documented from modern convergent margins that may be reflected in older subduction complexes.

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